Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Recently Released by Consumers International: “Access to Knowledge for Consumers”

Many health news items posted here are derived from copyrighted material, including articles from biomedical journals.
Of course, many biomedical journals provide (as the New England Journal of Medicine) provide portions of their journals free of charge online.  Quite a few biomedical journals allow free access to articles older than a specified time (as 6 month, 1 year, 2 years).

Here is a related item from Resource Shelf

Recently Released by Consumers International: “Access to Knowledge for Consumers”

October 15, 2010 00:07

From an Open Society Initiatives Announcement:

Information Program grantee [from the Open Society Initiatives]Consumers International has released the results of a global survey designed to expose the obstacles consumers face in gaining access to education and cultural materials. The survey was conducted in 13 languages, covering 15,000 consumers across 24 countries.

The survey found that “The biggest barriers that consumers face in accessing copyright works are those created by copyright law. Even so, consumers around the world will choose original copyright works over pirated copies, provided that they are available at an affordable price.”
[Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]

While borrowing from libraries and other cultural institutions provided a viable alternative for some consumers priced out of original copyrighted works, the survey found that, particularly in developing countries, “access to libraries is limited and the works they carry are few.” [Editor Flahiff’s note…She saw this first hand during a short Peace Corps service project trip to Liberia, West Africa in May 2009 ]Although the authors of the survey saw “copyleft” initiatives like Open Educational Resources and Free and Open Source Software as great ways to help consumers vault access barriers, they concluded that governments needed to act “to address consumers’ needs for lower cost original materials to buy, borrow and access online.”

Direct to Full Text (336 Pages; PDF)

Full Text Also Available in Spanish and French

See Also: “Access to Knowledge – A Guide for Everyone” (2010)

The purpose of this book is to provide an accessible introduction to the A2K movement and the institutions, concepts and issues involved in it, for those who would like to become involved but don’t know where to start. In a truly collaborative exercise, information from various freely-licensed sources has been combined with text especially written for this book, and the whole has been made available for you to freely copy, share and modify.

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources | 1 Comment

Skin Exposures and Effects in the Work Place

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently published a new Work Place Safety and Health Topic.

The Skin Exposures and Effects notes the following

It is estimated that more than 13 million workers in the United States are potentially exposed to chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. Dermal exposure to hazardous agents can result in a variety of occupational diseases and disorders, including occupational skin diseases (OSD) and systemic toxicity. Historically, efforts to control workplace exposures to hazardous agents have focused on inhalation rather than skin exposures. As a result, assessment strategies and methods are well developed for evaluating inhalation exposures in the workplace; standardized methods are currently lacking for measuring and assessing skin exposures.

This CDC skin exposure Web page includes information about skin anatomy and function, skin hazards, occupations at risk,
skin absorption into the body , and contact dermatitis.

Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

Walking 6 to 9 Miles a Week May Help Save Memory

From a Health Day news item

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) — Walking about six miles a week appears to protect against brain shrinkage in old age, which in turn helps stem the onset of memory problems and cognitive decline, new research reveals.

“We have always been in search of the drug or the magic pill to help treat brain disorders,” noted Kirk I. Erickson, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and the study’s lead author. “But really what we are after may be, at least partially, even simpler than that. Just by walking regularly, and so maintaining a little bit of moderate physical activity, you can reduce your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and [can] spare brain tissue.”

A report on the research, which was supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, is published online Oct. 13 in Neurology.

[Not yet available online (as of Oct 13, 2010)…if it is only available by paid subscription, check with your local public, academic, or medical library. Ask for a reference librarian. If it is only available from a library where you do not have borrowing privileges, there may be a charge for a copy. Again, ask a reference librarian for details.]

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

FDA issues warnings to marketers of unapproved ‘chelation’ products

From a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Oct 14, 2010 news item

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today warned eight companies that their over-the-counter (OTC) chelation products are unapproved drugs and devices and that it is a violation of federal law to make unproven claims about these products. There are no FDA-approved OTC chelation products.
The companies that received the warning letters claim that their products treat a range of diseases by removing toxic metals from the body. Some also claim to treat autism spectrum disorder, cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and other serious conditions. Some companies that received the warning letters also claim their products will detect the presence of heavy metals to justify the need for chelation therapy.
The drug products involved have not been evaluated by the FDA for treatment of these diseases, and violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Despite the claims of the companies that received warning letters, the effectiveness in treating any of the diseases listed is unsubstantiated. Depending on the condition, when relying on unproven OTC chelation products to treat serious conditions, patients may delay seeking effective medical care.
In addition, there are serious safety issues associated with chelation products, which can alter the levels of certain substances in the blood.  Even when used under medical supervision, these products can cause serious harm, including dehydration, kidney failure, and death.
FDA press releases are available through subscription.

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: