Originally posted on Amy Croan MPH:
Hang in there with me for just a few minutes, folks.
The leading causes of U.S. deaths are heart disease, cancer, respiratory ailments and stroke. Right? In the vast majority of cases, these are attributed to poor nutrition, not genetics. What food groups do we as a nation consume the most? Meat and dairy. Consumption of which foods increases at the same rate as chronic disease and fatal illness? Meat and dairy. What are two of the main food groups the Food Pyramid encourages us to eat as part of our daily diet? Meat and dairy. Why would an agency of the federal government urge us to consume the two most unhealthy foods as part of each meal? (defended my 10-year old son).
Welcome to the Western diet, Western diseases and the cozy kinships within the USDA, a…
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Originally posted on Upstream:
Shanna H. Swan, a renowned scientist specialising in reproductive medicine, has warned about the health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) known as phthalates which can end up in food via pesticides or plastics. In an interview with EurActiv, she calls on regulators to better protect consumers against those “hidden chemicals”.
Shanna H. Swan, PhD is Professor and Vice-Chair for Research and Mentoring Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr Swan is known for her work on the impact of environmental exposures on male and female reproductive health and has served on the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Hormone-Related Toxicants. She was speaking to EurActiv’s editor, Frédéric Simon.
You are a well-known scientist in the field of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), which you have been researching for many years. What were your main findings?
The major findings I have are that certain EDCs…
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DNDi welcomes World Health Organization expert recommendations to begin negotiations for an R&D convention at the World Health Assembly
After a decade-long process of analysis and deliberations on ways to better address the health needs of developing countries, a recently released report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG) will be discussed this week at the 65th World Health Assembly (agenda item 13.14). The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization, welcomes the experts’ conclusion that ‘the time has now come for WHO Member States to begin a process leading to the negotiation of a binding agreement on R&D relevant to the health needs of developing countries’.
A decade ago, R&D for poverty-related neglected diseases was at a virtual standstill. Since then, there have been significant changes in the landscape for these diseases, with now some 150 new R&D projects, including for drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines, in the pipeline. This progress stems from international pressure and the engagement of new public and private actors and donors in both endemic and non-endemic countries, as well as initiatives such as product development partnerships (PDPs), which were set up to fill the gaps left by policy and market failures.
However, despite incremental progress, the essential health needs of the vast majority of the world’s population are still largely unmet, current R&D efforts are still too fragmented, and financing is still far too fragile. Genuine therapeutic breakthroughs that are adapted to the needs of patients in resource-limited settings and that have the potential to fundamentally transform the treatment of many neglected diseases, notably those with the highest death rates, have yet to make their way through costly clinical trials and reach patients in need.
- Expert Group Recommend That World Health Assembly Should Adopt An International Convention On Global Health R&D (medicalnewstoday.com)
- WHO: Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly (crofsblogs.typepad.com)
- Global Health R&D Needs To Be Harmonized (medicalnewstoday.com)
- World Health Assembly should adopt an international convention on global health R&D: Expert group (medicalxpress.com)
- An international treaty is needed to improve medical research worldwide (eurekalert.org)
- We need a global treaty on health research for the poor (scidev.net)
Research published in Science sheds light on a hot-button political issue: the role and effectiveness of government regulation. Does it kill jobs or protect the public? ..
..The results overturn conventional wisdom: Workplace inspections do reduce on-the-job injuries and their associated costs, and the researchers could not detect any harm to companies’ performance or profits. ..
..The study found that within high-hazard industries in California, inspected workplaces reduced their injury claims by 9.4 percent and saved 26 percent on workers’ compensation costs in the four years following the inspection, compared to a similar set of uninspected workplaces. On average, inspected firms saved an estimated $355,000 in injury claims and compensation for paid lost work over that period. What’s more, there was no discernible impact on the companies’ profits. ..
In future work, the research team hopes to better understand which subsets of firms benefit most from inspections and whether the inspections yield benefits in other domains such as improved compliance with environmental regulations.
Beyond workplace safety, the authors believe that randomized trials could be used widely throughout government and business to evaluate new policies, from environmental regulations to educational programs.
“More trials like this would help us find out where regulations work and where they don’t,” Toffel said. “Because the cost of regulations is very real, governments should be investing constantly to learn how to make them as effective and efficient as possible.”
- OSHA’s Safety Tests Protect Workers at Little Cost: Study (news.health.com)
- New study shows that workplace inspections save lives, don’t destroy jobs (eurekalert.org)
- Study Indicates That Safety Inspections Don’t Hurt Businesses Monetarily (ehssafetynews.com)
- It’s Official: Random Inspections Improve Workplace Safety (news.sciencemag.org)
- Study: Safety inspections don’t hurt profits (sfgate.com)
- Study: Safety inspections don’t hurt profits (heraldonline.com)
It appears that in some cases, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the so-called “good” cholesterol, does not protect againstheart disease, and may even be harmful. A new study suggests a subclass of HDL that carries a particular protein is bad for the heart.
