Friday, January 30, 2009

How Simply Writing Can Help Cancer Patients

A study published in the journal ‘The Oncologist’ in the February issue of last year supports the notion that expressive writing is effective in easing the stress of cancer. Cancers are by far one of the most dreaded medical conditions and coping with the disease can be quite stressful. Aside from the physical stress the body endures from the malady and from the various treatments viz. chemotherapy (treatment with pharma drugs), radiotherapy, etc, an individual has to cope with myriad lifestyle adjustments that induce a lot of stress.

This study indeed raises hopes that an activity as simple as expressive writing aids the individuals suffering by alleviating psychological stress arising out of the condition. Cancer is a disease that affects young and old, rich and poor and every one around the world. For example, In the year 2005 alone, the world witnessed about 7.6 million individuals becoming terminally ill with the disease. However the brighter aspect is that about 40% of all cancers are preventable and many are treatable and curable if caught early enough.

The Study

The study engaged patients in writing sessions of 20 minuets and it was found that is aided them to alter the way they thought and felt about their condition. Furthermore, this changed perception actually helped them in enhancing their quality of life.

Though, writing studies have been carried out on cancer patients before, the difference with this study was that it was conducted in a normal clinic environment as against in lab settings. Further, many writing studies involved healthy college students as subjects.

Expressive writing in the study entailed patients with leukemia and lymphoma writing about their innermost thoughts and feelings about how the disease has had and effect on them. When they were surveyed after the exercise most of them (about 50%) reported thinking and feeling differently about their condition. Further, when the exercise was repeated after three weeks an even greater number reported thinking that way (approx. 54%). On the other hand simply writing about the facts didn’t seem to have an effect on thinking patterns, the researchers found.

The following is an example of writing from the Arts and Humanities Program’s clinical weekly writing program:

The most promising finding however was that all the patient who had reported a change in their thought patterns about the disease also fared better on a quality of life measurement scale after they underwent the writing exercises.

Additionally, there were positive changes expressed in the patients’ writings as well. Many of the changes included feelings about their family, spirituality, work and the future. One patient wrote "Don't get me wrong, cancer isn't a gift, it just showed me what the gifts in my life are."

Some of the words indicative of a transformation were:

A theory explaining the finding suggests that expressing their thoughts about their chronic medical condition causes psychological as well as physiological changes to occur. However, researchers also believe that that there's a whole array of reasons why expressive writing benefits.

Benefits go beyond cancer

The benefits of expressive writing are not confined to cancer patients only. Several other researches on the topic have revealed that it helps in numerous medical conditions such as asthma, arthritis and pelvic pain. Other studies indicate the benefits to be an improved immune system, pain relief - what a way to relieve pain without a pain relief drug.

While writing research isn’t new and it has been conducted for the past 20 years or so, it’s now time to bring the benefits out to the patients. Not only has writing been found to be effective, it’s perhaps the most cost-effective means of coping.

Another question that arises is, whether the benefits of writing are confined only to those suffering from chronic and challenging medical conditions? Given the evidence of research carried out, it appears that simply writing about intensely positive experiences helps too. A study published by the Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri found that writing about IPEs or intensely positive experiences was associated with enhanced positive mood, and it was also linked to fewer health center visits for illness. Health benefits of writing have also been echoed by in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, by University of Texas researchers James Pennebaker, and Janet Seagal.

In order to reap the benefits of writing you don’t have to wait, you can begin writing right away. You might begin with short sessions of 15 – 20 minuets and increasing the time you spend writing, as you become comfortable with the activity. If you’re attempting to journal for the first time you could have some doubts in your mind but all you have to do is to express yourself and leave aside any fears and inhibitions. With a little practice, fluidity would come to your writing by itself. The only instruments you need for it are a pen and a journal or you might even choose to blog your way to expressing yourself.

Posts, Possibly of Interest

How Harmful Bacteria Can Fight off Cancer?

Do Vitamin Supplements Prevent Cancer?

How Some Vegetables Fight Cancer

Cough Drug Ingredient May Treat Prostate Cancer

Smoking May Up Colorectal Cancer Risk & Death

Study: Stem Cell Transplant Reverses Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine appear to have reversed the neurological dysfunction of early-stage multiple sclerosis patients by transplanting their own immune stem cells into their bodies and thereby "resetting" their immune systems.

