Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Psychologists Show How ‘Precarious’ Manhood Is

From a 3 May 2011 Medical News Today article

Manhood is a “precarious” status – difficult to earn and easy to lose. And when it’s threatened, men see aggression as a good way to hold onto it. These are the conclusions of a new article by University of South Florida psychologists Jennifer K. Bosson and Joseph A. Vandello. The paper is published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

[An abstract of the article may be found here,  For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here ]

“Gender is social,” says, Bosson. “Men know this. They are powerfully concerned about how they appear in other people’s eyes.” And the more concerned they are, the more they will suffer psychologically when their manhood feels violated. Gender role violation can be a big thing, like losing a job, or a little thing, like being asked to braid hair in a laboratory….

.Aggression, write the authors, is a “manhood-restoring tactic.” [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]

When men use this tactic, or consider it, they tend to feel they were compelled by outside forces to do so. Bosson and her colleagues gave men and women a mock police report, in which either a man or a woman hit someone of their own sex after that person taunted them, insulting their manhood (or womanhood). Why did the person get violent? When the protagonist was a woman, both sexes attributed the act to character traits, such as immaturity; the women also said this about the male aggressors. But when the aggressor was a man, the men mostly believed he was provoked; humiliation forced him to defend his manhood.

Interestingly, people tend to feel manhood is defined by achievements, not biology. Womanhood, on the other hand, is seen primarily as a biological state. So manhood can be “lost” through social transgressions, whereas womanhood is “lost” only by physical changes, such as menopause.

Who judges manhood so stringently? “Women are not the main punishers of gender role violations,” says Bosson. Other men are.

May 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Call For Fresh Approach To Innovation : Access to timely information about relevant opportunities and constraints

Image of State of Uncertainty

From the 5 May 2011 news release of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation

Leading British and Australian researchers have called for a fundamental change in the way western governments encourage innovation.

In a controversial new report they argue that, while innovation policy is a major preoccupation of governments in the UK, Australia and the west generally, it does not work as well as it should because it fails to address the biggest hurdles faced by innovators.

The report, entited ‘State of Uncertainty’, was written by Hasan Bakhshi, a director at Britain’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Dr Alan Freeman and Dr Jason Potts from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI).

In it, the authors say “The broadest barrier to effective entrepreneurial action that drives innovation processes, we argue, is good, timely information about relevant opportunities and constraints.”

Innovators are often hampered by not knowing what opportunities may exist for their ideas or what regulatory and other barriers lie in their path, the team argues.

“We challenge the idea, implicit in much existing practice, that governments operate levers that affect innovation in predictable ways, and argue that innovation policy should instead be regarded as a process of discovery,” the researchers say.

“This calls for an institutional role we term ‘the experimental state’, where experimental processes are embedded in publicly supported innovative activity – without constraining the innovators within the rigid, pre-ordained coordinates of a traditional industrial ‘plan’ or ‘growth strategy’. The authors argue that there should be less emphasis on tax and spend to support innovation, and more on experimental development, clusters, demonstration projects and strategic innovation funds. [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]

In this, public activities could be directed at ensuring that private discoveries are documented and made public to the innovation community, helping to reduce the uncertainty in which the developers of new ideas and new products now operate. [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]…

…Their report “State of Uncertainty” is published by NESTA and is available for download at:…

May 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Medical illustration: Cross-cut section of a brain indicating location of damaged tissue from a blood clot.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has useful stroke information at May is National Stroke Awareness Month
The Web page includes information about symptoms and healthy lifestyles.
Links are given to related podcasts and publications.


Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is also a leading cause of serious long-term disability. While most strokes occur in people aged 65 years or older, strokes can occur at any age.

Knowing the symptoms of stroke and calling 9-1-1 immediately if someone appears to be having a stroke are crucial steps in getting prompt emergency medical care for a stroke.  New treatments are available that can reduce the damage caused by a stroke for some victims, but these treatments need to be given soon after the symptoms start.

Know Your Signs and Symptoms

The American Stroke AssociationExternal Web Site Icon notes these five major signs of stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

If you think someone is having a stroke, you should call 9–1–1 or emergency medical services immediately.  Receiving immediate treatment is critical in lowering the risk of disability and even death.

