Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The Declining Birthrate Doesn’t Spell Disaster

Originally posted on Ideas:

With the birth rate at its lowest in recorded history, some are afraid that the United States is heading toward a demographic crisis in which too few children will lead to too few workers to build – and pay for – a prosperous future. This view has been popularized most recently by Jonathan Last, the author of What to Expect When No One’s Expecting. Last paints a picture of fiscal threats – from the growing burden of retirees – and cultural consequences such as the decline of innovation and waning political will to fund schools and invest in children. But these fears are unwarranted. Other indicators show that we do not face a population crisis, and I believe that we have the resources to adapt to the upcoming demographic shift.

To start, our birth rate might be dropping, but our fertility rate—that is, how many children the average woman is…

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August 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Robotic Surgery Roundup: Take Me Out To The Ballgame and much more

rc_robotics_130614.412

 

From the 18 July 2013 article at HealthNewsReview Blog

Robotic surgery systems are spreading so quickly across the US and across the globe that trying to keep up with the news could become a fulltime beat.  Here are just a few nuggets in an attempt to catch up on things you may have missed.

The Reading (PA) Eagle reports, “Fans test surgical robot at baseball game.” Excerpts:

“Fans at FirstEnergy Stadium got the chance to try Reading Hospital’s da Vinci surgical robot before the Fightin Phils game Thursday night. … The hospital has three da Vinci robots, which are used for minimally invasive surgeries, including heart, thoracic, bariatric, urologic, gynecologic, cancer and other procedures.”

We’d seen robotic surgery promotions in shopping malls before, but the ballpark setting was a new one to us.  Maybe Reading readers should also read or watch stories like the next three we profile.

“The use of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and robotic prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer patients at low risk of dying from the disease increased from 32 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in 2009, researchers found in reviewing Medicare patient data. …

“The implementation of these technologies occurred in populations at a time when there was an increase in awareness that some prostate cancers might not warrant treatment,” said study co-author Dr. Brent Hollenbeck, an associate professor of urology and director of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Division of Health Services Research at the University of Michigan….

What’s more, new technologies like IMRT, robotic prostatectomy and proton beam therapy have not been shown to be any more effective in treating prostate cancer or avoiding side effects than established procedures like traditional external beam radiation treatment (EBRT) and open radical prostatectomy. …

Aggressive direct-to-consumer marketing and incentives associated with fee-for-service payment may promote the use of these advanced treatment technologies,” the study authors wrote.”

“The story of the robot is really the story of American medicine: expensive technology, poor evaluation, and little communication with patients about the research and the data about robotic surgery.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

And now a brief glimpse of some recent journal articles:

“Overall, robotic thyroid surgery is unlikely to show improved outcomes with typical metrics. It is unlikely to be cost-effective because it involves more equipment and, even in the best of hands, more operating room time. Length of stay is unlikely to be effected because most thyroid surgery patients are in the hospital for less than 24 hours. Robotic thyroid surgery is not minimally invasive; therefore, is there really any expectation of a decreased level of pain during the postoperative period? The implementation of the routine use of robotic technology will depend ultimately on what it means for the patient—the real stakeholder. Comparative efficacy studies have partially addressed the end points of robotic thyroid surgery by focusing only on the risk of complication or oncologic value when compared with conventional or endoscopic surgery, but what about other patient-centered end points? Are the patients happy and satisfied, and are they more satisfied than someone who underwent conventional thyroid surgery? At the end of the day, it will come down to how a third-party payer or health care provider system weighs patient-centered outcomes and whether such surgery would be covered and provided, or whether it would be considered purely cosmetic in nature.

In summation, once you strip away all the blinking blue and green lights, the hundreds of moving parts, and the beeps and occasional error messages, robotic thyroid surgery can be just as elegant, effective, and safe as conventional surgery. It can be efficient. However, to get to this point, the surgeon needs to be committed to this type of surgery and not merely regard it as a hobby or a sideline. It needs to be the focus of a truly dedicated thyroid surgeon who has excellent outcomes with both the standard and robotic approach. Emil Theodor Kocher was not the first surgeon to win the Nobel Prize for nothing. After a century of experience, the new high-profile version of his thyroidectomy may be good, but it is not better than the tried and true.”

“Given the high costs and small scientific evidence, the introduction of robotic surgery has been irresponsibly quick.- Better scientific research of robotic surgery is needed before this technology can be broadly applied in clinical practice.”

“Surgeons must try to avoid marketing operations behind some of the indications of companies producing robotic instrumentation. Otherwise, the first robotic surgery centers will be seen as “a real taste of Hollywood.” …

Robotic surgical procedures’ economic aspect should be analyzed and we have to reconsider whether our countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia) are at such an economic level that they are able to compete with more economically developed countries such as Germany. I believe that they are not [1]. Certainly, only a few robotic surgical centers need to be built in each of our countries. They should carry out scientific research, should be supported by other than state funds, and should cooperate with each other so that the whole system does not become just “a taste of Hollywood” for a particular surgeon or center.”

In summary, when thinking about robotic surgery, you could sing “Take Me Out To The BallGame,” but remember the closing lyrics:

“Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”

ADDENDUM ON JULY 19:  See our next-day post, “FDA warns robotic surgery maker, which complains of ‘negative press’ ”

July 22, 2013 Posted by | health care, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Blog Roll: Our Favorite Health Blogs

Janice Flahiff:

Includes areas as nutrition, healthcare, health communication, and health/medical resources

 

Originally posted on SurroundHealth Blog:

With tons of health blogs out there today, it can be overwhelming trying to find solid ones to follow that are a good fit for your topic of interest. At SurroundHealth, we look for bloggers that align with our goals of sharing resources and best practices in areas such as: health education/communication, professional development and health careers, health and education technology, and current health events.

While this isn’t a FULL list of the blogs we follow, we thought it would be nice to share with our members and readers some of our favorite (in no specific order) health blogs out there!

Our ‘favorites’ blog roll:

Health ECareers Network- HeCN is a really informative blog providing access to everything healthcare careers- news, information, events, career resources and employment opportunities – all specific to individual career paths. Definitely a good one to check out if you are looking to learn…

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July 20, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

New Tick-borne Disease Documented in Northeastern United States

Originally posted on news@JAMA:

Researchers have documented cases of human illness in the United States caused by a species of tick-borne bacteria identified in Japan in 1995. Image: AMA©

Researchers have documented cases of human illness in the United States caused by a species of tick-borne bacteria identified in Japan in 1995. Image: AMA©

A recently identified tick-borne illness has been detected in 2 patients in the northeastern United States, according to case reports published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine as the US tick season begins to ramp up.