"This is the first time we have turned the tide on this disease," said principal investigator Richard Burt, M.D. chief of immunotherapy for autoimmune diseases at the Feinberg School. The clinical trial was performed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital where Burt holds the same title.

The patients in the small phase I/II trial continued to improve for up to 24 months after the transplantation procedure and then stabilized. They experienced improvements in areas in which they had been affected by multiple sclerosis including walking, ataxia, limb strength, vision and incontinence. The study will be published online January 30 and in the March issue of The Lancet Neurology.

"We focus on destroying only the immune component of the bone marrow and then regenerate the immune component, which makes the procedure much safer and less toxic than traditional chemotherapy with cancer drugs," Burt said. After the transplantation, the patient's new lymphocytes or immune cells are self-tolerant and do not attack the immune system.

"In MS the immune system is attacking your brain," Burt said. "After the procedure, it doesn't do that anymore."

In previous studies, Burt had transplanted immune stem cells into late-stage MS patients. "It didn't help in the late stages, but when we treat them in the early stage, they get better and continue to get better," he said.

Source: EurekAlert!

Posts, Possibly of Interest

FDA: Skin Numbing Products Can Be Life Threatening

Top 13 Tips To Prevent Common Cold!

Vicks VapoRub Misuse May Harm Toddlers

Financial Crisis – Survival Tips for Small Medical Businesses

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Are Best Hospital Lists Worth their Salt?

Recently, a study found that the top-rated U.S. hospitals had a 27 percent lower death rate than other hospitals. So are the best ranked hospitals within the healthcare market really the best places for patients to seek treatment from.a king's crown

They probably are to quite an extent and the ratings more credible if it's also known that the health care ratings organization is an independent one, such as is the case with HealthGrades.

So many top-rank lists

But consulting a single organization's ranking lists might not serve to be the final answer in your search for the best place to get medical care from. Perhaps, including the results of other agencies such as the Leapfrog Group, which surveys over 1,300 hospitals nationally, or The Joint Commission, which tracks different kinds of medical care rendered, or even the U.S. News' analysis of more than 5,453 medical centers to produce an Honor Roll based on 16 specialty rankings may also come in handy.

However, referring to several such reports, might at times, turn out to be confusing, because they might not appear to agree on who the best hospitals after all are. And some of the very best on one list simply might not figure on another. For instance, if one study analyzes just high volume and low risk procedures, while the other takes account of difficult and highly specialized treatments, the results would naturally be quite different. Or if one just assessed the hospitals' equipment & supplies, the outcomes would be radically different.

Cheeky Critics

Also, despite these lists being reliable in assessing the factors they rate the health care facilities on, are not without critics. The much debated Federal nursing home rating system is a glaring example, as some think that the assessment doesn't consider a broader view of all that takes place inside nursing homes. Nevertheless, it does consider something, which is better than nothing.

It seems in the end that many of these lists do provide reliable assessments, but search for a perfect hospital should always take into account the patient and her family's needs and limitation. As a result the top rank lists would be truly meaningful when they are used while considering the proximity, the abnormal medical condition, the medical procedure advised, affordability, and a host of such factors for which the patient and her family are perhaps the best judges.

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Hospital Reforms - A Must for the Future

Pee on Paper to Treat TB – Here's How?

Top 10 Cosmetic Surgery Trends for 2009

Top 13 Tips To Prevent Common Cold!

2009: Top 9 Issues for Health Industries

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How to choose the right gloves for cleanroom gloveboxes?

Glove box gloves come in a wide variety incorporating different materials and designs. The importance of using the right kind of gloves can't be ignored because it can have negative repercussions on operational effectiveness, safety, cost and dexterity for the cleanroom staff as well as the object handled. Consequently, a forethought before the final purchase decision based on some information about the types of options available and other considerations, will help you make the right purchase.

Read More at: Themedica

Friday, January 23, 2009

Personal Care Products - Dark Horse During Recession

At a time when sales of products across industries are struggling to keep up with their past records, some industries such as personal care products appear to have shown resilience despite hostile economic trends.

