Saturday, October 30, 2010

Turkey Chili with White Beans Recipe at

Turkey Chili with White Beans

Bon App├ętit  | February 1997

Great recipe for this weekend, high in protein, low in saturated fat, with a little cinnamon to further stabilize your blood sugar...

to counteract everything else that comes with Halloween...

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

iHelp for Autism - Page 1 - News - San Francisco - SF Weekly

View more photographs in the iHelp for Autism slideshow.

Leo has plenty of toys, including this circular balance beam, but nothing tops the iPad.

Kelly Nicolaisen
Leo has plenty of toys, including this circular balance beam, but nothing tops the iPad.
Leo’s therapist, Victor Cabrera, comes over four times a week for respite hours.

Kelly Nicolaisen
Leo’s therapist, Victor Cabrera, comes over four times a week for respite hours.

Three weeks had passed since Shannon Rosa had glanced over the numbers on her tiny blue raffle ticket. Like many other parents, she had agreed to cough up $5 not because she thought she had any real chance of winning, but to support the school.

Now, as she sat in her Honda Odyssey in a Redwood City parking lot, about to pick up some tacos for the family, her cellphone rang. It was the school secretary. Rosa had won the raffle.

Alone in her van, she screamed. Then she drove straight to Clifford School to claim her prize: a glistening new iPad.

Although Rosa already owned an iPod Touch, she had purposely held off on the iPad. She isn't an early adopter; she likes to wait until the kinks are worked out. But for $5, she didn't mind taking the iPad home one bit. Maybe Leo would like it.

Leo is Rosa's 9-year-old son, and when people ask her about him, she is mindful to explain him in a way that will set appropriate expectations. He is a boy with intense autism, she says. He is not conversational, he learns very slowly, and he has been prone to violent outbursts. He is essentially a triple-sized toddler. Leo had shown interest in the iPod Touch, but its 3.5-inch screen was difficult for his fingers to navigate.

For all those reasons, Rosa had no expectations when she handed her son the iPad — a half-inch-thick, touch-screen tablet computer three times the size of its smaller cousin, the iPod. Though scrolling through the icons is easy for most users, the device was not created with special-needs consumers in mind.

So when Leo took it in his small hands as if it were an old friend, and, with almost no training, whizzed through its apps like a technology virtuoso, his mother gasped in amazement. After he began spending 30 minutes at a time on apps designed to teach spelling, counting, drawing, making puzzles, remembering pictures, and more, she sat down at her own computer.

"With the iPad, Leo electrifies the air around him with independence and daily new skills," Rosa typed into an entry for BlogHer, a blogging network of women for which she edits and writes. Her blog was one of the first to bring widespread public attention to what one expert has called "a quiet revolution" for the autism community.

Since the iPad's unveiling in April, autism experts and parents have brought it into countless homes and classrooms around the world. Developers have begun pumping out applications specifically designed for users with special needs, and initial studies are already measuring the effectiveness of the iPod Touch and the iPad as learning tools for children with autism. Through the devices, some of these children have been able to communicate their thoughts to adults for the first time. Others have learned life skills that had eluded them for years.

Though there are other computers designed for children with autism, a growing number of experts say that the iPad is better. It's cheaper, faster, more versatile, more user-friendly, more portable, more engaging, and infinitely cooler for young people. "I just couldn't imagine not introducing this to a parent of a child who has autism," says Tammy Mastropietro, a speech pathologist based outside Boston who uses the technology with numerous clients. She sees it as a game changer for those with autism, particularly those most severely affected.

Rosa agrees. "I don't usually dabble in miracle-speak," she says, "but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room."

Hand in hand, Shannon Rosa, Craig Rosa, and their children, Leo, India, and Gisela meandered through the Ferry Building in San Francisco one recent afternoon. Amid the wafting aromas of strong coffee and freshly baked breads, Leo broke free from the grasp of his sisters. He skipped sideways, beat himself on the stomach, and squealed.

