Saturday, November 29, 2008

FDA: Traces of Melamine Safe in Baby Formula

Issuing an update on the reports from China of infant formula contaminated with melamine, the FDA has issued a Health Information Advisory to proactively reassure the American public that there is no known threat of contamination in infant formula manufactured by companies that have met the requirements to sell such products in the United States.

This is so because because none of the Chinese manufacturers of infant formula have fulfilled the requirements to sell infant formula in the United States. Based on World Health Organization reports, tainted infant formula in China has claimed the lives of four babies and more than 47,000 children in China had to be hospitalized, and and 12,000 were hospitalized from melamine-contaminated dairy products.

The FDA’s ongoing investigation has shown that the domestic supply of infant formula is safe and that consumers can continue using U.S. manufactured infant formulas. In fact the FDA has concluded that levels of melamine alone or cyanuric acid alone, at or below 1 part per million (ppm) in infant formula do not raise public health concerns.

Here's the FDA update: Melamine Contamination in China

Btw: Did you know that Lab Work is A Top Germy Job or that how How Dietary Supplements Can Save Billions.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lab Work - A Top Germy Job

If you are one of those who work with sophisticated laboratory equipment, and feel guilty when you take a sick day, there might be no need to feel that way anymore. Because being a laboratory worker entitles you to qualify as one of America's germiest professionals.Lab work is amongst the Top 10 Germiest Jobs in America

These findings were recently made known by Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, who's better known by the moniker "Dr. Germ."

However, laboratory workers aren't alone, in fact they rank at #5 position, and you may be somewhat surprised to know that teachers and day care workers are over the top. And following them are bank employees, tech support pros, medics – the lab workers surface in the next position. Beyond rank #5, police officers, animal control officers, plumbers, sanitation workers and meat packers are subsequently included.

Germy Lab Work

And it seems that laboratorians have a good reason to figure in the list because of how and where they work. For instance, microbiology lab staffers can often be seen walking out from their labs swabbing hands and surfaces in the hospital and then return to find the many of the microbiological cultures test positive for different microbes.

Despite the fact that all of it is very typical of lab workers – nevertheless regular handwashing or using sanitizers in addition to thorough cleansing of medical equipment and lab products around the hospital should provide more protection.

At the same time and according to experts avoiding the office completely or a completely germ free work environment might backfire too. Because a totally sterile environment can make your immune system lazy as it doesn't get enough exercise. As a consequence it might not act promptly when your body actually needs a quick response.

Btw – the data also point to men's desktops being more germier than women's! Fashionable Medical Clothing is becoming a means to self-Expression In The Workplace

Monday, November 24, 2008

How Dietary Supplements Can Save Billions

The national healthcare costs continuing their upward spiral were a good 6.9 percent higher in 2007 than the previous year. This meant that it was twice as much as the inflation rate, and ate into 16 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States. Can dietary supplements control some of these costs?

Naturally, concerns to curb this burgeoning and out of control rate of increase has become a priority in the minds of policymakers and government officials. And while experts debate inefficiencies, administrative expenses, wastage and fraud as the reasons for the current state of affairs, they may have overlooked dietary supplements as an effective and easy answer in the quest of reducing healthcare costs.

More at: Themedica

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fashionable Medical Clothing - Self-Expression In The Workplace

The standard medical clothing has remained virtually unchanged for over 40 years. However, be it the medical industry the new generation of medics, especially women in healthcare, may be inspired to try out fashionable medical clothing, combining utility and elegance.

The need to incorporate fashion in healthcare medical clothing has long been overlooked. Imagine, scrubs, lab-coats, hospital and medical apparel bringing in a new look and utility attire that helps women find a balance between looking fashionable at the same time presenting the professional look that's so important for the industry. An initiative of bringing out such clothing can already be seen in the collection of clinician scrubs and lab coats from Medelita.

However, trying to induce fashion into medical clothing and help women find a sense of self-expression and femininity, and yet allow them to fit in with the generally accepted standards of the industry, which for the most part is male dominated, can be quite a challenge for designers.

