May 17 2011

Mysterious Skin Condition Spreads on Internet

Published by under healthcare,news,portraits,worklife

For all the good support that empowered patient groups can provide to each others, it now looks as though concerns about a mysterious skin infestation were also spread on the internet. What was called Morgellons disease on websites with reports of rashes, eruptions and skin ulcerations has turned out to have no know cause according to a report in the LA Times about a Mayo Clinic study that reviewed samples provided by 108 patients.

NoahCraft Mysterious Skin Condition Spreads on Internet

Dermatologist Dr. Noah Craft praised Mayo study

The Mayo study was praised by Harbor-UCLA Medical Center dermatologist Dr. Noah Craft, who was quoted as saying that it was ”the best study done to date” on the condition. The photo above was take of Craft back in 2003 at the old UCLA Medical Center.

Two other studies that are being performed by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, are slated for release in the next few months.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

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Mar 30 2010

I’ll take an emergency any day

I’ll even stage one if needed.

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A racing gurney and looks of concern make me happy

I’ve been fortunate to have done most of my healthcare photography at major medical institutions. Mostly at University of California, Los Angeles and recently at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. These are major trauma and research centers. The places you want to go when you have a major health issue like a heart attack.

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An EKG and exam in the emergency room

This series was shot to illustrate an integrated team approach to handling a heart attack from the arrival and evaluation in the ER and the examination and potential intervention in the angiogram suite.

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Opening a blocked blood vessel in the angiogram suite

Even though this case was a simulated heart attack I always enjoy the challenge of making the cases look realistic. They need to pass “the hallway test” of colleagues who will see the photos when this “Report to the Community 2010″ is printed.

As fun as it is for me to shoot these emergent situations. An often overlooked part of healthcare is preventing problems in the first place. This could be teaching healthy eating practices in an elementary school.

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Eating fruit and yogurt at a nutrition lesson

Or having a trusted relationship with your primary care doctor.

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Personal interaction builds a bond of trust between patient and doctor

In real life, patient areas don’t have that refined TV look that you find on “House“, nor are research labs as stylish as they are on “Bones” and the “CSI” shows.

The first challenge is always to understand what’s going on in the lab and determine how to communicate that unique story. In this case the researcher is doing an advanced DNA screening of an individual patient to calculate the respond to an expensive chemotherapy medication. This is an early stage of personalized medicine.

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DNA screening to match effective treatment for a chemotherapy drug

Having cancer is about more than how your DNA reacts to treatment, it’s also about how you deal with the emotional aspect of the disease.

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A cancer survivor volunteers to hear patient's concerns

Prevention, bonding, research and emotional health are important part of care. I love showing it all.

But that still doesn’t beat sending a trauma team racing down the hall.

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Trauma team racing down a hallway

All these photos were taken for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and were published in their “Report to the Community 2010“. A great interactive version of the report was created by the Doyle/Logan Company as well.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

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Jan 02 2010

why all this talk about diabetes & what’s a knol?

Published by under diabetes,healthcare,process

Update: Is your resolution is to treat your diabetes better this year? I have great a place to start. My wife wrote an excellent primer on how to treat Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. More on her background and the Google Knols can be found below. Happy New Year!

This is normally the time of year (originally published on June, 6, 2009) that I attend the American Diabetes Association Convention. It is a great opportunity to network, check out the convention displays and visit agencies in the host city.

You may have noticed that a number of my posts (like the recent one on Charlie Kimball) have references to diabetes. Its not that I have diabetes – my connection comes from being married to Anne Peters, a leading diabetes doctor. We met on assignment. I was asked to take a clinical research photo for UCLA Medical Center. The photo illustrated how the patient data was entered into a laptop and uploaded to the drug company from all the different research sites every night. It was used in a big fund-raising brochure that helped raise money to fund the new UCLA hospital.

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The first clinical research photo and Anne's book cover

That first photo eventually led to a Las Vegas based Elvis wedding and working together on her “Conquering Diabetes” book. I shot the cover and a number patient portraits that were paired with their stories throughout the book as well as overseeing the development of the promotional website.