In 1995, when Japanese researchers identified the pathogen that causes this illness, a new species of Borrelia bacteria called Borrelia miyamotoi, their work marked a new approach to identifying a novel infectious disease, according to an editorial published alongside the study. Most new diseases are identified after a person becomes ill, but these researchers sought to identify potential disease-causing agents in a known vector of other human pathogens, a tick of the Ixodes genus that transmits a related Borrelia bacterium that causes Lyme disease in Japan and…

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July 14, 2013 Posted by | environmental health, Public Health, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Endocrine Disruption… Huh? Why Should We Care?

Originally posted on Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution:

Many of us have no idea what “those people” are talking about when they mention endocrine disruptors. Sounds like something foreign and insignificant, or at least it did to me, until something caught my attention a few years ago.

It turns out that the endocrine system is a hugely busy and important system in our bodies, one well worth looking into and trying to understand. When we start to understand how important this system is, we might start to notice how we are (unwittingly) damaging ourselves, or rather, being damaged, because there are so many endocrine disrupting chemicals allowed into our daily lives now.

It is so much easier to stop causing harm (in whatever ways we are able) when we understand what the problems are, and so difficult, if not impossible, when we remain oblivious. In this case, sticking our heads in the sand will not only harm us…

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July 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Yorker Article on New Models of Long-term Elder Care

Janice Flahiff:

Your local library might subscribe to this. Call ahead and ask for a reference librarian!

 

Originally posted on As Our Parents Age:

This is the issue where the article appeared.

This is the issue where the article appeared.

If you can locate a copy of The New Yorker May 20, 2013 article The Sense of An Ending by Rebecca Mead, it’s well worth reading because of its focus on new models of providing care to fragile elders with dementia illnesses in nursing homes. The article extensively describes the Beatitudes Campus in Arizona, but it also mentions The Green House Projectand the Pioneer Network. The Beatitudes model and The Green House Project  share many approaches.

So I was excited during dinner with friends last month when one of the people at the table, a neurologist, mentioned The New Yorker article, saying how excited he was to learn about new models that completely change the way we deliver care  to fragile elders, especially those with memory impairments. After he spoke at length about the article — which I had not…

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July 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EAA Urges Precaution on Wireless, GMO’s, Nanotechnology and More

Originally posted on Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution:

For those of you who like to keep up on these things, here’s another new report urging more precaution on wireless, GMO’s, nanotechnology, and more. Our current system allows new things to be unleashed on us without proper safety testing and precaution.  At 750 (free) pages, it’s a bit longer than a tweet or a fb update, but delving into it could change your life, and give you the resources to help create more urgently required changes around you.

Cover Image

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May 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Women’s Voices for the Earth Report on “Secret Scents”

Originally posted on Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution:

Women’s Voices for the Earth recently released a new report, called “Secret Scents“. It  highlights the need for ingredient transparency by the companies that create fragranced products, since right now we have almost no way of knowing what is causing the fragrance allergies and other serious health effects people experience when exposed to  fragrances. These adverse health effects are increasing, especially in children.

Amazingly, companies are not required by the FDA or EPA to disclose fragrance ingredients, so it is difficult for anyone to pinpoint specific fragrance allergens and sensitizers among the hundreds of ingredients that can make up a scent.

Another report  was also just released, this one on endocrine disrupting chemicals. Some fragrance ingredients, like phthalates (see below) are also endocrine disruptors, while others are known carcinogens and/or neurotoxic!

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May 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Phthalates in Supermarket Foods

Originally posted on Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution:

Finally.

Someone tested it.

And just like many of us who have MCS/ES have been saying for years:

Supermarket food is contaminated with fragrance and plastic chemicals.

supermarket food contaminated

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May 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“You Are a Guinea Pig”

Janice Flahiff:

 

 

—————

Toxic Substances: EPA Has Increased Efforts to Assess and Control Chemicals but Could Strengthen Its Approach

This entry was posted on April 29, 2013, in Human HealthRegulating Risks and tagged. Bookmark the permalink.Leave a comment

US Government Accountability Office
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-249

Since 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made progress implementing its new approach to managing toxic chemicals under its existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority; particularly by increasing efforts to obtain chemical toxicity and exposure data and initiating chemical risk assessments..The results of EPA’s data collection activities, in most cases, have yet to be realized, and it may take several years before EPA obtains much of the data it is seeking. Also, EPA has not pursued some opportunities to obtain chemical data that companies submit to foreign governments or to obtain data from chemical processors that prepare chemical substances after their manufacture for distribution in commerce–some of which could help support the agency’s risk assessment activities.  Of the 83 chemicals EPA has prioritized for risk assessment, it initiated 7 assessments in 2012 and plans to start 18 additional assessments in 2013 and 2014. However, it may take several years to complete these initial risk assessments and, at the agency’s current pace, over a decade to complete all 83, especially as EPA does not have the toxicity and exposure data needed for 58 of the 83 chemicals prioritized for risk assessment. In addition to its risk assessment activity, EPA has initiated other actions–such as increasing review of certain new uses of chemicals–that may discourage the use of these chemicals, but it is too early to tell whether these actions will reduce chemical risks.

It is unclear whether EPA’s new approach to managing chemicals within its existing TSCA authorities will position the agency to achieve its goal of ensuring the safety of chemicals…EPA has not clearly articulated how it will address challenges associated with obtaining toxicity and exposure data needed for risk assessments and placing limits on or banning chemicals under existing TSCA authorities. In addition, EPA’s strategy does not describe the resources needed to execute its new approach. For example, EPA’s strategy does not identify roles and responsibilities of key staff or offices or identify staffing levels or costs associated with conducting the activities under its new approach. Without a plan that incorporates leading strategic planning practices, EPA cannot be assured that its new approach to managing chemicals, as described in its Existing Chemicals Program Strategy, will provide a framework to effectively guide its effort. Consequently, EPA could be investing valuable resources, time, and effort without being certain that its efforts will bring the agency closer to achieving its goal of ensuring the safety of chemicals

Originally posted on Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution:

We all are!

Three articles that crossed my path today illustrate the challenges we face (trying to stay healthy) while alive. Of course there are more issues, (like fracking, GMOs and processed food) but these three are more than enough to show us that “lifestyle choices” are not enough to keep us healthy.

This article  by David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz is a must read!

You Are a Guinea Pig

How Americans Became Exposed to Biohazards in the Greatest Uncontrolled Experiment Ever Launched

“The culprit behind this silent killer is lead.  And vinyl.  And formaldehyde.  And asbestos.  And Bisphenol A.  And polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).  And thousands more innovations brought to us by the industries that once promised “better living through chemistry,” but instead produced a toxic stew that has made every American a guinea pig and has turned the United States into one grand unnatural experiment.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-rosner/hazardous-chemicals_b_3175796.html

“The groups that…

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May 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report: Toxic Chemicals Found in Thousands of Children’s Products | Common Dreams

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Allergy Notes: Immunology in the Gut Mucosa – beautiful animation by the journal Nature

Allergy Notes: Immunology in the Gut Mucosa – beautiful animation by the journal Nature.