After finding a table, Rosa began to unpack some Acme Bread items. Leo went wild. He snatched his croissant, tore at it, and stuffed the pieces in his mouth faster than he could chew. He grabbed at the food in front of his family. He ducked under the table and attempted to eat off the floor. "More, please," he said frantically. "Thank you, please."

For the Rosas, outings like this can be a challenge. Without the iPad and its ability to occupy Leo, the excursion would be near impossible. In particular, he has a hard time behaving himself around food, which is typical for a child "on the spectrum," a commonly used phrase for what is formally referred to as autism spectrum disorder. Mostly, though, people just call it autism.

Scientists know little about autism, but in general they agree that the developmental brain disorder manifests in three ways: communication deficits, social incompetence, and obsessive behaviors. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control found that one out of nearly every 100 children born in the United States was on the spectrum.

Some on that wide-ranging spectrum become productive, happy, and even brilliant adults. Often those people are said to have Asperger syndrome, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

OK here is a nice article detailing the educational uses of ipad for children with autism. I'd agree that we will be using this more and more with autistic patients.

Not to mention running your medical practice...

More on that next week at the Medfusion Conference...

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Scarlet fever - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nice entry from Wikipedia on Scarlet fever with a pic of classic strawberry tongue.

Now that the kiddies are all back in school, strep is in full swing. Some strains of strep throat will have an associated rash that develops that we call " scarlatina"

Usually a rapid strep test and a thorough history and physical exam is required to make the diagnois.

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Braised Chicken with Shallots Recipe - Martha Stewart Recipes

Here is a great recipe for tonight's dinner!

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

DocOnomics Physician Wealth Management Blog


Saturday, October 16th, 2010 7:26 AM by Christopher Gregory

Dr. Bob Kramer is a physician I admire and value as a colleague in our efforts to spread the DocOnomics mission. I consider Dr. Bob to be a doctor’s-doctor – a lot of lucky kids grew up with him as their pediatrician.

He and I have spent many hours talking about his views on the practice of medicine and what has happened to cause so many of the problems being experienced today, i.e., soaring costs, depersonalization, erosion of physician morale, and medical education to name a few. An interesting article appeared in one of my journals the other day that underscores exactly what Dr. Bob has been saying all along.

This recent NY Times article was about Dr. Abraham Verghese, the senior associate chairman for the theory and practice of medicine at Stanford University. At Stanford, Dr. Verghese is on a mission to bring back something he considers a lost art: the physical exam. The old-fashioned touching, looking and listening — the once prized, almost magical skills of the doctor who missed nothing and could swiftly diagnose a peculiar walk, sluggish thyroid or leaky heart valve using just keen eyes, practiced hands and a stethoscope.

He is out to save the physical exam because it seems to be wasting away, he says, in an era of CT, ultrasound, MRIs, countless lab tests and doctor visits that whip by like speed dates. He asks who has not felt slighted by a stethoscope applied through the shirt, or a millisecond peek into the throat?

Some doctors would gladly let the exam go, claiming that much of it has been rendered obsolete by technology and that there are better ways to spend their time with patients. Some admit they do the exam almost as a token gesture, only because patients expect it.

Medical schools in the United States have let the exam slide, Dr. Verghese says, noting that over time he has encountered more and more interns and residents who do not know how to test a patient’s reflexes or palpate a spleen. He likes to joke that a person could show up at the hospital with a finger missing, and doctors would insist on an M.R.I., a CT scan and an orthopedic consult to confirm it.

So why is this happening? Why do my memories fade of  Dr. John Wyatt, my friend and my family physician for so many years in Chicago,  or Dr. H. Seid Ashraf, my son’s pediatrician in Milwaukee who was there for my child during so many years of health challenges? They were both primary care doctors who took charge of our health, and did a damned fine job of seeing us through many trying times.

It’s like Dr. Bob says – medicine has gone “high tech, low touch”. We now prefer numerous tests and procedures that have supplanted the touching, listening and observing skills of the fine doctors we have – because they aren’t given the time to spend with patients and because so many operate in fear that missing anything will end their careers.