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Patient portrait of Olympic sprinter Gary Hall, Jr.

This experience opened the door with Abbott Diabetes Care where I initially was asked about taking photos for the website that would announce the launch of their Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitor. A lunch meeting at the 2006 ADA Convention began with the usual discussions about what to shoot and budget and then spun-off into the territory of developing concepts. After an interesting brainstorming session back in their Alameda headquarters the project took a surprise turn. Instead of taking photos for the Navigator project I was asked to put together a team to convert an existing brochure to a website!

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The home page of the Navigator website

There was the expectation that the Navigator would soon be approved by the FDA and a launch site was urgent. I had a resident expert in my wife (who was conducting clinical trials with the device) and I assembled the experienced team of copywriter, Roger Poirier and art director, Lon Davis. I suddenly became a creative director interacting with my wonderful client Steve Bubrick and extrapolating from my years of communication experience to steer the web project, a direct mail piece and bike rider cars for Team Type 1 (I finally was able to take some photos for those).

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Ballerina Zippora Karz demonstrating drawing insulin into a syringe

In 2008 Anne was asked to be one of the charter contributor to the Google Knol project. The original seeding of the Knols came from experts in their field to differentiate them from Wikipedia. They have since become more broad based and similar to Squidoo Lenses. Both her Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes Knols were given the Top Pick Knol Award.

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Video blogs produced for Medscape on diabetes topics

The most recent project with Anne has been producing video blogs for Medscape that have become popular in the professional community. These were supposed to be easy to produce reports and we were given Flip cams to shoot the spots. After I managed to get one of the early Canon 5D MKII cameras that also shoots HD quality video, we switched over to create the 35mm film look that the camera gives. A recent episode on “Treating Diabetes During the Economic Crunch” (free registration required) has content that crosses over to the general public as well.

I recently completed a test using this camera to work out the kinks to use it in a daytime TV promotion, but I’ll save that for a future post.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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Oct 07 2009

nobel committee honors the dawn of digital

Published by under healthcare,news,technique

The fathers of digital photography were honored yesterday with the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Bell Labs researchers Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith shared half of the prize for their development of the charge-coupled devices, or CCD’s. Millions of digital cameras and many other devices now use CCD chips.

My introduction into digital photography was less noble, but never-less momentous in my mind. I made the switch out of love.

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An early digitally captured photo shot on assignment

I’d fallen in love with a clinical researcher that I met shooting while at UCLA Medical Center. With her having a son in a great public school system in Manhattan Beach it was better for me to move down there to be together. That meant moving away from a photo district in the Hollywood area that was full of professional film labs. I used to walk a block down my alley to a great lab and have my film back in two hours. Now I either had to drive 30 minutes to a pro lab, or use a consumer lab 10  minutes away and risk having my slides scratched.

Digital cameras started to become more sophisticated so I decided to make the leap. I’d been scanning film already and working on the files in Photoshop, so I only had to add in the digital capture. But I started slowly with my new Canon D-60. The first photos were taken on our honeymoon vacation down in Mexico in March, 2002. When these bone density scan photos were taken in October I still didn’t trust the camera for commercial assignments.

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The better film version of the bone density scan

Back in those days I would use my Polaroid back to test my lighting set-up. I would take a shot and wait for the “instant” 2 minute development time to see if I had the balance correct. The fist change I made was to use my digital camera in place of the Polaroid. The feedback was truly instant and I would use that for my tests. But I wasn’t ready to fully trust the final capture yet. I would shoot a few frames after the tests and then switch to film. The problem was with this first digital camera was a poor viewfinder that made it hard to focus and the half-frame CMOS chip (a cousin to the CCD) that changed the effective focal length of my lenses.

In the photos above, the main difference was that I could us my wide angle lens on my film camera to capture the more dynamic close view. I continued to use the duel system for the next year until the full-frame Canon 1Ds hit the market. I’ve been digital ever since.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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