Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Healthy Recipes for a Healthy Life

From the Healthy Women Today April 5 2011 newsletter

egg salad

Healthy Recipes for a Healthy Life

If you have a taste for home cooking this month, check out these mouthwatering recipes from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. We picked a few of our healthy favorites. Let us know what you think!


April 6, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | Leave a comment

What The World Needs Now? More Wisdom

What The World Needs Now? More Wisdom

From the April 6 2011 Medical News Today article

Revolution in Libya. Revolution in Egypt. Revolution in Tunisia. The Middle East and North Africa face unprecedented change as dictatorships crumble and people clamor for democracy.

Yet it remains unclear whether these nations will experience more equity under new regimes. The reshaping of societies raises fundamental questions that require monumental thought. “What the world needs now, especially in these times, is more wisdom,” observes Dolores Pushkar, a professor in Concordia’s Department of Psychology and member of the Centre for Research in Human Development.

While all nations need wise leaders, the Middle East and North Africa require sensible leaders with fresh outlooks who are in antithesis to self-serving dictators of the past. “Since wisdom is defined as something that benefits society as a whole as well as the self,” continues Pushkar.

Human wellbeing and life satisfaction

Current events are on Pushkar’s mind, since the bulk of her research has focused on human wellbeing and life satisfaction. And she’s found wisdom plays a central role in both. “Wisdom and intelligence aren’t the same thing,” she points out, estimating that only 5 percent of the population can be described as truly wise and that advanced insight begins after adolescence as the brain matures.

Pushkar recently coauthored an overview on the topic, What Philosophers Say Compared with What Psychologists Find in Discerning Values: How Wise People Interpret Life [article full text]. Her coauthors include Andrew Burr, Sarah Etezadi and Tracy Lyster of the Concordia Department of Psychology and Sheila Mason of the Department of Philosophy….

…No single definition of wisdom exists, but hallmarks include knowledge, deep understanding of human nature, life contentment, empathy and the flexibility to see issues from others’ perspectives. “Wise people can see the positive side of a negative situation,” says Etezadi, adding the wise are open to new avenues. “A practical aspect of wisdom is how it translates to street smarts.”

Injustice can prevent people from garnering wisdom

Yet studies have shown that overwhelming and prolonged stress, in cases such as genocide or soul-crushing child abuse, are injustices that can prevent people from garnering wisdom. “The more overwhelming the stress, the greater its magnitude, the less likely people are to develop wisdom from the experience,” says Pushkar, citing research from peers undertaken after major calamities and wars. “Chronic adversity can destroy wisdom.”

Pushkar stresses that wise people often espouse common sense – but what makes them smarter than most is how they actually follow their own advice. And contrary to popular notions, gender does not influence wisdom. “For centuries, males had access to education and that’s how the stereotype of the wise old man came to be,” says Etezadi.

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | 1 Comment

Managing Traffic In The US Healthcare Sector

Managing Traffic In The US Healthcare Sector

From the April 4 2011 Medical News Today article

Moving patients through hospitals in an efficient manner can increase staff satisfaction, patient safety and even your bottom line, according to one industry insider.

It’s a familiar sight in most US hospitals: patient overcrowding, a lack of medical staff and long wait times for both emergency and elective procedures.

Eugene Litvak, President and CEO of the Institute of Healthcare Optimization (IHO), says demand for health services now exceeds capacity in many countries. “But here in the US, the situation is even deeper. Because of the healthcare bill, we are going to add another 30 million to the demand.”

Litvak points to an increase in demand from baby boomers as one reason, along with the problem of uneven patient flow. “When we have a peak in patient demand, that doesn’t just impact the throughput of waiting time. It also affects patient safety and staff satisfaction. What happens when we have a peak? We don’t have enough staff, because no hospital staffs to the peak 24 hours a day every week.”

Litvak says there are two ways of addressing the issue: “The first is to go to government and say, ‘Give us more money so we can staff through the peak’. This is not always a feasible solution, especially with the current situation in the US. The second solution is to challenge the nature of those peaks by drilling deeper and finding out how to get rid of them.” …

….CFO Healthcare US Summit 2011 is an exclusive C-level event reserved for 100 participants that includes expert workshops, facilitated roundtables, peer-to-peer networks and co-ordinated meetings.

For more information, visit this page.



April 6, 2011 Posted by | Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health | Leave a comment

Climate Change Threatens Global Security, Warn Medical And Military Leaders

Percentage of advancing glaciers in the Alps i...

Image via Wikipedia

Climate Change Threatens Global Security, Warn Medical And Military Leaders

From the April 5 2011 Medical News Today item

Medical and military leaders have come together today to warn that climate change not only spells a global health catastrophe, but also threatens global stability and security.

“Climate change poses an immediate and grave threat, driving ill-health and increasing the risk of conflict, such that each feeds upon the other,” they write in an editorial published on today [full text]. Their views come ahead of an open meeting on these issues to be held at the British Medical Association on 20 June 2011….