From the blog item

The gut mucosa is the largest and most dynamic immunological environment of the body. It hosts the body’s largest population of immune cells. It is often the first point of pathogen exposure and many microbes use it as a beachhead into the rest of the body.

The gut immune system therefore needs to be ready to respond to pathogens but at the same time it is constantly exposed to innocuous environmental antigens, food particles and commensal microflora which need to be tolerated.

Misdirected immune responses to harmless antigens are the underlying cause of food allergies and debilitating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. This animation introduces the key cells and molecular players involved in gut immunohomeostasis and disease.

Nature Immunology in collaboration with Arkitek Studios have produced an animation unraveling the complexities of mucosal immunology in health and disease:


T helper cells (click to enlarge the image).

Comments from Twitter:

FoodAllergySupport @FASupport: More fun than Magic School Bus!

 

March 22, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evidence based content for medical articles on Wikipedia?

Originally posted on ScienceRoll:

I would love to get your feedback on a project I just came across on Wikipedia, the WikiProject Medicine/Evidence based content for medical articles on Wikipedia. The organizer of the project is the same as in Cochrane Students’ Journal Club. Please sign up if you are interested in helping us out.

Wikipedia has been accepted world wide as a source of information by both lay people and experts. Its community driven approach has ensured that the information presented caters to a wide variety of people. An article from 2011 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that a significant number of experts and doctors consult Wikipedia’s medicine related topics.

Medical information is very dynamic and conclusions and recommendations are turned on their heads based on new findings. Taking this into account it is important to ensure that Evidence Based content is a part of any medicine related…

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March 22, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Environmental health news from the CDC – Food and water safety

Janice Flahiff:

 

 

Originally posted on Public Health--Research & Library News:

EHS-Net Restaurant Food Safety Studies: What Have We Learned? – Laura Green Brown discusses the latest Environmental Health Specialists Network findings in restaurant food safety. This article is published in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of Environmental Health.

Restaurant Food Cooling Practices – EHS-Net article includes quantitative data on restaurants’ food cooling processes and practices such as whether cooling processes are tested and proven to be safe; temperature monitoring practices; refrigeration cooling practices, and cooling food temperatures.

EHS-Net Water Safety Projects – EHS-Net water safety projects include developing multisite projects with our funded partners. EHS-Net’s current multisite project looks at the seasonality of noncommunity water systems to understand how they provide safe drinking water and about vulnerabilities of those systems. Learn about EHS-Net partners’ individual projects to improve the practice of environmental health.

Read more about the Environmental Health Specialists Network in EHS-Net: Improving Restaurant Food Safety…

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March 22, 2013 Posted by | environmental health, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Janice Flahiff:

Sugar can be hidden in a lot of processed food products that make health claims.  Yogurt is one of them.

When I see the yogurt aisle in the supermarket, I am amazed at all the different types available now.  This slideshow gives us some guidance on the various types to choose.  Here’s where label reading is a necessity.  Some people think that yogurt is healthy and most are, but notice the grams of sugar (some can be quite high) and the grams of protein (which often differ considerably).

This is a start on some different choices if you want to choose yogurt as a dairy alternative protein source.

CLICK HERE.

 

Originally posted on FOOD, FACTS and FADS:

Yogurt

Yogurt (Photo credit: jess2284)

Sugar can be hidden in a lot of processed food products that make health claims.  Yogurt is one of them.

When I see the yogurt aisle in the supermarket, I am amazed at all the different types available now.  This slideshow gives us some guidance on the various types to choose.  Here’s where label reading is a necessity.  Some people think that yogurt is healthy and most are, but notice the grams of sugar (some can be quite high) and the grams of protein (which often differ considerably).

This is a start on some different choices if you want to choose yogurt as a dairy alternative protein source.

CLICK HERE.

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March 22, 2013 Posted by | Nutrition, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog]Let Patients Help: A New Book Authored by e-Patient Dave deBronkart | ScienceRoll

Let Patients Help: A New Book Authored by e-Patient Dave deBronkart | ScienceRoll.

From the 20 March 2013 post at Science Roll

Posted by Dr. Bertalan Meskó in e-patientHealth 2.0My BookshelfWeb 2.0
trackback

I was very glad to see the new book authored by e-Patient Dave deBronkart, whose thoughts I describe to medical students as a part of the official curriculum at Semmelweis Medical School, just became available.

Medical professionals must let patients help and become equal partners in the treatment! A must-read book!

Concise reasons, tips & methods for making patient engagement effective.
Third book by e-Patient Dave, cancer beater, blogger, internationally known keynote speaker and advocate for patient engagement; co-founder and past co-chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine. Profile:http://www.ePatientDave.com/about-dave

THUMBNAIL_IMAGE

 

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), health care, Health Education (General Public), Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 reasons to boycott the Super Bowl from a medical standpoint

As an aside, I stopped participating in alumni band during football homecoming.
Just don’t want to be part of this sport which in increasingly unhealthy in the short and long run.

From the 30 January 2013 KevinMD post

You’ve probably watched the Super Bowl as I have many times, faithfully, elevating the occasion to some kind of macabre family tradition. It is a spectacle of athletic agility, drama, and struggle; the pinnacle of American sporting contests. Despite the heavy onslaught of commercialism, faux halftime culture, and evident violence on the field, we suspend our awareness that this event may not be a magical moment worth our time and validation, even as its winners call out to some magical Disney kingdom.

Here are 7 points to consider:

7. Obesity and cardiovascular disease. Up to 45% of youth participating in football are overweight or obese. The nature of the sport favors, and increasingly demands, a large body size. The physique acquired in adolescence often persists into adulthood.
According to a 2007 study of 653 boys ages 8-14 playing football in Michigan, 20% were overweight and another 25% were obese, as defined by body mass index.Studies have shown that linemen have high early mortality rates, and for all professional players who have played 5 years or more, life expectancy is less than 60.

6) MRSA infections and abscesses. Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have suffered from it.

Read the entire post here

January 31, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Originally posted on :

A Different Model — Medical Care in Cuba — NEJM.

This is a fascinating read. We can certainly learn from the Cuban model: if nothing else, the importance of making preventative care a priority. But there problems when we attempt to generalize this on a large scale to the US health care system and the population it serves. (A similar issue arises when a comparison between the Swiss system and US system is made, for example).

Thoughts?

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January 26, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Originally posted on :

So this post is not exactly delicious, but it is relevant to health and social justice nonetheless.  I first watched this video over at the Cheeseslave blog.  (See her Top 10 Dangers of Fluoride post to learn about how this toxic substance is harming us and how to avoid it.)  It seems like this issue is really coming to a head and hopefully we will see some positive changes soon.

