AMSA's 2015 Annual Convention
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February 26 - March 1, 2015 

Side Effects

The New Physician September 2014 Volume 63, Number 4


When your uncle taught you to shake hands right—not any of that dead fish stuff—he was just trying to help you build your immune system by exposing it to maximum bacteria. As the fist bump continues to punch its way onto the wards, yet more research has shown it to be more hygienic than a traditional handshake. But the most recent study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, also showed that not all handshakes are equal in terms of germ transmission. The stronger the grip and longer the shake, the more bacteria were transferred between gloved test subjects. The fist bump also got higher marks on sanitation than the high-five and, presumably, the low-five, down low. But there’s no way it beat the too-slow, which is now the official Side Effects clinical greeting of choice. 


It turns out that it’s not just the fans of sports that are influenced by marketing messages: Players on teams sponsored by a brand of alcohol consume more and are more likely to engage in risky drinking, according to research published in the journal Addiction. The research, conducted in the United Kingdom, mostly included community teams, some of which may have received sponsorship from a local bar or brewery. Those kinds of teams are mostly drinking clubs anyway—and the study did find that drinking was high across the board—but of teams sponsored by an “alcohol-related industry,” 50 percent of players warranted “brief counseling” for alcohol use by World Health Organization standards. Didn’t anyone mention that they don’t have to lead the way to bar by example? 


The latest tool in the fight against malaria hunts the parasite down like a heat-seeking missile. Because it is one. Borrowing a part originally developed for an advanced anti-tank missile known as the Javelin, researchers were able to detect evidence of malaria, even in just a single red blood cell. And their new tool makes the diagnosis within four minutes. The scientists, publishing in the journal Analysis, say it could become the “gold standard” for malaria detection—and who’s going to argue with them? They still have the rest of the parts somewhere.