Psych Central


articles & essays
book reviews
live chats



 Friday, March 16, 2001

The Truth Behind Net Security
Some industry experts prattle on about how Net security has to be so tight as to never allow unintended access to client records. The real world plans for the worst, yet inevitably, even the tightest security systems will be broken someday. A better analogy is not building the impossible, but keeping the comparisons real.

Can people break into an office space or filing cabinets in the real world? Yes. Do we insist that patient files are locked in vaults or safes? No. Should we insist on a different standard of security for one medium over another, without clear evidence it is needed? No.

The key to online security is following best practices. They are easily and readily defined in the healthcare IS world, and have been for some time. Use strong passwords. Use encryption where you can. Insist on password timeouts and changing passwords every 90 days. Design sensible and secure network topologies for your server farm. Use and configure firewalls properly. Specify a DMZ if outside access to the internal network is needed. Use VPNs where ever possible. And don't forget to lock the door!

Criminals will always exist. The answer isn't to say "No" to new technologies, but to roll them out in a sensible and secure fashion.

(Posted at 05:35:12 PM EST.)

 Thursday, March 15, 2001

Babelfish Gone Mad!!
This is hilarious... Ever wonder what might happen when translation software goes just a little too far??!

Depression can be treated with a combination of both medications and psychotherapy.

turned into...

The end under possible can more be treated to a combination to drugs and the sicoterapia.

(Posted at 03:39:42 PM EST.)

 Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Depression may increase risk of death from heart disease
"Depression increases the risk of dying from heart disease, sometimes dramatically, according to research conducted in Holland and being published by a Wake Forest University faculty member in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. [...]

The 54-month observational study, which involved nearly 2,900 participants from 55 to 85 years old, found that among those without heart disease at the start of the study, heart disease deaths nearly quadrupled in participants with major depression. In those who already had heart disease when the study began, deaths from heart disease tripled in subjects with major depression."

(Posted at 08:08:51 PM EST.)

Psychiatry in the Media: The Vampire, The Fisher King, and The Zaddik
An interesting article in the Journal of Mundane Behavior: "The portrayal of psychiatrists in popular movies has been colored by three main stereotypes: the "evil" doctor, the "kooky" doctor, and the "wonderful" doctor. On one level, these depictions represent the understandable ambivalence many people feel toward authority figures who, from time to time, may abuse their power. But on a more primal level, these stereotypes may be related to three archetypes that I call The Vampire, the Fisher King, and The Zaddik. A number of films and television programs are analyzed in light of these archetypes, and their antagonistic relationship to the "mundane". Some implications for the future of psychiatry and the cinema are discussed."

(Posted at 05:10:53 PM EST.)

Is It Time to Party?
a partying thing Yes, Virginia, I do believe it's time to break out the champagne and begin to party!

(Posted at 01:27:46 PM EST.)

Moving On...
Well, it has happened more often than I would've liked in the past 2 years, but once again it is time for me to move on, career-wise. While I still believe in the business model and specific plan behind HelpHorizons, and will still be intimately involved with them, I've agreed to take a senior developer position with the Boston-based, nonprofit Partners Healthcare organization. Wish me luck!! It's a very exciting career move for me at just the right time, I believe.

(Posted at 01:25:16 PM EST.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Wow. How very sad.
(Posted at 01:48:39 PM EST.)

Panic Attacks Endanger Heart Health
"Panic attacks are not only disturbing psychologically, they may also restrict blood flow to the heart and result in chest pain in patients who have heart disease, researchers reported last Saturday at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting in Monterey, California.

``If you have panic attacks and you have coronary artery disease it could be a risky business down the road,'' lead study author and psychologist Dr. Richard Fleet told Reuters Health in a telephone interview." All the more reason to have panic disorder treated, rather than putting it off...

(Posted at 01:32:49 PM EST.)

The New, Improved, and Slimier
an angry thing The all new and improved, which laid off all of its employees in January, has now relaunched as basically one large commercial for Disney products and services ('s parent company). As if that weren't slimey enough, the search results are now being provided by, a pay-for-placement search engine of mainly advertisers.

This is how un-useful is as a search engine. Imagine you're in a library and you wanted more information about automobiles. So you type in "car" and instead of being directed to useful general information sites about cars, you get 100 ads for car dealers and specific company Web sites, like Ford and GM -- nothing about cars in general. That's how works -- an advertising search engine.

On, the fact that each result returned is paid for by an advertiser is known to the user, because the amount the advertiser pays is plastered on each and every entry. Not so on the side of things -- the search results are listed as though they are just ordinary results, not paid advertisements. This raises more than a few ethical eyebrows out there.

(Posted at 11:47:14 AM EST.)

Monday, March 12, 2001

a caffeinated thing Coffemaker at work broke last week. Blah.
(Posted at 09:19:40 PM EST.)

Things are brewing, professionally... You'll know what I'm talking about soon, hopefully. If it all works out.
(Posted at 04:39:51 PM EST.)

E-Therapy Comes of Age
From ON Magazine: "Though the idea of seeing a shrink online does not make immediate sense (isn't "seeing" the shrink an important part of the process?), e-therapy seems to be finding its market. Particularly for those who live in remote areas, have disabilities that make leaving home difficult or live in communities where seeking help may be stigmatized, online therapy has been a godsend. Since 1995, e-therapy has grown from barely a dozen sites to more than 300 this year. Just as phone conversations with one's therapist have become commonplace, so too has trading e-mails. And telemedicine in general is gradually becoming accepted: the 1997 Balanced Budget Act required Medicare to cover telemedicine for patients in remote regions."

(Posted at 01:07:21 PM EST.)

Got a rumor related to the behavioral or general healthcare industry?? Want something noted about a person, a Web site, and e-health venture, or something similar??? Well, send me an e-mail to: [email protected] and we'll see what we can't do to fan the flames of speculation here!! ;-)

(Posted at 12:45:19 PM EST.)

NIAAA Launches COMBINE Clinical Trial
"The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) on March 8th announced the start of Combining Medications and Behavioral Interventions (COMBINE), a nationwide study that targets persons with the diagnosis alcohol dependence, commonly known as alcoholism. COMBINE is the first national study to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioral treatments alone and in combination with medications. It begins at a time when advances in genetics, neuroscience and treatment research are forging new directions for alcoholism treatment and building expectations among patients, clinical practitioners and the public for improved treatment outcomes." Eleven universities will participate in the study to test behavioral and pharmacologic treatments for alcoholism. About time!???

(Posted at 10:27:39 AM EST.)

Study examines physicians' responses to requests for assisted suicide
"Physicians whose patients request help in ending their lives face moral, legal and professional pitfalls in responding to these requests. A new study led by a researcher at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center has found that most of these physicians deal with these requests alone, without advice or discussion from their colleagues. The doctors reported the most difficulty in coping with requests from patients who wanted to die because they felt their lives had lost meaning, not for reasons related to physical pain and suffering." It's too bad docs don't feel comfortable talking about these requests with their colleagues. When such important decisions are made alone, I think there's more chance for an error to be made.

(Posted at 10:23:01 AM EST.)

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
    Published on All rights reserved.