I found it particularly interesting when Dr. Yolanda Whyte says:

“I’m also concerned by research findings showing that dental fluorosis is higher in the black community, even the more severe forms where the teeth can start to erode and develop black and brown stains.  This health disparity and environmental injustice will need to be addressed.”

It needs to be addressed indeed!  Watch the video below:

I just signed a petition to discontinue fluoridating the drinking water in Alameda County, CA.  If…

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January 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

[Free Webcast] Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World-A Workshop

Found this while “surfing” the Institute of Medicine Web page (the primary source for an article in one of my RSS feeds).
I think I share a concern with gun violence with many of you dear readers.There has to be a better way to prevent gun violence than simply arming more folks. For example, a school system to the west of my hometown of Toledo, OH believes arming its janitors will curb violence. (Montpelier schools OKs armed janitors***). My gut reaction? If I had children in the school I would  pull them out. Homeschool them if there were no other ways to educate them. And if the teachers were armed? Same reaction.

Meanwhile I’m going to be participating in a [local] Community Committee Against Gun Violence (MoveOn.org). For the past several years I’ve been very concerned about gun violence. Time to start to do something…hopefully not too late.

Yes, this webcast might be viewed as just another talking heads exercise. I am hoping some good will come out of it. If nothing else, keep a conversation alive on how to address prevention of violence through nonviolence.

Here’s some information about the Webcast directly from the Institute of Medicine web site

Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World-A Workshop

When: January 23, 2013 – January 24, 2013 (8:00 AM Eastern)
Where: Keck Center (Keck 100) • 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 Map
Topics: Global HealthChildren, Youth and FamiliesSubstance Abuse and Mental HealthPublic Health
Activity: Forum on Global Violence Prevention
Boards: Board on Global HealthBoard on Children, Youth, and Families

This workshop will be webcast. Register to attend in-person or register to watch the webcast.

  [My note...registration is now closed for in-person attendance, they've reached seating capacity]

Evidence shows that violence is not inevitable, and that it can be prevented. Successful violence prevention programs exist around the world, but a comprehensive approach is needed to systematically apply such programs to this problem.  As the global community recognizes the connection between violence and failure to achieve health and development goals, such an approach could more effectively inform policies and funding priorities locally, nationally, and globally.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) will convene a 2-day workshop to explore the evidentiary basis for violence prevention across the lifespan and around the world. The public workshop will be organized and conducted by an ad hoc committee to examine: 1) What is the need for an evidence-based approach to violence prevention across the world? 2) What are the conceptual and evidentiary bases for establishing what works in violence prevention? 3) What violence prevention interventions have been proven to reduce different types of violence (e.g., child and elder abuse, intimate partner and sexual violence, youth and collective violence, and self-directed violence)?  4) What are common approaches most lacking in evidentiary support? and 5) How can demonstrably effective interventions be adapted, adopted, linked, and scaled up in different cultural contexts around the world?

The committee will develop the workshop agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. Experts will be drawn from the public and private sectors as well as from academic organizations to allow for multi-lateral discussions. Following the conclusion of the workshop, an individually-authored summary of the event will be prepared by a designated rapporteur.

 

*** I did respond to the newspaper article. The response is online. I am expecting some rather strong responses, perhaps about how naive I am (sigh).

“Now I know, more than ever, that I have to get more involved in addressing violence through nonviolent means. For starters, am going to get better prepared for a nonviolent workshop our Pax Christi USA section is sponsoring next month. Also am going to do my best to follow through with a local Community Committee Against Gun Violence (http://civic.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?rc=homepage&action_id=302). Guess it’s time to be part of the solution…these two events are steps that are challenging, don’t solve things overnight, but in my heart of hearts…I feel called to participate in actions like these….(am thanking teachers here, esp those at St. Catherine’s(1960-1969) and Central Catholic (1969-1973).”

 

January 11, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , , , | Leave a comment

The 12 Ways To Health

Originally posted on Kouts School Nurse:

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December 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New CDC flu app!

Originally posted on Public Health--Research & Library News:

CDCsomedia_logo

The CDC has released a new app for clinicians and other health care professionals that let’s them find the CDC’s current influenza recommendations and influenza activity updates.  It’s available for Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch.  The CDC Influenza App can be downloaded from the Apple App store.

The app lets you:

  • View updated information on national flu activity 
  • Find influenza vaccination recommendations endorsed by CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) 
  • Obtain information on diagnosis and treatment of influenza, including antiviral treatment recommendations by CDC and the ACIP 
  • Obtain information on laboratory testing for influenza 
  • Find CDC recommendations on influenza infection control 
  • View videos of CDC subject matter experts discussing influenza topics 
  • Order official CDC designed print products for posting in the workplace or distributing to patients. 

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December 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Medical Cases in literature : an open database

Originally posted on Science Intelligence and InfoPros:

Open access (OA) publisher BioMed Central has launched a new semantically-enriched search tool, Cases Database, which aims to enhance the discovery, filtering and aggregation of medical case reports from many journals. OA to journal articles published under Creative Commons licences, which permit text mining, enable the literature to be reused as a resource for scientific discovery

More than 11,000 cases from 100 different journals are reportedly available to be freely searched with Cases Database.

Cases Database uses text mining and medical term recognition to filter peer reviewed medical case reports and provide a semantically enriched search experience. The database offers structured search and filtering by condition, symptom, intervention, pathogen, patient demographic and many other data fields, allowing fast identification of relevant case reports to support clinical practice and research. Registered users can save cases, set up e-mail alerts tonew cases matching their search terms, and export their results. Cases Database…

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December 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

[World Bank] Health, Nutrition and Population Data and Statistics

From the data section of The World Bank

HealthStats is the World Bank’s comprehensive database of Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) statistics.
It includes over 250 indicators on topics such as health financing, HIV/AIDS, immunization, malaria and tuberculosis, health workforce and health facilities use, nutrition, reproductive health, population and population projections, cause of death, non-communicable diseases, water and sanitation, with background information on poverty, labor force, economy and education.

Users can access HNP data by country, topic, or indicator, and view the resulting data (and wealth quintiles) in tables, charts or maps that can be easily shared through email, Facebook and Twitter.

Screen Shot 2012-12-01 at 4.59.30 AM

The above World Bank  web page also includes a  population growth rate visualization.
A country’s color changes as the growth rate varies annually from 1961 to 2011.
Options for commentary and a chart URL (no custom colors)

Check out the Data Visualizer for bigger map. The visualizer also includes  options to locate individual countries (with rates), and “freeze frames” by year.