Consider for instance, that to mold hospital clothing in stylish yet professional form they'd need to make design improvements to the scrub tops, perhaps by darting at the bust, or include tailored sleeves, and tapered waist and hips that so as to give women modern and trendy lines, coupled with an attractive fit. And not to compromise on comfort associated with the dresses. On the other hand the clinician pants might need to be given a contoured rise and a subtle bootleg for a slimming look.

It won't too far in future, when attractive details, feminine colors, design improvements is a commonplace, and lend medical clothing a fresh appearance on a familiar style and give women a professional look tailored to the female figure that many think, they simply crave for.

Also, this year's European Medical Devices Green Excellence Product Innovation Award by Frost & Sullivan tell you why Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Is The Winning Formula for medical wastes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Medical Waste - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Is The Winning Formula

Medical wastes not only pose a risk to human lives but also to the environment and animal life. Though treatment at waste management plants does reduce the risks, indirect health risks may occur through the release of toxic pollutants or through treatment or disposal of waste. Given this scenario, the three R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle seems to be an apt solution for managing medical wastes. And for the most part a winning formula too.

Medical wastes include a myriad byproducts from healthcare activities, such as Infectious wastes -- cultures and stocks of infectious agents, etc, Anatomic wastes – the body parts and animal carcasses, Sharp wastes--syringes, disposable scalpels, etc., Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Radioactive matter --radioactive diagnostic material, Wastes with high heavy metal content e.g. broken mercury thermometers. In addition to these include the used up medical consumables like gloves, bandages, medical tapes, sanitary products, etc, which are processed by waste treatment equipment and waste management plant.

Though it may have taken some time for adjusting to the three R's, it seems to be gaining momentum pretty fast, as can be witnessed from the growth of the medical device reuse industry. Presently valued at $4 billion, it's forecasted for a significant annual growth rate of 12.9% through 2012. And much of the popularity is due to the cost savings derived from reuse.

As for the winning formula, The 2008 European Medical Devices Green Excellence Product Innovation Award by Frost & Sullivan to the EcoGlove system should be proof enough.

The company was successful in introducing a system that change the glove supply from a commodity style purchasing to a full service based approach. The medical waste management equipment innovation promises high quality glove, lower overall cost, better quality control, and also addresses the issues of waste management and overuse of resources in healthcare.

For instance, these gloves can be reconditioned for repeated use (up to 7 times). An H2O2 process cleans the gloves, which has the capability to reduce waste by as much as 75 per cent, thus slashing energy use and expense when compared to a single-use disposable product.

It appears that in these times of environmental concerns, especially the management of medical wastes and cost cutting, where often quality is given a back-seat to meet price pressures, only innovative solutions by the industry and waste management companies, incorporating the R's will be the winners.

Also, discover Why Medical Device Reuse Is Hot.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tracking Hospital Bed Availability During Emergencies

Unlike the underdeveloped nations, there no shortage of hospital beds in the US. And considering the normal course of affairs, about 2.5 million hospital beds that are in use in the US are sufficient. But if everyone in the country needed one of these items of hospital furniture at once, they won't be sufficient.

Now considering a worst case scenario, this sort of a situation is possible in case of a public health emergency or a bioterrorist event. In order to make it easy for organizations to track the availability of beds in such a case the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has developed standard hospital bed definitions to enable hospital systems and emergency responders seeking beds to know and understand each other's language.

The following are the classification of hospital beds to help emergency responders to communicate better.

Licensed Beds: These pieces of medical furniture refers to the maximum number of beds for which a hospital holds a license to operate. For many hospitals the number of beds in operation is less than the all of the beds for which they are licensed.

Physically Available Beds: These hospital beds are licensed, physically set up, and available for use. Further, these beds are periodically maintained in the hospital for the use of patients, which supply accommodations coupled with support services viz. food, housekeeping, laundry, etc. However, these beds may or may not be staffed despite being physically available.

