Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Now Indians Can Compare Prices of Branded Drugs on Mobile Phones

 

Now Indians Can Compare Prices of Branded Drugs on Mobile Phones

From the 19 July article at Digitial Medicine

Consumer mHealth is here. There has been a spurt of entrepreneurship in this field and some Indian phone/ mobile based start-ups have been launched over the past couple of years. Mainly, they have been services meant to connect healthcare consumers with doctors via phone (like Ask a Doctor from Vodafone, Mediphone by Religare technologies,  Dial UR Doctor  and Mera Doctor). Most of these tools are voice based and sometimes don’t even fit the rigid definitions of mHealth. Further, they are all healthcare professional specific and have pointedly ignored patients in any decision making process.

Not that all mHealth projects in India are in the private sector. The government of India has also been active in harnessing the reach of mobile phones in the country with some projects in Public health like in ensuring treatment compliance in DOTS Program and in healthcare reporting at grass roots level. …

..

The latest mHealth project by the government of India looks to strike at the alleged root of costly medical care : the widely variable costs of branded drugs. The Indian government has taken the initiative to use simple messaging services (SMS) to educate the public on drug prices.

Here is how it works: Once the person sends a text message of the prescribed brand of drug to a particular number from his mobile, he will receive two to three options of the same medicine, along with the price differential. Say, a patient is prescribed a popular anti-infective like Augmentin (GlaxoSmithKline). He types in Augmentin and sends the SMS to the designated number. He would get a return SMS, possibly mentioning Moxikind CV (Mankind), which is substantially cheaper. But sources said that all responses would come with a caution: please consult the doctor before popping the alternative (pill).

 

September 17, 2012 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

A changing doctor-patient relationship – latimes.com

 

English: Livingston, TX, 9/25/05 -- A doctor t...

English: Livingston, TX, 9/25/05 — A doctor talks to a patient with a broken neck at a triage center at Livingston Hospital. Doctors and nurses on FEMA’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team from North Carolina care for patients brought to the 50 bed hospital. The hospital does not have enough staff to care for all the patients evacuated from Texas cities in the path of hurricane Rita. Photo by: Liz Roll (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

From the 13 September 2012 article at the LA Times

 

Until now, doctors have pretty much called the shots in the doctor-patient relationship. But change is on the way. Patients, say ahhhhh — it’s about to be all about you.

The new approach is called patient-centered care, and it’s a very good thing, according to Dr. James Rickert, the founder and president of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics in Bedford, Ind. “It will mean better outcomes, more satisfied patients and lower costs,” he says.

Here are just a few ways your relationship with your doctor may evolve in the not-too-distant future:

Your doctor won’t be the boss of you...

In a patient-centered healthcare universe, doctors will make sure their patients have all the information they need about all their options — and patients will have to tell their doctors their priorities.

“Research suggests that patients want to participate,” Barry says, “but they may be afraid to push back, afraid they’ll be labeled bad patients. Then it’s important for clinicians to draw them out.”

You may have a whole team taking care of you...

You and your doctor will spend more time on the Internet.

That’s because e-visits will replace some traditional kinds of appointments.

“It’s so easy,” says Dr. Redonda Miller, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “Patients love it — 50% of what we do in the office could by done by email.”

You may also avail yourself of the extensive medical information that can found on the Web. Your doctor should advise you about reliable sources, says Hedy Wald, a clinical associate professor of family medicine at Brown University. “We don’t want people thinking it’s a cure to put egg yolks on their heads.”

Facilities will be designed with you in mind...

 

 

 

 

 

September 17, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

Scientists, Foundations, Libraries, Universities, and Advocates Unite and Issue New Recommendations to Make Research Freely Available to All Online

 

Those of you who follow my blog know this is one of my passions!

From the press release

September 12, 2012   Information Program

Scientists, Foundations, Libraries, Universities, and Advocates Unite and Issue New Recommendations to Make Research Freely Available to All Online

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2012

CONTACT: Andrea Higginbotham, SPARC, andrea@arl.org; 202-296-2296

Amy Weil, Open Society Foundations, aweil@sorosny.org; 212-548-0381

WASHINGTON—In response to the growing demand to make research free and available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection, a diverse coalition today issued new recommendations that could usher in huge advances in the sciences, medicine, and health.

