Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News release] Millions of women and children get improved health services

From the 10 March 2015 EurekAlert!

Massive health program: $34 billion spent on women and children since 2010; New goal: End preventable deaths of women and young children

An ambitious 2010 initiative to improve the health of women and children around the world has turned into the fastest growing global public health partnership in history, attracting $60 billion in resources. Some $34 billion, nearly 60 percent of the total, has already been disbursed.

The Every Woman Every Child movement has now gathered more than 400 commitments by more than 300 partners around the world, ranging from governments and foundations to business, civil society and low-income countries themselves.

The movement stems from the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2010 to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health.

Every Woman Every Child has set off a major wave in attention to improving essential health care for millions of poor women and children. Major gains in the past five years include greater professional maternity care, family planning, prenatal and postnatal care, childhood vaccinations, oral rehydration therapy and improving access to drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

The result of such increased care is that maternal and child death rates have fallen in every one of the Global Strategy’s 49-targeted countries in the latest four years.

“The synergy between education and health is evident. Education and health are, quite simply, the drivers of change and development. Education empowers women and girls to live healthier lives and as a result, fewer children are dying. The evidence is clear, better education leads to better health outcomes.

“One of the most important lessons we have learned through the Millennium Development Goals is that to make progress we need an integrated and multifaceted approach,” says Kathy Calvin, president of the UN Foundation. “Effective partnerships are not just about financing; they also tap into partner expertise, innovation, and resources to deliver results. Every Woman Every Child has shown that when each sector contributes its unique strengths and capacities, we can save lives.”

Keys to progress

Significant improvements in key health indicators mainly in 49-targeted countries during its five-year history of Every Women Every Child include:

  • 870,000 new health care workers.
  • 193 percent increase in prevention of mother-to-child HIV treatment.
  • 49 percent increase in oral rehydration therapy for treating infant diarrhea.
  • 44 percent increase in exclusive breastfeeding.
  • 25 percent rise in post-natal care for women.
  • 25 percent rise in skilled birth attendance.

March 15, 2015 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health care, Health News Items, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News release] Voices in people’s heads more complex than previously thought

From the 11 March 2015 Durham University news release

Web Web

Voices in people’s heads are far more varied and complex than previously thought, according to new research by Durham and Stanford universities, published in The Lancet Psychiatry today.

One of the largest and most detailed studies to date on the experience of auditory hallucinations, commonly referred to as voice hearing, found that the majority of voice-hearers hear multiple voices with distinct character-like qualities, with many also experiencing physical effects on their bodies.

The study also confirmed that both people with and without psychiatric diagnoses hear voices.

The findings question some of the current assumptions about the nature of hearing voices and suggest there is a greater variation in the way voices are experienced than is typically recognised.

The researchers say this variation means different types of therapies could be needed for voice-hearers, such as tailored Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) geared towards distinct voice sub-types or patterns of voice hearing.

Current common approaches to help with voices include medication, CBT, voice dialogue techniques and other forms of therapy and self-help.

Auditory hallucinations are a common feature of many psychiatric disorders, such as psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but are also experienced by people without psychiatric conditions. It is estimated that between five and 15 per cent of adults will experience auditory hallucinations during their lifetimes.

This is one of the first studies to shed light on the nature of voice-hearing both inside and outside schizophrenia, across many different mental health diagnoses.

March 15, 2015 Posted by | Psychiatry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Value-Based Care

From the 11 March 2015 post by Cindy Nayer at The Health Care Blog

In recent weeks, the market has reacted to a few noteworthy headlines, all involved with or touching upon value-based discretionary actions, and many with the not-so-hidden question: What’s In It for Me or WIIFM?

  • CMS announced that by 2016 30% of fees in health care should be paid for through a value-based system, moving away from fee-for-service.
  • ACO results have shown ambivalent outcomes.
  • Outcomes-based contracts have permeated the Hepatitis C cost-nado (that’s a cost sharknado, the kind that fiercely defies cost controls and takes over all noise about payment reform and patient preferences).
  • Reference-based pricing is a good/bad troublemaker in the middle of the value-based travails.

The latest rampages have appeared on two national and highly-regarded blogs: The Health Care Blog [Value-Based Reform] and The Health Affairs Blog [Go Slow on Reference Pricing].