TradeMonitor_IMG001

December 1, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Childhood Poverty, Stress, May Shape Genes And Immune System

From the 22 October 2012 article at Medical News Today

A University of British Columbia and Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT) study has revealed that childhood poverty, stress as an adult, and demographics such as age, sex and ethnicity, all leave an imprint on a person’s genes. And, that this imprint could play a role in our immune response. …

..

Known as epigenetics, or the study of changes in gene expression, this research examined a process called DNA methylation where a chemical molecule is added to DNA and acts like a dimmer on a light bulb switch, turning genes on or off or setting them somewhere in between. Research has shown that a person’s life experiences play a role in shaping DNA methylation patterns. ..

..

“We found biological residue of early life poverty,” said Michael Kobor, an associate professor of medical genetics at UBC, whose CMMT lab at the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) led the research. “This was based on clear evidence that environmental influences correlate with epigenetic patterns.” ..

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October 29, 2012 Posted by | environmental health, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dentists suggest alternative to candy…..Trick or Treat!

From the blog of George Namay DDS [posting here does not constitute endorsement of his services]

Worried about the effect of trick-or-treating candy on kids’ teeth, dentists are encouraging parents to offer a sugar-free alternative instead: coupons for the “Plants vs. Zombies” video game. The following column from the West Michigan District Dental Society explains how the “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign works:

The zombies are here! Just in time for Halloween, the American Dental Association’s “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign is redefining what a Halloween “treat” can be by offering fun instead of candy.

The ADA is partnering with PopCap Games, makers of the popular “Plants vs. Zombies” video game, for the campaign to raise awareness of oral health while offering a fun alternative to sugary treats.

Now through Halloween, the “Stop Zombie Campaign” will feature PopCap’s family-friendly video game, Plants vs. Zombies, as a tooth-friendly alternative to candy. PopCap will give away millions of copies of the game, more than 1 million free packs of game-inspired trading cards and other themed items with tips to keep teeth healthy.

stop_zombie_mouth.jpg

 

October 23, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School) | , , | Leave a comment

9-part series on over-diagnosis (short reads from a health care journalist)

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Over-diagnosis happens when people are diagnosed with diseases or conditions that won’t actually harm them. 

www.shutterstock.com

 

From the 3 October 2012 blog article by Gary Schwitzer at HealthNewsReview.org

Ray Moynihan, a terrific health care journalist who is now pursuing his PhD on overdiagnosis and working as a Senior Research Fellow at Bond University in Australia, kicks off the first of a nine-part series, “Over-diagnosis Epidemic” on TheConversation.edu.au website.

The first part is an introduction, “Preventing over-diagnosis:  how to stop harming the healthy.”

“To put it simply, over-diagnosis happens when people are diagnosed with diseases or conditions that won’t actually harm them. It happens because some screening programs can detect “cancers” that will never kill, because sophisticated diagnostic technologies pick up “abnormalities” that will remain benign, and because we are routinely widening the definitions of disease to include people with milder symptoms, and those at very low risk.”

Other colleagues author the subsequent parts in the series:

Part two: Over-diagnosis and breast cancer screening: a case study

“…But what we found was that the greatest relative reduction in breast cancer mortality (44%) occurred in the youngest age group. These women (aged 40 to 49 years) are not invited for screening. In contrast, women aged 60 to 69 years, who areinvited to screen, had the smallest relative reduction in mortality (19%).

Given that three times as many women aged 60 to 69 (about 60%) participated in Breastscreen (compared to 20% of women aged 40 to 49 years), our finding is not consistent with screening having a major impact on the reduction in breast cancer mortality since 1991.”…

Part three: The perils of pre-diseases: forgetfulness, mild cognitive impairment and pre-dementia

“…Most studies show that only one in ten cases of mild cognitive impairment progress to dementia each year, and many improve. One study that followed outcomes for ten years concluded – “The majority of subjects with MCI do not progress to dementia at the long term.”…

Part four: How genetic testing is swelling the ranks of the ‘worried well’

“..A major concern with such tests is that they’re the beginning of a path toward over-diagnosis, where the potential to develop a disease or being at risk for the disease is strong enough to constitute a label of sickness.

Over-diagnosing includes, but is not limited to, widening disease definitions, early detections of abnormalities that may or may not cause symptoms or death and the use of increasingly sensitive technologies that detect “abnormalities,” the causes and consequences of which are unknown at this time…”

Part five: PSA screening and prostate cancer over-diagnosis

Part six: Over-diagnosis: the view from inside primary care

“..The most common reason general practitioners are sued is because of missed diagnoses. Missed diagnoses also invoke a strong sense of professional failure. So how can general practitioners manage in this sea of uncertainty?

One way is to perform more tests. This is also popular with patients, who perceive that tests ensure nothing serious is missed. What is not well understood by patients (and sometimes also by clinicians) is the potential harm from testing.

The most obvious harm is the cost and resources required; we would quickly overwhelm the health system if we performed an MRI on every patient with back pain. A strong system of primary care results in a health-care system that’s both more efficient and less costly because primary-care physicians are skilled at filtering those with severe disease needing further tests, from those with self-limiting illnesses…

The greatest harm from the increased use of testing, however, is not costs, resources or false positives. Rather, it’s the problem of over-diagnosis.

Clinicians and patients both believe that finding a disease earlier in its process means it will be more successfully treated. But there’s increasing evidence that finding disease early or at a milder stage has paradoxical harmful effects, even reducing survival and quality of life.

Wider availability of more sophisticated tests results in “incidentalomas”, incidental findings that would not have otherwise been diagnosed. The detection of thyroid cancers, for instance, has more than doubled in the past 30 years. But most of these diagnoses are incidental findings from imaging…”

Part seven: Moving the diagnostic goalposts: medicalising ADHD

Part eight: The ethics of over-diagnosis: risk and responsibility in medicine

Part nine: Ending over-diagnosis: how to help without harming

 

 

 

October 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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October 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ask a Scientist [Howard Hughes Medical Institute]

 

askascientist.org.gif

From the Web page

Ask a Scientist connects you to some of the top scientists in the country, and each of them is connected to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. If you’ve got a question about medicine, human biology, animals, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, or evolution, then please, Ask A Scientist

Links include

 

October 12, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kids.gov – Health, Science, and Safety Information for Children, Parents, and Teachers

 

Kids.gov is the U.S. government’s website for children (grades K-8). Kids, parents, and teachers can use the site to get help with homework, access lesson plans, watch videos, play games, and more.
Some highlights

Exercise and Eating Healthy

Health and Safety

Online Safety

Science


If you’ve visited Kids.gov previously, you’ll notice that the website has been completely redesigned. The vibrant new site provides areas for three specific audiences: kids (grades K-5), teens (grades 6-8), and grown-ups (teachers and parents).

Kids.gov is the U.S. government’s website for children (grades K-8). Kids, parents, and teachers can use the site to get help with homework, access lesson plans, watch videos, play games, and more. 

