Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Infection Report 5: What you really should be worried about | The Pediatric Insider

Infection Report 5: What you really should be worried about | The Pediatric Insider.

From the 10 October 2014 posting by Roy Benaroch, MD

This week’s posts have all been about infections, new and old—infections newly found, and infections sneaking back. On the one hand, the media is agog with news of Ebola and the mysterious paralysis virus; on the other hand, threats that are far more likely to kill us are being largely ignored.

One infection is on the verge of sneaking back, which is a shame. We had it beaten, and now we’re allowing it to gain a foothold. We’ve got a great way to eradicate measles, but fear and misinformation have led to pro-disease, anti-vaccine sentiment, especially among those white, elite, and wealthy. As we’ve seen, we’re all in this together—so those anti-vaccine enclaves are going to affect all of us.

Measles, itself, is just about the most contagious disease out there.

…..

English: This is the skin of a patient after 3...

English: This is the skin of a patient after 3 days of measles infection; treated at the New York – Presbyterian Hospital. Prior to widespread immunization, measles was common in childhood, with more than 90% of infants and children infected by age 12. Recently, fewer than 1,000 measles cases have been reported annually since 1993. 日本語: 麻疹患者の発疹. 中文: 感染了痲疹的皮膚. Українська: Як кір поражає шкіру. עברית: פריחה על עורו של חולה חצבת. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 17, 2014 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Results of study of the human mind and consciousness at the time of death available

Artist's depiction of the separation stage of ...

Artist’s depiction of the separation stage of an out-of-body experience, which often precedes free movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/e-ros100714.php

From the 7 October 2014 EurkAlert!

he results of a four-year international study of 2060 cardiac arrest cases across 15 hospitals published and available now on ScienceDirect. The study concludes:

  • The themes relating to the experience of death appear far broader than what has been understood so far, or what has been described as so called near-death experiences.
  • In some cases of cardiac arrest, memories of visual awareness compatible with so called out-of-body experiences may correspond with actual events.
  • A higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.
  • Widely used yet scientifically imprecise terms such as near-death and out-of-body experiences may not be sufficient to describe the actual experience of death. Future studies should focus on cardiac arrest, which is biologically synonymous with death, rather than ill-defined medical states sometimes referred to as ‘near-death’.
  • The recalled experience surrounding death merits a genuine investigation without prejudice.

Recollections in relation to death, so-called out-of-body experiences (OBEs) or near-death experiences (NDEs), are an often spoken about phenomenon which have frequently been considered hallucinatory or illusory in nature; however, objective studies on these experiences are limited.

In 2008, a large-scale study involving 2060 patients from 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, United States and Austria was launched. The AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation) study, sponsored by the University of Southampton in the UK, examined the broad range of mental experiences in relation to death. Researchers also tested the validity of conscious experiences using objective markers for the first time in a large study to determine whether claims of awareness compatible with out-of-body experiences correspond with real or hallucinatory events.

Results of the study have been published in the journal Resuscitation and are now available online on ScienceDirect.

Dr Sam Parnia, Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Director of Resuscitation Research at The State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA, and the study’s lead author, explained: “Contrary to perception, death is not a specific moment but a potentially reversible process that occurs after any severe illness or accident causes the heart, lungs and brain to cease functioning. If attempts are made to reverse this process, it is referred to as ‘cardiac arrest’; however, if these attempts do not succeed it is called ‘death’. In this study we wanted to go beyond the emotionally charged yet poorly defined term of NDEs to explore objectively what happens when we die.”

Thirty-nine per cent of patients who survived cardiac arrest and were able to undergo structured interviews described a perception of awareness, but interestingly did not have any explicit recall of events.

“This suggests more people may have mental activity initially but then lose their memories after recovery, either due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory recall”, explained Dr Parnia, who was an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton when he started the AWARE study.

Among those who reported a perception of awareness and completed further interviews, 46 per cent experienced a broad range of mental recollections in relation to death that were not compatible with the commonly used term of NDE’s. These included fearful and persecutory experiences. Only 9 per cent had experiences compatible with NDEs and 2 per cent exhibited full awareness compatible with OBE’s with explicit recall of ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ events.

One case was validated and timed using auditory stimuli during cardiac arrest. Dr Parnia concluded: “This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating. In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat. This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events.

“Thus, while it was not possible to absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness, (due to the very low incidence (2 per cent) of explicit recall of visual awareness or so called OBE’s), it was impossible to disclaim them either and more work is needed in this area. Clearly, the recalled experience surrounding death now merits further genuine investigation without prejudice.”

Further studies are also needed to explore whether awareness (explicit or implicit) may lead to long term adverse psychological outcomes including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief of Resuscitation, stated: “The AWARE study researchers are to be congratulated on the completion of a fascinating study that will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die.”

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Notes to editors:

The paper is, “AWARE—AWAreness during REsuscitation—A prospective study” (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resuscitation.2014.09.004), Resuscitation, published by Elsevier. Available on ScienceDirect: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300957214007394

[Full text of this article may be available at your local public, academic, or hospital library. Call ahead and ask for a reference librarian. Many academic and hospital libraries have at least some services for the public]

 

October 17, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Free ebook] Pain: Considering Complementary Approaches

PainBookCover

 

From the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Pain is the most common reason for seeking medical care. It is also a common reason why people turn to complementary health approaches.

We have collected our information on pain into an eBook you can download to your computer or mobile device.

If you have a Web-enabled device:

 

October 17, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News item] Canada paying more than double for common generic drugs, study says | Metro

Canada paying more than double for common generic drugs, study says | Metro.

From the 14 October article

Canada is paying more than double for six commonly used generic drugs compared with other developed countries because of a “highly unusual” purchasing plan, according to a new study released Tuesday.

Researchers found that through a mix of negotiations with drug companies and calls for tender, countries such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Germany are paying less than Canada for generic medications that treat everything from high blood pressure to depression. It’s all thanks to a model the author of the study, Amir Attaran, calls “a uniquely Canadian stupidity.”

The model implemented by the provinces and territories (except for Quebec) in April 2013 simply sets the price for the six generic drugs at 18 per cent of the price of the brand-name versions. At the time, the premiers, under the auspices of the Council of the Federation, said the six drugs represented 20 per cent of publicly funded spending on generic drugs and that the new spending plan was expected to save up to $100 million.

“The Canadian approach of setting a single price ceiling for multiple medicines is highly unusual,” says the study. “All other countries studied here have preferred competition or negotiation to varying extents.”

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October 16, 2014 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

[News item] Untested Stimulant Drug Found in 12 Weight Loss Supplements | Medication Health News

Untested Stimulant Drug Found in 12 Weight Loss Supplements | Medication Health News.

From the 10 October 2014 article

n a new study, 12 out of 14 supplements marketed for weight loss were found to contain a stimulant that has not been studied for human use. This chemical, known as DMBA (1,3-dimethylbutylamine) is pharmacologically similar to DMAA, which was banned by the FDA in 2012 due to multiple adverse effects, including death. Furthermore, DMBA containing products may have synonymous names printed on the label, such as AMP Citrate and 4-amino-2-methylpentane citrate. Some brands are even trying to market this product as an herbal product derived from tea. Given this recent finding, it is important to steer our patients away from using these weight loss and athletic enhancement supplements until further investigation takes place. Are there any specific supplements that you would feel comfortable recommending for weight loss? How do you promote a healthy diet and lifestyle to your patients?

 

For additional information, go to LiveScience.

October 16, 2014 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Why FoodScapes

English: Map from the Global Hunger Index publ...

English: Map from the Global Hunger Index published by IFPRI, Welthungerhilfe and Concern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why FoodScapes | FoodScapes.

From the 8 October post

Global food trade has come a long way. Is it for the better or has it made survival, nutrition, diversity and safety better.  There is a vast, complicated web of food systems throughout the globe. I think it is an essential topic that influences public health or vice versa. Consumers have a variety of fruits and vegetables at their fingertips due to even more complex trade agreements.  We have become dependent on import/export of foods, that many of us have completely lost touch or are growing up not knowing where our foods come from and how it came to be in its form. It is what we eat.  Be advised that a good portion of what I do write about (rusty) will pinpoint New Mexico.  However, much of what I write is based on a perspective of think local, act global and I feel that foodshed research is essential to that kind of thinking.  Below are some examples.

High Food Price Index Coincides with Civil Unrest: Surely people fight over this stuff as it posits a large portion of a nation’s wealth.  There are numerous studies done by economists and Food and Agriculture Organization that negatively correlate a global hunger index and food price index and incidences of civil unrest.  According to a Cornell University study, an analysis of Arab nation uprisings coincided with food index price increases.  They did also acknowledge and control for other social justice and political issues, but it would be difficult to ignore the relationship between food and other issues in a country.

This could be for a number of reasons, and I believe that this has to do with balancing expenses and food being the highest expense. It is one of my biggest monthly expenses and has been getting much harder to budget into the household income.  And I cook often and find myself scratching my head wondering why $20 doesn’t go as far as it used to, but at least that is all I do and that is a privilege-not the case across the globe.   This reached a high in 2010 and the anger was very apparent in Egypt.

food commodity price index                 foodpriceindex72014

Food shed and Local Economies: There is a significant economic impact that the food industry has on local markets, such as small rural communities that can make or break job opportunities and small business entrepreneurships.  In New Mexico 90% of agricultural products directly or indirectly related to the food industry are exported as reported in Dreaming New Mexico.  The same goes for imported food.  However, much of the imported food is not the same shape as when it was imported and has been transformed into a food product.

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October 16, 2014 Posted by | environmental health, Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reposte Food fights back: London researchers tap yogurt as toxin defender | Metro

Biggest concern for me is what happens to the toxins after they leave one’s body? How do they impact our environment???

English: Nonfat Yogurt

English: Nonfat Yogurt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Food fights back: London researchers tap yogurt as toxin defender | Metro.

From the 8 October article

f you want to defend yourself against poison, eat yogurt.

That’s the – simplified – idea behind research published by experts in London.

A study led by scientists at Lawson Health Research Institute showed that probiotic yogurt can reduce the absorption of certain heavy metals and environmental toxins by as much as 78 per cent in pregnant women. They have said it’s the first clinical evidence that yogurt can cut the health risks of mercury and arsenic.