That, readers, is why Dr. Bob and I believe so strongly in the cause and the necessity to maintain primary care medicine at the forefront of our healthcare delivery systems. That is why Clayton Christensen at the Harvard Business School talks about the patient-centered intuitive core of medicine and the crisis we are experiencing because of the declining number of primary care physicians who must play a key role in the positive disruptions needed in health care.

There are primary care doctors in Dallas, Texas that are working together to do great things. In their strength of numbers, they are taking care of the needs of a population of citizens who require good, affordable care. We’ve written about the Jefferson Physicians Group, and hope that those efforts can proceed everywhere.

We need to give our front-line physicians the opportunities to best use the tools that are so important – hands, eyes, ears and the time to employ those skills. We need to reimburse them fairly and adequately so they don’t have to rush through more and more patients each day just to keep their doors open. And we need to reduce the fear factor every doctor carries around, that the lawsuit will wipe them out.

If we do that, we’ll solve some of the problems with exploding costs, an unhealthy population and the dwindling numbers of primary care physicians just when our needs are so great.

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Here is a great post about the lost art of the Physical Exam in our current Fee for Service system, lost in a sea of interventions and tests. The diminishing time primary care docs have for each visit is an exacerbating factor. This is Chris Gregory from Doconomics who mentions our Advisory Board Member Dr Bob Kramer and his quest to enable physicians to return to high touch practice. Must Read Post...

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Friday, October 15, 2010

CDC - Treatment - Scabies


Suggested General Guidelines

It is important to remember that the first time a person gets scabies they usually have no symptoms during the first 2 to 6 weeks they are infested; however they can still spread scabies during this time.

In addition to the infested person, treatment also is recommended for household members and sexual contacts, particularly those who have had prolonged direct skin-to-skin contact with the infested person. Both sexual and close personal contacts who have had direct prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infested person within the preceding month should be examined and treated. All persons should be treated at the same time to prevent reinfestation.

Products used to treat scabies are called scabicides because they kill scabies mites; some also kill mite eggs. Scabicides used to treat human scabies are available only with a doctor’s prescription. No “over-the-counter” (non-prescription) products have been tested and approved to treat scabies. The instructions contained in the box or printed on the label always should be followed carefully. Always contact a doctor or pharmacist if unsure how to use a particular medicine.

Scabicide lotion or cream should be applied to all areas of the body from the neck down to the feet and toes. In addition, when treating infants and young children, scabicide lotion or cream also should be applied to their entire head and neck because scabies can affect their face, scalp, and neck, as well as the rest of their body. The lotion or cream should be applied to a clean body and left on for the recommended time before washing it off. Clean clothing should be worn after treatment.

Bedding, clothing, and towels used by infested persons or their household, sexual, and close contacts (as defined above) anytime during the three days before treatment should be decontaminated by washing in hot water and drying in a hot dryer, by dry-cleaning, or by sealing in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours. Scabies mites generally do not survive more than 2 to 3 days away from human skin.

Because the symptoms of scabies are due to a hypersensitivity reaction (allergy) to mites and their feces (scybala), itching still may continue for several weeks after treatment even if all the mites and eggs are killed. If itching still is present more than 2 to 4 weeks after treatment or if new burrows or pimple-like rash lesions continue to appear, retreatment may be necessary.

Skin sores that become infected should be treated with an appropriate antibiotic prescribed by a doctor.

Use of insecticide sprays and fumigants is not recommended.

Medications Used to Treat Scabies

Products used to kill scabies mites are called scabicides. Scabicides used to treat human scabies are available only with a doctor’s prescription. No “over-the-counter” (non-prescription) products have been tested and approved to treat human scabies.

The instructions contained in the box or printed on the label always should be followed carefully. Always contact a doctor or pharmacist if unsure how to use a particular medicine.

Related Materials

For Health Care Providers

OK, hate to bring it up... but scabies happens folks, here are the treatment guidelines...

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Most ER cases for swallowing pills involve kids

Nice article in USA today about the age breakdown of ingestions in ER visits!