If you’ve visited Kids.gov previously, you’ll notice that the website has been completely redesigned. The vibrant new site provides areas for three specific audiences: kids (grades K-5), teens (grades 6-8), and grown-ups (teachers and parents).

September 7, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School) | , , , , , , , | 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

Quote of the day

Originally posted on Weight Maven:

Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine on the sad state of medical research:

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Scary, but I bet she’s right.

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August 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Killer Commute

Originally posted on Juice de Jour:

 

 

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August 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eat your greens, grow your intellect?

Originally posted on Breakfast on Radio Adelaide:

Well, for decade’s we’ve been telling our kids to eat their greens, because we all know that a good diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

But the food your kids eat not only adds to a healthy body, but also a healthy mind.

A study led by University of Adelaide has found links between the diet of 6, 15 and 24 month old children and their IQ at age 8.

Tim Brunero spoke to Public Health Researcher, Dr. Lisa Smithers.


Download Interview

Producer: Kristen Theologou

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August 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Health Homes- an opportunity for transforming substance use services

Originally posted on HealthCetera - CHMP's Blog:

Daliah Heller, PhD, MPH, joins the Center for Health Media and Policy (CHMP) at Hunter College this year as a Visiting Scholar.

I’m beginning to think Health Homes are one of the best-kept secrets in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). I’ve spoken with a lot of health care providers lately, and few seem to know about this provision, and that it is not the same as a Medical Home, though could be part of one.

Health Homes are case management-type entities established by the state health authority to
serve Medicaid-eligible people with chronic health conditions. ACA includes substance use
disorders among the eligible conditions, alongside mental health conditions, asthma, diabetes,
heart disease, and being overweight. And for the record, the term ‘substance use disorder’ refers
to a spectrum of excessive or harmful alcohol or drug use.

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August 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How social media reveals an ugly truth

Originally posted on Youth Health 2.0:

 Introduction

The results are in. Nearly 300 people have been polled by the University of Salford’s Business School and over half of them purport that

313~365~Self-Esteem

313~365~Self-Esteem (Photo credit: Christina Ann VanMeter)

socialmedia has negatively impacted their lives. The poll suggests that Facebook and Twitter are to blame for feelings of low self-esteem and compromised self-worth. Seventy-five people even admit that after being confrontational online, social media is the reason why they face difficulties in their relationships.
According to these results, those who suffered negatively at the hand of social media said that their confidence had fallen after comparing their own achievements to those of friends online. Does social media really possess the power to destroy people’s confidences?  Isn’t it just an interactive website, merely a collection of HTML codes strung together?

Technology amplifying predisposition
The Telegraph reports that the chief executive of Anxiety UK says, “If you are predisposed…

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August 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Two postings about proposed state Medicaid expansion (The Health Care Blog)

 

Yes, this is a controversial topic, but thought I’d include these items, the comments for both blogs are interesting.
My thoughts? Health insurance coverage does need revising..because caring for our nation’s health is a shared responsibility…

Why Should You Care Whether or Not Your State Decides to Expand Medicaid Coverage?

By expanding Medicaid, the state-federal partnership that offers health insurance to low-income Americans, the Affordable Care Act set out to cover some 17 million uninsured – or roughly half of the 34 million who are expected to gain coverage under reform. But when the Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act in June, it struck down a key provision which threatened that if a state refused to co-operate in extending Medicaid to more of its citizens, it could lose the federal funding it now receives for its current Medicaid enrollees…

..

Health care costs, premiums would rise

What these governors ignore is the impact that the loss of those Medicaid dollars will have on insurance rates in their states, says Joe Paduda, editor of Managed Care Matters. Hospitals have been counting on the influx of new Medicaid dollars to reduce the cost of uncompensated care. Today, hospitals spend billions delivering care to patients who are both uninsured and very poor. If more patients have Medicaid, the pile of unpaid bills will shrink.

Assuming that Medicaid will expand, the Affordable Care Act has already trimmed subsidies to hospitals that care for a disproportionate share of impoverished patients. But now, if states turn down the Medicaid funding, the hospitals in these states “are going to have to make up the revenue loss from somewhere,” says Paduda, “and that ‘somewhere’ is going to be from privately-insured patients. That will lead to health insurance costs increasing much faster in ‘non-expansion’ states than in the rest of the country.”

We have been told that in some red states conservatives “hate poor people.” But my guess is that they’ll hate higher premiums more. If premiums go up, governors who turned down federal Medicaid dollars will have to answer to voters…

Now that some states are balking, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 6 million of the 17 million who were supposed to be covered by the Medicare expansion will be left out of the program. Fortunately, 3 million of those 6 million will be eligible for sliding-scale subsidies that the ACA provides to help low-income and middle-income Americans purchase private insurance – if they earn between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. ($11,170 to $43,320 for an individual).

What is less fortunate is that the CBO estimates that those subsidies will cost Washington $3,000 more per person than if the same people were covered by Medicaid: private health insurance plans have higher administrative costs than Medicaid and also tend to pay providers more.

3 million left out in the cold

The other 3 million will be left out in the cold. The subsidies, which come in the form of tax credits, are earmarked for those who earn between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line. Ironically, if a person earns “too little” (less than 100 percent of the FPL), they are not eligible for the subsidy. (The ACA assumed that they would be covered by the new Medicaid.)

At the same time, if they earn “too much” to qualify for Medicaid in a state that limits eligibility to 50 percent of the FPL, they will be shut out of that program as well – leaving them in a no-man’s land where they have no sure access to medical care.

In those cases where they do receive the care they need, the rest of us will wind up covering their unpaid bills as we watch our insurance premiums climb.

The Supreme Court May Have Saved Lives … by Keeping People Off Medicaid

magine that you are the head of a family of three, struggling to get by on an income, say, of $25,000 a year. You’ve signed up for your employer’s health plan because you want your family to get good health care when they need it. But that takes a big bite out of your paycheck — $250 a month.

When you first heard about the president’s health plan, you heard him say that if you like the plan you’re in you can keep it. That was good news. You also believed the whole point of the reform was to help families like yours get health insurance if for some reason you had to seek insurance on your own.

 

Now get ready for some surprises. The first will be an announcement that in another year or so your employer’s health plan will no longer be available to you. The reason: plain economics. People at your income level will qualify for as good or better health insurance in a new health insurance exchange. And almost all the premium will be paid for by the federal government. Most people like you would rather have higher wages than a health plan that duplicates what you can get almost for free, your employer will reason. So in order to compete for labor, your company will have to give prospective employees the compensation package they most want. And your employer will be right.

Then there will be a second surprise. Under the new rules, if you are eligible for Medicaid, you can’t get private insurance in the exchange. Further the health reform law is designed to force the states to raise the income level for Medicaid. If your state complies, someone with your income will be eligible for Medicaid and you won’t be allowed in the exchange!

