Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Native American Spiritual Beliefs Influential in Spurring Youth to Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

This article caught my eye.

A group from Mexico is “caravanning” across the US to raise awareness of the enormous drug trafficking problems in Mexico that are at least in part related to illegal drug problems and violence in the US.***
The caravan  will be stopping in my hometown, Toledo OH, this coming Wednesday.
I seem to recall the leader, Mexican poet Javier Sicilia,  was features on a PBS News Hour segment a few months back.

To be honest, I am still pondering on whether or not illegal drugs should be made legal. Certainly the present system of incarceration is not working.
At the very least, treatment/prevention programs should be stepped up, replacing much of the current court system’s misguided efforts.
Even though our country has a strong tradition of the separation of church and state, I believe prevention/treatment ideally includes a spiritual/religious dimension.

Once promising area of research. Even though it only studies one broad culture, it does invite further study into other cultures.

Native American Spiritual Beliefs Influential in Spurring Youth to Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

From the 20 August 2012 article at Science News Daily

New research indicates that urban native American youth who follow American Indian traditional spiritual beliefs are less likely to use drugs and alcohol. Arizona State University social scientists will present their findings at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver, Colorado.

Among the general native American youth population, higher rates of substance (both drug and alcohol) abuse are reported than among their non-native American counterparts. They also are more likely to use heavier amounts, initiate substance use earlier, and have more severe consequences from substance use, according to past research.

Native Americans typically do not separate spirituality from other areas of their lives, making it a complex, cultural and intertwined aspect of their daily existence.

Researchers found that adherence to native American beliefs was the strongest predictor of anti-drug attitudes, norms, and expectations. Concerning substance use, aspects of spirituality and religion associated with lower levels of use were affiliation with the Native American Church and following Christian beliefs…

 

 

 

 

***From the flyer I rec’d the other day

 

The Caravan began its U.S. journey in San Diego on August 12. Nearly 80 Caravaneros will visit two dozen U.S. cities on the way to their final stop in Washington, D.C., in September.

Victims of the violence in Mexico will share their testimony of suffering and courage. From Jalisco, the mother of Jose Luis Arana Aguilar will speak of her son’s disappearance last January after making one last call to his children’s day care, reminding them to feed his children. From Coahuila, the girlfriend of Jose Antonio Robledo Fernandez will tell of how she heard the abductors of her boyfriend insult and beat him before he disappeared.

Leading the Caravan is Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, whose son, Juan Francisco, was brutally murdered last year. He then travelled with MPJD caravans in Mexico collecting stories of the destruction caused by the so-called war against drugs and organized crime, which the United States has funded with over $1.5 billion in military equipment and training. The result? As Sicilia writes, “The 60,000 deaths, the 10,000 disappearances, and the 160,000 internally displaced people during the past six years are tragedies caused directly by failed security policies.”

Though their grief knows no end or resolution, they are committed to telling their stories to the American public so that their humanity can move us to action. When the horrific statistics are seen in the pain, suffering, and courage of real people who are reaching out to the victims of the drug war north of the border, the foundation for change can be built.

Sicilia and other movement leaders believe that carrying the campaign across the border underscores the role of the United States. Drug war ideology was born here–putting an end to it must start here too.

What you can do: Come out to welcome and support the Caravan in Toledo!
#Follow the Caravan on twitter (@CaravanaUSA), Facebook, and the Caravan for Peace website. http://www.caravanforpeace.org/caravan Or http://www.globalexchange.org/mexico/caravan
#Global Exchange will also be sending updates while on the road at the People-to-People blog.
#Read the latest article on the Caravan in The Nation, August 7, 2012, “Can the Caravan of Peace end the War on Drugs?” by Tom Hayden
#Watch the Democracy Now interview, August 16, 2012, at http://www.democracynow.org: “Mexican Poet, Activist Javier Sicilia Brings Peace Caravan into U.S. to Condemn Deadly Drug War”