Quick Facts

  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. In 2006, 137,119 people died from stroke in the United States.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.
  • About 795,000 strokes occur in the United States each year. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes. About 185,000 occur in people who have already had a stroke before.
  • Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people aged 65 years or older. The risk of having a stroke doubles each decade after the age of 55.
  • Strokes can—and do—occur at ANY age. Nearly 25% of strokes occur in people younger than age 65.
  • Stroke death rates are higher for African Americans than for whites, even at younger ages.
  • According to the American Heart Association, stroke will cost almost $73.7 billion in both direct and indirect costs in 2010.
  • It has been noted for several decades that the southeastern United States has the highest stroke mortality rates in the country. It is not completely clear what factors might contribute to the higher incidence of and mortality from stroke in this region.
  • People with a family history of stroke have a higher risk.

Additional Resources

  • US National Stroke Association includes links to Warning Signs of Stroke (Use FAST to remember the warning signs), What is Stroke (basic information, myths, types of stroke, treatment),  Prevention information, and Ways to Stay Informed (newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, etc).
    It also includes a Stroke Awareness Center with useful information for those interested in educating and raising awareness (and the rest of us!)
  • American Stroke Association (Beta Version by the American Heart Assocation/American Stroke Association) with links to news stories, warning signs, and (hospital) stroke centers, Online Stroke Magazine, and more.
  • Stroke: MedlinePlus with links to overviews, news items, diagnosis/symptoms, treatments, related issues, specific conditions, organizations, videos, and much more.
  • Know Stroke logoKnow Stroke can help you learn the signs of stroke and the importance of getting to the hospital quickly. Fast medical action is key to successful recovery from stroke. Stroke strikes fast, and you should too.

May 3, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , | Leave a comment

First Glimpse at [Publicly Available] Medical Error Rates Separates the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

From the report by the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group

By Sarah Dorsey Apr 25 2011 11:28 a.m.

Between Oct. 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010, Medicare patients at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, N.Y., suffered thirteen instances of severe bed sores during their stay requiring additional treatment, a rate of nearly 2.9 per 1,000 treated. At St. John’s Riverside Hospital, three miles down Broadway from St. Joseph’s, the rate was 20 times lower: only one severe bed sore was reported, even though St. John’s discharged far more Medicare patients during that period — 8,270 to St. Joseph’s 4,541.

Over the protests of groups like the American Hospital Association, Medicare officials this month publicly revealed for the first time where harmful events like these took place. In addition to bed sores, the data includes information on trauma and falls, infections and the egregious errors known as “never events,” such as patients being given the wrong blood type, or foreign objects being left in the body after surgery.

As many as 98,000 Americans are thought to die annually from medical errors, and about as many succumb to infections they picked up during a hospital stay, according to oft-cited figures released a decade ago, but new research published last week suggests that “adverse events” like these occur about 10 times as frequently as previously thought, in about a third of all hospital stays.

Click on each incident type for a sortable spreadsheet with detailed information on each hospital….

(Clickable Table follows in this report, with additional text)

While the numbers aren’t perfect, they’re a first-ever attempt by Medicare to publicly report patient safety data on individual hospitals. For the first time, the public can get a general idea of how many Medicare patients are sent home with conditions acquired in the hospital.

May 3, 2011 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

NLM Director’s Comments Transcript: Clinical Trial Transparency & Challenges 04/25/2011

Photograph of test tubes in a tray

Two recently published studies suggest author conflicts of interest are not frequently revealed in comprehensive analyses of clinical trials and note some of the challenges to provide a public resource of clinical trial findings.

From the Director’s Comments Web page

The current two studies suggest there are barriers to make the results and conflicts of interest in clinical trials more transparent. However, a discussion of the issues that foster transparency represents progress and the increasing number and comprehensive accuracy of future trial summaries (provided by represents a step forward….

…’s clinical trials health topic page reports clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. A study answers scientific questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose or treat a disease. Clinical trials also sometimes compare a new to an existing treatment.’s clinical trials health topic page provides an interactive tutorial that provides background information in a user-friendly style. The clinical trials interactive tutorial is available in the ‘start here’ section. An easy-to-read overview of clinical trials also is provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is accessible in the ‘overviews’ section.

Links to an NIH website that provides some questions to ask a physician (if you wish to participate in a clinical trial) is provided in the ‘specific conditions’ section of’s clinical trials health topic page.’s clinical trials health topic page also contains links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the ‘journal articles’ section.

To find’s clinical trials health topic page, type ‘clinical trials’ in the search box on’s home page, then, click on ‘Clinical trials (National Library of Medicine).’

May 3, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | Leave a comment


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