A look at the U.S. Department of Commerce stats show that most industries are up against some really rough weather. The whole of the industry recorded a decline of 3.1% in sales when compared to the numbers from last year. And if you consider the retail sales figures alone then December of 2008 has been pretty bad with the sales falling by 2.7% to US $343.2 billion. These numbers are pretty scary because they are worst ever since the early 1990s.

Despite the falling retail sales figures the personal care products registered a rise in sales of 5.65% to US $20.92 billion for December 2008, when compared with the December 2007 data.

Some reasons behind the rise

At the same time experts attribute the increase in sales activity for personal care products to several factors.

The first is of course the holiday season and festivities, when people spend on gifts, decorations, partying, etc. Experts think that this Christmas many people bought skin and personal care products as cheaper alternatives for more expensive gift items. Further, many retailers came up with huge and attractive discounts, which almost forced consumers to spend on personal care items. Whatever the reasons, in the end all of it did boost the sales.

World over, the performance of different retail sectors has been pretty dismal. For instance, according to the British Retail Consortium statistics the month of December 2008 has been the worst in the past 14 years, with the sales declining by 3.3 percent when compared to the activities of the previous year.

All in all the personal care industry sales in the US fared better than most other industries and also it's own kind, when pitted against the sales data from other parts of the world such as the UK.

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Why Are Personal Care Products Harmful?

2009 Financial Crisis: Top 9 Issues for Health Industries

Top 13 Tips To Prevent Common Cold!

Will Physician Gifting Practices Guidelines Work?

Recession and Prescription Drug Abuse

Monday, January 19, 2009

FDA: Skin Numbing Products Can Be Life Threatening

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a Public Health Advisory to alert consumers, patients, health care professionals, and caregivers about potentially serious and life-threatening side effects from the improper use of skin numbing products. The products, also known as topical anesthetics, are available in over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription forms.

Skin numbing products are used to desensitize nerve endings that lie near the surface of the skin, causing a numbness of the skin. These topical anesthetics contain anesthetic pharmaceutical drugs such as lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, and prilocaine in a cream, ointment, or gel. When applied to the skin surface, they can be absorbed into the blood stream and, if used improperly, may cause life-threatening side effects, such as irregular heartbeat, seizures, breathing difficulties, coma, or even death. FDA has received reports of adverse events and deaths of two women who used topical anesthetics before laser hair removal. In February 2007, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory - “Life-Threatening Side Effects with the Use of Skin Products containing Numbing Ingredients for Cosmetic Procedures,” to warn consumers about these products.

The FDA strongly advises consumers not to:
  • make heavy application of topical anesthetic products over large areas of skin;
  • use formulations that are stronger or more concentrated than necessary;
  • apply these products to irritated or broken skin;
  • wrap the treated skin with plastic wrap or other dressings; and
  • apply heat from a heating pad to skin treated with these products.

The following summarizes advice for patients if a topical anesthetic is recommended for their use:
  • use a topical anesthetic that contains the lowest strength, and amount, of medication that will relieve the pain;
  • apply the topical anesthetic sparingly and only to the area where pain exists or is expected to occur;
  • do not apply the topical anesthetic to broken or irritated skin;
  • ask their healthcare professional what side effects are possible and how to lower their chance of having life-threatening side effects from anesthetic drugs; and
  • be aware that wrapping or covering the skin treated with topical anesthetics with any type of material or dressing can increase the chance of serious side effects, as can applying heat to the treated area while the medication is still present.
Go to the FDA release

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Top 13 Tips To Prevent Common Cold!

There's no cure for common cold till date, not even vaccines to prevent it. While a majority of common cold infections aren't life-threatening, its symptoms including sneezing, fever, runny nose, etc, are enough for you wish for an effective pharmaceutical drug cure. Perhaps in the absence of a vaccine or a cure, prevention seems to be the best bet.

Tips to Prevent Common Cold

Frequently washing your hand is critical, especially after a visit to a public place, gym, or contact with a person with cold. Washing hands will wipe off the virus from your hands.

2. If you send kids to a child care or a day care center then choose those which have a policy of keeping sick kids at home.