But don’t race to the grocery store just yet. This is a scientific study, so its results don’t suggest a miracle cure. Also, it was a specific type of yogurt, with specific bacteria, so it’s not so easy to find on the shelves.

“It’s not something you can take as a preventative measure,” Bisanz, the first author on the paper.

He warned that acute poisoning would mean different, more conventional treatments. But these findings about yogurt are exciting, the researchers said, and a “starting point” for further research about foodstuffs as a defence against environmental toxins. It could have a “massive” impact on the quality of life for many people, Bisanz added.

“When we try and get funding for this kind of stuff, it’s difficult because people think it’s farcical, or it’s too simple, or it’s Africa; it’s not here,” Reid said. “We kind of go out on a limb to say, ‘Let’s do the study and not worry so much about how to do it,’ but then you get the results back and you think, ‘This is cool’.”

Next up is more study into more strains of bacteria, the scientists said. Other types could block other toxins, and Bisanz is spearheading more research.

October 16, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Discussing alternative medicine choices for better health outcomes

 

English: A graph of age-adjusted percent of ad...

English: A graph of age-adjusted percent of adults who have used complementary and alternative medicine in 2002 in the United States according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 3 October 2014 press release at EurkAlert

Discussing alternative medicine choices for better health outcomes

In the field of medicine there has often been a divide between those who focus on modern medicine and those who prefer alternative practices. But pediatrician Sunita Vohra is a firm believer there should be room for both.

A new study from Vohra, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, and a pediatric physician for Clinical Pharmacology with Alberta Health Services, is giving insight into the use of alternative medicines by pediatric cardiac patients and how effective they are seen to be. “We wanted to know if the use of alternative therapies helped or not, and we wanted to know if it hurt them or not,” she says.

The study, published in the journal CMAJ Open, examined the use of alternative therapies such as multivitamins, minerals, chiropractic care and Aboriginal healing in 176 patients at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa, Ontario.

It found 64 per cent of patients at the Stollery Children’s Hospital reported using complementary and alternative medicine products and practices, compared with just 36 per cent at CHEO. Of those patients, Vohra says most had no regrets about their choices.

English: Classification of complementary and a...

English: Classification of complementary and alternative therapies Italiano: Classificazione di terapie complementari e alternative (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The vast majority felt that they had been helped by the complementary therapy that they took and it was extremely unusual for them to report that they felt an adverse event had occurred because of it.”

The study also found one third of patients and their families did not discuss the use of alternative medicines with their physicians. Vohra believes it shows that patients may be reluctant to discuss their choices if they’re not sure how it will be received by health care providers.

That decision could have important health consequences, says Vohra, who also serves as director of the Complementary and Alternative Research and Education (CARE) program at the University of Alberta, and that patients’ discussing alternative therapies with health professionals is vital in order for them to make informed choices.

“There may be some therapies that help children feel better, but there may be others that, unbeknownst to the family, cause interaction between a specific natural health product and a prescription medicine. In that setting, instead of helping the child get better, harm may actually be happening.”

Vohra stresses the need for open communication and says children’s hospitals in Canada need to do a better job of providing information to patients looking at other avenues to health.

“That communication is essential because the health-care providers and the parents—together we are a team. And everyone’s hope is for that child’s better health.”

Other highlights from the study:

  • Multi-vitamins were the most common complementary and alternative medicine products with 71 percent of patients using them, followed by vitamin C (22 per cent), calcium (13 per cent) and cold remedies (11.8 per cent)
  • The most common practices include massage (37.5 per cent), faith healing (25 per cent), chiropractic (20 per cent), aromatherapy (15 per cent) and Aboriginal healing (7.5 per cent)
  • Almost half (44 per cent) of patients used complementary and alternative medicine products along with conventional treatments. The study’s research was supported by funding from the Sick Kids Foundation and Alberta Innovates Health Solutions.

October 15, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Robotic surgery: More complications, higher expense for some conditions

 

From the 8 October press release at EurkAlert

For benign ovarian surgery, conventional laparoscopy causes fewer complications, is less expensive, than robot-assisted surgery

NEW YORK, NY (October 8, 2014)—For benign gynecologic conditions, robot-assisted surgery involves more complications during surgery and may be significantly more expensive than conventional laparoscopic surgery, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). The results were published online today in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Robot-assisted surgery was first widely used for radical prostatectomy. For procedures such as prostatectomy, where there were previously no minimally invasive options, robot-assisted laparoscopy often offered a dramatic improvement. But in the two gynecologic surgeries looked at in this study—oophorectomy (removal of one or both ovaries) and cystectomy (removal of an ovarian cyst) —surgeons already had laparoscopic options. The rate of robot-assisted surgery increased from 3.5 percent in 2009 to 15.0 percent in 2012 for oophorectomy and from 2.4 percent in 2009 to 12.9 percent in 2012 for cystectomy.

The CUMC researchers analyzed data on conventional laparoscopic and robot-assisted procedures performed on 87,514 women for benign gynecologic conditions between 2009 and 2012. The procedures took place at 502 U.S. hospitals.

The study showed a small but statistically significant overall increase in intraoperative (during surgery) complications, mainly ureteral and bladder injuries, with the robot-assisted procedures—3.4 percent for robot-assisted oophorectomy vs. 2.1 percent for conventional laparoscopic oophorectomy; 2.0 percent for a robot-assisted cystectomy vs. 0.9 percent for a conventional laparoscopic cystectomy. It is possible that the rate of complications will decline as surgeons become more experienced in robotic technology.

“The findings raise questions about the potential utility of robotic-assisted surgery for ovarian cancer and suggest that further studies are needed prior to considering these procedures as a standard of care,” said co-author Jason Wright, MD, Sol Goldman Associate Professor of Gynecologic Oncology and chief, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The researchers also found robot-assisted procedures to be more expensive. The median total cost for robot-assisted oophorectomy was $7,426, while for conventional laparoscopic oophorectomy it was $4,922. The median total cost for robot-assisted cystectomy was $7,444; for conventional laparoscopic cystectomy it was $4,133.

“With the rapid rise in the cost of cancer care, we need to make sure that public policies encourage comparative studies prior to widespread dissemination of new technologies,” said another co-author, Dawn L. Hershman, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and leader of the Breast Cancer Program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia.

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The paper is titled, “Comparative Effectiveness of Robotic-Assisted Compared to Laparoscopic Adnexal Surgery for Benign Gynecologic Disease.” The other authors are: Alessandra Kostolias, MD (CUMC), Cande V. Ananth, PhD, MPH (CUMC), William M. Burke, MD (CUMC), Ana I. Tergas, MD (CUMC), Eri Prendergast, MS (CUMC), Scott D. Ramsey, MD, PhD (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center), and Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD (CUMC).

Dr. Wright (R01CA169121-01A1) and Dr. Hershman (R01 CA166084) are recipients of grants and Dr. Tergas is the recipient of a fellowship (R25 CA094061-11) from the National Cancer Institute.

The authors declare no financial or other conflicts of interest.

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. For more information, visit cumc.columbia.edu or columbiadoctors.org.

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Report]What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use?

Cannabis sativa

Cannabis sativa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 2014 article in the journal Addiction

Research in the past 20 years has shown that driving while cannabis-impaired approximately doubles car crash risk and that around one in 10 regular cannabis users develop dependence. Regular cannabis use in adolescence approximately doubles the risks of early school-leaving and of cognitive impairment and psychoses in adulthood. Regular cannabis use in adolescence is also associated strongly with the use of other illicit drugs. These associations persist after controlling for plausible confounding variables in longitudinal studies. This suggests that cannabis use is a contributory cause of these outcomes but some researchers still argue that these relationships are explained by shared causes or risk factors. Cannabis smoking probably increases cardiovascular disease risk in middle-aged adults but its effects on respiratory function and respiratory cancer remain unclear, because most cannabis smokers have smoked or still smoke tobacco.

 

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] The Commission for Environmental Cooperation releases its first-ever, multi-year examination of reported industrial pollution in North America

http://www.cec.org/Page.asp?PageID=122&ContentID=25816&SiteLanguageId=1

From the press release

The latest edition of the Taking Stock report details pollutant releases and transfers across the region from 2005 through 2010, with an in-depth review of releases from the pulp and paper industry.

Montreal, 1 October 2014—The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has released a comprehensive report on the changing face of industrial pollution in North America, covering the years 2005 through 2010. This is the first time an edition of the CEC’s Taking Stock series, which gathers data from pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs) in Canada, Mexico and the United States, has analyzed North American pollutant information over an extended timeframe.

This volume of Taking Stock documents pollutant releases and transfers reported over the six-year period by approximately 35,000 industrial facilities across the region. Key findings include:

  • Total reported amounts of pollutants increased by 14 percent (from over 4.83 billion kilograms in 2005 to more than 5.53 billion kilograms in 2010), driven by releases to land (108-percent increase) and off-site disposal (42-percent increase). These increases reflect the introduction of Canada’s more comprehensive reporting requirements on tailings and waste rock, as well as on total reduced sulfur (TRS), resulting in more complete reporting by the metal ore mining and oil and gas extraction sectors in Canada.
  • Most other types of releases and transfers declined over this period—including releases to air from electric utilities, mainly in the United States, which declined by 36 percent. Changes in regulations for fossil fuel–based power plants, along with facility closures, were the drivers of these decreases.
  • There was also a 38-percent decrease in releases to air of substances in four categories that have significant potential to cause harm to human health or the environment: known or suspected carcinogens, developmental or reproductive toxicants, persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substances, and metals.

By providing details at the country level, Taking Stock also highlights the gaps in the picture of North American industrial pollution that are created by differences in national PRTR reporting requirements and practices. For example:

  • Of the more than 500 pollutants reported across the region every year, only 60 are common to all three PRTRs.
  • Oil and gas extraction, a key sector tracked in Canada and that ranks among the top sectors for reported releases and transfers each year, is not subject to reporting in the United States. Mexican data show a low level of reporting by oil and gas extraction facilities.
  • Compared to the United States and Canada, Mexican data show wider fluctuations in reporting between 2005 and 2010, reflecting the fact that Mexico’s PRTR is relatively new.

