July 7 - July 13, 2002
Saturday, July 13, 2002
Condoms and Contraception
This article is an interesting 3 paragraph summary of the history of condoms, which have historically been used primarily for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. [ article ]
This article from the Lancet covers the history of Alzheimer's disease, focusing on the contributions from Alois Alzheimer. A good review. [ article ]
Pharmaceuticals- the New Drug Smuggling Threat
Mail order and Internet pharmaceuticals frequently are fake, or contain risky contaminants according to representatives of the US Customs Service. Smugglers seem to be focussing on the US due to the high price of pharmaceuticals there compared with other countries. [ article ]
Mass Vaccination Recommended- Not CDC Plan of Rings of Immunity
More experts are recommending large-scale smallpox vaccination, not the limited vaccination plan proposed by the CDC recently. The CDC panel proposed just vaccinating close contact to individuals exposed to the virus. Due to the highly mobile nature of modern society, simply following a surveillance-and-containment strategy is unlikely to be effective. The experts warn that those vaccinated many years ago when smallpox vaccination was routine, almost certainly will no longer be immune. [ article ]
Experts predict global devastation due to HIV/AIDS
The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to grow, especially in the Eastern European countries and in China. The recommendations from a recent conference on the global HIV/AIDS crisis recommended more than tripling financial aid from the G8 countries, from $3 billion US to $10 billion a year. The goal is to prevent what has already happened in Africa to spread further. [ article ]
Placebo as Good as Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
This trial of 180 patients compared sham surgery (placebo) versus arthroscopic lavage and also versus arthroscopic debridement. All three groups of patients did equally well. [ article ]
Taxes May Drive Some to Quit Smoking
There is growing evidence that excise taxes on cigarettes increase the number of people who give up tobacco smoking. More importantly, it increases the chances that teenagers will *not* begin smoking. Comment: an approximate rule of thumb is that smoking rates will decline by 5% when the price of cigarettes goes up by 10%. article ]
Friday, July 12, 2002
'Environmentalists' Abet Wildfires
NewsMax.Com Wires. Wednesday, July 10, 2002. Nuisance lawsuits filed by self-styled "environmentalists" have sabotaged half of the U.S. Forest Service's attempts to cut the underbrush that fuels the West's catastrophic wildfires.
So reports the liberal Denver Post today, based on an internal Forest Service report it obtained.
"For those who have spent the last several weeks downplaying the impact of appeals and litigation on forest management, this report is a bucket of cold water in the face," said Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., chairman of the House subcommittee on forests.
"The American people can expect a decades-long cycle of destructive wildfires if this crusade against forest management continues."
The Post reported: "McInnis and others say environmental groups' repeated challenges to logging and thinning projects have left the forests clogged with underbrush that fuels fires.
"Environmentalists say they support thinning and controlled burns to protect homes and communities against wildfire. But they oppose thinning far from cities, which they consider to be commercial logging in disguise."
'Green' With Envy
Translation: The environment-destroying "environmentalist" extremists would rather risk destroying millions of acres, and the lives of thousands of people, than let anyone produce jobs and make profits from the precious trees they worship.
According to the Post: "In the Rocky Mountain region that includes Colorado, only 11 percent of the thinning projects have been appealed. But in states such as Montana, 100 percent of the cutting projects were challenged. Out of 326 thinning projects nationwide for 2001 and the first half of 2002, the report found that 155 - 48 percent - were appealed. Six percent went to court."
with permission from NewsMax.Com Wires [ article ]
A Step Toward Universal Healthcare?
A US Senate committee has approved the "Family Opportunity Act" and sent it to the full Senate. Comment: this sounds like a great idea. To send your Senator your opinion Click Here. [ article ]
Lawyers Creating a Dangerous Healthcare Climate
Due to drastically increased rates of lawsuits, the climate in the neonatal intensive care unit has been shown to suffer. Malpractice lawsuits against neonatologists have nearly doubled from that seen in 1987 to just 8 years later in 1995. This hostile environment has adversely affected the care given to premies according to comments from one of the co-authors of the research study. Comment: any wonder that the infant survival rates in America aren't that great? Lawyers are taking a huge chunk of money out of the healthcare system and redirecting it to the legal system. This ongoing scourge of outrageously excessive lawsuits has never been shown to improve quality of care. In fact, as this article shows, our nation's quality of care is adversely affected by our legal system that is out of control. The legal system is threatening to control our healthcare, our businesses, our personal lives, and everything else! Where are the lawyers when it comes to ideas for reforming our legal system? Are they too interested in their own pockets? Or perhaps a few will bravely step forward and put the good of our society first, and begin developing a plan for legal tort reform? Any constructive suggestions will be gladly published here. Physicians have devoted their lives to caring for the healthcare needs of others. Now, it looks like physicians will also have to lead the discussion on tort reform. There continues to be silence from the other side of the aisle. [ article ]
Thursday, July 11, 2002
ADV: Shaklee Receives International Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
In recognition of its precedent-setting accomplishment in the field of environmental leadership, Shaklee Corporation was one of only 20 international recipients recently honored with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2002 Climate Protection Award.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the international Climate Protection Awards two years ago in order to recognize exceptional leadership, personal dedication, and technical achievements in protecting the earth's climate. Nominated this year by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Shaklee was chosen because of its Climate Neutral certification. As the first company in the nation to certify its entire enterprise by completely eliminating its Co2 emissions, the EPA is honoring Shaklee for taking a bold step that was designed to create genuine environmental improvements. [ more information ... ]
