Emoji Are Proposed As a Powerful Way for Patients and Doctors to Communicate

Michael Morrison wrote . . . . . . . . .

Emoji, that universal lexicon of colorful and clever symbols meant to replace the written and spoken word, could be a valuable tool in the field of medicine, allowing patients to better communicate symptoms, concerns, and other clinically relevant information, argue a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) physician and others. In a commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association, senior author Shuhan He, MD, an emergency department attending, suggests that each medical discipline begin discussions around the creation of its own unique set of iconography for official adoption and incorporation into everyday practice.

“The need to listen to patients is at the core of our mission as physicians, and the use of emoji is a great opportunity to take communication to another level,” says He, who is director of growth for the MGH Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare and a member of MGH’s Lab of Computer Science. “Emoji could be particularly important in treating children with still-developing language skills, people with disabilities that impair their ability to communicate, and the many patients who speak a different language.”

Emoji (which means “picture character”) originated in Japan over a decade ago and today an estimated five billion are used daily on Facebook and Facebook Messenger alone. While around 3,500 emoji are currently within the domain of the Unicode Consortium — the nonprofit organization that maintains text standards across computers and which must approve every emoji before it can be digitally used – only about 45 emoji can be considered relevant to medicine. The first, introduced in 2015, were the syringe and the pill. In 2017, Apple added emoji to represent people with disabilities, followed by symbols of the stethoscope, bone, tooth and microbe in 2019. He was co-creator of the anatomical heart and the lung emoji introduced globally in 2020 and is now working with co-authors Debbie Lai and Jennifer 8. Lee, who are active in the field, as well as with a wide range of medical societies and organizations to advocate for an additional 15 medically related emoji.

“It’s tempting to dismiss emoji as a millennial fad, but they possess the power of standardization, universality and familiarity, and in the hands of physicians and other health care providers could represent a new and highly effective way to communicate pictorially with patients,” says He. In emergency medical settings where time is critical, emoji could lead to a point-and-tap form of communication that could facilitate important clinical decisions, he adds. The tiny graphic symbols which now span all digital platforms – from mobile to tablet to desktop – could also have utility as annotations to hospital discharge instructions, which are often confusing if not incomprehensible to some patients.

In addition, the recent growth of telemedicine could be a rich opportunity for emoji to make medical inroads. The interactive platform is seen as particularly well suited for patients to transmit to health care providers visual information that charts the intensity of pain they have experienced over a period of days, weeks or months, and for those providers to make it part of the patient’s digital health record for ongoing treatment.

He is continuing his research to better understand how emoji could help patients and doctors communicate common symptoms – such as mobility, mood, and duration and quality of pain – that are associated with various diseases and conditions. “It’s clear that emoji have become part of the global, mainstream conversation, and that medical societies and physician committees and organizations need to take them seriously,” says He. “Which means they should be determining now which emoji would best serve the interests of their patients, building consensus around the medical accuracy of these emoji, then working to get them approved through the global standard-setting body and working through the long adaptation and implementation process.”

Source: Massachusetts General Hospital

What’s for Lunch?

Atka Mackerel Set Lunch at Yayoyi Ken in Tokyo, Japan

The price is 890 yen (plus tax).

More Than 100 Ontario Youth Sent to Hospital for Vaccine-related Heart Problems

Anthony Furey wrote . . . . . . . . .

A report quietly released last week by Public Health Ontario (PHO) tallies the number of people in the province who have presented to hospital with heart inflammation following mRNA vaccination, and it skews heavily towards young people.

As of Aug. 7, there were 106 incidents of myocarditis/pericarditis in Ontarians under the age of 25. That’s slightly more than half of the total of all such incidents.

Broken down further, 31 of these cases were in 12- to 17-year-olds and 75 were in 18- to 24-year-olds. The vast majority — 80% — were in males.

The report explains that PHO issued a directive in June for public health units to increase their surveillance of this side effect following reports from the United States and Israel of similar concerns unfolding in those countries.

“The reporting rate of myocarditis/pericarditis was higher following the second dose of mRNA vaccine than after the first, particularly for those receiving the Moderna vaccine as the second dose of the series (regardless of the product for the first dose),” the report explains.

PHO adds that the reporting rate for heart inflammation in those 18-24 was seven times higher with Moderna than with Pfizer. (The only vaccine currently used for 12- to 17-year-olds in Ontario is Pfizer.)

While PHO initially worked with reports of 314 such incidents, upon further investigation they narrowed that number down to just over 200.

There have in total been 202 emergency room visits across all age groups for such issues following vaccination, with 146 leading to hospitalization. Three of these have led to ICU admission.

When it comes to older age brackets, there were 54 persons aged 25-39 included in the tally and 44 persons aged 40 and over.

When broken down by the number of overall people who have received the vaccines, the reporting rate for this side effect is 7.4 per million for Pfizer and 20 per million for Moderna.

The highlights section of the PHO report conclude with a note that “COVID-19 vaccines continue to be recommended and are highly effective at preventing symptomatic infection and severe outcomes from COVID-19 disease, which is also associated with a risk of myocarditis.”

Source : Toronto Sun

Home-made Fish and Chips


3 large baking potatoes, such as russets (about 1 pound each)
canola oil, for deep-frying
4 (6-ounce) skinless cod fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges, for serving


One 12-ounce bottle lager beer, at room temperature
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sugar
about 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging

Tartar Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped cornichons or dill pickles
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped drained nonpareil capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make the tartar sauce. In a small bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the batter. In a large bowl, whisk the lager, yeast, and sugar to combine. Let stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast dissolves. Gradually whisk enough flour into the yeast mixture to form a thick but fluid batter (when you dip your finger in the batter, the bubbles in the batter should fall slowly off your finger). Cover with a moistened kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  3. Prepare the chips. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise into 5-inch-long by 1/2-inch-thick sticks. Add the potatoes to the boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil, cook for 2 minutes. Drain the potatoes well. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and let cool.
  4. Fry the fish and chips. Heat a large wide Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add enough canola oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot and heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Place a large cooling rack on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Season the cod with salt and pepper. Spread about 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish. Roll 1 cod fillet in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip in the batter, let the excess drip back into the bowl, and gently add the cod to the hot oil. Add one-fourth of the potatoes to the canola oil. Fry the cod and potatoes, adjusting the heat to keep the canola oil at about 350°F, for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the cod and potatoes to the rack to drain. Immediately sprinkle the fish and chips with salt. Serve hot with the tartar sauce and lemon. Repeat to cook the remaining fish chips, returning the canola oil to 375°F before frying each batch.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Curtis Stone What’s for Dinner

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