“As a result of ongoing collaboration among the three countries’ PRTR programs and the CEC, we are now able to track industrial pollutant releases and transfers across North America and over time to identify tendencies, as well as important gaps, in reporting. By establishing linkages between PRTR data and facilities’ environmental sustainability efforts, Taking Stock supports the needs of the private sector, governments, citizens, and communities concerned with and affected by North American industrial pollution,” said Irasema Coronado, CEC Executive Director.

Decreases in pollutant releases from pulp and paper mills—a look at the driving factors

This year’s report also takes advantage of six years of North American PRTR data to examine releases reported by pulp and paper mills—which have consistently ranked among the top sectors for releases to air and water in North America. The data show that between 2005 and 2010, the sector’s releases to air decreased by 19 percent and releases to water by 6 percent. Taking Stock identifies the drivers of these decreases, through data analyses, a survey of mills, and information from industry representatives. Among the findings:

  • A key driver of the decreases seen over this period has been the shutdown of several facilities in Canada and the United States (the two countries with the most reporting from this sector).
  • Emissions typically associated with pulp and paper mills include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), methanol, hydrogen sulfide, phosphorous, and formaldehyde, among others. However, some of these pollutants are not subject to reporting in one or more of the three countries (e.g., methanol in Mexico), creating challenges when analyzing the pollution profiles of pulp and paper mills.
  • While factors such as new emissions regulations have played a role in the decline in releases over this period, the report also shows that facilities’ own environmental engagement, as well as customer demand for environmentally-friendly products, have had impacts—with mills adopting environmental management decisions that include pollution prevention and mitigation practices.

Explore North American PRTR data online

The data presented in the Taking Stock report can be searched using the CEC’s Taking Stock Onlinetool, which is updated annually with data from North America’s three PRTRs. It allows users to:

  • explore information on industrial pollutant releases and transfers;
  • generate reports in a variety of formats, including pie charts and spreadsheets;
  • create maps and view them using Google Earth; and
  • analyze PRTR data with respect to other information, such as locations of watersheds, rivers, lakes, and population centers, using geospatial data from the North American Environmental Atlas.

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce – Great site to learn and keep updated about issues afffecting all

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Keeps you informed about news in public health, upcoming meetings, and new public health online resources

Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce  is a  collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations and health sciences libraries.  This comprehensive collection of online public health resources includes the following topic pages. Each has links to news items; links to relevant agencies, associations, and subtopics; literature and reports; data tools and statistics; grants and funding; education and training; conferences and meetings; jobs and careers;  and more

Main Topic pages include material on

 

 

 

 

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Caution: Some Over-the-Counter Medicines May Affect Your Driving

ucm417432

 

http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm417426.htm

From the FDA Web site

Anyone who operates a vehicle of any type—car, bus, train, plane, or boat—needs to know there are over-the-counter medicines that can make you drowsy and can affect your ability to drive and operate machinery safely.

Over-the-counter medicines are also known as OTC or nonprescription medicines. All these terms mean the same thing: medicines that you can buy without a prescription from a healthcare professional. Each OTC medicine has a Drug Facts label to guide you in your choices and to help keep you safe. OTC medicines are serious medicines and their risks can increase if you don’t choose them carefully and use them exactly as directed on the label.

According to Ali Mohamadi, M.D., a medical officer at FDA, “You can feel the effects some OTC medicines can have on your driving for a short time after you take them, or their effects can last for several hours. In some cases, a medicine can cause significant ‘hangover-like’ effects and affect your driving even the next day.” If you have not had enough sleep, taking medicine with a side effect that causes drowsiness can add to the sleepiness and fatigue you may already feel. Being drowsy behind the wheel is dangerous; it can impair your driving skills.

ucm417460

Choosing and Using Safely

You should read all the sections of the Drug Facts label before you use an OTC medicine. But, when you know you have to drive, it’s particularly important to take these simple steps:

First, read the “active ingredients” section and compare it to all the other medicines you are using. Make sure you are not taking more than one medicine with the same active ingredient. Then make sure the “purpose” and “uses” sections of the label match or fit the condition you are trying to treat.

Next, carefully read the entire “Warnings” section. Check whether the medicine should not be used with any condition you have, or whether you should ask a health care professional whether you can use it. See if there’s a warning that says when you shouldn’t use the medicine at all, or when you should stop using it.

The “When using this product” section will tell you how the medicine might make you feel, and will include warnings about drowsiness or impaired driving.

Look for such statements as “you may get drowsy,” “marked drowsiness will occur,” “Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery” or “Do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery when using this product.”

Other information you might see in the label is how the medicine reacts when taken with other products like alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers, and other effects the OTC medicine could have on you. When you see any of these statements and you’re going to drive or operate machinery, you may want to consider choosing another medicine for your problem this time. Look for an OTC medicine that treats your condition or problem but has an active ingredient or combination of active ingredients that don’t cause drowsiness or affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.

Talk to your healthcare professional if you need help finding another medicine to treat your condition or problem. Then, check the section on “directions” and follow them carefully.

ucm417458

Here are some of the most common OTC medicines that can cause drowsiness or impaired driving:

  • Antihistamines: These are medicines that are used to treat things like runny nose, sneezing, itching of the nose or throat, and itchy or watery eyes. Some antihistamines are marketed to relieve cough due to the common cold. Some are marketed to relieve occasional sleeplessness. Antihistamines also can be added to other active ingredients that relieve cough, reduce nasal congestion, or reduce pain and fever. Some antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, can make you feel drowsy, unfocused and slow to react.
  • Antidiarrheals: Some antidiarrheals, medicines that treat or control symptoms of diarrhea, can cause drowsiness and affect your driving. One of these is loperamide, the active ingredient in Imodium.
  • Anti-emetics: Anti-emetics, medicines that treat nausea, vomiting and dizziness associated with motion sickness, can cause drowsiness and impair driving as well.

“If you don’t read all your medicine labels and choose and use them carefully,” says Dr. Mohamadi, “you can risk your safety. If your driving is impaired, you could risk your safety, and the safety of your passengers and others.”

Please visit, Over-the-Counter Medicines and Driving, for the audio and slide presentation for more about driving and OTC medicines and with practice looking at Drug Facts labels.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] BreastCancerAction says Stop the Distraction; rethinking awareness

Breast CancerAction says Stop the Distraction; rethinking awareness.

From the 3 October 2014 post at HealthNewsReview

As the Green Bay Packers were walloping the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football last night, the NFL’s “A Crucial Catch Day” campaign for breast cancer – which “is focused on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 and older” – was on display at the stadium.  Banners similar to this one appeared in the stadium. Some players wore pink gloves or other pink paraphernalia.  It was the first game of October, the first of many more pink pigskin promotions to come throughout this month.

But the Breast Cancer Action group, well known for its “Think Before You Pink” campaign, calls the NFL campaign “a distraction.”  The group names the NFL as part of “a six-point take-down of pink ribbon cause marketing and the broader culture of “pink” which expands BCAction’s long-standing commitment to addressing exploitation, corporate profiteering and hypocrisy in breast cancer fundraising. The six points, according to Breast Cancer Action, are:

…..

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] The Healthy Woman: A Complete Guide for all Ages

 

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The Healthy Woman: A Complete Guide for all Ages | Publications.USA.gov.

Can be downloaded for free!

A comprehensive reference with helpful charts and personal stories. The guide covers major diseases, aging mental health, reproductive health, nutrition and alternative medicine. It also provices advice on common screening tests and immunizations you may need. (Previous item number: 107W)

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Released: 2008
Pages: 500

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Yay for BMJ journal news release for caveats about observational study!

An example of a heart attack, which can occur ...

An example of a heart attack, which can occur after the use of a performance-enhancing drug. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yay for BMJ journal news release for caveats about observational study!.

From the 19 August 2014 post at HealthNewsReview

I’ve criticized them many times, so now it’s time to salute them.

And let’s hope the news release writers for BMJ journals continue this practice.

This week, in a news release about a paper in one of the journals published by the BMJ, the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, was this caveat:

“This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, and the researchers admit that some potentially important risk factors, such as family history of heart disease/stroke and genetic influences were not known.”

Such a statement of limitations has been missing many times in past news releases from/about BMJ journals.

I can’t see everything, so I may have missed other good examples in the past.

Here is the full text of the news release in question:

Good neighbours and friendly local community may curb heart attack risk

Might extend social support network which is also linked to lower cardiovascular disease risk, say researchers

[Perceived neighbourhood social cohesion and myocardial infarction Online First doi 10.1136/jech-2014-204009]

Having good neighbours and feeling connected to others in the local community may help to curb an individual’s heart attack risk, concludes research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Current evidence suggests that the characteristics of an area in which a person lives can negatively affect their cardiovascular health. This includes, for example, the density of fast food outlets; levels of violence, noise, and pollution; drug use; and building disrepair.

But few studies have looked at the potential health enhancing effects of positive local neighbourhood characteristics, such as perceived neighbourhood social cohesion, say the authors.

They therefore tracked the cardiovascular health of over 5000 US adults with no known heart problems over a period of four years, starting in 2006. Their average age was 70, and almost two thirds were women and married (62%).

All the study participants were taking part in the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative study of American adults over the age of 50, who are surveyed every two years.

In 2006 participants were asked to score on a validated seven point scale how much they felt part of their local neighbourhood; if they felt they had neighbours who would help them if they got into difficulty; whether they trusted most people in the area; and felt they were friendly.

Potentially influential factors, such as age, race, gender, income, marital status, educational attainment, outlook and attitude, social integration, mental health, lifestyle, weight, and underlying health issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, were all taken into account.

During the four year monitoring period, 148 of the 5276 participants (66 women and 82 men) had a heart attack.

Analysis of the data showed that each standard deviation increase in perceived neighbourhood social cohesion was associated with a 22% reduced risk of a heart attack. Put another way, on the seven-point scale, each unit increase in neighbourhood social cohesion was associated with a 17% reduced risk of heart attack.*

This association held true even after adjusting for relevant sociodemographic, behavioural, biological, and psychosocial factors, as well as individual-level social support.

