Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hard Choices, Prenatal Genetic Tests, Expectant Parents

Are We Prepared for the Hard Choices That Prenatal Genetic Tests Could Force on Expectant Parents? | MIT Technology Review: ".... Several companies have introduced genetic tests that use blood drawn from the mother. These tests can be performed earlier in pregnancy than amniocentesis is usually done, which means that if the results suggest an abnormality, women and their partners have more time to grapple with whether to have an abortion or prepare for a child with special needs. If the results are reassuring, the cloud of anxiety dissipates sooner.  Given that the risks of having blood drawn are minimal, the tests are likely to be widely used. While today fewer than 5 percent of pregnant women undergo amniocentesis, “I think we could see 50, 60, 70, 80 percent of American pregnancies getting genetic testing,” says Hank Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford ...."

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Diet Drugs, Doctors, Obesity Medicine

It certainly is a growth industry --

Diet Drugs Work: Why Won't Doctors Prescribe Them? : The New Yorker: " . . . Obesity experts with whom I spoke tended to be more optimistic than other physicians about the possibility that obesity can be treated successfully and that the obesity epidemic will be curbed. They point to exciting new research—for example, the finding that an alteration in gut bacteria, rather than mechanical shrinking of the stomach or intestine, may be what causes weight loss after gastric bypass. This raises the possibility that the benefits of surgery might become available without the surgery itself. They also note that public-health efforts seem to be reducing childhood obesity, even in poor communities. But they remain concerned that despite such promising developments, many physicians still don’t see obesity the way they do: as a serious, often preventable disease that requires intensive and lifelong treatment with a combination of diet, exercise, behavioral modification, surgery, and, potentially, drugs. Louis Aronne thinks this will change as more physicians enter the field of obesity medicine, the physiology of obesity is better understood, and more effective treatment options become available. He likens the current attitude toward obesity to the prevailing attitude toward mental illness years ago. Aronne remembers, during his medical training, seeing psychotic patients warehoused and sedated, treated as less than human. He predicts that, one day, “some doctors are going to look back at severely obese patients and say, ‘What the hell was I thinking when I didn’t do anything to help them? How wrong could I have been?’... ” (read more at link above)

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Some Depression Just Goes Away on Its Own

But few Doctors or psychologists will tell you that --

Does Depression Go Away on Its Own? | Devil in the Data | Big Think: "The median duration of major-depressive episodes was 3.0 months for those who had no professional care, 4.5 months for those who sought primary care, and 6.0 months for those who entered the mental health care system. (It's not told what percentage of patients who sought care took meds, but for this discussion it doesn't matter. The point is, most people do get better, one way or another.) The differences in mean episode duration may reflect severity (no data were given for this). The people who recovered quickly on their own may have done so because they were less depressed. It stands to reason that those who sought help at the mental-health-system level were probably more depressed, hence took longer to recover. In any case, the point is that today, as in Kraepelin's time, many depressed patients recover, with or without medical intervention, because that's the nature of the illness. It comes and it goes." (read more at the link above)

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Martha Stewart, 10 Golden Rules for Aging

Martha Stewart tells how to live the 'Good Long Life': . . . Martha Stewart compares aging to a bonsai tree, which is revered in Japan and, with proper care, flourishes as it ages. Her "10 Golden Rules" for growing old beautifully, like the bonsai: • Eat well • Maintain a healthy weight • Stay physically active • Get quality sleep • Wear sunscreen • Collaborate with a good primary care doctor regularly • Find your passion • Connect with others • Stop complaining — change what you can, and accept what you cannot • Stay curious .... (read more at the link above)

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sleep Therapy, Aid for Depression

The first of four studies on the special relationship between sleep and depression suggests that when antidepressants and insomnia therapy are used together, recovery happens faster --

Sleep Therapy Seen as an Aid for Depression - NYTimes.com: "....The therapy that Dr. Manber, Dr. Carney and the other researchers are using is called cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I for short. The therapist teaches people to establish a regular wake-up time and stick to it; get out of bed during waking periods; avoid eating, reading, watching TV or similar activities in bed; and eliminate daytime napping. The aim is to reserve time in bed for only sleeping and — at least as important — to “curb this idea that sleeping requires effort, that it’s something you have to fix,” Dr. Carney said. “That’s when people get in trouble, when they begin to think they have to do something to get to sleep ....” (read more at link above)