Staffed Beds: These are beds licensed and physically available, and there's also staff available to attend to the patient using the bed. Staffed beds make up both the occupied ones as well as the vacant ones.

Unstaffed Beds: Just like staffed beds these too are licensed and physically available, however they don't have no current staff on hand to take care of the patient, if one were to occupy it.

Occupied Beds: These beds are licensed, physically available, staffed, and occupied by a patient. Simply put, they are in use.

Vacant/Available Beds: As the title suggests these beds are vacant and are available for occupation by patients immediately. Also, for a bed to be called “Available,” these beds must include supporting space, equipment, medical material, ancillary and support services, and staff to operate under normal circumstances. In addition, these beds are licensed, physically available, and have staff on hand to attend to the patient who occupies the bed.

So many classes of beds, so that emergency responders can speak the same language

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why Medical Device Reuse Is Hot?

Just as healthcare costs skyrocket and landfills & medical waste disposal add to the woes of healthcare providers, reprocessing single-use labeled medical devices and medical instruments takes on priority. Not to say that the practice or medical device reuse hasn't been questioned on account of patient safety, but reports on the issue, especially the new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that reused medical devices didn't pose and extra risk to patients. On the whole, proper reuse of medical devices and instruments is not only safe and cost effective but also helps the cause of the environment. More at: Themedica

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Precision Motion Medical Devices – A Medical Manufacturing Innovation

Over the years the medical industry has been demanding more precise, smaller, less invasive and more portable medical devices. And it now seems that their wishes may have been granted with new developments in motion-based components and subsystems.

The medical device industry can make use these cutting-edge technologies to power motors, pumps, subsystems in several different ways. At the forefront of these innovations has been one of the world's largest providers of motion actuators, Johnson Electric.

Solenoids: A number of compact solenoids can enable machine and process automation functions right from the most basic on-off function to extremely complex sequencing. In fact, they are best suited to medical applications and medical tools such as medical carts, blood analyzers, medical instruments sterilizers and pharma pill dispensers.

Motors: Speaking of which, a large number of brush and brushless, synchronous and piezo-ceramic motors can help manufacturers to overcome a variety of obstacles such as accurate positioning and motion in surgical assist medical devices, precise movement in MRI environments and silent operation of sleep apnea treatment applications.

Subassemblies/Subsystems: A range of design, rapid prototyping and manufacturing services for medical device subsystems can help companies to reduce supply chain complexity and get products to market by up to 50 percent faster. Reportedly, innovations from the manufacture house a variety of subsystems and subassemblies, including multi-axis stages for precision lens positioning in microscopes, robotic surgical assist, and long-life switch assemblies for medical applications.

Pumps: Pumps that are small, light and possess features viz. adjustable speed and reverse flow capabilities, are apt for use in a variety of drug delivery and variable flow applications for medical, pharmaceutical and laboratory applications.

Meanwhile, other advancements helping the medical industry have been reported to. For instance: Innovation To Vanquish Biotechnology Products Deficit and Self-Assembling Hydrogel - A New Drug Delivery System. At the same time and for the industry, there are challenges too. See: How Pharma Drugs Can Harm Pets and When Hospital Beds Bite!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Pharma Drugs Can Harm Pets

When a medic reaches out for that pack of generic heparin from her pharmacy shelf, does she know who produced the drug and how was it manufactured? If she doesn't know this, then she wouldn't know whether its contaminated or not, and using it could be harmful.

The FDA recently found a number of tainted batches the drug heparin. Since, adulterated pharmaceutical drugs are everywhere, it's quite a possibility that many drugs sold as veterinary pet products are tainted too.

Whatever be the intention of the drug suppliers and manufacturers of these bogus drugs, most often it's the greed to making big money, the moot point is to ensure a safe pet supplies of these medicines.

Not to far back, a couple of months, a news network busted a drug manufacturer in China trying to make counterfeits of some popular drugs by mixing arsenic, road paint and what not, severely tainting them, which would have had serious repercussions for consumers.