The researchers say their findings echo those of other studies which have found a link between well integrated local neighbourhoods and lower stroke and heart disease risk.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, and the researchers admit that some potentially important risk factors, such as family history of heart disease/stroke and genetic influences were not known. But a strong social support network of friends and family has been linked to better health, so friendly neighbourhoods might be an extension of that, they say.

“Perceived neighbourhood social cohesion could be a type of social support that is available in the neighbourhood social environment outside the realm of family and friends,” they write.

And tight-knit local communities may help to reinforce and ‘incentivise’ certain types of cohesive behaviours and so exclude antisocial behaviours, they suggest.

——————–

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Active aging is much more than exercise

Active aging is much more than exercise

“30 years ago, the elderly were not expected to be active at all – they were actually advised not to exercise as it was considered dangerous. Playing cards were seen as a more fitting activity. Today, we are all expected to live active, healthy lives until the day we die – in good health – at the age of 90. Old age has, in a sense, been cancelled, says PhD Aske Juul Lassen from University of Copenhagen’s Center for Healthy Aging.

Aske Juul Lassen has just defended his PhD thesis entitled Active Ageing and the Unmaking of Old Age for which he has conducted field work in two activity centres for the elderly in Greater Copenhagen and analysed WHO’s and EU’s official policy papers on active ageing.

“I compare the EU and WHO perceptions of ageing with the everyday activities I have observed among the elderly. The elderly do a lot of things, which I consider active ageing and which give them an enhanced quality of life, but they are also activities that would never be characterized as “healthy” by health authorities. The question is how we define “good ageing” and how we organise society for our ageing generations.”

Billiards and beer can also be active ageing

One of the everyday activities Aske Juul Lassen observed was billiards: In one of the activity centres for the elderly, in which he conducted field work, 10-15 men between the ages of 70 and 95 meet to play billiards four times a week.

“Playing billiards often comes with a certain life style – drinking beer and drams for instance – and I am quite sure this was not what WHO and EU meant when they formulated their active ageing policies. But billiards does constitute active ageing. Billiards is, first of all, an activity that these men thoroughly enjoy and that enhances their quality of life while immersing them in their local community and keeping them socially active. And billiards is, secondly, very suitable exercise for old people because the game varies naturally between periods of activity and passivity and this means that the men can keep playing for hours. Not very many old people can endure physical activity that lasts five hours, but billiards enables these men to spread their physical activity out through the day,” says Aske Juul Lassen.

“We therefore need a broader, more inclusive concept of healthy and active ageing that allows for the communities the elderly already take part in and that positively impact their everyday lives, quality of life, and general health. It must also allow for the fact that the elderly do not constitute a homogenous group of people: activities that for some seem insurmountable will be completely natural for others.”

According to Aske Juul Lassen, one of the positive side effects of the activities at the activity centres for the elderly is that the activities take their minds off illness; they do not focus as much on their ailments when they are engaged in billiards or some of the other activities that the centres have on offer.

###

Contact
Contact: Aske Juul Lassen
ajlas@hum.ku.dk
45-22-92-02-12
University of Copenhagen – Faculty of Humanities

Press officer Carsten Munk Hansen
Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen
Cell: +45 28 75 80 23

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] NIH funds research consortia to study more than 200 rare diseases

From the 8 October 2014 EurkAlert

$29 million awarded to expand NCATS’ collaborative Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network

Physician scientists at 22 consortia will collaborate with representatives of 98 patient advocacy groups to advance clinical research and investigate new treatments for patients with rare diseases. The collaborations are made possible through awards by the National Institutes of Health — totaling about $29 million in fiscal year 2014 funding — to expand the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN), which is led by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

There are several thousand rare diseases, of which only a few hundred have any treatments available. Combined, rare diseases affect an estimated 25 million Americans. Some obstacles to developing rare disease treatments include difficulties in diagnosis, widely dispersed patients and scientific experts, a perception of high risk, and a lack of data from natural history studies, which follow a group of people with a specific medical condition over time.

“NCATS seeks to tackle these challenges in an integrated way by working to identify common elements among rare diseases,” said NCATS Director Christopher P. Austin, M.D. “The RDCRN consortia provide a robust data source that enables scientists to better understand and share these commonalities, ultimately allowing us to accelerate the development of new approaches for diagnosing and treating rare diseases.”

Many patients with rare diseases often struggle to obtain an accurate diagnosis and find the right treatments. In numerous cases, RDCRN consortia have become centers of excellence for diagnosing and monitoring diseases that few clinicians see on a regular basis.

These latest awards establish six new RDCRN consortia:

Consortium Name Lead Institution/ Principal Investigator Disease Areas of Study
Brittle Bone Disorders Consortium of the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network Baylor College of Medicine, Houston/ Brendan Lee, M.D., Ph.D. Bone diseases (e.g., osteogenesis imperfecta)
Clinical Research in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Related Disorders for Therapeutic Development University of Miami Miller School of Medicine/Michael Benatar, M.B.Ch.B., M.S., D.Phil. Neurological diseases (e.g., ALS, frontotemporal dementia, hereditary spastic paraplegia, primary lateral sclerosis, progressive muscular atrophy)
Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati/Marc E. Rothenberg, M.D., Ph.D. Food allergy disorders (e.g., eosinophilic esophagitis, eosinophilic gastritis, eosinophilic colitis)
Developmental Synaptopathies Associated with TSC, PTEN and SHANK3 Mutations Children’s Hospital Corporation, Boston/ Mustafa Sahin, M.D., Ph.D. Neurological diseases (e.g., autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities)
Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Clinical Research Consortium University of California, San Francisco/Adam L. Boxer, M.D., Ph.D. Neurological diseases (e.g., corticobasal syndrome, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, frontotemporal dementia, primary progressive aphasia, progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome)
Rare Lung Diseases Consortium: Molecular Pathway-Driven Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Rare Lung Diseases Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center/ Bruce Trapnell, M.D. Lung diseases (hereditary interstitial lung disease, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome)
###

To learn more about the six new and 16 continuing consortia as well as the DMCC, visit http://www.ncats.nih.gov/rdcrn-awards2014.html.

———————————
To find out about specific clinical trials, and how to apply…
Go to clinicaltrials.gov

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] The mathematics behind the Ebola epidemic

The isolation ward of Gulu Municipal Hospital,...

The isolation ward of Gulu Municipal Hospital, Gulu, Uganda, during an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in October 2000 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 9 October 2014 EurekAlert

……

“A major benefit of our method is that we can use it to calculate unreported cases and therefore the true scale of the epidemic,” asserts Stadler. Official patient figures only take into account those cases reported to the health authorities. The actual number of infected persons is generally significantly higher. Using the data made available to them, the ETH researchers were able to calculate an unreported case rate of 30% (i.e. patients of which blood samples were not taken). “However, this applies only to the situation analysed in Sierra Leone in May and June. We do not have any blood samples since June at all,” claims Stadler.

Virus family tree created

The researchers were also able to calculate the incubation period for Ebola (five days – this value is subject to significant uncertainty) and the infectious time. Patients can pass on the virus from 1.2 to 7 days after becoming infected.

…….

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Human health, wealth require expanded marine science, experts say

From the 9 October 2014 EurekAlert!

In Rome, European experts publish a ‘common vision’ of priorities for marine research and action through 2020

Some 340 European scientists, policy-makers and other experts representing 143 organizations from 31 countries spoke with one voice today, publishing a common vision of today’s most pressing marine-related health and economic threats and opportunities.

In a declaration concluding a three day meeting in Rome, EurOcean 2014 participants also released an agreed, five-year roadmap to achieve expanded, more integrated and effective policy-oriented ocean scrutiny.

In addition to a rising tide of ocean-related threats to human health and economics, the conference statement points to major opportunities in such areas as marine biotechnology, offshore energy, and sustainable aquaculture to create much-needed jobs after one of the worst economic crises in recent history.

Making such “blue growth” sustainable, however, requires a greater investment in science —research to deliver knowledge, tools and advice on sustainable management of marine resources and a better understanding of ecosystems underpinning the maritime economy.

Demands on the seas for food, energy, raw materials and transport are steadily increasing, the statement notes. And while oceans “can provide solutions to many European and global policy challenges … (they) are neither inexhaustible nor immune to damage. In the context of rapid global change and human population growth, it is imperative to balance economic benefit with environmental protection and human wellbeing.”

“As a research community, it’s now time to reassess and reinvigorate our efforts to support these policy ambitions.”

Participants identified four high-level policy goals:

1. Valuing the ocean

Promoting a wider understanding of the importance of the seas and oceans in the everyday lives of European citizens.

2. Capitalizing on European leadership

Building on our strengths to reinforce Europe’s position as a global leader in marine science and technology

3. Advancing ocean knowledge

Building a much greater knowledge base through ocean observation and fundamental and applied research

4. Breaking scientific barriers

Addressing the complex challenges of blue growth and ocean sustainability by combining expertise and drawing from a full range of scientific disciplines.

 

October 13, 2014 Posted by | environmental health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] The Beauty Side Effects You Don’t Know About

The Beauty Side Effects You Don’t Know About | Oye Times.

I don’t usually reblog items with ads (esp with products as alcohol!).
However, the content seemed very informative.
On a personal note, think it is a crying shame so much money and time is spent on beauty treatments.  Says a lot about our culture and how we perceive others, constant comparing ourselves with others, etc….

Excerpts

Beauty is pain, or so the saying goes. (In the case of bikini waxing, we wholeheartedly agree.) And, while all of the tweezing, dyeing, and primping can be challenging at times, here’s what it should never be: hazardous to our health.

Unfortunately, increasing evidence suggests that some beauty treatments may be associated with a host of ills, from antibiotic-resistant infections to respiratory problems. Whether you’re a woman who gets her hair chemically straightened or you’re a salon worker who handles those chemicals, it’s important to understand potential risks — and how to protect yourself.

Of course, the majority of beauty treatments are safe when performed by a licensed professional, and our goal isn’t to stoke fear or turn you off from some much deserved Me Time. But, wouldn’t you rather be informed? After all, nothing’s quite as attractive as a woman in the know.

Here, nine beauty treatments that have the potential to cause some harmful side effects — plus, expert advice on making sure you stay as healthy as you are pretty.

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Report reveals the scope of substance use and mental illness affecting the nation

Report reveals the scope of substance use and mental illness affecting the nation.