The recommendations were developed by leaders of the Open Access movement, which has worked for the past decade to provide the public with unrestricted, free access to scholarly research—much of which is publicly funded. Making the research publicly available to everyone—free of charge and without most copyright and licensing restrictions—will accelerate scientific research efforts and allow authors to reach a larger number of readers…

 

September 17, 2012 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attractive names sustain increased vegetable intake in schools

 

From the 17 September 2012 article at EurekAlert

Attractive, catchy names can compel youngsters to eat more vegetables

IMAGE: He is a professor of marketing, Cornell University.

Click here for more information.

The age-old parental struggle of convincing youngsters to eat their fruits and vegetables has some new allies: Power Punch Broccoli, X-Ray Vision Carrots — and a host of catchy names for entrees in school cafeterias. Cornell University researchers studied how a simple change, such as using attractive names, would influence elementary-aged children’s consumption of vegetables.

IMAGE: He is a professor of behavioral economics, Cornell University.

Click here for more information.

In the first study, plain old carrots were transformed into “X-ray Vision Carrots.” 147 students ranging from 8-11 years old from 5 ethnically and economically diverse schools participated in tasting the cool new foods. Lunchroom menus were the same except that carrots were added on three consecutive days. They found, for example, that by naming plain old carrots “X-ray vision carrots,” fully 66 percent of the carrots were eaten, far greater than the 32 percent eaten when labeled “Food of the Day” — and the 35 percent eaten when unnamed.

 

September 17, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , | Leave a comment

Poorest Miss Out On Benefits, Experience More Material Hardship, Since 1996 Welfare Reform, USA

 

From the 17 September 2011 article at Medical News Today

Although the federal government’s 1996 reform of welfare brought some improvements for the nation’s poor, it also may have made extremely poor Americans worse off, new research shows.

The reforms radically changed cash assistance – what most Americans think of as ‘welfare’ – by imposing lifetime limits on the receipt of aid and requiring recipients to work. About the same time, major social policy reforms during the 1990s raised the benefits of work for low-income families.

In the wake of these changes, millions of previous welfare recipients, largely single mothers, entered the workforce. At the same time, welfare has become more difficult to obtain for families at the very bottom, who often have multiple barriers to work. As a result, in the new welfare system, the working poor may be doing better while the deeply poor are doing worse..

..

“This is the first study to use nationally representative survey data to compare the material hardships of deeply poor households with children to other low-income groups of lower-income households with children, before and after the 1990s welfare reforms,” Ybarra writes. The scholars studied data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation from 1992 to 2005 to determine how the deeply poor fared compared to the near poor. They found:

  • While the amount of public aid received by deeply poor households fell dramatically, it increased substantially for near poor families, particularly through expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit that reduces income taxes for certain people with low or moderate wages.
  • Among deeply poor households with children, 48 percent reported in 2005 they did not have enough money to cover most of their essential household expenses, compared with 45 percent in 1992 and 37 percent in 1995.
  • In contrast, among near poor households with children, 30 percent reported in 2005 that they had difficulty meeting their household expenses, down from 37.9 percent in 1992.
  • Even among deeply poor households, 41 percent of household heads were working in 2005. But this is well below the proportion for near poor households, in which 88 percent of household heads work. This may be because household heads among the deeply poor were more likely to report a work-limiting disability.

Among deeply poor households with children, a rising proportion are surviving on virtually no income – $2 a day or less in any given month, according to a companion study released by Shaefer and Kathryn Edin, professor of public policy and management at Harvard University. In fact they found that 1.46 million households with children fall under this metric, used to measure poverty in developing nations….

 

September 17, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Early Social Deprivation Impairs Long-Term Cognitive Function

 

Brain structures involved in dealing with fear...

Brain structures involved in dealing with fear and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 17 September 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

A growing body of research shows that children who suffer severe neglect and social isolation have cognitive and social impairments as adults. A study from Boston Children’s Hospital shows, for the first time, how these functional impairments arise: Social isolation during early life prevents the cells that make up the brain’s white matter from maturing and producing the right amount of myelin, the fatty “insulation” on nerve fibers that helps them transmit long-distance messages within the brain…

When isolation occurred during a “critical period,” starting three weeks after birth, cells called oligodendrocytes failed to mature in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region important for cognitive function and social behavior. As a result, nerve fibers had thinner coatings of myelin, which is produced by oligodendrocytes, and the mice showed impairments in social interaction and working memory.

 

 

September 17, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Psychology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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