Also, in 2007, and as the Wall Street Journal reported, the FDA ran 31 domestic counterfeit-drug investigations, which could include products with ingredients manufactured overseas. Similarly, in in 2006 there were 54 investigation and in 2005 the number was 32.

Hence, it goes without saying that if fake drug products have found their way in human bodies, can the pets bodies be insulated. Most of the supply of tainted products land up in the US from overseas, and many pet supplies for drugs are procured wholesale, just as pet accessories are.

On the face of it, it might appear that goods brought from overseas are to blame. But it might not be the case, because a lot of supplies from outside are properly produced. More important thing, perhaps, is to choose the right sources of veterinary supplies.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When Hospital Beds Bite!

About 2.5 million hospital beds are in use in the US today. Designed to help patients recover, sometimes the beds themselves become a device that cuts their life short.

Take for instance the statistics of injury associated with this invaluable piece of hospital furniture. Reportedly, between the years 1985 and 2008, there were about 772 incidents where patients were either caught, trapped, entangled, or strangled in beds with rails. About 460 of these patients died, 136 were injury, and 176 were saved from injury as the hospital staff intervened in time. However, the average patient who became a victim was frail, elderly or confused. Meaning that some of their own medical condition contributed to the accidents.

On the one hand rails of hospital beds have a number of benefits including helping the patients turn or reposition, serving as a hand-hold to get out of bed, inducing a psychological feeling of security, preventing patients from falling over, and offering fast 'n' easy access to bed controls and patient utilities. On the other, this precious healthcare furniture may cause accidents such as strangling or suffocating patients, causing injury when a part of their body gets stuck between the rails, leading to minor injuries such as bruises, cuts, and scrapes or the like.

While the hospital bed rails will persist as long as the hospital beds do, healthcare provider in collaboration with the patient and their families can reduce the risk by a big margin.

Experts suggest the following measures that can go a long way in reducing these risk.
  • The healthcare providers and the patients or their family can discuss and assess whether the bed rails are necessary.
  • The healthcare personnel can offer assurance to patients and their families that bed rails aren't necessary in all cases, and that many at times the patients are safe even without them.
  • The professionals shoud assess the need for bed rails on a regular basis at short intervals, and removing them when they're not needed.
On the whole hospital beds are priceless pieces of medical furniture, but they do need to be used with care so as to avoid accidents and mishaps.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making the Most of Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

Alcohol hand sanitizers have been in use in the U.S. since the mid-1990s. Beginning with the food industry they have trickled down to being cleanroom supplies and for use in pharmaceutical applications. Further, a large number of businesses in most sectors are making generous use of the product to protect their employees and cleanroom equipment alike. However, just because you've used a sanitizer it doesn't mean that you're completely free of germs.

Alcohol sanitizers, available as hand rubs, gels or rinse sanitizers, foams, atomizing sprays, etc are disinfectants comprising at least 60 per cent alcohol. Though washing hands with warm water and soap does remove dirt and reduces germs on your hands, alcohol sanitizers can serve as an additional agent to kill germs further or when it's not possible to wash hands with soap and water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers alcohol hand sanitizers as an acceptable alternative to soap and water for hand hygiene.

Making the most of sanitizers, when used as clean room products entail at least some technique.

The following are tips to keep in mind while you prepare to enter a cleanroom facility.
  • Clean grime and dirt from your hands by soap, as sanitizers only deactivate viruses and kill bacteria. They're not meant to clean dirt.
  • Get the sanitizer to all the areas of your hands where the transient flora resides. Don't neglect the nails and cuticles at the cost of just palms.
  • Also, in cleanroom environments and applications, sanitizers should be coupled with a gamma radiation treatment, as alcohol doesn't destroy bacterial spores.
In the beginning the medical and the health care industry in the US lagged behind in implementing handwashing programs using alcohol hand sanitizers, for the most part due to the fear that it may lead to a fall in handwashing compliance, incrasing the risk of nosocomial infections. But later, evidence from Europe and Japan showed that including sanitizers actually helped the cause, that's when alcohol sanitizers became a commonplace for use in cleanrooms by the cleanroom staff as well as companies engaged in cleanroom services