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Swine influenza - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you are looking for the intricate details of swine flu's life cycle... here it is... a nice Wikipedia review of last year's epidemic. Not bad, folks... now to use geo location to help people decide the risk of illness... anybody think that's a good idea? It was my vote for last week's Institute for the Future's " Bodyshock" Competition. Now how to integrate that into your medical practice. Perhaps an e newsletter to your patients that outlines a map view with the hot spots of illness in ORANGE? What do you think?

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Personal Medicine is Hiring!!

Check out this website I found at

Personal Medicine is hiring for part and full time positions. We (sometimes) also have short term positions & internships. please send resume to

Personal Medicine is an innovative geek-friendly place to jump start your career in health care. We value innovation, process, and customers at the highest level. We also work really hard (and fast) to deliver Personal Medicine to our major stakeholders, patients, physicians and businesses. Our web based platform is a disruptive new care delivery model featuring e commerce with potential for global reach. We are building a team to execute and bring the reality of John Doerr's " Third Wave" of innovation to life in health care, featuring the mobile social commerce revolution. Got your Iphone ready? Apply here

Other benefits -

* Help physicians and patients ride the third wave of innovation in health care, the " Mobile social commerce revolution"
* Work alongside a smart & passionate team of health care innovators to bring the reality of mobile medicine to the global marketplace.
* Existential bliss: Contribute your ideas and help shape the direction of a product and service that uses mobile tech to bring house calls to the homes of families.
* Competitive Salary & Stock Options
* Virtual workplace, smart team mates!

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Study finds spike in number of kids hospitalized for ATV-related injuries | California Watch

Here is a new study on the risks of brain injury with ATV use in kids. Parents... take the money and put it in your kid's college fund instead, a brain is a terrible thing to waste!!

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rhinovirus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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"Human rhinovirus"

Molecular surface of a Human rhinovirus, showing protein spikes
Virus classification
Group: Group IV ((+)ssRNA)
Order: Picornavirales
Family: Picornaviridae
Genus: Enterovirus
Type species
Human enterovirus C

Human rhinovirus A
Human rhinovirus B
Human rhinovirus C

Human rhinovirus (from the Greek rhin- which means "nose") are the most common viral infective agents in humans and are the cause of the common cold. Rhinovirus infection proliferates in temperatures between 33–35 °C, and this may be why reproduction occurs primarily in the nose. Rhinovirus is a species in the genus Enterovirus of the Picornaviridae family of viruses.

There are 99 recognized types of Human rhinoviruses that differ according to their surface proteins. They are lytic in nature and are among the smallest viruses, with diameters of about only 30 nanometers. Other viruses such as smallpox and vaccinia are around 10 times larger at about 300 nanometers.



[edit] Transmission and epidemiology

Main article: Common cold

There are two modes of transmission: via aerosols of respiratory droplets and from contaminated surfaces, including direct person-to-person contact.

Human rhinoviruses occur worldwide and are the primary cause of common colds. Symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing and cough; sometimes accompanied by muscle aches, fatigue, malaise, headache, muscle weakness, or loss of appetite. Fever and extreme exhaustion are more usual in influenza. Children may have six to twelve colds a year. In the United States, the incidence of colds is higher in the autumn and winter, with most infections occurring between September to April. The seasonality may be due to the start of the school year, or due to people spending more time indoors (thus in closer proximity with each other), increasing the chance of transmission of the virus.

[edit] Pathogenesis

The primary route of entry for Human rhinoviruses is the upper respiratory tract. Afterward, the virus binds to ICAM-1 (Inter-Cellular Adhesion Molecule 1) also known as CD54 (Cluster of Differentiation 54) receptors on respiratory epithelial cells. As the virus replicates and spreads, infected cells release distress signals known as chemokines and cytokines (which in turn activate inflammatory mediators).