3. Stay clear from cigarette smoke as it can irritate your airways making you more vulnerable to catching a cold.

4. Disposing off used tissues is important because they can easily contaminate surfaces they come in contact with.

5. If you've been in the proximity of people with cold ensure that you don't touch your face, nose, mouth, or eyes.

6. Keep your stress levels well managed. Studies have shown that stressed out individuals become more vulnerable to catching a cold.

7. If someone in the family is infected then try to use disposable items such as cups and glasses so as to minimize exposure to a utensil laden with a cold virus after being used by an infected person.

8. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle keeps your immune system intact and may make it better equipped to prevent a virus from establishing a cold infection. Your healthy lifestyle may include diet, exercise, rest and sleep, etc.

9. Often cold viruses can thrive for hours at a stretch on door knobs, drawer pulls, keyboards, light switches, telephones, remote controls, etc. As a result, it makes sense to keep these surfaces clean after use by an infected person.

10. Avoid persons afflicted with common cold from sneezing or coughing in your direction. Encourage them to use tissues, which need to be discarded ASAP after use.

11. When someone in the family has cold don't share cloth towels. While generally using separate towels is a healthy practice doing so during colds becomes all the more important. If possible replace cloth towels with disposable paper towels.

12. Avoid close and prolonged contact with a cold sufferer.

13. If any kids in the family have cold, make sure that you clean their toys after use.

Try you best, but if you catch cold don't worry consult your doctor who may advise you or may prescribe medication for alleviating the symptoms of cold and/or you may try alternative medication to make you feel better till your body is able to knock out the virus by itself.

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Top 10 Tips To Stay Healthy

Top 11 Tips To A Healthy Brain

Making the Most of Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

Financial Crisis – Survival Tips for Small Medical Businesses

Top 10 Tips To Keep Allergies Away

Top 11 Tips To Sleep Better! - I

Top 11 Tips To Sleep Better! - II

Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs Increase Risk Of Sudden Cardiac Death In Adults

Patients ages 30 to 74 who took atypical antipsychotic pharmaceutical drugs such as risperidone (sold as Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), olanzapine (Zyprexa) and clozapine (Clozaril) had a significantly higher risk of sudden death from cardiac arrhythmias and other cardiac causes than patients who did not take these medications, according to a new study funded by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The risk of death increased with higher doses of the drugs taken.

The study, titled "Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs and the Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death," is published in the January 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Atypical antipsychotics are commonly used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. They are also prescribed "off label" for symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, psychotic episodes and obsessive behaviors. Atypical antipsychotics are less likely to cause tremors and other serious movement disorders that affect users of typical antipsychotics.

"This study provides critical information about the safety of atypical antipsychotics that can be used to make important treatment decisions for patients," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "These findings will help clinicians and patients weigh the risks versus the benefits of these drugs before prescribing them for treatment of depression or other off label uses for other conditions."

Lead researcher Wayne A. Ray, Ph.D., and his colleagues at AHRQ's Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville found that current users of atypical antipsychotic drugs had a rate of sudden cardiac death twice that of people who didn't use the drugs and similar to the death rate for patients taking typical antipsychotics, including haloperidol (Haldol) and thioridazine (Mellaril).

Researchers reviewed medical records from the Tennessee Medicaid program and identified data on patients prescribed atypical antipsychotics, including the number of prescriptions they received, the dose and the number of days supplied. Researchers conclude that atypical antipsychotics are not a safer alternative to typical antipsychotics in preventing death from sudden cardiac causes.

The CERTs program, established in 1999, is a research program administered by AHRQ in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The overarching goal is to serve as a trusted national resource for people seeking to improve health through the best use of medical therapies. The CERTs program includes partnerships of public and private organizations, a national steering committee involving multiple sectors and the CERTs investigators, a coordinating center and 14 research centers.

Source: AHRQ

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Vicks VapoRub Misuse May Harm Toddlers

Bad Drug Combo Risk - Seniors Are Not Alone

California's Autism Cases Rising!

Vaccines – The Invaluable Pharmaceuticals

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pee on Paper to Treat TB – Here's How?

Effective treatment of tuberculosis entails adhering to lengthy TB pharma drugs regimen. To ensure that people follow through the duration of treatment scientists have found a clever way in which simply peeing on paper can lead you to comply with treatment.