National sponsors include: American Friends Service Committee; Border Angels; Drug Policy Alliance; Fellowship of Reconciliation; National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities; Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; Moms United; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; National Latino Congress; Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing (New PATH); School of Americas Watch. Local sponsors: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Toledo); Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition; CCUP Pax Christi. University of Toledo sponsors:
Program in Law and Social Thought; Women’s and Gender Studies Dept.;
Phi Alpha Theta (History Honor Society)

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 Minutes of Daily Exercise Does the Trick: Same Effect in Half the Time

 

From the 22 August 2012 article at Science News Daily

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have shown that 30 minutes of daily training provide an equally effective loss of weight and body mass as 60 minutes. Their results have just been published in the American Journal of Physiology.

On average, the men who exercised 30 minutes a day lost 3.6 kilo in three months, while those who exercised for a whole hour only lost 2.7 kg. The reduction in body mass was about 4 kg for both groups,” reports Mads Rosenkilde, PhD student, Department of Biomedical Sciences.

30 minutes of exercise training provide an extra bonus: “Participants exercising 30 minutes per day burned more calories than they should relative to the training program we set for them. In fact we can see that exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat. The men who exercised the most lost too little relative to the energy they burned by running, biking or rowing. 30 minutes of concentrated exercise give equally good results on the scale,” explains Mads Rosenkilde.

Motivation to exercise

Mads Rosenkilde postulates that some of the explanation for the surprising results is that 30 minutes of exercise is so doable that participants in the study had the desire and energy for even more physical activity after their daily exercise session. In addition, the study group that spent 60 minutes on the treadmill probably ate more, and therefore lost slightly less weight than anticipated.

 

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , | Leave a comment

Human Lungs Brush out Intruders

 

From the 23 August 2012 article at ScienceNewsDaily

 A runny nose and a wet cough caused by a cold or an allergy may not feel very good. But human airways rely on sticky mucus to expel foreign matter, including toxic and infectious agents, from the body.Now, a study by Brian Button and colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, helps to explain how human airways clear such mucus out of the lungs. The findings may give researchers a better understanding of what goes wrong in many human lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis (CF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

The researchers’ report appears in the 24 August issue of the journalScience.

“The air we breathe isn’t exactly clean, and we take in many dangerous elements with every breath,” explains Michael Rubinstein, a co-author of the Science report. “We need a mechanism to remove all the junk we breathe in, and the way it’s done is with a very sticky gel called mucus that catches these particles and removes them with the help of tiny cilia.”

“The cilia are constantly beating, even while we sleep,” he says. “In a coordinated fashion, they push mucus containing foreign objects out of the lungs, and we either swallow it or spit it out. These cilia even beat for a few hours after we die. If they stopped, we’d be flooded with mucus that provides a fertile breeding ground for bacteria.”

Until now, most researchers have subscribed to a “gel-on-liquid” model of mucus clearance, in which a watery “periciliary” layer acts as a lubricant and separates mucus from epithelial cells that line human airways. But this old explanation fails to explain how mucus remains in its own distinct layer.

“We can’t have a watery layer separating sticky mucus from our cells because there is an osmotic pressure in the mucus that causes it to expand in water,” Rubinstein says. “So what is really keeping the mucus from sticking to our cells?”

The researchers used a combination of imaging techniques to observe a dense meshwork in the periciliary layer of human bronchial epithelial cell cultures. The brush-like layer consists of protective molecules that keep sticky mucus from reaching the cilia and epithelial cells, thus ensuring the normal flow of mucus.

Based on their findings, Button and the other researchers propose a “gel-on-brush” form of mucus clearance in which mucus moves atop a brush-like periciliary layer instead of a watery one. They suggest that this mechanism captures the physics of human mucus clearance more accurately.

“This layer — this brush — seems to be very important for the healthy functioning of human airways,” according to Rubinstein. “It protects cells from sticky mucus, and it creates a second barrier of defense in case viruses or bacteria penetrate through the mucus. They would not penetrate through the brush layer because the brush is denser.”