Infection occurs rapidly, with the virus adhering to surface receptors within 15 minutes of entering the respiratory tract. Just over 50% of symptomatic individuals will experience symptoms within 2 days of infection. Only about 5% of cases will have an incubation period of less than 20 hours, and, on the other end, it is expected that 5% of cases would have an incubation period of greater than four and a half days.[1]

Human rhinoviruses preferentially grow at 32°C as opposed to 37°C, hence infect the upper respiratory tract.

[edit] Taxonomy

Rhinovirus was formerly a genus from the family Picornaviridae. The 39th Executive Committee (EC39) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) met in Canada during June of 2007 with new taxonomic proposals.[1] In April of 2008, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses voted and ratified the following changes:

2005.264V.04 To remove the following species from the existing genus Rhinovirus in the family Picornaviridae: Human rhinovirus A, Human rhinovirus B. 2005.265V.04 To assign the following species to the genus Enterovirus in the family Picornaviridae: Human rhinovirus A, Human rhinovirus B. 2005.266V.04 To remove the existing genus Rhinovirus from the family Picornaviridae. (Note: The genus Rhinovirus hereby disappears).[2]

In July of 2009, the ICTV voted and ratifed a proposal to add a third species, Human rhinovirus C to the genus Enterovirus.

2008.084V.A.HRV-C-Sp 2008.084V Create new species named Human rhinovirus C in genus Enterovirus, family Picornaviridae.[3][4]

There have been a total of 215 taxonomic proposals, which have been approved and ratified since the 8th ICTV Report of 2005.[5][6]

[edit] Structure

Rhinoviruses have single-stranded positive sense RNA genomes of between 7.2 and 8.5 kb in length. At the 5' end of the genome is a virus-encoded protein, and like mammalian mRNA, there is a 3' poly-A tail. Structural proteins are encoded in the 5' region of the genome and non structural at the 3' end. This is the same for all picornaviruses. The viral particles themselves are not enveloped and are icosahedral in structure.

The viral proteins are transcribed as a single, long polypeptide, which is cleaved into the structural and nonstructural viral proteins.[2]

Human rhinoviruses are composed of a capsid, that contains four viral proteins VP1, VP2, VP3 and VP4.[3][4] VP1, VP2, and VP3 form the major part of the protein capsid. The much smaller VP4 protein has a more extended structure, and lies at interface between the capsid and the RNA genome. There are 60 copies of each of these proteins assembled as an icosahedron. Antibodies are a major defense against infection with the epitopes lying on the exterior regions of VP1-VP3.

[edit] Novel antiviral drugs

Interferon-alpha used intranasally was shown to be effective against Human rhinovirus infections. However, volunteers treated with this drug experienced some side effects, such as nasal bleeding, and began developing resistance to the drug. Subsequently, research into the treatment was abandoned.

Pleconaril is an orally bioavailable antiviral drug being developed for the treatment of infections caused by picornaviruses.[5] This drug acts by binding to a hydrophobic pocket in VP1, and stabilizes the protein capsid to such an extent that the virus cannot release its RNA genome into the target cell. When tested in volunteers, during the clinical trials, this drug caused a significant decrease in mucus secretions and illness-associated symptoms. Pleconaril is not currently available for treatment of Human rhinoviral infections, as its efficacy in treating these infections is under further evaluation.[6]

There are potentially other substances such as Iota-Carrageenan that may lead to the creation of drugs to combat the Human rhinovirus.[7]

In Asthma: Human rhinoviruses have been recently associated with the majority of asthma exacerbations for which current therapy is inadequate. Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) has a central role in airway inflammation in asthma, and it is the receptor for 90% of Human rhinoviruses. Human rhinovirus infection of airway epithelium induces ICAM-1. Desloratadine and loratadine are compounds belonging to the new class of H1-receptor blockers. Anti-inflammatory properties of antihistamines have been recently documented, although the underlying molecular mechanisms are not completely defined. These effects are unlikely to be mediated by H1-receptor antagonism and suggest a novel mechanism of action that may be important for the therapeutic control of virus-induced asthma exacerbations.