Excerpt

SAMHSA News Release Date: 9/4/2014 9:30 AM 
Report reveals the scope of substance use and mental illness affecting the nation
Released in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of National Recovery Month
A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides insight into the nature and scope of substance use and mental illness issues affecting America. Today, 2013 national survey data as well as information on the efforts and resources being taken to address these problems is being released in conjunction with the 25th   annual observance of National Recovery Month.

 

The report shows that 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users – 9.4 percent of this age group.

 

Marijuana was by far the most commonly used illicit drug with approximately 19.8 million current users aged 12 and older.

 

In terms of other illicit drugs, the report indicates that among those aged 12 and older, there were 4.5 million current nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers (1.7 percent), 1.5 million current cocaine users (0.6 percent), 595,000 methamphetamine users (0.2 percent), and 289,000 current heroin users (0.1 percent). Although an estimated 22.7 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, only 2.5 million persons received treatment at a specialty facility.

 

The SAMHSA report also shows that 34.6 million adults aged 18 or older (14.6 percent of the population aged 18 or older) received mental health treatment or counseling during the past 12 months. Nearly one in five American adults (18.5 percent), or 43.8 million adults, had a mental illness in 2013. Ten million adults (4.2 percent of the adult population) had a serious mental illness in the past year. Serious mental illness is defined as mental illness that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with, or limited, one or more major life activities.

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Recent additions to the NLM Drug Information Portal include clinical experience with drugs and dietary supplements

 

 

NLMDrug

 

 

 

 

From the NLM-TOX-ENVIRO-HEALTH-L Digest – 2 Oct 2014 to 7 Oct 2014 (#2014-19)

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Drug Information Portal (http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov) is a free web resource that provides an informative, user–friendly gateway to current drug information for over 53,000 substances. The Portal links to sources from the NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies such as the U.S. FDA.

Current information regarding consumer health, clinical trials, AIDS–related drug information, MeSH® pharmacological actions, PubMed® biomedical literature, and physical properties and structure is easily retrieved by searching a drug name. A varied selection of focused topics in medicine and drug–related information is also available from displayed subject headings.

The Drug Portal retrieves by the generic or trade name of a drug or its category of usage.  Records provide a description of how the drug is used, its chemical structure and nomenclature, and include up to 20 Resource Locators which link to more information in other selected resources.   Recent additions to these Locators include clinical experience with drugs in PubMed Health (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth), substances reviewed in NLM LiverTox (http://livertox.nih.gov/), information from the Dietary Supplement Label Database (http://dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/), and drug images in the Pillbox beta (http://pillbox.nlm.nih.gov/) database.

Data in the Drug Information Portal is updated daily, and is also available on mobile devices.

More information can be found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/druginfoportalfs.html

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Americans living longer; some pay more for outpatient services

English: image edited to hide card's owner nam...

English: image edited to hide card’s owner name. author: Arturo Portilla (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 9 October 2014 post at Covering Health: Monitoring the pulse of health care journalism

First, the good news: A new National Center for Health Statistics data brief shows that Americans are living longer. Overall life expectancy rose by 0.1 percent from 2011 to 2012, to 78.8 years, and was highest for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. Women can expect to live an average of 81.2 years, and men an average of 76.4 years, based on the new analysis.

Now the bad news – a new report released by the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services found increased costs associated with critical access hospitals. Medicare beneficiaries paid nearly half of the costs for outpatient services at critical access hospitals – a higher percentage of the costs of coinsurance for services received at these facilities than they would have paid at hospitals using Outpatient Prospective Payment System rates.

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) ensure that rural Medicare beneficiaries have access to hospital services. Reimbursement is at 101 percent of their “reasonable costs,” rather than at the predetermined rates set by the Outpatient Prospective Payment System. Medicare beneficiaries who receive services at CAHs pay coinsurance amounts based on CAH charges; beneficiaries who receive services at acute care hospitals pay coinsurance amounts based on OPPS rates.

October 11, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Patient condition terminology: Do you really know what ‘critical’ means?

Excerpts from the 2 October 2014 post at Covering Health: Monitoring the Pulse of Healthcare Journalism

English: CORINTO, Nicaragua (July 6, 2009) Lt....

English: CORINTO, Nicaragua (July 6, 2009) Lt. Kendra Pennington and Sgt. Dustin Turvild check the vital signs of a patient in the post anesthetic care unit aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is supporting Continuing Promise 2009, a four-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission to Latin America and the Caribbean. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nashaunda Tilghman/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…standards provide the basis of understanding what kind of condition a patient is in. In this brief on privacy regulations, the American Hospital Association (AHA) recommends that all providers use the following definitions when describing a patient’s condition:

Undetermined: The patient has not yet been assessed, diagnosed or treated.

Good: The patient’s vital signs are stable and within normal limits. He or she is conscious and comfortable, with excellent indicators for recovery.

Fair: The patient’s vital signs are stable and normal, and the patient is conscious, but he or she might be uncomfortable. Indicators for recovery are favorable.

Serious: The patient is very ill, and might have unstable vital signs outside the normal limits. Indicators are questionable.

Critical: The patient has unstable vitals that are not normal, and could be unconscious. Indicators for recovery are unfavorable.

Treated and released: The patient was treated but not admitted to the hospital.

Treated and transferred: The patient received treatment at one facility and was then transferred to another facility.
…..

October 7, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , | Leave a comment

HEB

 

The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) has announced the publication of Health Education & Behavior (HE&B) supplement devoted to the latest research and practice to promote healthy aging. All articles in the HE&B supplemental issue are provided through open access.

Articles in the supplement include:

·  Developing a Framework and Priorities to Promote Mobility Among Older Adults
“Mobility, broadly defined as movement in all of its forms from ambulation to transportation, is critical to supporting optimal aging. This article describes two projects to develop a framework and a set of priority actions designed to promote mobility among community-dwelling older adults.”

·  Preparing the Workforce for Healthy Aging Programs. The Skills for Healthy Aging Resources and Programs (SHARP) Model.
“Current public health and aging service agency personnel have little training in gerontology, and virtually no training in evidence-based health promotion and disease management programs for older adults. These programs are rapidly becoming the future of our community-based long-term care support system. The purpose of this project was to develop and test a model community college career technical education program..”

The UT Library subscribes to Health Education & Behavior. Looking for additional articles in this journal or other public health articles? Great suggestions at the Health Sciences Program Library Guide.  Also, do not forget to contact a Mulford Reference Librarian with your information and research needs!

 

October 6, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Disturbing New Chemical Found in Fetuses

Originally posted on THE INTERNET POST:

A recent study has found a disturbing exposure of the germ-killing chemical triclosan to the fetuses of pregnant women in Brooklyn.

Triclosan has been linked to reproductive and development issues in animal testing. It is often used as the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps and appears in more than 2,000 consumer products including toothpastes, body washes, school supplies and toys.

In the study, scientists tested 181 pregnant Brooklyn women, most of them black. Half tested positive for triclosan in their umbilical cord blood samples, signifying triclosan was being transferred to fetuses.

Scientists also  discovered that 100 percent of the mothers contained triclosan in their urine, while 86 percent tested positive for another antibacterial chemical, triclocarban, said co-author Benny Pycke.  The levels are higher than the national U.S. average and are also the first to present “body burden” data for the ways triclosan and triclocarban can remain in the body during…

View original 189 more words

September 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Robin Williams and Depression

Originally posted on Johns Hopkins University Press Blog:

The Doctor Is In is an occasional series where JHU Press authors discuss the latest developments and news in health and medicine.

Guest post by Susan Noonan, M.D., M.P.H.

On  August 11, 2014, the world learned that we had lost a dearly beloved, charismatic human being to the devastating illness and consequences of depression. To most of us, the actor Robin Williams was the dynamic, clever man who made us laugh in hundreds of ways. He had the uncanny ability to take us out of our doldrums and bring a moment of joy to our lives through his many creative performances, from Mork & Mindy to Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, and many others. His talents extended to the dramatic as well when he won an Academy Award for Good Will Hunting.

We watched, but did not know that underneath, Williams was in emotional pain, suffering so much that, despite…

View original 491 more words

September 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Straight, No Chaser: The Drama of Gunshot Wounds and a Nation at War with Itself

A challenging provocative post from a physician

Excerpts from the 25 August 2014 blog item at JeffreySterlingMD.com

Somewhere in the midst of reconciling the parts of me that are physician, public health professional and African-American male, I realized that I don’t have the luxury to simply review the medical aspects of gunshot wounds. As an African-American, I have lived my entire life learning and having it reinforced that I and others of my kind are a misunderstanding or inappropriate interaction away from becoming a statistic. As a physician I get to treat, and as a public health professional I get to report and fashion broad solutions to various challenges, but as an African-American, I get to live a certain reality that for me began when my father died from a gunshot wound when I was a small child.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 6.15.20 AM

We live in a country that is without debate the most violent country on earth, both outside of and within all parts of our borders. From the individual’s rights to bear militia levels of arms to the police’s increasing position as military units, from the contradictions of allowing both “Open Carry” and “Stand Your Ground,” we are spiraling toward an inevitable conclusion.

You want to participate in a challenge? Stop being so deficient of attention about what’s happening before our eyes, and think and ask what the inevitable conclusion of all of this is going to be. Regardless of your political persuasion, there are issues to be addressed.

….

Consider the following facts from the Children’s Defense fund,

  • approximately 2900 children and teens died from guns in the US in both 2008 and 2009. (Does anyone think the numbers have declined since then?) That’s one child or teen every 3 hours. That’s eight children or teens every day. That’s 55 children or teens every week for two years. What is our country’s response to this? What are you specifically doing to contribute to a solution to this?
  • Young Blacks are being exterminated by gunshot wounds in this country.

……

Read the entire post here

August 26, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

[Reblog] Health costs, journalism and transparency: One site opening door to price data

From  the 19 August 2014 blog item BY JOANNE KENEN at Covering Health: Monitoring the Pulse of Healthcare Journalism

Here’s a resource for health care costs – and a creative journalistic model of crowdsourcing, data collection, mapping, reporting and blogging.