Previous studies have shown that high levels of HDL cholesterol are strongly linked to low risk of heart disease. But trials where people have been given drugs to increase their levels of HDL cholesterol have yielded inconsistent results: leading to the idea that HDL cholesterol may actually have protective and non-protective elements.
Now, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that when the surface of HDL cholesterol bears a small protein called apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III), there is an increase in the risk of heart disease, and when it is absent, HDL cholesterol is especially heart protective….
- HDL ‘Good Cholesterol’ Found Not to Cut Heart Risk – NYTimes.com (policyabcs.wordpress.com)
- ‘Good’ cholesterol’s heart benefits challenged (cbc.ca)
- Some ‘good’ cholesterol unable to protect heart (news.bioscholar.com)
- Will high HDL level lower the risk of heart attack? (thehindu.com)
- Some HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol, may not protect against heart disease (eurekalert.org)
- “Good” HDL Cholesterol May Not Protect Heart After All, Study Suggests (wibw.com)
- HDL Won’t Protect Against Heart Disease, Says Study Proving ‘Good’ Cholesterol Is Wishful Thinking (blisstree.com)
- HDL ‘Good Cholesterol’ Found Not to Cut Heart Risk – NYTimes.com (fitnessgroan.me)
- ‘Good’ cholesterol doctrine may be flawed: study (news.yahoo.com)
It doesn’t cost any more to eat healthy food than it does to eat junk food, a government study found, casting doubt on the popular belief that many people can’t afford healthful foods.
The study, released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service, found that foods like beans, carrots, milk, and yogurt are actually less expensive than ice cream sandwiches, cinnamon buns, and soda.
One reason that many people assume junk food is more affordable is because many studies that compare the cost of unhealthy foods with healthy ones use cost-per-calorie as a measurement.
By this metric, vegetables and fruit are relatively more expensive ways to consume “food energy” (i.e., calories) because they don’t contain many calories, whereas less healthy foods (also called “moderation foods”), which tend to be high in saturated fat and sugar, are a cheaper way to consume a lot of calories….
The success of medical treatment might improve if the outcomes for persons with multiple conditions, severe disability, and short life expectancy were more based on a patient’s (rather than a health care provider’s) goals, suggests a stimulating commentary recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The commentary’s two authors note the primary outcomes for patients with multiple conditions, severe disability, and short life expectancy often are based on medically-posited, condition-specific protocols. The authors add treatment success often is envisioned as meeting short and longer-term clinical indicators.
David Reuben M.D. and Mary Tinetti M.D. write (and we quote): ‘rather than asking what patients want, the culture has valued managing each disease as well as possible according to guidelines and population goals’ (end of quote).
However, the authors explain for patients with multiple conditions, severe disability, and short life expectancy (and we quote): ‘the overall quality of care depends on more than just disease-specific care processes’ (end of quote). As an alternative, the authors suggest a more patient-centered option should focus treatment on individual tailored goals, which might be quite different than what health care providers admirably hope to achieve.
The authors (who are from the University of California-Los Angeles and Yale University respectively) provide several hypothetical examples where a patient’s goals do not match the clinical indicators physicians seek and there may be differences in how physicians versus patients perceive the ultimate success of medical treatment….
Overall, underlying the commentary’s thought-provoking ideas is the foundational importance of good communication between doctors and patients, which is the focus of MedlinePlus.gov’s talking with your doctor health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov’s talking with your doctor health topic page provides an array of links to help you improve interpersonal communication with a health care provider. One highly useful site (from the Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality) provides 10 basic questions to ask a clinician that cover a wide range of medical situations. This website is available within the ‘overviews’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s talking with your doctor health topic page.
A website from Harvard Medical School (available in the ‘related issues’ section) supplements the former site with specific questions about 40+ diseases and conditions that you can take with you to a doctor. Let’s Talk … and Listen also in the ‘related issues’ section helps you establish more rapport and shared decision making with a physician.
MedlinePlus.gov’s talking with your doctor health topic page additionally contains updated research summaries, which are available within the ‘research’ section. Links to the latest pertinent journal research articles are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. Links to related clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the ‘clinical trials’ section. From the talking with your doctor health topic page, you can sign up to receive email updates with links to new information as it becomes available on MedlinePlus….
- “Patient-centered care” vs. CAM in the New England Journal of Medicine (scienceblogs.com)