Welcome to this week’s edition of Grand Rounds. I want to thank Colin and Dr. Val for allowing me to serve as host. I also want to thank everyone for their submissions. I got hit with an avalanche of email, and I’m sorry that I was not able to post every submission that I received. Healthcare consumers use to do a lot of crazy things in order to stay healthy. Quack medicine has been around for a long time, and many early remedies were laced with cocaine, heroine, and mercury. Then things really got strange with the advent of electricity. Take this gadget for example. Its inventor, Dr. Snake Oil, claimed that his battery charged gizmo would cure all the ills of mankind. I wonder where you were suppose to stick this thing. Medical history is full of weird stuff and some of it is pretty entertaining. Please enjoy the Grand Rounds Medicine Show.

This Coca-Cola ad from 1902 reads:

TIRED? THEN DRINK Coca-Cola. IT RELIEVES EXHAUSTION. When the BRAIN is running under full pressure, send down to the FOUNTAIN for a glass of Coca-Cola
you will be surprised how quickly it will ease the Tired Brain — soothe the Rattled Nerves and restore Wasted Energy to both Mind and Body. It enables the entire system to readily cope with the strain of any excessive demands made upon it. AT ALL FOUNTAINS ALSO IN BOTTLES

Yes sir, the cocaine in Coca-Cola really had a way of calming the nerves. Fortunately there are other ways of making ourselves feel happy. Ian Furst DSS, MSc, FRCD (C) from Wait Times and Delayed Care sent in this post about what makes us happy in the workplace.

By the looks of this next post, all medical students have a tired brain, and could benefit from a very large bottle of good old Coca-Cola. Vitum Medicinus, a Canadian medical student, imagines what a job description might look like if someone was advertising for medical students in the want ads.

I know that I suffer from tired brain after working a night shift, but according to Dr. Dena Rifkin from Poked and Prodded, doctors develop a sixth sense when they work the night shift. You don’t have time to have a tired brain when you are quietly focusing on what’s happening in the hospital.

I’m sure most of us are going to need a stiff drink to calm our tired brain after this election season. David E. Williams from the Health Business Blog has been busy comparing the Obama and McCain health plans. His post is very informative and I encourage you to read it before you cast your vote for the candidate of your choice.

Bob Woodruff and his wife Lee are working to educate the public about traumatic brain injury. Alvaro Fernanadez from Sharp Brains had the opportunity to interview Lee Woodruff for this post about the Bob Woodruff Foundation for Traumatic Brain Injury. It’s great reading.


I never heard of this remedy before.

DR. BONKER’S CELEBRATED EGYPTIAN OIL

Directions. — Rub well into the skin, and
in severe cases saturate a flannel with Dr.
Bonker’s Egyptian Oil and bandage around
the part affected with cloth wrung out in
hot water.

For internal pains: such as Colic, Cramps
in the Stomach and Bowels, and Cholera,
take 10 to 20 drops every half hour in Molas-
ses or on sugar, and at the same time apply
externally. Children 2 or 3 drops.

For Colic and Cramps in horses and cattle,
give one tablespoonful in Sweet Oil.

Give it a Trial and be convinced of its merits.

DR. BONKER MEDICINE CO.

CHICAGO

I wonder if Dr. Bonker’s Egyptian Oil could cure Mondor’s Disease. Check out this post by rlbates from Suture For a Living to learn more about this odd disease.

Dr. Paul Auerbach from Healthline is concerned about the rabies vaccine shortage. Quack medicine can’t help us solve this serious public health issue. Please read his post.

Nancy L. Brown, PhD from Healthline sent in this post that explains what college students can do to keep from becoming a victim of sexual assault. Sometimes knowledge is the best cure for terrible problems.

Forget about finding a cure for the common cold. I wish that someone would find a cure for SPAM. Laika from MedLibLog looks at examples of (health) blog-spam, spam blogs and everything in between.

Dr Am Ang Zhang from The Cockroach Catcher has noticed a flurry of activities in the British Medical Blogoshere. There is a lot of chatter out there about Hemlock poisoning. Hemlock use to be a popular botanical in medications, but just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s good for you.