Tuberculosis or TB is an airborne infectious disease that's curable. However it requires strict compliance with TB drugs for months. And many people, especially in poor countries drop out in the middle because the drugs can trigger nausea and other side effects. This in turn is leads to a relapse with drug resistant strains of bacteria, making treatment difficult. The consequences are evident from TB statistics. According to the WHO, TB afflicts millions worldwide – of the 9.2 million cases newly diagnosed in 2006, 1.7 million people succumbed to the disease.

The Pee based approach to TB treatment

Staff from the Innovations in International Health (IIH) project at MIT, recently devised a program which uses paper-based diagnostics called “XoutTB” with text-messaging technology and service to improve tuberculosis (TB) treatment compliance in poor countries.

At the heart of the program lies a rewards schedule, whereby patients complying with to the TB drug regimens consistently for 30 days are rewarded with cell-phone minutes, encouraging them further.

To track compliance, the participants are required to pee on a paper-based diagnostic equipment, which is dispensed once each day. The device is able to detect the metabolites of the TB drug in urine – accurately assessing whether the drugs were consumed or not. Also the reaction between the drug molecules in urine and the chemicals embedded in the paper devices uncover a code that the participants need to text-message to a central database. A consistent record of compliance for 30 days is rewarded with free minuets.

It's simple and hopefully will turn out to be quite effective, as the trials are still on. While the real work is still accomplished by the good old TB drugs, the pee based diagnostics are central to making that happen. Now, that's what I'd call real waste management!

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Video Game Surgery – A New Way To Train Surgeons

Vaccines – The Invaluable Pharmaceuticals

Innovation To Vanquish Biotechnology Products Deficit

Hospital Reforms - A Must for the Future

Top 11 Tips To A Healthy Brain

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vicks VapoRub Misuse May Harm Toddlers

Vicks® VapoRub®, the popular salve used to relieve symptoms of cough and congestion, may be harmful for infants and toddlers. New research appearing in the January issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed medical industry journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), shows that Vicks® VapoRub® (VVR) may stimulate mucus production and airway inflammation, which can have severe effects on breathing in an infant or toddler. Research findings are consistent with current VVR labeling which indicates the product should not be used on children under 2 years of age.

VVR is not indicated for patients under age 2. However, Dr. Rubin realizes that some parents are still choosing to use VVR to relieve their sick young child's symptoms, usually rubbing the salve on the feet or chest.

"I recommend never putting Vicks in, or under, the nose of anybody—adult or child. I also would follow the directions and never use it at all in children under age 2," said Dr. Rubin.

Dr. Rubin also feels that although the study only tested Vick's VapoRub, similar products, including generic brands, could cause the same adverse reaction in infants and toddlers.

"The best treatments for congestion are a bit of saline (salt water) and gentle rubber bulb suction, warm drinks or chicken soup, and, often, just letting the passage of time heal the child." Dr. Rubin also notes that if a child is struggling to breathe, it is a medical emergency and would require the child to be seen by a doctor as quickly as possible.

"Parents should consult with a physician before administering any over-the-counter medicine to infants and young children," said James A. L. Mathers, Jr., MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. "Furthermore, the American College of Chest Physicians and several other health-care organizations have concluded that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines can be harmful for infants and young children and are, therefore, not recommended."

Source: EurekAlert!

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Vaccines – The Invaluable Pharmaceuticals

California's Autism Cases Rising!

Bad Drug Combo Risk - Seniors Not Alone

Monday, January 12, 2009

Vaccines – The Invaluable Pharmaceuticals

Patients and families are today demanding more and more effective and better pharmaceutical drugs. At the same time the pharmaceutical companies are finding it exceedingly hard to match up to the expectations, the increasing rates of patent expiry, and the emergence new diseases such as SARS. Aside from the discovery of a new drug compound, the long process of clinical trials further delays novel drugs from reaching the market quickly. However, vaccines unlike other forms of medicines, establish or improve immunity to a particular disease, thus forestalling its onset. Have we somewhere along the way overlooked the true potential of vaccines.

Read more at: Themedica

Friday, January 9, 2009

California's Autism Cases Rising!

A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend shows no sign of abating.

Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California's children.