As one of the loudest proponents on value-based designs, I lift the curtain again to show the thinking behind the movement from fee for service to value-based designs. All of these items above discuss the message of payment reform, or system alignment, but they are intensely linked to the patient-consumer ability to make the right choices, choose the right sites for care, and pay the right amount for services rendered to achieve health security.

….

March 15, 2015 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Medical Journal Article] Developers neglect privacy and security in health apps

From the 9 March 2015 article

Health applications are enjoying a boom. There are already some 100,000 on the market on iOS (Apple) and Android platforms, generating 4.5 billion dollars’ worth (around 3.3 billion euros) of business. In Spain, a third of smartphone users will have installed at least one health application this year, according to a report from The App Date.

However, as Borja Martínez, researcher in the Telemedicine and eHealth Group at the University of Valladolid, explains to SINC: “These applications do not handle information securely and this is especially serious in apps that use clinical or medical data that are particularly critical for the user”.

These applications don’t have secure data processing and this is especially serious in apps that use clinical or medical data

Martínez is the lead author of a study that reviews these problems and proposes a series of recommendations for developers to improve the handling of information that should be confidential. The work was published in January in the ‘Journal of Medical Systems’.

This young engineer points out that “the developers, in their haste to get their applications out before the rest, neglect certain aspects that should be considered, especially privacy and security of data handled. Today the majority of health apps do not offer the user sufficient measures to protect their data”.

Risks

In their opinion, “the main risk is that someone can hack into the personal medical information of another individual or, even worse, modify it”.

A clear example, warns the researcher, “would be an app that saves electronic medical histories. If a third party unconnected with the app were to access the stored information and change any patient details, such as take away an allergy to certain medication, it could put the life of this person at risk should the case arise”.

Also, “another significant problem is that health professionals and the patients themselves are not aware of the methods that apps use with regard to the privacy and security of their data. Many take it for granted that the application is secure and others couldn’t care less. I believe that greater collaboration between countries is necessary to create international laws which are in charge of monitoring these aspects,” he says.

What can be done? According to Borja Martínez, “many things [although] it all boils down to developers analysing the type of data that their apps are going to be dealing with and applying the necessary security and privacy methods”.

Each case is different, he states….

March 15, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Safety | | Leave a comment

[News release] New work schedule could cure your ‘social jetlag’

From the 12 March 2015 news release

Many of us are walking around all the time in a fog caused by “social jetlag.” That’s what happens when we lose sleep because our daily schedules don’t match our bodies’ natural rhythms. The condition can be a particular problem for shift workers, who work into the night or on a shifting schedule. Now, researchers report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on March 12 that sleep and workers’ general wellbeing could be improved if work schedules took workers’ biological clocks into account.

“A ‘simple’ re-organization of shifts according to chronotype allowed workers to sleep more on workday nights,” says Till Roenneberg of Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Germany. “As a consequence, they were also able to sleep less on their free days due to a decreased need for compensating an accumulating sleep loss. This is a double-win situation.”

Such a change might have other long-term health implications, too, although that remains to be seen. An earlier report by Roenneberg’s team, also in Current Biology, showed a link between social jetlag and obesity, along with other unhealthy habits, including smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol and caffeine (see http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-05/cp-sji050412.php).

 

March 15, 2015 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News release] NIH Researchers Develop Database on Healthy Immune System

From the 12 March 2015 NIH news release

Resource May Help Identify Mechanisms of Immune-Related Diseases

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 5.15.15 AM

WHAT:
An extensive database identifying immune traits, such as how immune cell function is regulated at the genetic level in healthy people, is reported by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and their collaborators in the journal Cell. While many genetic risk factors have been linked to various diseases, including autoimmune disorders, how a genetic change causes susceptibility to a disease is not always clear. By studying healthy people, researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center, part of the NIH, and colleagues from King’s College London have created a reference resource for other scientists.

The team analyzed blood samples collected from 669 female twins and developed a screening method that could differentiate approximately 78,000 subsets of immune cells, or immune traits. By using twins, the researchers identified which immune traits were most likely to be heritable and thus regulated at the genetic level. They selected 151 promising traits and performed a genome-wide approach to identify which, if any, genetic changes regulated a trait. They discovered 19 immune traits that were regulated by more than 240 genetic changes clustered within 11 areas of the human genome.
The results of this study have far-reaching implications, especially for researchers studying autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, lupus, type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. For example, genetic changes in the FCGR2 gene are known risk factors for several autoimmune disorders, including those just noted. However, it remains unclear how FCGR2 influences such a range of disorders. Now, researchers can use this new database to see how a change in FCGR2 or another gene affects components of the immune system and, subsequently, incorporate this information in the design of future studies.
ARTICLE:
M Roederer, L Quaye, M Mangino et al. The genetic architecture of the human immune system: a bioresource for autoimmunity and disease pathogenesis. Cell DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.046 (2015).
WHO:
Mario Roederer, Ph.D., chief of the ImmunoTechnology Section in NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center, is available to discuss the findings.