Now if you were a resident alien, the rules are different. Since they don’t generally qualify for Medicaid, immigrant families at your income level can get subsidized private insurance in the exchange. But alas, you’re a citizen. So this option isn’t open to you.

Now let’s say you are under the impression that Medicaid is second rate insurance and you remember that your employer promised to pay more in wages once your health benefit is gone. What about using the higher wages from your employer to buy private insurance outside the exchange?

Now get ready for the third surprise. There isn’t going to be any market for private insurance outside the exchange — at least not for you. The insurance companies are going away. The brokers are going away. The market is going away.

Now for the final surprise. The only option open to you under the Affordable Care Act is Medicaid! Why should you care? Because your initial impression is correct. Medicaid is second rate insurance.

In most places Medicaid patients have a terrible time finding doctors who will see them and facilities that will admit them. That’s why so many of them turn to community health centers and the emergency rooms of safety net hospitals for basic medical care. Medicaid enrollees turn to emergency rooms for their care twice as often as the privately insured and even the uninsured. In fact, if you’re trying to get a primary care appointment, it appears your chances are better if you say you are uninsured…

..

Here is where is gets little bit tricky, owing to the bizarre structure of ObamaCare. The new health law is trying to get the states to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level ($15,415 for an individual or $26,344 for a family of three). But let’s suppose that, thanks to the Supreme Court, a state doesn’t do anything. It turns out that only people who are between 100% and 138% of poverty can then go into the exchange and get private insurance.

So if your employer does raise your pay and pushes you over that threshold, you qualify. However, while your salary is still only $25,000 you may not be eligible for Medicaid. Here’s the double whammy:  You will not be allowed into the exchange either. You will be in a sort of “no-man’s-land” donut hole. And the only way out will be for you to somehow earn more income. Or, lie about it. This may be one of the very few instances where people will find it their self-interest to tell the IRS their income is higher than it really is!

According to the CBO about two-thirds of the states will not expand eligibility above 100% of the federal poverty level. That’s why 3 million citizens will be liberated and will get private insurance instead. Moreover, the subsidies in the exchange are incredibly generous. The most the family has to pay is 2% of their income.

Further, the private plans in the exchange will pay providers about 50% higher fees that the rock bottom payments they would have gotten from Medicaid. This will be a huge relief for safety net facilities that are scraping by on inadequate resources as it is. And it’s a reason why the CBO may have underestimated how many states will find this option very attractive.

ObamaCare is still a Rube Goldberg contraption that desperately needs repealing and replacing. But in the interim, the Supreme Court has done a lot of families a big favor.

 

August 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Originally posted on Johns Hopkins University Press Blog:

The Doctor Is In is an occasional series where JHU Press authors discuss the latest developments and news in health and medicine.

Guest post by Edward A. Bell, Pharm.D., BCPS

Do you know how to properly measure and administer medicine to your child? A recent study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting suggests that parents with low reading and math skills may not.

This study is similar to others in that it describes how common and easy it is for parents to err when determining and measuring liquid medication doses for their children. A multitude of factors contribute to the potential for these errors, including misinterpretation of medications and their strengths and miscalculation of a child’s specific dose by his or her weight. What is interesting about this study is that it evaluated a unique aspect of how parents determine medication doses for their children—the parents’ reading and…

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July 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

[TED Talk] Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

From the about page

Jane McGonigal asks: Why doesn’t the real world work more like an online game? In the best-designed games, our human experience is optimized: We have important work to do, we’re surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment. In her work as a game designer and director of game R&D at the Institute for the Future, she creates games that use mobile and digital technologies to turn everyday spaces into playing fields, and everyday people into teammates. Her game-world insights can explain–and improve–the way we learn, work, solve problems, and lead our real lives.

Several years ago she suffered a serious concussion, and she created a multiplayer game to get through it, opening it up to anyone to play. In “Superbetter,” players set a goal (health or wellness) and invite others to play with them–and to keep them on track. While most games, and most videogames, have traditionally been about winning, we are now seeing increasing collaboration and games played together to solve problems.

July 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Case study: Economic vitality linked to population health

From the 13 July 2012 item at County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Using the County Health Rankings and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs county economic rankings, Georgia’s “Partner Up! For Public Health” advocacy campaign has developed a research project and presentation that visually illustrates how Georgia’s economic vitality and population health go hand in hand.

The still-evolving, data-driven narrative has already been presented, along with key observations and policy suggestions from the report, to more than 30 audiences throughout Georgia, including the Georgia Public Health Association, Georgia Rural Health Association, the Georgia Association of Regional Commissions, and a meeting of key state legislative leaders.

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Less Research Is Needed

Research being carried out at the Microscopy l...

Research being carried out at the Microscopy lab of the . This photo was taken on July 28, 2006 using a Nikon D70. For more information about INL’s research projects and career opportunities, visit the lab’s facebook site. http://www.facebook.com/idahonationallaboratory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a thoughtful 25 June 2012 post at The Health Care Blog

he most over-used and under-analyzed statement in the academic vocabulary is surely “more research is needed”.

These four words, occasionally justified when they appear as the last sentence in a Masters dissertation, are as often to be found as the coda for a mega-trial that consumed the lion’s share of a national research budget, or that of a Cochrane review which began with dozens or even hundreds of primary studies and progressively excluded most of them on the grounds that they were “methodologically flawed”.

Yet however large the trial or however comprehensive the review, the answer always seems to lie just around the next empirical corner.

With due respect to all those who have used “more research is needed” to sum up months or years of their own work on a topic, this ultimate academic cliché is usually an indicator that serious scholarly thinking on the topic has ceased. It is almost never the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from a set of negative, ambiguous, incomplete or contradictory data…

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Devices Were Wrecking My Health. Here’s How I Plan to Change That (One Person’s Self Diagnosis)

Person with PDA handheld device.

Person with PDA handheld device. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a posting at The Health Care Blog

’m the first guy to extol the fruits of mobile technology. The flexibility and power they provide, the productivity they can enhance. But every sword has two edges (unless it’s a sabre or scimitar, but I digress).

My eyesight – stuck at the same prescription for more than a decade – began worsening again about a year ago. I noticed I was sleeping less and less well, routinely waking up unrefreshed and with a sore lower back.

Mentally, I felt foggy in a way that a shot of Peet’s Coffee or 5-Hour Energy could only temporarily cure. My once-infallible memory gave way to struggles to remember routine facts and names.

At first, I blamed other factors: parenting two young boys, crossing the big 4-oh, even a saggy mattress.

But there’s increasing evidence that being unable to put down your mobile device after work can wreak havoc on your eyesightsleeppostureability to converse, even yourbasic sense of decency.