ClearHealthCosts.com was started by formerNew York Times reporter and editor Jeanne Pinder. She received start-up funding from foundations (Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY and others listed on the website) and ClearHealthCosts now has a team of reporters and data wranglers chipping away at some of the difficult questions that patients need answered: How much is this treatment going to cost me? Can I find a better price?

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 6.26.40 AM

It’s about shedding light on a health care cost and payment system that, to use Pinder’s word, is “opaque.” Some of what they are doing is specific to a half-dozen cities; other projects are building out nationally.

The data collected by ClearHealthCosts focuses on elective or at least nonemergency procedures such as imaging, dental work, vasectomy, walk-in clinics, screening (mammograms and colonoscopy) and blood tests. Much of the data is crowdsourced, and focused on New York area, including northern New Jersey and other suburbs; the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas; and Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio in Texas.
…….

 

Related resources

  • Hospital Compare  US government website managed by Medicare and Medicaid services. Links include, Quality payment, Medicare’s Hospital value-based purchasing programs, Hospital readmission reduction programs, voluntary reporting from American College of Surgeons, American College of Cardiology readmission measure etc.
    Allows one to compare the quality of care at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals in the country
  • Joint Commission Quality Check The Joint Commission is an accredition/certification program based on performance standards. Quality Check® includes information on US health care organizations.

 

Related articles

August 26, 2014 Posted by | health care | , | Leave a comment

5 things that are bigger threats to your health than Ebola (with images)

5 things that are bigger threats to your health than Ebola (with images) · APHA · Storify.

Excerpt from an August 2014 post by the American Public Health Association

Ebola, the serious, often fatal disease spread by interaction with the blood or fluids of a symptomatic infected person, has been making headlines across the country. And for good reason: this is the largest Ebola outbreak in history. The public is asking questions and wondering if they’re at risk.

But the truth is, unless you live in West Africa, where the latest Ebola outbreak has been focused, or if you are a health worker whoworks with Ebola patients, you’re probably safe

1. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria
2. Severe weather

…….

Read the entire post here

Ebola virus and the dread factor
       August 25 2014 item from Musings of an Academic Family Physician (and department chair) about this (dysfunctional) healthcare world and how to fix it

August 26, 2014 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Connections between housing, health: Finding stories and getting the reporting right

Connections between housing, health: Finding stories and getting the reporting right | Association of Health Care Journalists.

Excerpt

People who are homeless face many health threats and are among the heaviest users of hospital services. Safe and affordable housing, some experts assert, is a necessary first step to care effectively for people with chronic mental health and substance abuse problems who live on the streets. And there is some evidence that this approach may, in some circumstances, even save taxpayers money (but probably not as much as is often claimed).

In an influential 2009 study in Seattle, researchers analyzed medical and law enforcement costs for 91 people given supportive housing and found that costs dropped to about half the level seen among 35 comparable homeless people on a waiting list. But note that this savings estimate doesn’t include the capital costs of building and refurbishing apartments. Raising capital is likely to be a tall hurdle for many communities and this issue often gets ignored in news reports about the promise of supportive housing.

Read the rest of the core topic on this issue here

 

August 26, 2014 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Healthstyles Today: “Observation Status”–Policy Gone Wrong?

Healthstyles Today: “Observation Status”–Policy Gone Wrong? | HealthCetera – CHMP’s Blog.

Excerpt

 

wbaiAcross the country, people on Medicare who become ill are being admitted to hospitals on what is called “observation status” or “admit to observation” to provide regular assessments to ensure that the patient’s condition doesn’t deteriorate and require a higher level of care. Medicare pays less for observation status since it’s assumed that the patient needs less care. It makes sense, but in reality it’s creating huge problems for some of the patients, their families and the hospitals. The issue has become a national concern and New York State has responded with legislation aimed to provide some protection for Medicare patients who are admitted to the state’s hospitals.

Today on Healthstyles on WBAI 9.5 FM (www.wbai.org), producer and host Diana Mason, RN, PhD, talks about this issue with Toby Edelman, Senior Policy Attorney in the Washington, DC, office of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. You can listen to the interview here: [link available at the blog]

August 26, 2014 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | Leave a comment

[Blog Post] Half Of Americans Believe One Of These 6 Medical Conspiracy Theories

Half Of Americans Believe One Of These 6 Medical Conspiracy Theories 

From the 16 July 2014 article at Think Progress

Are companies dumping large quantities of dangerous chemicals into our water supply under the guise of fluoridation? Did a U.S. spy agency infect African Americans with HIV? Does the government tell parents to give vaccines to their children even though that could increase their risk of developing autism? Are U.S. health officials withholding information about natural cures for cancer so that pharmaceutical companies can continue to profit, or pretending they don’t know that cell phones can cause cancer? Are genetically modified foods a plot to shrink the global population?

About half of the American public believes at least one of those medical conspiracy theories, according to a study conducted by University of Chicago researchers. The greatest proportion of respondents, 37 percent, believes that the FDA is deliberately suppressing information about natural treatments for cancer. On top of that, less than a third of participants were willing to say they actively disagreed with this theory, leaving everyone else somewhere in the middle.
…..

August 21, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , | 4 Comments

[YouTube] Question your medical tests? Oh yeah, it’ll make you happy!

Question your medical tests? Oh yeah, it’ll make you happy!.

From the 24 July 2014 KevinMD.com post

Who knew questioning medical tests could be so much fun? Watch Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” with lyrics that advocate more sensible medical testing. James McCormick, co-host of the Best Science Medicine Podcast, wrote this pitch perfect parody.  The ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign educates both physicians and the public to question medical tests and treatments.

 

The ABIM provides links to Things Physicians and Providers Should Question.
Topics include

 

Related links

Doctors Call Out 90 More Unnecessary Medical Tests, Procedures

 

 

August 21, 2014 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Zip code better predictor of health than genetic code

Zip code better predictor of health than genetic code | HSPH News | Harvard School of Public Health.

From the 4 August 2014 Harvard School of Public Health News item

In St. Louis, Missouri, Delmar Boulevard marks a sharp dividing line between the poor, predominately African American neighborhood to the north and a more affluent, largely white neighborhood to the south. Education and health also follow the “Delmar Divide,” with residents to the north less likely to have a bachelor’s degree and more likely to have heart disease or cancer.

Pointing to Delmar as an example, Melody Goodman, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, recently spoke to a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) audience about the links between segregation and poor health. An HSPH alumna, Goodman gave the keynote address at the first annual symposium sponsored by the Department of Biostatistics Summer Program in Quantitative Sciences. She told the audience at the July 24, 2014 event, which was held at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “Your zip code is a better predictor of your health than your genetic code.”

August 21, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Everything you need to know about back pain in 11 minutes

Posting this because I can relate. Was diagnosed with a lumbar sprain two weeks ago. It was only acute for two days. Am better now and going to physical therapy once a week for awhile.

Dr. Evans has videos on other health subjects at http://www.evanshealthlab.com
Topics include smoking, insomnia, type 2 diabetes,

Everything you need to know about back pain in 11 minutes.

From the YouTube site

Published on Jan 24, 2014

Check out our new website, http://www.evanshealthlab.com/
Follow Dr. Mike for new videos! http://twitter.com/docmikeevans

Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Evans Health Lab fuses clinicians and creatives, filmmakers and patients, social entrepreneurs and best evidence to create “edutaining” healthcare information.

 

 

Exercise is also mentioned as a possible replacement for unnecessary medical testing/health screenings.
(Remember, discuss personal health decisions with your health care provider!)
From the YouTube link below

Who knew questioning medical tests could be so much fun? Watch Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” with lyrics that advocate more
sensible medical testing. James McCormick, co-host of the Best Science Medicine Podcast, wrote this pitch perfect parody.  The
ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign educates both physicians and the public to question medical tests and
treatments.

 

August 21, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | | Leave a comment

[Infographic] Water: Do You Need 8 Glasses a Day?

From the 14 August 2014 post at Cleveland Clinic Health Pub

 

When it comes to quenching your thirst, water rules. But when it comes to knowing how much water you should drink every day, opinions are all over the map.

Should you buy a 2-liter water bottle to get your 8 ounces in every day? Or is drinking when you’re thirsty enough to satisfy your fluid needs?

We asked three Cleveland Clinic experts.

“The range of fluid intake needs is quite broad, depending on your metabolism, activitylevel, ambient temperature and age,” says preventive medicine specialist Roxanne Sukol, MD. “It’s better to focus on urine output: if it’s almost clear, you’re good. If it’s dark yellow or has a strong odor, try fixing it with a couple of glasses of water.”

Your diet also matters, adds registered dietitian Mira Ilic, RD, LD. “Nutritional guidelines cover all fluids, including the water found in food, juice, tea and milk,” she says.  “Fruits and vegetables alone can meet 20 percent of your fluid needs when you eat a lot of produce.”

Your health is another key factor, notes internist Melissa Klein, MD. “Fluid needs increase when you’re sweating from a fever because you lose more water through your skin,” she says. “When you lose a lot fluid, whether it’s from sweating or diarrhea, we encourage you to drink fluids with water, salt and sugar to keep your body balanced.”

How much water should you drink each day? Infographic on HealthHub from Cleveland Clinic

August 21, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Clearing the air on a WHO study

From the 17 July 2014 Association of Health Care Journalists post

Last week, I encountered yet another example of why it’s so important to always read the whole study — not just the press release. In this case, it was actually a report, not a study. A press release from Alzheimer’s International with the somewhat misleading headline, “Smoking Increases Risk Of Dementia” arrived in my inbox, citing a new World Health Organization report that put smokers at a 45% higher risk for developing the disease than non-smokers.

 

It’s a good reminder that regardless of the reputation of the organization or institution issuing a report, study or press release, read the source information yourself. You never know what you may find.

WHO

WHO (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

July 21, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] The unidentified cause of one man’s hypertension: Racism

The unidentified cause of one man’s hypertension: Racism.

From the 20 January 2014 Kevin MD post

Meet Damien, my Facebook friend, photographer, and IT guy.

This morning, he messages me: “I would like to make an appointment.”

I reply: “For?”

“High blood pressure.”

 

I offer to see him, but he never comes in. Weeks later, he writes, “I got busy Pam. How are you? High blood pressure pills keep making me sick. I am doing the best I can. On bad days it is like 208/118.”

