Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

A drugstore within – Mesenchymal stem cells protect and heal

Mesenchymal Stem Cell

Mesenchymal stem cell

A drugstore within –Mesenchymal stem cells protect and heal

From the 7 July 2011 Eureka news alert

 

A stem cell that can morph into a number of different tissues is proving a natural protector, healer and antibiotic maker, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and their peers have found.

Mesenchymal stem cells reaped from bone marrow had been hailed as the key to growing new organs to replace those damaged or destroyed by violence or disease, but have failed to live up to the billing.

Instead, scientists who’d been trying to manipulate the cells to build replacement parts have been finding the cells are innately potent antidotes to a growing list of maladies.

The findings are summarized in the July 8 issue of Cell Stem Cell.

The cell, referred to as an MSC, “is a drugstore that functions at the local site of injury to provide all the medicine that site requires for its successful regeneration,” said Arnold Caplan, professor of biology at Case Western Reserve, and lead author of the paper.

Here’s how: (click here for rest of article)


July 7, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Pinkwashing’ is a form of social injustice asserts article in Environmental Justice

pink ribbon

Image via Wikipedia

From the 7 July 2011 Eureka news alert

New Rochelle, NY, July 7, 2011—Companies that try to increase sales of their products by adopting the color pink and pink ribbons to imply that they support breast cancer research—a practice called pinkwashing—but at the same time permit the use of chemicals shown to cause cancer are committing a form of social injustice against women, according to a thought-provoking article in Environmental Justice, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com) The entire issue is available online at www.liebertpub.com/env

Amy Lubitow, Portland State University (Oregon), and Mia Davis, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (Boston, MA), contend that aligning oneself with a cause such as breast cancer, while carrying out research, manufacturing, or other types of policies or processes that involve the use of chemicals with a proven link to cancer crosses a critical line between just and unjust practices. The authors state that “pinkwashing simultaneously increases profits and potentially contributes to increasing cancer rates and obscures an environmental health discourse that recognizes the environmental causes of breast cancer…” They support and expand on this view in the article entitled, “Pastel Injustice: The Corporate Use of Pinkwashing for Profit.”

“The authors of this article draw needed attention to the dangerous use of consumers’ social and sometimes environmental consciousness by institutions who contribute to environmental health disparities. The blind financial support of these entities, by affected consumers, is a form of environmental injustice that is clearly elucidated by the authors,” said Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, ND, MSE, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Justice, and Research Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Physicians Are Reluctant to Share Patient Data: Fine Line Between Protecting Privacy and Public Health

Conversation between doctor and patient/consumer.

Image via Wikipedia

From the 7 July Science News Today article

 

Family doctors are reluctant to disclose identifiable patient information, even in the context of an influenza pandemic, mostly in an effort to protect patient privacy. A recently published study by Dr. Khaled El Emam the Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the University of Ottawa and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute recently found that during the peak of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, there was still reluctance to report detailed patient information for public health purposes.

These results are important today, so we can learn from that experience and prepare for the inevitable next pandemic.

“There is a perceived tradeoff between the public good and individual privacy. If we sway too much on the public good side, then all people’s health data would be made available without conditions,” explained Dr. El Emam. “If we sway too much on the individual privacy side then no health data would be shared without consent, but then this would potentially increase public health risks. Physicians are important gatekeepers of patient information, so we need to better understand the conditions under which they are willing to provide patient data so that everyone wins; we do not need to make these tradeoffs….

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tracking Public Health Trends With Twitter

From the 7 July 2011 Medical News Today article

Twitter allows millions of social media fans to comment in 140 characters or less on just about anything: an actor’s outlandish behavior, an earthquake’s tragic toll or the great taste of a grilled cheese sandwich.

But by sifting through this busy flood of banter, is it possible to also track important public health trends? Two Johns Hopkins University computer scientists would respond with a one-word tweet: “Yes!”

Mark Dredze and Michael J. Paul fed 2 billion public tweets posted between May 2009 and October 2010 into computers, then used software to filter out the 1.5 million messages that referred to health matters. Identities of the tweeters were not collected by Dredze, a researcher at the university’s Human Language Technology Center of Excellence and an assistant research professor of computer science, and Paul, a doctoral student. ….
….”Our goal was to find out whether Twitter posts could be a useful source of public health information, ” Dredze said. “We determined that indeed, they could. In some cases, we probably learned some things that even the tweeters’ doctors were not aware of, like which over-the-counter medicines the posters were using to treat their symptoms at home.”

By sorting these health-related tweets into electronic “piles,” Dredze and Paul uncovered intriguing patterns about allergies, flu cases, insomnia, cancer, obesity, depression, pain and other ailments. ….

…Other tweets pointed to misuse of medicine. “We found that some people tweeted that they were taking antibiotics for the flu,” Paul said. “But antibiotics don’t work on the flu, which is a virus, and this practice could contribute to the growing antibiotic resistance problems. So these tweets showed us that some serious medical misperceptions exist out there.”

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , | 1 Comment

Cuddling May Be Key to Long-Term Happy Relationship

HealthDay news image

Tenderness, kissing more important to men than women, study finds

From the 5 June Health Day article by Robert Preidt

TUESDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) — Cuddling and caressing help boost satisfaction in long-term relationships, according to a new study of middle-aged and older couples.

The study also found that tenderness is more important to men than to women, that men are more likely to report being happy in their relationship, and that women are more likely to be satisfied with their sexual relationship, said the researchers from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.

The study included more than 1,000 couples from the United States, Brazil, Germany, Japan and Spain who had been together for an average of 25 years. The participants were 40- to 70-year-old men and their female partners.

Men were more likely to be happy in a relationship if they were in good health and if it was important to them that their partner experienced orgasm during sex. Frequent cuddling and kissing also predicted relationship happiness for men, but not for women.

Both women and men were happier the longer they had been together and if they had higher levels of sexual functioning, the investigators found.

Japanese men and women were significantly happier with their relationships than Americans, who were happier than Brazilians and Spaniards, according to Kinsey Institute director Julia Heiman and colleagues.

Sexual satisfaction for both women and men was associated with frequent kissing and cuddling, sexual caressing by a partner, high sexual functioning, and frequent sex. For men, having had more sex partners in their lifetime was a predictor of less sexual satisfaction, the report indicated…..

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

   

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