I don’t expect the Surgeon General to start Warning that the Kindle Fire is Hazardous for One’s Health. Still, it’s clear that something so right can also be so wrong…

 

[I found these excerpts a bit startling]

39% said they wake up in the middle of the night to check e-mail (8% do it every night). When asked how their device keeps them awake at night, 47% said it made them think about work, while 36% said it wakes them with sounds at night.

elite consultants don’t just send one another emails at 1 a.m. They expect answers by 3 a.m.

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Book Note – Where there is no Doctor

 

 

When I was in the Peace Corps (Liberia) many volunteers had and used this book, despite strongly worded caveats from the Peace Corps Office

Where there is no doctor (free download)

This book is the most widely used health education book in tropical developing countries. Based on David Werner’s experiences at his Project Piaxtla in western Mexico, it was originally written in Spanish as Donde No Hay Doctor. It has since been revised and has sold over one million copies and been translated into over 100 languages.

It covers all aspects of people’s health ranging from diarrhea to malaria and bone fractures and ringworm. The book explains to you what you can do yourself and how to prevent, recognise and treat many common sicknesses. There is also a large section on giving first aid.

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Geo-medicine: Mapping our pollution exposures

Originally posted on greendistrict:

My latest post on The Atlantic’s Cities website explores geo-medicine, a new field that uses GIS mapping to correlate environmental conditions to health risks like heart attacks and cancer. There’s even a free app that allows you to map the types of toxic exposures in everyplace you’ve ever lived and correlate them to the likelihood of developing cancer or dying of a heart attack.

Beyond charting the potential for your own personal doomsday, however, geo-medicine has many other applications: It can allow doctors to zoom in on a patient’s life to create a geographically enhanced medical history. Or it can zoom out to give public health officials, city planners and activists detail-rich insights on how to improve the well-being of entire communities.

Check out my story and let me know what you think!

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June 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Counterfeit Drugs: The Silent Epidemic

Originally posted on Do No Harm:

A third of malaria drugs in the world are counterfeit. These are the findings of the Lancet Infectious Diseases research (reported by BBC here). These findings spur concern because counterfeit malaria drugs not only make the treatment of malaria not effective but are also likely to cause drug resistant malaria strains. This problem, however, is not limited to malaria drugs.

As much as 15% of medicines in the world are counterfeit thus causing 100,000 deaths worldwide according to the WHO. The increase of counterfeit drugs across the world in the last decade is both a consequence and a symptom of one phenomenon: the globalization of drugs production and distribution. The supply chain of medicines has become increasingly fragmented and scattered across the globe with raw material extraction taking place in one country and ingredients synthesis and formulation in another country. This globalized supply chain has two implications:

1. It makes the…

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June 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Public Health + Urban Planning

Originally posted on Plan for the Public:

The main focus of this blog is to explore the connection between public health and urban planning. These two diverse fields have a direct relationship with one another, which is often overlooked. Historically these two disciplines have operated independently, without collaboration. We believe that we can form healthier, more fulfilling future for our communities through the integration and application of these two fields. The following chart shows the relationship between public health and urban planning and how they have a continual direct effect on one another.

Urban planning is the process that regulates development in neighborhoods, cities, and regions. Planners deal with all the components that make up a metro region; transportation systems, the economy, natural resources, urban design, and physical facilities. These all come together to define our cities.

Our built environment influences behavior and choices of people based on what is available and convenient. In turn this…

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June 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FDA’s Global Engagement

Janice Flahiff:

” According to FDA, 40% of drugs (generic and prescription) consumed in the U.S. are manufactured outside of the U.S.”

Originally posted on Regulatory Compliance Digest:

Product safety has gone global.  It is one of the byproducts of our growing global village.  Despite the volume and variety of domestically produced products, U.S. consumers continue to show increasing demand for imported goods of all kinds.  Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has responsibility for ensuring the safety of most of the products Americans consume, the agency’s work has gone global.  It is an expanding regulatory frontier. 

In April 2012, FDA published a report, which documents how the agency works (through overseas inspections and collaborations with foreign governments) to ensure that the imported foods, medical products, and other goods it regulates meet the same high standards for safety and quality set for products manufactured domestically. One major area involves medical products.

 The Global Drugstore

 According to FDA, 40% of drugs (generic and prescription) consumed in the U.S. are manufactured outside of the U.S.  Few…

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June 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is The Food Pyramid Killing Us?

Originally posted on Amy Croan MPH:

diet, nutrition, food pyramid, heart disease, stroke, hypertension

Two groups of food pyramid promote leading causes of U.S. deaths

Hang in there with me for just a few minutes, folks.

The leading causes of U.S. deaths are heart disease, cancer, respiratory ailments and stroke. Right? In the vast majority of cases, these are attributed to poor nutrition, not genetics. What food groups do we as a nation consume the most? Meat and dairy. Consumption of which foods increases at the same rate as chronic disease and fatal illness? Meat and dairy. What are two of the main food groups the Food Pyramid encourages us to eat as part of our daily diet? Meat and dairy. Why would an agency of the federal government urge us to consume the two most unhealthy foods as part of each meal? (defended my 10-year old son).

Welcome to the Western diet, Western diseases and the cozy kinships within the USDA, a…

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May 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shanna Swan on Stealth Chemicals

Originally posted on Upstream:

From EurActiv:

Shanna H. Swan, a renowned scientist specialising in reproductive medicine, has warned about the health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) known as phthalates which can end up in food via pesticides or plastics. In an interview with EurActiv, she calls on regulators to better protect consumers against those “hidden chemicals”.

Shanna H. Swan, PhD is Professor and Vice-Chair for Research and Mentoring Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr Swan is known for her work on the impact of environmental exposures on male and female reproductive health and has served on the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Hormone-Related Toxicants. She was speaking to EurActiv’s editor, Frédéric Simon.

You are a well-known scientist in the field of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), which you have been researching for many years. What were your main findings?

The major findings I have are that certain EDCs…

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May 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Guest Post: The Evolution of Sedentary Time

Janice Flahiff:

Add your thoughts here… (optional)

Originally posted on Mr Epidemiology:

Mr Epidemiology: Today, I’m welcoming Lindsay Kobayashi back to the blog. You can find out more about Lindsay at the end of this post.

How sad.

The negative health effects of sedentary behaviour are a hot topic gaining scientific and popular attention. Any Canadian reading the news should be aware that sitting is killing us – Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail, and the CBC have all recently published on the topic. Given the tsunami-like obesity epidemic that has risen over North America over the past few decades, critical investigation of our sedentary behaviour is highly warranted.

Every time I hear someone talk about how sitting is killing us, I return to the same question – If I was born 50 or 100 years earlier, would I be less sedentary than I am now? In the figure above, I’ve depicted my average 16-hour day (waking hours only). Exemplary of a big question…

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April 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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