Friends don’t let Facebook friends die. And 208/118 is incompatible with life. I’m a family doc–a-sleuth. It’s my job to spy on people. On Damien’s page, I find a dozen photos of lynchings — his reaction to today’s Trayvon Martin verdict. A black boy murdered in a land where killers roam free. Trayvon died a senseless death, but Damien shouldn’t have to. I suspect today is a bad day for Damien’s arteries. So I call him up. “I’m worried about you, man. I’m coming over to check on you tonight.” An hour later, I’m in his living room.

…..

July 20, 2014 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Youth regularly receive pro-marijuana tweets

 

Researchers say pro-pot messages set stage for drug use

 AUDIO: Twitter has become one of the most popular social media sites among young people, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been looking at Twitter….

Click here for more information. 

Hundreds of thousands of American youth are following marijuana-related Twitter accounts and getting pro-pot messages several times each day, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found.

The tweets are cause for concern, they said, because young people are thought to be especially responsive to social media influences. In addition, patterns of drug use tend to be established in a person’s late teens and early 20s.

In a study published online June 27 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the Washington University team analyzed messages tweeted from May 1 through Dec. 31, 2013, by a Twitter account called Weed Tweets@stillblazintho. Among pro-marijuana accounts, this one was selected because it has the most Twitter followers — about 1 million. During the eight-month study period, the account posted an average of 11 tweets per day.

“As people are becoming more accepting of marijuana use and two states have legalized the drug for recreational use, it is important to remember that it remains a dangerous drug of abuse,” said principal investigator Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, PhD. “I’ve been studying what is influencing attitudes to change dramatically and where people may be getting messages about marijuana that are leading them to believe the drug is not hazardous.”

Although 19 states now allow marijuana use for medical purposes, much of the evidence for its effectiveness remains anecdotal. Even as Americans are relaxing their attitudes about marijuana, in 2011 marijuana contributed to more than 455,000 emergency room visits in the United States, federal research shows. Some 13 percent of those patients were ages 12 to 17.

A majority of Americans favor legalizing recreational use of the drug, and 60 percent of high school seniors report they don’t believe regular marijuana use is harmful. A recent report from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said that more Americans are using cannabis as their perception of the health risk declines. The report stated that for youth and young adults, “more permissive cannabis regulations correlate with decreases in the perceived risk of use.”

 IMAGE: This is another recent marijuana-related message from the Weed Tweets Twitter account.

Click here for more information. 

Cavazos-Rehg said Twitter also is influencing young people’s attitudes about the drug. Studying Weed Tweets, the team counted 2,285 tweets during the eight-month study. Of those, 82 percent were positive about the drug, 18 percent were either neutral or did not focus on marijuana, and 0.3 percent expressed negative attitudes about it.

Many of the tweets were meant to be humorous. Others implied that marijuana helps a person feel good or relax, and some mentioned different ways to get high.

With the help of a data analysis firm, the investigators found that of those receiving the tweets, 73 percent were under 19. Fifty-four percent were 17 to 19 years old, and almost 20 percent were 16 or younger. About 22 percent were 20 to 24 years of age. Only 5 percent of the followers were 25 or older.

“These are risky ages when young people often begin experimentation with drugs,” explained Cavazos-Rehg, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “It’s an age when people are impressionable and when substance-use behaviors can transition into addiction. In other words, it’s a very risky time of life for people to be receiving messages like these.”

Cavazos-Rehg said it isn’t possible from this study to “connect the dots” between positive marijuana tweets and actual drug use, but she cites previous research linking substance use to messages from television and billboards. She suggested this also may apply to social media.

“Studies looking at media messages on traditional outlets like television, radio, billboards and magazines have shown that media messages can influence substance use and attitudes about substance use,” she said. “It’s likely a young person’s attitudes and behaviors may be influenced when he or she is receiving daily, ongoing messages of this sort.”

The researchers also learned that the Twitter account they tracked reached a high number of African-Americans and Hispanics compared with Caucasians. Almost 43 percent were African-American, and nearly 12 percent were Hispanic. In fact, among Hispanics, Weed Tweets ranked in the top 30 percent of all Twitter accounts followed.

“It was surprising to see that members of these minority groups were so much more likely than Caucasians to be receiving these messages,” Cavazos-Rehg said, adding that there is particular concern about African-Americans because their rates of marijuana abuse and dependence are about twice as high as the rate in Caucasians and Hispanics.

The findings point to the need for a discussion about the pro-drug messages young people receive, Cavazos-Rehg said.

 AUDIO: Twitter has become one of the most popular social media sites among young people, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been looking at Twitter….

Click here for more information. 

“There are celebrities who tweet to hundreds of thousands of followers, and it turns out a Twitter handle that promotes substance use can be equally popular,” she said. “Because there’s not much regulation of social media platforms, that could lead to potentially harmful messages being distributed. Regulating this sort of thing is going to be challenging, but the more we can provide evidence that harmful messages are being received by vulnerable kids, the more likely it is we can have a discussion about the types of regulation that might be appropriate.”

 

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Only 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation alleviates stress

 PITTSBURGH—Mindfulness meditation has become an increasingly popular way for people to improve their mental and physical health, yet most research supporting its benefits has focused on lengthy, weeks-long training programs.

New research from Carnegie Mellon University is the first to show that brief mindfulness meditation practice – 25 minutes for three consecutive days – alleviates psychological stress. Published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, the study investigates how mindfulness meditation affects people’s ability to be resilient under stress.

“More and more people report using meditation practices for stress reduction, but we know very little about how much you need to do for stress reduction and health benefits,” said lead author J. David Creswell, associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

For the study, Creswell and his research team had 66 healthy individuals aged 18-30 years old participate in a three-day experiment. Some participants went through a brief mindfulness meditation training program; for 25 minutes for three consecutive days, the individuals were given breathing exercises to help them monitor their breath and pay attention to their present moment experiences. A second group of participants completed a matched three-day cognitive training program in which they were asked to critically analyze poetry in an effort to enhance problem-solving skills.

Following the final training activity, all participants were asked to complete stressful speech and math tasks in front of stern-faced evaluators. Each individual reported their stress levels in response to stressful speech and math performance stress tasks, and provided saliva samples for measurement of cortisol, commonly referred to as the stress hormone.

The participants who received the brief mindfulness meditation training reported reduced stress perceptions to the speech and math tasks, indicating that the mindfulness meditation fostered psychological stress resilience. More interestingly, on the biological side, the mindfulness mediation participants showed greater cortisol reactivity.

“When you initially learn mindfulness mediation practices, you have to cognitively work at it – especially during a stressful task,” said Creswell. “And, these active cognitive efforts may result in the task feeling less stressful, but they may also have physiological costs with higher cortisol production.”

Creswell’s group is now testing the possibility that mindfulness can become more automatic and easy to use with long-term mindfulness meditation training, which may result in reduced cortisol reactivity.

 

###

In addition to Creswell, the research team consisted of Carnegie Mellon’s Laura E. Pacilio and Emily K. Lindsay and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Kirk Warren Brown.

The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse Opportunity Fund supported this research.

For more information, visit http://www.psy.cmu.edu/people/creswell.html.

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Sandalwood scent facilitates wound healing and skin regeneration

 Olfactory receptors in the skin detected

Skin cells possess an olfactory receptor for sandalwood scent, as researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have discovered. Their data indicate that the cell proliferation increases and wound healing improves if those receptors are activated. This mechanism constitutes a possible starting point for new drugs and cosmetics. The team headed by Dr Daniela Busse and Prof Dr Dr Dr med habil Hanns Hatt from the Department for Cellphysiology published their report in the “Journal of Investigative Dermatology“.

The nose is not the only place where olfactory receptors occur

Humans have approximately 350 different types of olfactory receptors in the nose. The function of those receptors has also been shown to exist in, for example spermatozoa, the prostate, the intestine and the kidneys. The team from Bochum has now discovered them in keratinocytes – cells that form the outermost layer of the skin.

Experiments with cultures of human skin cells

The RUB researchers studied the olfactory receptor that occurs in the skin, namely OR2AT4, and discovered that it is activated by a synthetic sandalwood scent, so-called Sandalore. Sandalwood aroma is frequently used in incense sticks and is a popular component in perfumes. The activated OR2AT4 receptor triggers a calcium-dependent signal pathway. That pathway ensures an increased proliferation and a quicker migration of skin cells – processes which typically facilitate wound healing. In collaboration with the Dermatology Department at the University of Münster, the cell physiologists from Bochum demonstrated that effect in skin cell cultures and skin explants.

Additional olfactory receptors in skin detected

In addition to OR2AT4, the RUB scientists have also found a variety of other olfactory receptors in the skin, the function of which they are planning to characterise more precisely. “The results so far show that they possess therapeutic and cosmetic potential,” says Prof Hanns Hatt. “Still, we mustn’t forget that concentrated fragrances should be handled with care, until we have ascertained which functions the different types of olfactory receptors in skin cells have.”

 

###

 

Bibliographic record

Daniela Busse et al. (2014): A synthetic sandalwood odorant induces wound healing processes in human keratinocytes via the olfactory receptor OR2AT4, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, DOI: 10.1038/JID.2014.273

Further information

Prof Dr Dr Dr Hanns Hatt, Department for Cellphysiology, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology at the Ruhr-Universität, 44780 Bochum, Germany, phone: +49/234/32-24586, email:Hanns.Hatt@rub.de

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | 1 Comment

[Press Release] MyChart use skyrocketing among cancer patients, UT Southwestern study finds

From the 9-Jul-2014 EurkAlert

 

 IMAGE: From left to right are: Drs. David Gerber and Simon J. Craddock Lee.

Click here for more information. 

DALLAS – July 9, 2014 – There has been a sharp increase in the number of cancer patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center using MyChart, the online, interactive service that allows patients to view laboratory and radiology results, communicate with their healthcare providers, schedule appointments, and renew prescriptions.

Over a six-year period, the number of patients actively using MyChart each year increased five-fold, while the number of total logins each year increased more than 10-fold, according to a study by Dr. David Gerber, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, and Dr. Simon J. Craddock Lee, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences.