"It's time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California," said UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology and an internationally respected autism researcher.

Hertz-Picciotto said that many researchers, state officials and advocacy organizations from the medical industry have viewed the rise in autism's incidence in California with skepticism.

The incidence of autism by age six in California has increased from fewer than nine in 10,000 for children born in 1990 to more than 44 in 10,000 for children born in 2000. Some have argued that this change could have been due to migration into California of families with autistic children, inclusion of children with milder forms of autism in the counting and earlier ages of diagnosis as consequences of improved surveillance or greater awareness.

Hertz-Picciotto said that the study is a clarion call to researchers and policy makers who have focused attention and money on understanding the genetic components of autism. She said that the rise in cases of autism in California cannot be attributed to the state's increasingly diverse population because the disorder affects ethnic groups at fairly similar rates.

"We're looking at the possible effects of metals, pesticides and infectious agents on neurodevelopment," Hertz-Picciotto said. "If we're going to stop the rise in autism in California, we need to keep these studies going and expand them to the extent possible."

UC Davis Health System News

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Financial Crisis – Survival Tips for Small Medical Businesses

Caution: High-Fat Diet Can Disrupt Your Biological Clock!

Making the Most of Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

Top 11 Tips To A Healthy Brain

Top 10 Tips To Keep Allergies Away

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Will Physician Gifting Practices Guidelines Work?

Pens and prescription pads flashing branded pharmaceutical drug names and logos could become less visible in doctor's offices as a result of PhRMA's “Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals.” But will it make the practice of medicine any better?

Briefly the new code of interactions instructs pharmaceutical companies not to distribute clothes, office supplies, and other gifts bearing company logos or product brand names to physicians and clinics. In addition, it also asks these companies to refrain from paying for physicians' meals, even during medical education events.

Many feel that these may only have a superficial effect. Why because compliance with the guidelines is purely voluntary. In fact, the guidelines are not even supposed to be a confession that gifts to doctors from the pharma industry influence a doctor's prescription writing skills. So when there's no problem to begin with, what problem will the guidelines solve. Perhaps they will solve just the problem of a perception that free gifts influence prescriptions.

Many from the pharmaceutical industry and doctors, though have shown respect to the guidelines, they scoff at the notion that pens and mugs are meant to influence a medic's practice.

Why Freebies may not be a bane?

Consider free samples of drugs, many physicians look up to these freebies for treating poor and and underinsured patients. Further, the samples also enable both doctors and patients to assess their tolerance of a novel drug before they purchase it. Thus, saving them from undue expenditure.

Often medical models and charts gifted to doctors help them to educate patients better, does it then really matter whether they carry a logo and a brand name? Free pens, flash drives, staplers, calculators paperweights, etc, may simply serve to support doctor's practice. But that a “viagra pen” will influence a prescription for “strep throat” is pretty hard to believe.

Further, some even contend that the guidelines don't at all help to put a stop to give aways other than freebies meant to influence physicians. And some even see it as a clever realization by the industry that rather than spending on freebies, the money could be spent in ways to ensure a better return on investment for them.

Whether or not the freebies influence a doctor's prescription drug advice may not be crystal clear, but what is, is that each practicing doctor has a conscience of her own, and as long as that is intact, no amount of supposed influence should be a cause for worry.

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Financial Crisis – Survival Tips for Small Medical Businesses

Gold Particles Could Deliver Pharma Drugs in Future!

How Harmful Bacteria Can Fight off Cancer?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Economic Crisis – Seniors Badly Hit

The ongoing recession is forcing many senior Americans to cut down spending on their retirement accounts and other areas such as entertainment and restaurant meals.

The finding were made known through an AARP survey released on Tuesday. The study found that those over 45 years of age faced savings and investment losses, were finding it exceedingly hard to pay for necessities such as pharmaceutical drugs, food, gas in addition to making plans to postpone retirement.