April 6, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

World’s Leading Scientists Join Forces To Set Priority Interventions To Save 36 Million Lives From Non-Communicable Diseases

World’s Leading Scientists Join Forces To Set Priority Interventions To Save 36 Million Lives From Non-Communicable Diseases***

From the April 5 2011 article

NCDs (non-communicable diseases), mainly heart disease, strokediabetes,cancers, and chronic respiratory disease, are responsible for two out of every three deaths worldwide and the toll is rising.***A landmark global alliance between leading scientists and four of the world’s largest NGOs brings together evidence from a 5-year collaboration with almost 100 of the world’s best NCD experts and proposes a short-list of five priority interventions to tackle this increasing global crisis. Reducing tobacco and salt use, improving diets and physical activity, reducing hazardous alcohol intake, and achieving universal access to essential drugs and technologies have been chosen for their health effects, cost-effectiveness, low costs of implementation, and political and financial feasibility….

….The top priority must be to reduce tobacco use followed by lowering salt intake, say the authors. Key to the success of this intervention will be the accelerated implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to achieve the proposed goal, “a world essentially free from tobacco by 2040”, where less than 5% of the population uses tobacco; achieving this goal would prevent at least 5.5 million premature deaths over 10 years.

By 2025, they would like to see salt intake reduced to less than 5 g per person. They point out that reducing global salt consumption by just 15% through mass-media campaigns and reformulation of processed foods and salt substitution could prevent an estimated 8.5 million deaths in just 10 years.

Importantly, the costs of these interventions will be small, say the authors. The yearly cost to implement tobacco control and salt reduction will be less than US 50 cents per person per year in countries like India and China. The total package of priority interventions will require a new global commitment of about $9 billion per year.

*** The free full text of this Lancet article may be found here, however registration is required.

Geneva, Switzerland, 17 May 2011 – Patient advocates have called for a stronger role in setting the agenda in the design and delivery of strategies to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and chronic diseases more broadly. This call was made at a Side Meeting to the World Health Organization (WHO) World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was hosted by the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) and two of its member patient groups; Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) and attended by over 50 participants including member state representatives, health professionals and WHO representatives…

…Speakers from Africa, Latin America and Europe highlighted, with practical examples, how patient advocates are contributing knowledge, experience and resources to support efforts to tackle chronic disease. Across the world in high, middle and low income countries, patient groups routinely provide health information and training to patients and health professionals. These have been shown to support prevention strategies and effective disease management to ensure that patients’ needs are met. ….

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Survey: 72 Percent Of Americans Think Health Care System Needs Major Overhaul; Nearly All Want More Coordinated Care, Doctors Using Health IT

New Survey: 72 Percent Of Americans Think Health Care System Needs Major Overhaul; Nearly All Want More Coordinated Care, Doctors Using Health IT

From an April 5 2011 Health Day news article

Seven of 10 adults think the U.S. health care system needs to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey released today. The concerns reflect widespread experiences with access barriers, poorly coordinated care and growing costs. The survey also reveals strong support for more patient-centered care systems and innovative use of teams and information systems.

The new survey found that a large majority of U.S. adults have concerns about access, with 71 percent reporting problems gaining access to needed health care. These concerns included the inability to get timely doctors’ appointments or advice from their doctor on the phone, or to obtain after-hours care without going to the emergency room. Nearly half experienced poorly coordinated care (47%), and more than half reported wasteful (54%) care. In addition, one in five reported they or a family member ended up with an infection or complication as a result of medical care, or said that a health care provider made a surgical or medical mistake. When asked about the future, three quarters of people surveyed (74 %) are worried they won’t get high quality care when they need it, or that they won’t be able to afford their medical bills if they become seriously ill……

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD)© – Resource for Environmental Chemicals/Human Disease Relationships

Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD)© – Resource for Environmental Chemicals/Human Disease Relationships

From the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Fact sheet

The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD) elucidates molecular mechanisms by which environmental chemicals affect human disease. CTD is a data file on the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET®). It contains manually curated data describing cross-species chemical–gene/protein interactions and chemical– and gene–disease relationships. The results provide insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying variable susceptibility and environmentally influenced diseases. These data will also provide insights into complex chemical–gene and protein interaction networks. CTD is compiled by the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL), with support from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Once in the complete CTD site via TOXNET, users can perform several types of searches, for example:

• Browse relationships among chemicals, and obtain detailed information about them, including structure, toxicology data and related genes, diseases, pathways and references. See: Chemicals

• Browse relationships among diseases, and obtain detailed information about them, including related chemicals, genes, pathways and references. See: Diseases

• Browse search for genes from diverse vertebrates and invertebrates by symbol, synonym, accession ID, organism taxon, chemical, interaction type, disease or Gene Ontology annotation. See: Genes

• Search for cross-species chemical–gene and protein interactions curated from the published literature. Interactions may be retrieved by chemical, interaction type, gene, organism or Gene Ontology annotation. See: Chemical–Gene Interactions

• Search for references by gene, organism taxon, chemical, chemical–

gene interaction type, disease, citation information or accession ID. See: References

Further examples of searches that can be conducted once users are in the complete CTD site via TOXNET include:

• Which human diseases are associated with a gene/protein? (Sample query)

• Which human diseases are associated with a chemical? (Sample query)

• Which genes/proteins interact with a chemical? (Sample query)

• Which chemicals interact with a gene/protein? (Sample query)

• Which references report a chemical–gene/protein interaction? (Sample query)

Which cellular functions (GO terms) are affected by a chemical? (Sample query)
Users can also easily conduct their CTD search strategy against other databases, e.g., Hazardous Substances Data Bank®, TOXLINE®, and ChemIDplus®.

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment


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