Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Census Data Aids Disease Simulation Studies

Researchers used U.S. census data to create a synthetic population that helps disease modelers simulate the spread of infectious outbreaks, including H1N1. [From NIMGS News Item, March 31, 2010]


The US Census Bureau is only mandated to count people for Congressional District apportionments.
However, the US Census Bureau has historically increased its role through collecting and disseminating data in many  areas, including housing, health insurance, foreign trade, economics, and state income. 

Non government researchers apply census data in many imaginative and practical ways. For example,  a North Carolina corporation is using population data to “simulate the spread of an infectious outbreak through a community and identify the best ways to intervene”.  A recent news item outlines their progress.

June 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Supportive Patient-Practitioner Relationships May Benefit Patients

According to a recent clinical trial it seems that a practitioner has the ability to boost  symptom alleviation in patients through positive clinical interactions. Participants in this recent study had irritable bowel syndrome. Those who received a placebo (here, simulated acupuncture) had some improvements in their symptoms.  However,  those who received the placebo plus  supportive interactions with the practitioners received even greater improvement. The supportive interactions included detailed questions, expressions of empathy and focused listening. 

A recent posting in this blog, A Mother’s Love, also studied the effects of empathy and focusing on people in need.

June 3, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

Male ‘Pill’ Still a Ways off

An effective male contraception pill seems to be in the future, but progress is being made. Many scientists are focusing on testosterone, a male hormone which is responsible for sperm production.  While excess testosterone halts sperm production, any overabundance of sperm in the body does not last long enough to cause even temporary sterility. 

Go here for a good description of current efforts, including how skin patches and gels could shut down the body’s production of testosterone.

June 3, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | | Leave a comment


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