Thursday, June 13, 2024

HomeTechnologyThe Download: Making surgery safer, and MDMA therapy has been dealt a...

The Download: Making surgery safer, and MDMA therapy has been dealt a blow

The operating room has long been defined by its hush-hush nature because surgeons are notoriously bad at acknowledging their own mistakes.

These mistakes kill some 22,000 Americans each year. Many of the errors happen on the operating table, from leaving surgical sponges inside patients’ bodies to performing the wrong procedure altogether.

Now, Teodor Grantcharov, a surgeon and professor of surgery at Stanford, believes he’s created the technology to create and analyze recordings of operations to help improve safety and surgical efficiency. It’s the operating room equivalent of an airplane’s black box: recording everything in the operating room via panoramic cameras, microphones, and anesthesia monitors before using artificial intelligence to help surgeons make sense of the data.   

But the idea of recording everything could raise the threat of disciplinary action and legal exposure. Some surgeons have refused to operate when the black boxes are in place, and some of the systems have even been sabotaged. 

So are hospitals on the cusp of a new era of safety—or creating an environment of confusion and paranoia? Read the full story.

—Simar Bajaj

FDA advisors just said no to the use of MDMA as a therapy

On Tuesday, the FDA asked a panel of experts to weigh in on whether the evidence shows that MDMA, also known as ecstasy, is a safe and efficacious treatment for PTSD.

The answer was a resounding no. Just two out of 11 panel members agreed that MDMA-assisted therapy is effective. And only one panel member thought the benefits of the therapy outweighed the risks.

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