Here’s a little something for pain relief:
COCAINE TOOTHACHE DROPS. Instantaneous Cure! Price 15 Cents. For sale by all Druggists. (Registered March 1885.) Cocaine is the new anaesthetic now used so extensively thoughout Europe and this country by Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists. This preparation of Toothache Drops contains Cocaine, and its wonderful properties are fully demonstrated by the many recommendations it is daily receiving. Take no other except Cocaine Toothache Drops. For sale by all Druggists. Prepared by the Lloyd Manufacturing Co., 219 Hudson Ave., Albany, N.Y.

I thought that doing cocaine made some people grind their teeth. So much for controlling tooth pain. Sometimes patience is the best medicine when it comes to pain control. Check out Pictures of Patience submitted by How To Cope With Pain.

Sometimes it’s harder to deal with emotional pain, especially when that pain is caused by a death of a patient. Bongi from Other Things Amanzi tells us about an unforgettable patient and his family.

Susan Palwick from Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good knows that a sympathetic ear can help our patients get through hard times and a painful experience. Check out her post about visiting an ex-con in the ER.

Would you believe that Dinah from Shrink Rap doesn’t always like rapping with her friends? Really! She gets uncomfortable when friends, who are in distress, start asking her for advice about their problems. What is a psychiatrist to do? Read her post and find out.


No, these aren’t odd looking toothpicks. These little gems are Perkins Tractors, patented in 1801. The multiple metallic metal probes were used to “draw out” disease by bleeding patients. Today’s health care practitioners use cutting edge technology to help them make their diagnosis, but sometimes the power of observation is the best tool of all. 3+speckled from Rheumination sent in a post about why doctors need a good set of ears. Here’s a hint: The elusive S3.

Imagine poking these things into someone, and then having to tell them that you might have made a mistake. Cris Cuthbertson from Scalpel’s Edge sent in a post that examines how mistakes affect doctors, and how the public nature of their job impacts their ability to learn from their mistakes.

Rveblade from Twenty Four Hours People is a very busy young man. He’s trying to survive his subinternship, while learning the fine art of medicine. Poor kid. Read his first submission to Grand Rounds. Hang in there, Rveblade. Like you said, you have brains in your head, feet in your shoes, and you can steer yourself any direction you choose.

Louise, a former Peace Corps math teacher and contributor to the Colorado Health Insurance Insider , sent in an insightful post about health care in Tanzania. Like early medical practices in U.S., her post describes primitive conditions, and she said that her experiences as a Peace Corp worker have had an enormous impact on her life. Louise is an advocate for Americans who do not have access to health care.

After checking out a lot of these old time remedies, I’ve come to the conclusion that optimism on the part of the patients played a big role in their ultimate recovery. After all, do you think that bleeding someone out is really good for them? Not! Doc Gurley from Doc Gurley Posts from an Insane Healthcare System just reviewed an article that she found in the Harvard Health News about optimism and health. It was a good thing that our forefathers were an optimistic group, otherwise they all would have croaked after their bleeding sessions.


My goodness, Nurse, what are you doing to your patient? I know that nurses are always willing to try new things, but you’re going to give her a headache if you’re not careful. This nurse worked for Dr. Kellogg from the famous Battle Creek Sanitarium. He’s the man who invented cornflakes so his patients could have a healthy breakfast every morning. He’s also the doctor who came up with a lot of bizarre notations about eugenics and enemas. He was really crazy. Julia from Reasonably Well thought that she was going crazy when she noticed that her tongue was turning blue. Julia is a retired nurse who also doesn’t mind trying new things either, especially something as mundane as mouthwash. Julia, I hope that your pesky blue tongue goes away soon. I wonder if this patient is going to understand her discharge instructions after having her head worked on with a hand held jackhammer. Kim from Emergiblog can’t believe what she just read in a news story from Reuters. Read her post about kindergarden “circle time,” the Gutenberg press, and why patients don’t understand their discharge instructions when they leave the hospital.