March 15, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News release] Posting of trials results to online public database lagging, say Duke researchers

“What’s published in medical journals doesn’t necessarily match what was reported in clinicaltrials.gov….In a significant proportion of cases, the results on cliniclaltrials.gov were reported more thoroughly than the results in corresponding journal articles,”

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.57.15 AM

From the March 2015 Medicine News post from Duke University

Despite legal and ethical mandates for disclosure, results from most clinical trials of medical products are not reported promptly atclinicaltrials.govaccording to Duke Medicine researchers.

Among all clinical trials of medical products, those funded by industry were the most likely to be publicly disclosed in a timely fashion, but even then, compliance was poor.

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health and academic institutions lagged further, according to findings published by Monique Anderson, MD, assistant professor of medicine (Cardiology), and her DCRI colleagues in the March 12, 2015, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Read the findings: Compliance with Results Reporting at ClinicalTrials.gov.
    From the results section
    “From all the trials at ClinicalTrials.gov, we identified 13,327 HLACTs that were terminated or completed from January 1, 2008, through August 31, 2012. Of these trials, 77.4% were classified as drug trials. A total of 36.9% of the trials were phase 2 studies, and 23.4% were phase 3 studies; 65.6% were funded by industry. Only 13.4% of trials reported summary results within 12 months after trial completion, whereas 38.3% reported results at any time up to September 27, 2013. Timely reporting was independently associated with factors such as FDA oversight, a later trial phase, and industry funding. A sample review suggested that 45% of industry-funded trials were not required to report results, as compared with 6% of trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and 9% of trials that were funded by other government or academic institutions.”
  • Read a blog post about the study at Rethinking Clinical Trials, the NIH Collaboratory’s Rethinking Clinical Trials: A Living Textbook of Pragmatic Clinical TrialsExcerpts
    ““We were really surprised at how untimely the reporting was—and that more than 66 percent hadn’t reported at all over the 5 years [of the study interval],””Another unexpected result was the finding that industry-sponsored studies were significantly more likely to have reported timely results than were trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or by other academic or government funding sources. The authors noted that despite a seemingly widespread lack of compliance with both legal and ethical imperatives for reporting trial results, there has so far been no penalty for failing to meet reporting obligations,””reporting clinical trials results in order to contribute to scientific and medical knowledge is as much an ethical obligation for researchers as a legal one: “It’s something we really promise to every patient when they enroll on a trial.””
  • Listen to a report, with quotes from Dr. Anderson and Mark Stacy, MD, vice dean for clinical research, on National Public Radio: Results Of Many Clinical Trials Not Being ReportedExcerpts
    “Even counting the late entries and allowable exceptions, only about 50 percent of taxpayer-funded research has been reported back to the taxpayers on clinicaltrials.gov, ”
    “The study doesn’t assess why universities are frequently failing to post their results.”
    “scientists are generally more likely to publish good news and ignore bad news, which skews the scientific record.”
    “What’s published in medical journals doesn’t necessarily match whatwas reported in clinicaltrials.gov.”In a significant proportion of cases, the results on cliniclaltrials.gov were reported more thoroughly than the results in corresponding journal articles,” he says.
  • Visit clinicaltrials.gov

March 15, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Journal issue contents] Journal of Environmental Science and Health — Special Issue: Facing the Challenges – Research on Shale Gas Extraction

From the March 13, 2015 Full Text Reports summary

 lesa20.v050.i05.cover

Facing the Challenges – Research on Shale Gas Extraction
Source: Journal of Environmental Science and Health: Part A – Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering