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Venezuela, beauty standards, results

Venezuela let a pageant 'king' set beauty standards. The results aren't pretty | Dariana Arias | Comment is free | theguardian.com:"The boost" is all the rage. Forget laptops and cell phones, Venezuelan girls are asking for breast implants for their special quinceañera gift. In the US, apparently girls wait a few more years and ask for it as a high school graduation gift because after all, they too have a right to happiness (pdf). (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Doctors and Lucrative Industry Ties

Doctors "on the take"--

Doctors' Lucrative Industry Ties - NYTimes.com: " . . . gifts and payments to physicians from drug and medical device companies have been rampant in medicine for decades. Over a two-and-a-half-year period, device and drug companies shelled out over $76 million just to physicians licensed in Massachusetts, according to a study published online this month in The New England Journal of Medicine. That amount does not include outlays of less than $50, which are exempt from disclosure." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Depression and C. Difficile Infections

Body: Depression and C. Difficile Infections - NYTimes.com: "Two studies have found that depression and the use of certain antidepressants are both associated with increased risk for Clostridium difficile infection, an increasingly common cause of diarrhea that in the worst cases can be fatal. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Online Pornography, Its Effects, the Way Out

Online Pornography's Effects, and a New Way to Fight Them - WSJ.com: " . . . Countless studies connect porn with a new and negative attitude to intimate relationships, and neurological imaging confirms it. Susan Fiske, professor of psychology at Princeton University, used MRI scans in 2010 to analyze men watching porn. Afterward, brain activity revealed, they looked at women more as objects than as people. The new DSM-5 will add the diagnosis "Hypersexual Disorder," which includes compulsive pornography use. Repetitive viewing of pornography resets neural pathways, creating the need for a type and level of stimulation not satiable in real life. The user is thrilled, then doomed. But the evolutionary plasticity of our mind makes this damage reversible. In "The Brain That Changes Itself," psychiatrist Norman Doidge writes about patients who overused porn and were able to quit, cold turkey, and change their brains back. They just had to stop watching it. Completely. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to Slow Down, Simply Be Present in Life

The Work/Life Balancing Act: " . . . So, how do we slow down? The answer is insanely obvious...we simply be present in life. Some days, something as simple as having a cup of coffee becomes a juggling act of replying to emails and surfing the web. Give yourself permission to do less and think more.  What if you don't get to the 10 things on your to-do list? What if you just got to the one that made the most impact on your life for that one day? I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how to come up with a great idea. It was filled with great suggestions but the one that made the most sense is Be Present in Life. If you're not busy running around trying to pack more into your day and you just slow down, you might find a great idea is right under your nose.  If we really want better work life balance, we are going to need to trade super-productiveness for sanity. That's hard to remember some days. But after decades of trying to be super mom, I'm finally focusing on sanity." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Evaluate and Reevaluate the culture and society in which you live

Everyone's responsibility to evaluate, and reevaluate, the culture and society in which we live --

'Hey bitch' someone yelled out a car window. It's what I've come to expect | Natalie Sharif | Comment is free | theguardian.com: " . . . The constant criticism, intimidation and manipulation wore away at my sense of self and my ability to trust my own perceptions. I was afraid of what I was becoming. Only with the help of friends was I able to realize the effects of his emotional and verbal abuse. As a global community, everyone – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or personal beliefs – has the responsibility to reevaluate the culture and society in which we reside. We so easily use or accept slurs and stereotypes and then allow ourselves (often unconsciously) to believe them to be true. No matter how strong we are, we must acknowledge that the things we see, hear, and say on a regular basis do have an effect on us. I never expected to be in a relationship that was so damaging. "I am strong", I thought. I am a college educated woman who was raised knowing how to stand up for myself. But abuse does not come with a flashing neon sign and, through the years, we become complacent with our surroundings. To be honest, I wanted to shout expletives at those guys in the car. I want my ex to feel what it is like to be stripped of his sense of self, to wake up one morning and not even know who he is. But in a universal context, how would this behavior be beneficial to those who are not able to walk away? It isn't. All I – and all anyone else – can do is stand firmly against everyday belittlement. We no longer have the option to sit idly by. Ignoring the present will only allow the abuse, violence, and inequity to persist and intensify." (read more at the link above)

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Alligators Grow New Teeth, Why Not Humans?