According to the survey:
  • 83% say the government should help people who have lost their jobs keep their health insurance or purchase affordable health insurance.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 said that the government should help people who are facing foreclosure so that they can stay in their homes.
  • Of those adults ages 45+ who lost money in their investments over the past year and are currently working or looking for work, more than half (57%) expect to delay retirement and work longer as a result of their investment losses.
  • One in four (25%) retirees who are not currently working or looking for work say that, within the past 12 months, they have either looked for a job because they needed more income but have been unable to find one (8%) or thought about returning to work because they needed more income (17%).
Following are a few of the key initiatives that AARP is working toward in the 111th Congress:

Reducing Health Care Costs & Improving Quality: Advance health information technology, evidence-based practices, chronic care coordination, and disease management and prevention; and provide greater consumer access to information on health care quality and costs.

Expanding Health Care Coverage: Extend quality, affordable, health care coverage through Medicaid, private insurance reform, new incentives to expand coverage to the 50-64 age group and expansion of children's coverage through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Training for 21st Century Jobs: Provide training and job search resources so that workers age 50+ who are losing their jobs can re-enter the workforce.

Making Saving Simple: Promote a universal payroll deduction mechanism that allows employees to automatically contribute a portion of their wages to retirement savings accounts, such as through automatic IRAs.
Helping Homeowners: Enact legislation that would allow bankruptcy judges the discretion to modify primary mortgage debt so more Americans facing foreclosure can stay in their homes.

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Financial Crisis – Survival Tips for Small Medical Businesses

Recession and Prescription Drug Abuse

Caution: High-Fat Diet Can Disrupt Your Biological Clock

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bad Drug Combo Risk - Seniors Are Not Alone

Dangerous mixing of pharmaceutical drugs is common among older people, a new study found. And that for the most part non-prescription (e.g. dietary supplements) drugs are responsible. So are seniors the only people who could be at risk.

The study published in recent issue of JAMA is based on the interviews of 2,976 people ages 57 through 85, between June 2005 and March 2006 about the medications they routinely used. It reported that about 15 million people within the age-group consumed about five drugs and/or supplements at the same time, increasing their risk of major drug-drug interactions.

It's true that of the 50 million people or so under consideration 1 in 25 individuals are at a risk of a major drug reaction. However, is it only the older adults who're at risk?

To some quite an extent this is true, because older adults (age 65 or over) are two and one-half times more likely to visit an emergency and are seven times more likely to be hospitalized for an adverse drug event than than younger individuals.

But they're not alone. This is so because average Americans in general are ten times more likely to be hospitalized from an adverse drug reaction than from a motor vehicle accident, according to Thomas Moore - the author of "Prescription for Disaster: the Hidden Dangers in Your Medicine Cabinet"

Note that it's still the average American than a senior who is at risk. The average American could be just about anyone, young and old.

The risk of adverse drug reactions is often increased by a bad mix of chemicals and because seniors are likely to take more medications the odds for them to suffer an adverse drug reaction are greater. But so is anyone who takes many drugs including those from a younger age group. In fact, according experts, those at risk include anyone who is very young, pregnant, and breastfeeding, or is hereditarily susceptible. And suffering from some diseases itself makes these individuals vulnerable.

I don't think all these conditions are exclusive to seniors. Also, if you consider drug interaction alone, I think only popping in a single medication can cause a reaction due to a bad mix of drugs. For example, simply consume alcohol when it doesn't mix well with a drug. The crux is a bad mix – just two incompatible drugs are sufficient to send a person to an emergency. And that only seniors would pop in such a combination isn't 100% guaranteed! Let alone diet supplements being the devil.

Posts, Possibly of Interest

Do Vitamin Supplements Prevent Cancer?

How Dietary Supplements Can Save Billions

Recession and Prescription Drug Abuse

Financial Crisis – Survival Tips for Small Medical Businesses

With the economic crisis around the world looming large, many businesses within the medical industry are shell-shocked trying to come to terms with the changing economic environments. While the worry is all the more justified, perhaps maintaining the composure and focusing energies on fighting the fire will eventually help businesses ride the storm with grace.

The following tips should come in handy to help small businesses fight their way to survival.
  • While remaining calm, review your cash position and the expected cash needs. Check whether you will be able to meet your business’ short-term needs, goals and risk tolerance?
  • Check up with your lenders about the status of your lines of credit. Make sure you comply with their terms? See if your banks can renew their commitments at similar rates, amounts, and conditions?
  • Reduce the use of paper for routine communication, switch to email or instant messaging.
More at: Themedica