William Halper, CLU from Insureblog wants us to be careful for what you wish for.He said that trying new and different things isn’t always a good idea, especially when it comes to “free health care.”

Dr Shock sent in a post about pending legislation in France. A French commission visited the Netherlands to learn more about palliative sedation. Captain Atopic from Degranulated also sent in this post about palliative care. Everything new in health care starts with an idea.


Are you feeling down? “Charge up” your life with a little electricity. This gadget was very popular at the turn of the century. My grandmother had one of these and it was equipped with a power source that resembled an old car battery. Electrostimulators were used to cure everything from gout to consumption. I remember my grandmother telling me she used her gadget to help control her back pain. Needless to say, these things weren’t safe, and thanks to these types of devices, we now have legislation directed toward standardizing the safety and efficacy of similar instruments. Dean Moyer of The Back Pain Blog attempts to answer the burning question, What Causes Herniated Discs? After touching on what he believes to be the two main causes, he then shares his personal philosophy about disc rehabilitation. No, Dean doesn’t advocate the use of a quack device to deal with back pain.

Many people today depend on medical devices, and use them daily as part of their health maintenance program. Amy Tenderich from Diabetes Mine is involved in a grassroots movement to get continuous glucose monitors into the hands of health care consumers. Listen up, insurance providers. Amy means business.

Some people have some very strange ideas about diabetes and medical devices. Kerri Morrone Sparling from Six Until Me was out shopping one day when she became entangled in a conversation with a sales lady about diabetes. The whole encounter was really sad. The sales lady was under the impression that wearing an insulin pump was a death sentence.


This patient is being treated with hydrotherapy, also known as a hepatic douche. No, I’m not kidding, he’s getting hosed down with cold water in the name of good health. I found this picture in a book that was written and published by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan. He was the medical director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Like I said before, he believed that good food, exercise, and a daily dousing of water—inside and out—could cure any illness known to mankind. Dr. Toni Brayer from EverythingHealth isn’t happy with the dwindling numbers of medical students who are going into general medicine. It seems like GPs are getting hosed down, too, but not in a good way. David Harlow from HealthBlawg echoes Toni’s concerns about the lack of medical students who are willing to go into primary care.


Women use to do a lot of odd things in order to maintain their healthy glow. In her book, The Perfect Woman, Mary R. Melendy, M.D. told women that shoving a rubber tube up their nose was the first step in keeping their bodies healthy. According to Dr. Melendy, flushing the body with water from the inside out would make women robust, and kept them from getting sick. Fortunately, women’s health practices have changed radically over the years, and thanks to those changes, more women are surviving breast cancer. Anne Krueger from Poked & Prodded sent in this post about women who have survived breast cancer. These stories are amazing.

Amanzimtoti sees many sad things. She lives in South Africa where women and children die everyday from curable diseases. Please read her heartfelt post.


Check this out. Way before there was lasik eye surgery, there were eye massagers. The idea behind this device was to help eye sight grow stronger with the use of exercise. Jolie Bookspan, M.Ed, PhD, FAWM from Healthline wants to change unhealthy artificial exercises into healthful daily movement by teaching doctors how they can improve their own health, thereby serving as better role models to their patients.

Seeing more clearly can also involve weighing your options before you make a major decision. Dr. Bruce Campbell from Behind the Head Mirror wants readers to know that choosing which medical specialty to enter might involve adding and discarding choices for odd reasons. I bet those odd reasons are as odd as this eye massager.

I want to thank everyone for checking out Grand Rounds. Next week’s edition of Grand Rounds is being hosted by Dr. Val Jones from Revolution Health. It looks like this nurse is already thinking about what she’s going to send in, so you should start thinking about it, too. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you where I found all but two of my images for this week’s medical roadshow. Please check out Dr. Bonkers presents The Nearly Genuine and Truly Marvelous Psychoneuropharmacological Mental Medicine Show and Collect Medical Antiques to learn more about the wacky world of medical quackery.