“We found that there is a specific condition, below which the brush is healthy and cells are happy,” Rubinstein explains. “But above this ideal condition, in diseases like CF or COPD, the brush becomes compressed and actually prevents the normal cilia beating and healthy flow of mucus.”

The researchers explain that, whenever the mucus layer gets too dense, it can crash through the periciliary brush, collapse the cilia and stick to the cell surface.

“The collapse of this brush is what can lead to immobile mucus and result in infection, inflammation and eventually the destruction of lung tissue and the loss of lung function,” says Rubinstein. “But our new model should guide researchers to develop novel therapies to treat lung diseases and provide them with biomarkers to track the effectiveness of those therapies.”

 

 

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do Good People Sometimes Do Bad Things?: 52 Reflections on Ethics at Wor

 

From the Full Text Reports abstract of August 25, 2012

M. Kaptein , Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) – Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Source: Social Science Research Network

Why do good people sometimes do bad things in their work? This important question for the management of the ethics and integrity of an organization is addressed in this book. Drawing on social-psychological experiments, a model of 7 cultural factors is presented.

 

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Myths of Medicare

 

From the Full Text Report abstract

Top Ten Myths of Medicare

August 26, 2012

Top Ten Myths of Medicare
Source: Social Science Research Network

In the context of changing demographics, the increasing cost of health care services, and continuing federal budgetary pressures, Medicare has become one of the most controversial federal programs. To facilitate an informed debate about the future of this important public initiative, this article examines and debunks the following ten myths surrounding Medicare: (1) there is one Medicare program, (2) Medicare is going bankrupt, (3) Medicare is government health care, (4) Medicare covers all medical cost for its beneficiaries, (5) Medicare pays for long-term care expenses, (6) the program is immune to budgetary reduction, (7) it wastes much of its money on futile care, (8) Medicare is less efficient than private health insurance, (9) Medicare is not means-tested, and (10) increased longevity will sink Medicare.

 

 

August 27, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Googling cancer information: Tips from a cancer survivor

 

The Human Body -- Cancer

The Human Body — Cancer (Photo credit: n0cturbulous)

 

From the 19 August 2012 article at KevinMD.com

 

by  on August 19th, 2012 | in PATIENT| 4 responses
When I got my phone call with the diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), my instinct, like so many of us, was to Google. Today, 3 years later, I have learned about what to look for, what to avoid, and how to manage my natural wish to know as much as possible.

The following are suggestions to help others faced with a cancer diagnosis.

Google wisely. Google (and Wikipedia) are a reflex. Don’t fight it. However, when looking at suggested links, go for more reliable sources. Any national cancer (e.g. American Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society) or health agency (e.g., National Cancer Institute), major cancer centre (e.g., MD Anderson and others), and any specific cancer organization (in my case, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and LLS Canada).

Be forewarned, for more aggressive cancers, this will be frightening reading.

Ask your medical team. I didn’t at first but learned better. When I saw my first hematologist, he warned me that web information was out of date and, breezily (almost too much so!), reassured me that better treatments were available. But I didn’t press him on which site he would recommend. Another time with a family member undergoing thankfully what proved to be a false cancer scare, I did – and was referred to the kind of sites referred to earlier.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) – there are no miracles. Invariably, you will find sites that promise alternative cancer treatments. Don’t get sucked into false hopes at best, or be preyed upon for money in the worst.

While I believe in complementary approaches to conventional treatments, these are the tried and true advice for everyone: avoid tobacco, eat well (including reducing meat consumption – other nutrition advice here), and exercise.

Prayer, meditation, walking, being with family and friends are also sound elements of a holistic approach.

Explore, within limits, community forums. There is a risk of losing yourself in these forums. However, they are incredibly powerful in connecting you with people who have gone through the same treatment.

While I started late – because in some cases, it was depressing – I now ask about side effects that I am not sure about, and give back to people who are at earlier stages by sharing my experience. Start with a forum that deals with your type of cancer first, as it is likely to have the largest number of others in your situation (for Canadians, the US forums are larger than in Canada so I tend to go with those).