“This pattern suggests that not only are far more patients using this technology, but also that they are using it more intensively,” Dr. Gerber said.

These findings, published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, are noteworthy because no prior study has systematically examined the use of electronic patient portals by patients with cancer, even though use of this technology is surging nationwide, creating new terrain in clinical care and doctor-patient relationships.

……

In 2009, Congress allotted $27 billion to support the adoption of Electronic Medical Records. The Department of Health and Human Services began allocating the funding in 2011. UT Southwestern started offering these services years earlier.

…..

“I was struck by the immediacy of the uptake and the volume of use,” Dr. Gerber said. “I suspected that the volume would be high. I did not think that it was going to be multi-fold higher than other patient populations.”

Use of MyChart was greater among cancer patients than among another other patient groups except for children with life threatening medical conditions, according to the study.

“We undertook this study because we suspected that the volume of electronic portal use might be greater among patients with cancer than in other populations,” Dr. Gerber said.

While the study did not directly compare use patterns with non-cancer groups, the average use in the current study was four to eight times greater than has been reported previously in primary care, pediatric, surgical subspecialty, and other populations.

Dr. Gerber explained that patient use of electronic portals to receive and convey information may have particular implications in cancer care. Laboratory and radiology results may be more likely to represent significant clinical findings, such as disease progression.

“I think we are still learning how patients understand and use the complex medical data, such as scan reports, that they increasingly receive first-hand electronically,” Dr. Gerber said.

Furthermore, symptoms reported by patients with cancer may be more likely to represent medical urgencies. Notably, the study found that 30 percent of medical advice requests from patients were sent after clinic hours.

 

July 11, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] In the gut, immunity is a 2-way street

 

The time-course of an immune response begins w...

The time-course of an immune response begins with the initial pathogen encounter, (or initial vaccination) and leads to the formation and maintenance of active immunological memory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that many diseases are triggered or maintained by changes in bacterial communities in the gut. However, the general view up into now has been rather simple: bacteria stimulate the immune system, leading to inflammation or autoimmune disorders in a single direction.

Now, in work published in Immunity, scientists led by Sidonia Fagarasan from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Science in Japan have painted a more complex picture: the gut immune system does not simply prevent the influx of pathogens, but is actively involved in the maintenance of a rich and healthy community of gut bacteria. They propose that faults in the immune regulation lead to changes in the bacterial community that in turn feed back into the immune system.

In the study, the group demonstrated that the regulation by immune T cells of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that plays a key role in immunity in the gut, is critical for the maintenance of rich bacterial communities in mammal guts.

They began by studying mice with various immune deficiencies and attempted to restore the mice by providing the missing components. They monitored the bacterial communities in the mice’s guts with or without the reconstitutions and evaluated the flow of information between the immune system and bacteria. They discovered that the precise control of IgA production by regulatory T cells is critical for keeping a rich and balanced bacterial community.

To investigate how bacteria feed back to the host, they looked at germ-free mice (mice born and maintained sterile in special incubators) and young pups that had been transplanted with different bacterial communities (either by injection of bacteria or by painting the fur with fecal bacteria extracts from normal or immune-deficient mice). They discovered that the immune system “sees” and responds differently to different bacterial communities. Rich and balanced bacterial communities seem to be perceived as “self” and induce a quick maturation of the immune system and gut responses (induction of regulatory T cells and IgA), while a poor and unbalanced bacterial community is apparently perceived as “non-self” and induces responses aimed at eliminating it (T cells with inflammatory properties and IgG or IgE responses).

According to Sidonia Fagarasan, who led the work, “This study should have an impact on the way we understand immune-related disorders associated with bacteria dysbiosis in the gut. In order to reestablish a healthy state we need to interfere not only with the bacteria, by providing probiotics or through fecal transplantation, but also with the immune system, by correcting the faults caused either by inherited deficiencies or by aging.”

“It was surprising,” she continues, “to see how the reconstitution of T cell-deficient mice with a special regulatory T cell type leads to dramatic changes in gut bacterial communities. It was spectacular to see how the immune system perceives and reacts to different bacteria communities. It gives us hopes that with a better knowledge of the symbiotic relationships between the immune system and bacteria in the gut, we could intervene and induce modifications aiming to reestablish balance and restore health.”

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] 9 out of 10 health entries on Wikipedia are inaccurate, study finds

From the 14 May 2014 post at Venture Beat News

Millions of people around the world immediately go to the Web for information after feeling a mysterious ache, pain, rash, or bump. This often results in either a panic attack or a false sense of calm. Doctors have warned against this practice since the days of Netscape, and now a new report puts some science behind their fears.

Researchers at Campbell University in North Carolina compared Wikipedia entries on 10 of the costliest health problems with peer-reviewed medical research on the same illnesses. Those illnesses included heart disease, lung cancer, depression, and hypertension, among others.

The researchers found that nine out of the 10 Wikipedia entries studied contained inaccurate and sometimes dangerously misleading information. “Wikipedia articles … contain many errors when checked against standard peer-reviewed sources,” the report states. “Caution should be used when using Wikipedia to answer questions regarding patient care.”

At Wikipedia anybody can contribute to entries on health problems — no medical training (or even common sense) is required.

“While Wikipedia is a convenient tool for conducting research, from a public health standpoint patients should not use it as a primary resource because those articles do not go through the same peer-review process as medical journals,” said the report’s lead author, Dr. Robert Hasty in a statement.

And there’s a lot of health information on Wikipedia. The site contains more than 31 million entries, and at least 20,000 of them are health-related, the report says.

The study findings were published in this month’s Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. You can see the full text of the study here.

Via: Daily Mail

More about the companies and people from this article:

Wikipedia is a project operated by a non-profit organization, the Wikimedia Foundation, and created and maintained by a strong community of 80,000 international active volunteer editors. Founded in 2001 by Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia has be… read more »

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Related Resources

How to evaluate health information (flahiff.google.com)

Evaluating health information (MedlinePlus)

How to evaluate health information (NIH)

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

Go4Life – Great Outline on Four Types of Exercises from the US National Institute on Aging

Go4Life.

Great ideas on a variety of exercises. Not for seniors only!

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 7.03.39 AM

July 9, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Health Education (General Public) | , | Leave a comment

[News article] Pharmacists say collaboration bill will improve care | CJOnline.com

Pharmacists say collaboration bill will improve care | CJOnline.com.

From the 7 July 2014 article

Kansas pharmacists say a bill that went into effect this past week will improve patient care by allowing them to enter into agreements with physicians to do things like monitor and change medication levels without new orders.

Greg Burger, a pharmacist at Lawrence Memorial Hospital who helped push for the bill, said studies have shown reductions in cost and improvements in care when pharmacists have the authority to adjust medication levels, provide the right antibiotics for certain infections and adjust for drug allergies without waiting for a doctor’s say-so.

“There’s all kinds of things we do in hospitals now that we’re hoping to expand out to where pharmacists might be in clinics,” Burger said.

….

English: Well Street Late Night Pharmacy This ...

English: Well Street Late Night Pharmacy This pharmacy is tucked in behind 1594903 making it very handy for getting prescriptions filled after visiting the Doctor’s surgery. The flat-roofed building to the left and behind is a Co-operative pharmacists, one would have thought that the competition would be quite high, but they seem to manage alright. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

July 9, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog]Technology and the doctor-patient relationship

Technology and the doctor-patient relationship.

From the 1 July 2014 KevinMD article

I often hear people talking about their doctors.  I overhear it restaurants, nail salons, while walking down the street. I hear what people think of their doctors, what their doctors said or what they didn’t say, why people were disappointed by or validated by their doctors.  I hear people analyzing, criticizing, and surmising about this relationship quite a bit, and I don’t blame them. The relationship you have with your doctor is a critical one, and yet it is fraught with misunderstanding, disappointment, and distrust. People didn’t used to doubt their doctors the way they do today, and I believe the essence of the doctor-patient  relationship has degraded in our culture.

 

In large part, I believe this is due to technology.

The Mayo Clinic recently announced they have partnered with Apple to create what they call the Health Kit.  Although the details are still unknown, the product is supposedly one that will allow patients to become more involved in their health care, from diagnosis to treatment delivery. This has always been the doctor’s job, but with the technology booming, it is no surprise that the next step would be computerized health care.

So is this a good thing, or a bad thing? I have mixed feelings, and I think the results will be mixed as well. Statistics show that positive relationships and supportive interactions with others are crucial parts of living a healthy life. Can a computer ever truly replace that je ne se quoi that occurs between a doctor and a patient?  In my own practice, I would like to believe that the interaction between my patients and myself is part of what leads to healing. I don’t believe a computer could do that as well as I can.

Here’s the problem, though.  Doctors are inundated with demands from insurance companies, paperwork, accountability measures, and check lists upon checklists required for medical records, billing, and measurable use. This situation worsened several years ago, with the mandatory implementation of Electronic Medical Records, and then even worse since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

These changes have also affected patients, many of whom have had to drop doctors they have had for many years because those doctors didn’t take the new insurance. The message, whether stated outright or not by advocates or detractors of the new systems, is that this doctor-patient relationship is not really all that important.

….

 

 

July 9, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BBC News – 30,000-year-old giant virus ‘comes back to life’

Thinking this would be great fodder for an global warming/climate change exploitation movie. Something along the lines of the giant virus that killed human civilization…..

 

BBC News – 30,000-year-old giant virus ‘comes back to life’.

From the July 2014 article

An ancient virus has “come back to life” after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, scientists say.

It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it thawed it became infectious once again.

The French scientists say the contagion poses no danger to humans or animals, but other viruses could be unleashed as the ground becomes exposed.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Aix-Marseille in France, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen a virus that’s still infectious after this length of time.”

Biggest virus

The ancient pathogen was discovered buried 30m (100ft) down in the frozen ground.

Called Pithovirus sibericum, it belongs to a class of giant viruses that were discovered 10 years ago.

Pithovirus sibericumThe virus infects amoebas but does not attack human or animal cells

These are all so large that, unlike other viruses, they can be seen under a microscope. And this one, measuring 1.5 micrometres in length, is the biggest that has ever been found.

The last time it infected anything was more than 30,000 years ago, but in the laboratory it has sprung to life once again.

July 9, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | | Leave a comment

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