[edit] Vaccine

There are no vaccines against these viruses as there is little-to-no cross-protection between serotypes. At least 99 serotypes of Human rhinoviruses affecting humans have been sequenced.[8][9] However, recent study of the VP4 protein has shown it to be highly conserved amongst many serotypes of Human rhinovirus,[10] opening up the potential for a future pan-serotype Human rhinovirus vaccine.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Lessler J, Reich NG, Brookmeyer R, Perl TM, Nelson KE, Cummings DAT. (2009). "Incubation periods of acute respiratory viral infections: a systematic review". pp. 291–300. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(09)70069-6. 
  2. ^ Robert B Couch (2005). "Rhinoviruses:Replication". In Anne O'Daly. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley. ISBN 047001590X. 
  3. ^ Rossmann M, Arnold E, Erickson J, Frankenberger E, Griffith J, Hecht H, Johnson J, Kamer G, Luo M, Mosser A (1985). "Structure of a human common cold virus and functional relationship to other picornaviruses.". Nature 317 (6033): 145–53. doi:10.1038/317145a0. PMID 2993920. 
  4. ^ Smith T, Kremer M, Luo M, Vriend G, Arnold E, Kamer G, Rossmann M, McKinlay M, Diana G, Otto M (1986). "The site of attachment in Human rhinovirus 14 for antiviral agents that inhibit uncoating.". Science 233 (4770): 1286–93. doi:10.1126/science.3018924. PMID 3018924. 
  5. ^ Pevear D, Tull T, Seipel M, Groarke J (1999). "Activity of pleconaril against enteroviruses.". Antimicrob Agents Chemother 43 (9): 2109–15. PMID 10471549. 
  6. ^ Fleischer R, Laessig K (2003). "Safety and efficacy evaluation of pleconaril for treatment of the common cold.". Clin Infect Dis 37 (12): 1722. doi:10.1086/379830. PMID 14689362. 
  7. ^ Grassauer A, Weinmuellner R, Meier C, Pretsch A, Prieschl-Grassauer E, Unger H (2008). "Iota-Carrageenan is a potent inhibitor of Human rhinovirus infection". Virol. J. 5: 107. doi:10.1186/1743-422X-5-107. PMID 18817582. PMC 2562995. 
  8. ^ Mary Engel (February 13, 2009). "Rhinovirus strains' genomes decoded; cold cure-all is unlikely: The strains are probably too different for a single treatment or vaccine to apply to all varieties, scientists say". Los Angeles Times.,0,6469591.story. 
  9. ^ Palmenberg, A. C.; Spiro, D; Kuzmickas, R; Wang, S; Djikeng, A; Rathe, JA; Fraser-Liggett, CM; Liggett, SB (2009). "Sequencing and Analyses of All Known Human rhinovirus Genomes Reveals Structure and Evolution". Science 324 (5923): 55. doi:10.1126/science.1165557. PMID 19213880. 
  10. ^ Katpally, Umesh; Fu, Tong-Ming; Freed, DC; Casimiro, Danilo; Smith, TJ (July 2009). "Antibodies to the buried N terminus of Human rhinovirus VP4 exhibit cross-serotypic neutralization". Journal of Virology (American Society of Microbiology) 83 (14): 7040–7048. doi:10.1128/JVI.00557-09. PMID 19403680. 
  • Smith TJ, Chase ES, Schmidt TJ, Olson NH, Baker TS (1996). "Neutralizing antibody to Human rhinovirus 14 penetrates the receptor-binding canyon". Nature 383 (6598): 350–4. doi:10.1038/383350a0. PMID 8848050. 

[edit] External links

[show] Baltimore (virus classification)

[show] I: dsDNA viruses

[show] II: ssDNA viruses

[show] III: dsRNA viruses

[show] IV: (+)ssRNA viruses (primarily icosahedral)

[show] V: (-)ssRNA viruses (primarily helical)


[show] VI: ssRNA-RT viruses

[show] VII: dsDNA-RT viruses
[show] Common cold
Antiviral drugs
Pleconaril (experimental)


anat(n, x, l, c)/phys/devp

proc, drug(R1/2/3/5/6/7)

Here is what is going around this week!! Still no cure for the common cold... smart little buggers...

