Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The Pricing Of U.S.Hospital Services:Chaos Behind A Veil Of Secrecy

Excerpts from the report by Uwe E. Reinhardt in  H E A L T H A F F A I R S ~ V o l u m e 2 5 , N u m b e r 1

(DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.25.1.57©2006 Project HOPE–The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.)

ABSTRACT:Although Americans and foreigners alike tend to think of the U.S. healthcare system as being a“market-driven”system, the prices actually paid for health care goods and services in that system remain remarkably opaque.  This paper describes howUS hospitals now price their services to the various third party payers and self paying patients and how that system would have to be changed to accomodate the increasingly popular concept of consumer directed health care. ”[HealthAffairs25, no. 1(2006): 57–69]



December 1, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | | 1 Comment

Too Much Hygiene May Affect Immune System, Study Suggest

HealthDay news image


Antimicrobial used in many products such as soaps, toothpaste tied to raised allergy risks in kids

Excerpts from a November 29, 2010 Health Day news item by Robert Priedt

MONDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) — Children and teens who are overexposed to antibacterial soaps that contain the chemical triclosan may be at increased risk for hay fever and other allergies, a finding that suggests that being too clean can actually make people sick, researchers say.

The study also found that exposure to higher levels of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) may weaken an adult’s immune system.

Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent widely used in products such as antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, medical devices and diaper bags. BPA, which is used to make many types of plastics and other consumer products, is believed to affect human hormones….

…The study findings are published in the Nov. 30 online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.




December 1, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prevent Pneumonia

American Lung Association - Fighting For Air

Excerpts from the American Lung Association Web page

Can Pneumonia be Prevented?


Get a flu shot every year to prevent seasonal influenza. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia, so preventing the flu is a good way to prevent pneumonia!
Get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia if you are at high risk of getting this type of pneumonia.
Be aware of your general health!

Since pneumonia often follows respiratory infections, be aware of any symptoms that linger more than a few days.
Good health habits—a healthy diet, rest, regular exercise, etc.—help you from getting viruses and respiratory illnesses. They also help promote fast recovery when you do get a cold, the flu or other respiratory illness.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

Speak Up: What You Should Know about Pain Management

Excerpts from the Joint Commission Patient Handout

Questions To Ask Your Caregivers
􏰀What pain medicine is being ordered or given to you?
􏰀Can you explain the doses and times that the
medicine needs to be taken?
􏰀What should you do if the medicine makes you sick
to your stomach?
􏰀What can you do if the pain medicine is not working?
􏰀What else can you do to help treat your pain?

Are there other ways to relieve pain?

That will depend on your illness or condition and how
much pain you have. Sometimes pain can be relieved
in other ways. Some other treatments for pain are
listed here
􏰀Acupuncture, which uses small needles to block pain
􏰀Taking your mind off the pain with movies, games
and conversation
􏰀Electrical nerve stimulation, which uses small jolts
of electricity to block pain
􏰀Physical therapy 􏰀Exercise
􏰀Hypnosis 􏰀Heat or cold
􏰀Massage 􏰀Relaxation

The Joint Commissionis an ” independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States”
Information for the General Public includes Helping You Choose Guides

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Drug Maker Wrote Book Under 2 Doctors’ Names, Documents Say

Entire medical textbook written by pharmaceutical company …”a new level of chutzpah”

Excerpts from the November 2009 NY Times article

Two prominent authors of a 1999 book teaching family doctors how to treat psychiatric disorders provided acknowledgment in the preface for an “unrestricted educational grant” from a major pharmaceutical company.But the drug maker, then known as SmithKline Beecham, actually had much more involvement than the book described, newly disclosed documents show. The grant paid for a writing company to develop the outline and text for the two named authors, the documents show, and then the writing company said it planned to show three drafts directly to the pharmaceutical company for comments and “sign-off” and page proofs for “final approval.”

On a related note…Playing Doctor: How to Spin Pharmaceutical Research

An excerpt from this December 2010 Atlantic article

His first assignment was to produce scientific abstracts for studies of a newly approved antibiotic. Unfortunately, the antibiotic had a major weakness: it did not work against pneumococcus, one of the most common bugs a doctor will see. But this shortcoming was not something that the drug’s manufacturer— hich was funding the articles and abstracts—was keen to point out. So David and his fellow medical writers were told to avoid the topic.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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