Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Emory Healthcare’s unique training shows signific knowledge of quality principles

From the 11 April 2011 EurekaNewsAlert

ATLANTA – The effectiveness of a unique two-pronged educational program has shown significant improvements in knowledge of quality principles by leaders as well as the successful design and launch of QI (quality improvement) projects by frontline staff, according to results outlined in an article in the April 2011 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (

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Lessons learned from the program results, which originated at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, should be useful to health care organizations as they weigh alternative strategies to promote QI activities and a culture of quality across their organizations, according to authors led by Dr. Kimberly Rask, MD, Ph.D, an associate professor in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. The projects that were implemented as part of the practical methods course are being systematically evaluated for sustainability and longer-term impact on patient outcomes.

“This initiative shows the feasibility of implementing a broad-based in-house QI training program for multidisciplinary staff across an integrated health system. Initial assessment shows knowledge improvements and successful QI project implementations, with many projects active up to one year following the courses,” says Dr. Rask.

“The opportunity to improve quality and patient safety in health care settings has been well documented,” Rask adds. “Health care organizations use a variety of strategies to promote quality improvement activities, but there is little evidence to date about the most effective strategies. Studies have shown that clinically focused training in QI techniques can improve patient safety and reduce inefficiency.”

The project spanned five Emory hospitals and a multispecialty physician practice. One two-day program, ‘Leadership for Healthcare Improvement,’ was offered to leadership, and a four-month program, ‘Practical Methods for Healthcare Improvement,’ was offered to frontline staff and middle managers.

Participants in the leadership program completed self-assessments of QI competencies and pre- and post-course QI knowledge tests. Semi-structured interviews with selected participants in the practical methods program were performed to assess QI project sustainability and short-term outcomes. More than 600 employees completed one of the training programs in 2008 and 2009. Leadership course participants significantly improved knowledge in all content areas, and self-assessments revealed high comfort levels with QI principles following the training. All practical methods participants were able to initiate and implement QI projects.

Participants described significant challenges with team functionality, but a majority of the QI projects made progress toward achieving their aim statement goals. A review of completed projects shows that a significant number were sustained up to one year after program completion. Quality leaders continue to modify the program based on learner feedback and institutional goals.



April 12, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , | Leave a comment

Physicians Recommend Different Treatments for Patients Than They Choose for Themselves, Study Finds

From the 11 April 2011 ScienceDaily news article

ScienceDaily (Apr. 11, 2011) — The act of making a recommendation appears to change the way physicians think regarding medical choices, and they often make different choices for themselves than what they recommend to patients, according to a survey study published in the April 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals

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..”In conclusion, when physicians make treatment recommendations, they think differently than when making decisions for themselves,” the authors conclude. “In some circumstances, making recommendations could reduce the quality of medical decisions. In at least some circumstances, however, such as when emotions interfere with optimal decision making, this change in thinking could lead to more optimal decisions. In debating when it is appropriate for physicians to make treatment recommendations to their patients, we must now recognize that the very act of making a recommendation changes the way physicians weigh medical alternatives.”


April 12, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Authors Explain Why Certain Foods Can Be Addictive

From the 11 April 2011 Medical News Today article

Can some people react to certain foods the same way an alcoholic or addict gets “hooked” on their substance of choice? Yes, according to a new study that will appear in the August 2011 print issue ofArchives of General Psychiatry…

…Increasingly, the scientific literature suggests that sugar consumption, in any form, may be the culprit. Yet in their new book, TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust(BSH, 2011), the Griesels point out that our bodies are perfectly capable of consuming, processing and thriving on “natural” foods. However, it is these totally unnatural man-made products that are causing the problems.

“The rise of obesity and other modern diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabeteshypertension, high triglycerides and hypoglycemia, to name a few-along with so-called ‘food addiction’- are all the end result of consuming too many of these ‘engineered’ modern foods in our daily diets,” say Dian and Tom.

Tom says, “These modern foods are deliberately designed to stimulate and excite our taste buds and brains. They all contain refined carbohydrates which, after becoming nutritionally neutered via processing, are often produced with refined sweeteners-both real and artificial, fats and problematic trans-fats, unnaturally high amounts of dietary omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable and manufactured oils, salt, a cornucopia of artificial chemicals, dyes and additives that make these packaged items lethal to our health and addictive to many.”

“Processed food manufacturers know this and create their formulas and recipes with this in mind. They hope you will become addicted to their product. Packaged food items are the highest-profit items in a grocery store; consequently, they are allotted the most space. It is profits, not health, that drive these products, advertising and sales,” elaborates Dian.

“Manufacturers would like us to believe that if it tastes good, it can’t be that bad. They often use marketing tricks or artificial food dyes to fool consumers into thinking that this stuff is healthier than it is,” says Tom.

The Griesels’ conclusion: Refined and processed foods are hazardous to our health, particularly to those who have increased sensitivity to them. Work on satisfying your urges and cravings with the whole natural foods we were all designed to eat. Eat some fruit when the sweet craving strikes.


April 12, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

Actions And Personality, East And West

From the April 12 2011 Medical News Today article

People in different cultures make different assumptions about the people around them, according to an upcoming study published inPsychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The researchers studied the brain waves of people with Caucasian and Asian backgrounds and found that cultural differences in how we think about other people are embedded deep in our minds. Cultural differences are evident very deep in the brain, challenging a commonsense notion that culture is skin deep.

April 12, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

Raw Food Diet – Good for Your Health?

The Harvard Medical School has published a one page fact sheet on the Raw Food Diet.


What Is the Raw Food Diet?

Although there are different versions of the raw food diet, they all have one thing in common: Foods can’t be heated above 118° F….Food processing is limited to blenders and dehydrators. Sometimes a process called fermentation is used to add flavor to food…

Why Go Raw?

…Heat destroys some enzymes in food. Enzymes help our bodies break down nutrients so the body can absorb them. By avoiding heat, enzymes are left unchanged. Many people who favor raw food diets believe that this makes digestion and absorption of nutrients in food easier. However, there is little to no scientific research to support this theory….

Are There Drawbacks?

Followers of the raw food diet are at risk for several nutrient deficiencies….

The Bottom Line

The major advantage of the raw food diet is the high intake of fruits and vegetables. However, there are nutritional gaps that need to be filled. Therefore, strict adherence to the raw food diet may not be the best way to improve your health. Until more research is done, a balanced diet combined with daily physical activity remains the key to a healthy lifestyle.





April 12, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | Leave a comment

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Media Options

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has many social media options for one to keep informed on CDC campaigns, health and safety news and information, and educational resources.

Social Media campaigns all one to explore CDC’s current efforts in subjects as Peanut Butter Recalls.

CDC conveys information through a variety of social media tools as blogs, email updates, podcasts, and online video.

Social networking sites include Facebook, MySpace, and Daily Strength. Daily Strength is a collection of safe, anonymous, online support groups focused on specific health topics to help people overcome their personal challenge or support a loved one through theirs. CDC hosts a  group page on DailyStrength that provides access to CDC’s featured health information to empower individuals to lead healthier, safer lives.

The content at the CDC’s social media Web site can be overwhelming.

Another approach would be to search CDC for a topic of interest at the CDC home page. Each topic will have links to related social media. Try these approaches from the CDC home page.



April 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , | Leave a comment


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