There is also the emergence of some private cancer forums, which have some good logging tools. However, on privacy grounds, I am more comfortable with charitable organizations.

Get efficient with Google Reader. I started off checking individual sites, forums and blogs. Very inefficient. Set up Google Reader (part of your Google account) and set up search terms to capture news stories, blogs and forum updates automatically. You can then scan them quickly and read those of interest.

Lastly, a note of humility. No matter how much one reads, and how well informed, one will never have the knowledge and experience of your medical team. Set your objectives:

  • understand your cancer and treatment better
  • be prepared to ask good questions
  • develop a comfort level in assessing different treatment options
  • be able to “challenge” your medical team if appropriate (e.g., whether I needed to have more or less scans, colonoscopy etc. – small stuff in the bigger scheme but nevertheless made my journey more bearable)

Andrew Griffith is a cancer survivor who blogs at My Lymphoma Journey.  He can be reached on Twitter @lymphomajourney.

 

 

Related Resources

  • Cancer (MedlinePlus) – links to overviews, basic information, health check tools, videos, tutorials, research, directories, organizations, patient handouts, and more
  • US National Cancer Institute  “… conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.”
  • KidsHealth – Click on Parents, Teens, or Children. Search either through the search box or selecting topic in left column.
  • Webicina- Cancer , information via social media sites

 

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | | Leave a comment

New Style and New Content for ClinicalTrials.gov

From the US National Library of Medicine August 2012 press release

ClinicalTrials.gov is the NLM-developed Web-based registry and results database of clinical research studies. The Web site provides patients, clinicians, researchers, and the public with access to information about interventional and observational studies. As of August 2012, ClinicalTrials.gov contained over 130,000 clinical research studies in all fifty states and in 179 countries.

On August 13, 2012, visitors to the ClinicalTrials.gov Web site and the accompanying Protocol Registration System (PRS) Information Web site (designed for data providers) saw a link to a beta site including a new integrated homepage and updated graphic design for the site (http://clinicaltrials.gov/beta/).

Visitors will also have access to new and reorganized written content about clinical research, background information about the site, searching for studies, and maintaining study records.

However, core functions of the site — including the basic and advanced search, search results options, and the study record data – will remain the same. The new site interface will run in parallel with the previous version for approximately four weeks after launch. After appropriate testing and additional minor changes it will permanently replace the previous interface.

The New Homepage

The homepage (see Figure 1) showcases the study search options and search help resources in one location, the “Search for Studies” area. Site visitors can begin a basic search here, go to the advanced search form, or begin browsing for studies by topic or on a world map. Site visitors can also get help with searching, finding studies with summary results posted on ClinicalTrials.gov, and reading study records.

A new menu bar provides direct access to each area of content on the site (See Navigating the Site). Custom views of this content have been created for different user groups. Patients and families, researchers, and study record managers are three significant groups that visit ClinicalTrials.gov. The homepage areas for these audiences provide an introduction to content for each user group, and the “Learn more” link in each area goes to an orientation page that highlights relevant resources on the site. For example, study record managers can find out which clinical trials should be registered with ClinicalTrials.gov and get help with setting up accounts, registering studies and updating records. Members of the press also have a new page with background information and statistics about the site (see the “Media/Press Resources” page under “About Us” in the menu bar).

Data about the site are highlighted in the right column of the homepage. Users can access “Trends, charts, and maps” content for more statistics. An enhanced Glossary provides descriptions of clinical research terms commonly used on ClinicalTrials.gov and “Using our RSS Feeds” explains how to get notification of new and updated study records.

Screen capture of citationcontext menu.
Figure 1: New ClinicalTrials.gov homepage.

 

Please click here for more figures on how to

  • How to search for clinical trials
  • How to find information on study records (clinical trial sites and study organizers)
  • How to find selected outreach and scholarly publications related to ClinicalTrials.gov and clinical research

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

   

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