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Readership Survey: Educational Level
Thank you for your vote in our anonymous readership survey of educational level. [ Vote Now ]
More Bad News for Hormone Replacement Therapy
Wyeth stock fell 19% today as the market reacted to today's announcement that a National Institutes of Health study of hormone replacement therapy was halted prematurely. Wyeth makes the product PremPro, which was found in this study to create an increased risk of stroke, heart-attack, and breast cancer. [ article ]
** HORMONE REPLACEMENT TRIAL HALTED DUE TO SEVERE COMPLICATIONS **
A major trial of hormone replacement therapy was halted early due to the significant increase of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, and blood clots in the women taking hormone replacement therapy consisting of a estrogen/progestin combination. Comment: the lead researchers state that women should probably take these medications for no more than 5 years. This news is a huge change from previous thinking and recommendations. Less than a year ago I attended a lecture (sponsored of course by the makers of Premarin) that greatly praised the benefits of hormone replacement therapy. The speaker stated that the hormones greatly decreased the overall death rates primarily by decreasing the risk of a heart attack. This latest research to be published in JAMA strongly suggest that the rush to promote hormone replacement therapy may have been due to poor science and premature conclusions. [ article ]
Review Articles Frequently of Poor Quality
This analysis looked at the methodology of 29 systematic reviews published in the emergency medicine literature. It found serious flaws in a significant number of the review articles. The conclusions of the review articles were supported by the data only 52% of the time. The mean quality score on a scale of 1 - 7 was 2.7 (39%). Comment: review articles are frequently misleading, as demonstrated by this analysis. [ Emergency Medicine News 2002(May), p11 ]
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
Life Expectancy in Botswana & Mozambique Expected to Drop to 27 Years
Due to the HIV epidemic, the average life expectancy in many African nations is anticipated to fall below 40 years old. Predictions are that Botswana and Mozambique will be hardest hit, with their life expectancy at 27 years. [ article ]
Monday, July 08, 2002
Las Vegas' Only Trauma Center to Close Due to Liability Crisis
The Washington Post has reported that the only trauma center in Las Vegas has closed due to the medical liability crisis in Nevada. Comment: why aren't the lawyer's groups proposing a solution to the medical liability crisis? [ article ]
Sunday, July 07, 2002
Questions Over Wisdom of Routine Varicella Vaccination
This study showed that adults with regular exposure to children, increased their exposure to varicella-zoster-virus and decreased their chances of getting shingles. The authors note that varicella vaccination among childrem may actually cause more shingles among adults. Comment: vaccination against varicella is still not as universally accepted as, for example, tetanus vaccination. Since the years of life lost due to adult shingles may be larger than that due to childhood chicken pox, this may affect recommendations for routine chicken pox vaccination. Alternatively, some people believe that the best option is to get adults vaccinated against chicken pox as well as children. [ "The more you mingle, the less you shingle." ]
Success in Africa
This study of HIV infection found that Uganda is showing success in decreasing its HIV prevalence. Comment: this is important for two reasons. #1- this success in Uganda is very small compared to the steadily increasing rates of HIV elsewhere, and #2- it provides a model of what works in terms of HIV prevention. [ article ]
The World Trade Organization has been accused of dragging its feet in their pledge to ease patent restrictions on important medications such as HIV drugs. Comment: it is really short sighted to not aggressively do whatever we can to repress HIV infection. Infectious diseases in this age of air travel can easily be spread from one country to the next. Right now, fighting HIV is of critical importance. [ article ]
Doctors Urged to Give Full Financial Disclosure When Conducting Research
More and more, primary care doctors are being urged to participate in clinical trials. The doctors are paid for their participation-- usually by a pharmaceutical company that is sponsoring the research on their product. These authors state that these doctors should give full financial disclosure of the arrangement with the pharmaceutical company. Comment: the lead investigators of these large clinical trials need to insist upon full financial disclosure to all participants. Journals need to hold all researchers to this standard, or reject their papers. Doctors should discuss the financial issues involved when they recruit patients into trials. Finally, patients should ask questions about financial arrangements before agreeing to participate in clinical trials. The huge dependence of researchers upon pharmaceutical company support has to end. It results in important research directions being overlooked. For example, nutrition (both macronutrient and micronutrient) research is in its infancy compared to the increasingly absurd trials funded by pharmaceutical companies. Too often, we are seeing research that over-emphasizes high priced (i.e. high profit) pharmaceuticals. It is clear that not all advances in pharmaceutical research benefit mankind. Frequently, the research is for the sole purpose of increasing a company's market share. [ article ]
Humanity's Use of the Global Biosphere: 120%
These scientists estimated the load humanity is placing upon our planet. They estimate that we were using 70% of the capacity in 1961, and in 1999 were using 120%. This means that every year, people use up global resources that takes the planet a year and a quarter to produce. [ article ]
Ambient Noise Levels Linked With Poor Childhood Behavior
This study of 1403 children aged 8 to 11 found a significant positive association between ambient noise and poorer classroom behavior. [ article ]
Antibiotic Usually Not Helpful in Childhood Otitis Media
This study of 315 children from 6 months to 10 years of age found that antibiotics where of benefit in children with otitis media only if they also had fever and vomiting. Comment: it is usually recommended to give the antibiotic prescription to the parents, but instruct them to hold off giving the child any antibiotics for 24 to 72 hours, and only give it then if the child is still sick. Studies have shown that in the large majority of cases, the parents do not end up needing to give the child antibiotics. This study found that in children with fever and/or vomiting, starting antibiotics on day #1 is usually beneficial. [ article ]
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