  • Current perspectives on unconventional shale gas extraction in the Appalachian Basin
    David J. Lampe & John F. Stolz
  • Long-term impacts of unconventional drilling operations on human and animal health
    Michelle Bamberger & Robert E. Oswald
  • Human exposure to unconventional natural gas development: A public health demonstration of periodic high exposure to chemical mixtures in ambient air
    David R. Brown, Celia Lewis & Beth I. Weinberger
  • Reported health conditions in animals residing near natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania
    I. B. Slizovskiy, L. A. Conti, S. J. Trufan, J. S. Reif, V. T. Lamers, M. H. Stowe, J. Dziura & P. M. Rabinowitz
  • Marcellus and mercury: Assessing potential impacts of unconventional natural gas extraction on aquatic ecosystems in northwestern Pennsylvania
    Christopher J. Grant, Alexander B. Weimer, Nicole K. Marks, Elliott S. Perow, Jacob M. Oster, Kristen M. Brubaker, Ryan V. Trexler, Caroline M. Solomon & Regina Lamendella
  • Data inconsistencies from states with unconventional oil and gas activity
    Samantha Malone, Matthew Kelso, Ted Auch, Karen Edelstein, Kyle Ferrar & Kirk Jalbert
  • Scintillation gamma spectrometer for analysis of hydraulic fracturing waste products
    Leong Ying, Frank O’Connor & John F. Stolz
  • Well water contamination in a rural community in southwestern Pennsylvania near unconventional shale gas extraction
    Shyama K. Alawattegama, Tetiana Kondratyuk, Renee Krynock, Matthew Bricker, Jennifer K. Rutter, Daniel J. Bain & John F. Stolz

March 15, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] El Nino 2015: will it causes more infectious disease outbreaks than previous?

From the 14 March 2015 post at  Abdullah Mahmud-Al-Rafat

Specific geographic regions that may be at risk for El Niño-linked infectious disease activity during late 2014 through spring 2015 Credit: doi: 10.1371/currents.outbreaks.95fbc4a8fb4695e049baabfc2fc8289f.

Specific geographic regions that may be at risk for El Niño-linked infectious disease activity during late 2014 through spring 2015

From the scientific article Global Climate Anomalies and Potential Infectious Disease Risks: 2014-2015

El Nino for 2015 has already been announced by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Much of our discussions about El Nino is centered like ‘will it be more hotter than previous?’ Yes I agree that this is a reasonable topic to discuss. Surely we should be concern about global warming and how much it will be affected by coming El Nino. But this discussion is not the all. Besides of global warming topic probably its high time to discuss about ‘will it causes more infectious disease outbreaks than previous?’ Now a question might be commonly asked, does El Nino has any connection with infectious disease outbreaks? The answer is, Yes, it has. El Nino has direct/ indirect connection with infectious disease emergence/reemergence. After many years of research it is now established that climate changes like El Nino followed by human domination of earth’s ecosystems both have serious contribution in infectious disease outbreaks from wildlife reservoir

 

March 15, 2015 Posted by | environmental health | , , , | Leave a comment

Re-engaging Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain A Thirtieth Anniversary Retrospective, 10th-11th Dec 2015, University of Brighton

Progressive Geographies

9352807Re-engaging Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain A Thirtieth Anniversary Retrospective 10th-11th December 2015 Grand Parade University of Brighton, UK

Understanding Conflict Research Cluster Critical Studies Research Group

Keynotes: Prof Elaine Scarry and Prof Joanna Bourke

The year 2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain. In this seminal text, Scarry offers a radical and original thesis on the relationship between embodiment, pain, wounding and imagining, arguing that pain is central to “the making and unmaking of the world”. Widely regarded as a classic, the text has influenced work on notions of the body, war, torture and pain in a variety of academic disciplines – from philosophy, to anthropology, to cultural geography, to political theory, to many others – as well as informing debates and discussions in medical science, NGOs, charities and other parts of society. In the years since its publication the text has only become…

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March 15, 2015 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] 4 Surprising Facts About Wheat and Gluten

From the March 2015 issue of Mother Jones

 

Is bread the devil? No, but it’s complicated. 

Is wheat a “perfect, chronic poison,” in the words of Wheat Belly author William Davis, or an innocuous staple that has been demonized to promote a trendy line of gluten-free products? I dug into the issue of wheat and its discontents recently, and walked away with some informed conjectures, but also a sense that the science is deeply unsettled. Now, a group of Cornell researchers (joined by one from Thailand) have performed a great service: For a paper published in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, they’ve rounded up and analyzed the recent science on wheat and the potential pitfalls of eating it. Here are the key takeaways:……

March 15, 2015 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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