To Your Best Health,

The Personal Medicine Team

Posted via email from Personal Medicine

Monday, October 11, 2010

CRM News: Social CRM: 'The Social Network': A Big Lesson for Business

My favorite scene in "The Social Network" is when Mark Zuckerberg's character has an epiphany that Facebook's screen should have a field to designate a user's status, as in relationship status or availability.

Wait, I didn't give something away, did I? You've seen the movie, right? No? Go see it. I'll wait.


Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and CEO, is depicted as a computer savant lacking in social graces immediately in the first scene. But at this point we are not sure if his rudeness and sarcasm reflect his youth or something else. As the movie progresses we discover a character who is what some professionals would describe as "on the spectrum," not autistic, not Asperger's Syndrome, perhaps, but clearly not one of the gregarious party animals that he becomes surrounded by, either.

That Zuckerberg would need this epiphany might just be creative screenwriting to advance the plot. But its effect is to depict Facebook as an elaborate creation by a gifted young man on the spectrum, of a social filter that can potentially help him navigate through the social life at Harvard and beyond. Thus the importance of the epiphany -- people socialize for nookie, among other things. Who would have thunk it?

Social media is a filter that most people don't need but happily use to increase their number of manageable contacts in what is becoming a social arms race. That's an important message for the rest of us who, in our outgoing and youthful exuberance, use social media to spam the details of our oh-so-important personal lives.

Social networking is a listening tool but you might miss that message from the movie and actual use, but not if you study Zuckerberg's character. There's enough other information in the movie to question the character's ethics and temperament -- I guess strange things happen to you when billions of dollars suddenly occupy an important part of your life. My impression is that the guy is misunderstood.

Listening Tool

But the film also gives some perspective on social media's adoption by business. To date, most of the attention received by social media has been for its ability to reach out to so many people quickly and inexpensively. It is the same appeal that email marketing had, but also direct mail and broadcasting before that. The implicit assumption is that you simply need to get your message to lots of people and that a few will self-select and respond.

It's an idea that has always worked, but the movie depicts an underside worth noting -- namely that a jerk with a Facebook account can play the game but not necessarily win. OK, maybe a billion dollars will help even the playing field for a jerk, but that's not the reality for the vast majority.

A company that uses social media to spam, and that doesn't have a billion dollars to make itself look attractive, might suffer a different fate. It gets back to listening -- the Zuckerberg character builds Facebook more or less to help filter reality, and that makes it a powerful listening tool for all of us if we choose.

The Impact of Analytics

The thing that's different about social media in business is the impact of analytics. In your personal life, your brain does a kind of personal analysis of everything that comes in. Some things you trash, others you keep, but in business it's not so simple. In business you need analytics to help sift through everything that comes in so that you can arrive at statistically meaningful information.

But it all starts with listening and asking the kinds of questions that show you are interested while encouraging people to open up. Facebook makes some things easy because it has a field to capture a specific data item, like status.

The current rage for social media is a normal part of a product lifecycle. It's the stage when people apply a new solution to every conceivable problem to see what happens.

Sometimes, the results are utter nonsense. Eventually, though, things will settle down, and social networking will seem as boring as a telephone, and that is when it will make its greatest contribution.

Denis Pombriant is the managing principal of the Beagle Research Group, a CRM market research firm and consultancy. Pombriant's research concentrates on evolving product ideas and emerging companies in the sales, marketing and call center disciplines. His research is freely distributed through a blog and Web site. He is the author of Hello, Ladies! Dispatches from the Social CRM Frontier and can be reached at

Hmmm... is it possible that the founder of Facebook is on the spectrum, and THUS... had the ( personal) NECESSITY to create a web based way to navigate the social life of college?? makes sense... Anyone have comments or thoughts? MD PhD Neuropsychologists, MD's or otherwise?

Posted via email from Personal Medicine