Friday, November 7, 2008

Homeopathy - Rise Of The Phoenix

Homeopathy is a 250 year old form of alternative medicine and is becoming popular by the day with an ever growing number of people who use and find it helpful internationally. For example, people from around the globe 'Trust' homeopathy, viz. India 62%, Brazil 58%, Saudi Arabia 53%, to name a few. At the same time a slew of articles on homeopathy published in newspapers, magazines or online appear to relish criticizing the so called "pseudoscience," as some refer to it, while completely skipping all the positive research conducted on this system of alternative medicine. While discussions, debates, research and practice of homeopathy continues, homeopathy dies the day anything against it is heard, and is born again when that turns out to be false, behaving much like the mythical bird, the phoenix.

Read More At, Themedica

Monday, November 3, 2008

Innovation To Vanquish Biotechnology Products Deficit

Nanotechnology researchers are often troubled by lack of availability of biotechnology products. However, now research itself is being claimed to have found a solution.

Nanotechnology research is an ever growing area of science, and scientists working in its realm use a variety of substances to build atomic scale structures. To solve their problem of shortage of raw materials, scientists at the Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute plan to use cells as manufacturing units to make DNA based nanostructures in a living cell.

Historically, biotech products have been produced by biotechnology companies by chemically synthesizing all of the products from scratch. And much of the process entails using different toolboxes to make varied DNA nanostructures and get them to attach and organize with other molecules viz. nanoparticles and other biomolecules.

However, now it is has been found that artificial nanostructures can be replicated using the mechanisms already present in live cells. The best part is that, you don't have to manufacture cells, and also that nature itself has endowed them with the ability to make copies of double stranded DNA. The only thing scientists have to do is to get them to make complex DNA nanostructures like a copier machine does.

When going about brainstorming for a solution, scientists thought of using the cellular system, as simple DNA can be easily replicated in a cell. But the problem was that they didn't know whether the cells' replicating mechanism would tolerate single stranded DNA nanostructures that house complex secondary structures or not? In the end it did.

Just the beginning though, this research appears to be quite exciting as in the future it may be used in synthetic biology applications. Perhaps as the technique is perfected, and when biotechnology companies and the biotech pharmaceutical industry implements the research full-on, there won't be any dearth of biotechnology products for scientists and the medical industry.

Also another innovation recently came up in pharmaceutical raw materials, Self-Assembling Hydrogel - A New Drug Delivery System and do you know who's happier: Physcicians or Veterinarians.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Are Veterinarians Happier Than Physicians?

These are tough economic times, and a common sense hunch is that those who earn better would be happier. But are physicians, though better paid, really a happier lot than veterinarians?

Well, going by the common sense hunch hunch they should be, but if a recent AVMA study is to be believed then that's not the case. In fact, the medics who deal with veterinary instruments are happier than physicians. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) study, veterinarians have a very high level of job satisfaction (3.55) as compared to physicians, who's score is (3.47).

And that's not all, veterinary medics are happier than lawyers (3.33) too. However, they are not on top, and professionals superseding vets in job satisfaction are the Clergy (3.79), teachers (3.61) and psychologists (3.59).

The results aside, what exactly is the reason for the higher job satisfaction of medics who's job entails providing health care to animals of all sorts using veterinary products, drugs and instruments.

Perhaps, vets love their jobs! - kidding. But if experts are to be believed then the profession of veterinary medicine is abundantly diversified, more than other of its kind. And as a result it offers veterinarians a myriad opportunities to find their favorite area of practice. The choices are endless and could range from a working as a small animal vet to being a corporate vet doctor, or even associate with a university as a professor and do research. Hence, with so many outlets available, it's unlikely that a vet would ever find herself trapped.