Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Family Members Caring for Veterans Sacrifice Their Own Health, Jobs

From a November 11 2010 Health Day news release

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) — Many family caregivers of U.S. veterans sacrifice their own health and jobs to care for their loved ones and experience high levels of stress. Even so, 94 percent say they’re proud of their role, says a new study. “The care of a veteran is unique, and in many ways these caregivers are facing even greater challenges than other family caregivers,” said Gail Hunt, president of CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), which released the study to coincide with Veteran’s Day.”This report serves as a reminder that we need to come together to make sure caregivers have adequate resources and support,” Hunt said in an alliance news release.

November 14, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

‘Fake Marijuana’ Users Showing Up in Emergency Rooms

HealthDay news image

Called ‘K2’ or ‘Spice,’ the drug is legal in many states

From a November 11, 2010 Health Day news item

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 –(HealthDay News) — A form of synthetic marijuana known as “K2” is sending young people to the hospital with racing heart beats, extreme anxiety and hallucinations, toxicologists warn.

In recent months, physicians and toxicologists say more young people have been showing up in emergency rooms after smoking synthetic marijuana. Despite the side effects, K2 is legal in many states, although many state legislators are rushing to pass legislation banning it.

Since the start of 2010, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has received nearly 2,000 reports of people who became ill after smoking K2, compared to about a dozen in 2009. Poison control officials described some of the symptoms as “life-threatening.”

K2 is often marketed as incense and sold in packets of herbs laced with synthetic marijuana at “head shops,” gas stations, convenience stores and online for about $30 to $40 per three-gram bag. The drug also goes by other names, including Spice, Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, Yucatan Fire, Solar Flare, K2 Summit, Genie, PEP Spice, and Fire n Ice, according to the U.S. Drug Intelligence Center.

While people who smoke K2 think they’re going to experience deep relaxation and euphoria, those who end up in the hospital report unpleasant experiences, said Dr. Anthony Scalzo, medical director of the Missouri Poison Center and chief of toxicology at St. Louis University.

“The classic symptoms are agitation, anxiety, racing heart beat, elevated blood pressure,” Scalzo said. “And some kids are having very negative psychotropic experiences. One said, ‘I felt like I went down to hell’.”

In some cases, the drug also causes vomiting, tremors and seizures, according to federal drug abuse agencies….

…The chemical makeup of the drug, which he called JWH-018 and JWH-073, was similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, only considerably more potent.

While THC is a cannabinoid, it’s one of many, Huffman said. There are many other substances that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other organs, Huffman said….

…SOURCES: Anthony Scalzo, M.D., chief of toxicology, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.; John Huffman, Ph.D., research professor, organic chemistry, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.

 

 


November 14, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

Happiness is a Focused Mind

HealthDay news imageWhen people’s minds wandered, they reported more dissatisfaction, study found

From a November 11, 2010 Health Day news item

THURSDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) — If you want to be happy, try to stay focused.

New research shows that when people’s minds drifted from the task or activity at hand, they reported being less happy than when they were fully engaged in whatever they were doing.

The human mind is uniquely capable of wandering — that is, to ponder things that have happened, to anticipate things that will happen, and to plan for things that might happen, explained study author Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Harvard University. The ability is one of the traits that makes human beings human, he noted.

Yet, cognitive wandering comes at a cost, which is that when people are thinking about something other than what they’re doing, they feel less happy, the researchers discovered…

….The study is published in the Nov. 12 issue of Science.

 

 

 

November 14, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

Analysis of Opinion Polls Show Americans’ Conflicting Views about the Public Health System

From the article summary at the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation

By: Blendon RJ, Benson JM, SteelFisher GK and Connolly JM
In: Health Affairs, 29(11), pp.2033-2040 [click here for the full text of the article]
Publisher: Project HOPE-The People-To-People Health Foundation, Inc.
Published: November 2010

This analysis of national opinion polls shows that a majority of Americans support increased spending on public health in general and that they see public health interventions as saving money in the long term. At the same time, many do not favor increased federal spending in a number of areas that public health officials deem important. In addition, polls show striking partisan differences, with Republicans much less supportive than Democrats of additional spending on public health. This split may have political implications for the public health component of the new health reform law if there is a change in party control of one or more houses of Congress after the November 2010 elections. As a result, in order to sustain public support for increased spending, it will be critically important to give examples of cost savings from public health programs and to highlight how they have reduced mortality from major chronic illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS.

November 14, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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