Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News article] When Your Body Needs Calories, You Are More Inclined to Help the Poor

From the 12 November 2013 ScienceDaily article

 Imagine that you have not eaten anything for the past few hours. It is almost lunch time, and you are getting hungry. You receive an email. It is a survey asking about your political position regarding the welfare state. You answer the questions quickly and head off to lunch. Now imagine a different scenario. You have just come back from lunch. You are feeling full, as you sit down in front of your computer. You receive the same email. You answer the survey quickly and then get back to work. Do you think your answers in these two scenarios would be the same — or different?

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Americans donate over $300 billion annually to nonprofits, averaging about $1,000 per person. We feel good when we give to our favorite charities. At the same time, philanthropy is broken, and almost everyone knows it.

The causes that receive the most donations are not typically the ones that make the greatest impact. Instead, the personal whims and preferences of donors determine where dollars flow. People pick charities based more on reputation and trust than proven effectiveness. Many donors do not know how to define a “high performing” nonprofit, let alone how to identify one or assess whether there are more worthy charities. Donors respond to inspirational anecdotes in professionally-written fundraising material rather than asking for meaningful evidence of performance; simultaneously, they express concerns about high overhead costs and program effectiveness. Philanthropy is broken, and it needs to be reinvented.

But how? There are three key areas that can create a domino effect of improving charitable giving.

1. There must be greater honesty about charitable giving.

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November 13, 2013 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

[News article] More Research Needed Into Substitution Principle and Regulation of Potentially Hazardous Chemical Materials, Experts Urge

From the 12 November 2013 ScienceDaily news item

Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, Professor of Risk Management and the Director of the King’s Institute for Risk Research, King’s College London and Editor of the Journal of Risk Research, has published a paper suggesting that the substitution principle is not the “white knight” as described by a number of regulatory agencies and NGOs and proposes that chemical substitution can only work effectively on a case-by-case basis.

The paper, published in the Journal of Risk Research, highlights how the Chemical Substitution Principle (where a potentially harmful chemical used in manufacturing or industry, is substituted for less dangerous alternative) has grown in popularity with chemical governing bodies and organizations in recent years. It highlights how a number of bodies are currently working on ‘substitution databases’ to aid companies in reducing the amount of harmful chemicals they use. The paper draws on three key case studies and states that the chemical substitution principle is a ‘blunt and imprecise regulatory instrument’ that is ‘surprisingly under-researched’ and ‘in need of further rigorous academic and regulatory analysis before it can be further used and promoted satisfactory in the chemical control area.’

Lofstedt uses evidence discussed in the paper to make recommendations for the future use of the chemical substitution principle, including the abolition of numerical targets set by regulatory bodies such as the European Chemical Agency for listing chemical substances of very high concern (SVHCs), and that, if the substitution principle is to be properly implemented, there is a need to do ‘comparative risk evaluations or risk-ranking exercises, to uncover how great the risk profile of the chemical in question actually is’.

The paper further suggests that greater support for evidence-based substitution and academic research into the scientific underpinnings of the chemical substitution principle is needed, along with a need for clear case studies and scientifically informed debates to help politicians become better informed about the pros and cons of the substitution principle.

Read the entire article here


November 13, 2013 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Food Industry Needs Closer Monitoring By Public Health Authorities

This image shows all countries classified as &...

This image shows all countries classified as “Food Insecure” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, between 2003 and 2005. more than 5% of the people have insufficient food more than 15% of the people have insufficient food more than 25% of the people have insufficient food more than 35% of the people have insufficient food more than 50% of the people have insufficient food (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The twitter chat was last year, still I’m posting this timely topic. Because it is that, timely.


From the 12 November 2013 post at healthyfood112


From June 19, 2012 PLoS Medicine have a new main series of seven articles on the next three weeks , titled “Big Food” , which examines the impact of the food and beverage industry in public health. An argument between PLoS and guest editors in new product launches reports writing the series in the fact that multinational food and beverage not been adequately discussed or raised skepticism regardless of their growing impact on the program global health and its role in the obesity crisis .According to the editors of PLoS Medicine : 

” The food , unlike snuff and drugs, is necessary for life and is essential for health and disease , however, large multinational food companies control what people eat around the world , resulting an austere irony and sick . D’ billion people on the planet go hungry , while two billion are overweight or obese . “

The major food and beverage companies also play an important role in the global health scenario re -branding their companies as ” nutrition companies ” and market their people as experts in malnutrition , obesity . and even poverty in major conferences and meetings of the United Nations – but its main purpose is to improve profitability through the sale of food editors and posed the question: “Why do the global health community is this acceptable and how those conflicts play out ? “The series is three weeks to address these issues and discuss the role of food industry in the field of health.
Marion Nestle of New York University and David Stuckler of the University of Cambridge , the two guest editors of the series of the journal PLoS Medicine that the public health response created Food great so far as a “failure ” and state ” public health professionals must recognize the influence of the great food in the world food system is a problem, and take steps to reach a consensus on how to engage critically … [which ] alsoshould be given high priority to nutrition as they do on HIV , infectious diseases and other health threats . “
Nestler and Stuckler follow:

“They should support initiatives such as the restrictions on marketing to children , improved nutrition standards for school meals , and taxes on sugary drinks. The public health approach should be non-profit in alignment with Great Food public health goals . Without a concerted direct action to expose and regulate the interests of Great food , epidemics of poverty , hunger and obesity are likely to be more acute . “

The editors invite readers to join the debate on Twitter ( hashtag # plosmedbigfood ) and invite comments on your articles to be published over three weeks since the June 19, 2012 and collected / Bigfood
People can join a chat on Twitter Wed 27 June at 13:00 ET .

Food Industry Needs Closer Monitoring By Public Health Authorities

Industry, diet, weightloss, slimming, Monitoring, Food, Authorities, health, Closer, fitness, Public Health

via healthy food 112




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November 13, 2013 Posted by | Nutrition | , | Leave a comment

[KevinMD Reblog] The one little question that could save your life

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a physician. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By VAL JONES, MD | PHYSICIAN | at the 12 November 2013 blog


I realize that my blog has been littered with depressing musings on healthcare lately, and so I thought I’d offer up one very positive and “actionable” suggestion for all you patients out there. In the midst of a broken system where your doctor is being pressured to spend more time with a computer than listening and examining you, where health insurance rates and co-pays are sky-rocketing, and where 1 in 5 patients have the wrong diagnosis… There is one “magic” question that you should be asking your physician(s):

“What else could this be?”

This very simple question about your condition/complaint can be extremely enlightening. Physicians are trained to develop extensive “differential diagnoses” (a list of all possible explanations for a set of signs and symptoms) but rarely have time to think past possibilities 1 through 3. That’s one of the reasons why so many patients have the wrong diagnosis – which is both costly in terms of medical bills, time, and pain and suffering.

There is a risk in asking this question – you don’t want to be over-tested for conditions that you are unlikely to have, of course. But I maintain that the cost/risk of living with the wrong diagnosis far exceeds the risk of additional testing to confirm the correct diagnosis. So my advice to patients is to keep this very important question in mind when you see your doctor for a new concern.


Read the entire post here



November 13, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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