Alligators Can Grow New Teeth, So Why Not Humans? - US News and World Report: "Though the understanding necessary to make regenerative medicine a possibility in humans is still far off, Chuong says that one day scientists will be able to inject hormones or molecules that will cause humans to grow new teeth. "We have to understand the molecular pathway involved," he says . . . Chuong says that the DNA of humans contains the genetic material necessary to grown teeth and even regenerate other parts of the body, but that code isn't "turned on." Regeneration is relatively common in the animal kingdom—certain types of salamanders can regenerate limbs, lobsters and stone crabs can grow new claws, starfish can grown new appendages and many types of predators, including sharks and alligators, can regenerate teeth. (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Replace a Dental Crown?

Ask Well: Replacing a Dental Crown - NYTimes.com: "Patients should be aware that dental professionals are financially motivated to replace restorations. Also, some dentists, especially younger ones, prefer the appearance of white restorations, rather than gold crowns, which are typically used on back teeth in patients who favor crown longevity over aesthetics. Replacing a crown is not just a matter of cost. Every time a dentist puts in a crown or a filling, “some damage is done to the pulp,” Dr. Donovan said, so some teeth that were crowned may eventually require a root canal. Restorations also take away tooth structure, increasing the risk of fracture." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Patient chooses to be taken off life support

Paralyzed hunter chooses to be taken off life support - CBS News: "Tim Bowers got to decide for himself whether he wanted to live or die. When the avid outdoorsman was badly hurt Saturday in a hunting accident, doctors said he would be paralyzed and could be on a ventilator for life. His family had a unique request: Could he be brought out of sedation to hear his prognosis and decide what he wanted to do? Doctors said yes, and Bowers chose to take no extra measures to stay alive. He died Sunday, hours after his breathing tube was removed. "We just asked him, 'Do you want this?' And he shook his head emphatically no," his sister, Jenny Shultz, said of her brother, who was often found hunting, camping or helping his father on his northeastern Indiana farm. The 32-year-old was deer hunting when he fell 16 feet from a tree and suffered a severe spinal injury that paralyzed him from the shoulders down. Doctors thought he might never breathe on his own again. Courts have long upheld the rights of patients to refuse life support. But Bowers' case was unusual because it's often family members or surrogates, not the patient, who make end-of-life decisions. . . . " (read more at link above)

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nap to Manage Fatigue in Nonstop World

Manage Fatigue in a Nonstop World With a Nap - NYTimes.com: " . . . For all but the tiniest minority – perhaps 2 or 3 percent – “enough” means seven to eight hours. Almost no one can sleep fewer than five hours and feel fully rested, but we don’t necessarily recognize that limitation. Many among us are so chronically sleep deprived that we’ve lost the connection to what it feels like to be fully rested – and how much more that would make possible in our lives. But a growing body of research suggests that even short naps can be a powerful and highly efficient way to temporarily compensate for an inadequate night’s sleep, specifically in the hours following the nap. The exception is among those who are already severely sleep deprived. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Big Talker Obama Lied -- Millions of People Are Losing Their Insurance Under Obamacare

Yes, People Are Losing Their Insurance Under Obamacare - Businessweek: "How big a deal is this? Politically, it’s awful for Obama. The promise to let people keep their doctors and health plans was one of his biggest talking points when he sold the health law to Americans. The line underplayed how Obamacare’s many moving parts would affect the health insurance market, with some unforeseen consequences for consumers. People are getting letters from their insurance companies saying their old plan is ending just as the healthcare.gov marketplace, where they theoretically could shop for new plans, is limping along. The situation angers and confuses ordinary consumers . . . ."

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hidden cameras to monitor care homes

This will soon be mandated everywhere -- to end elder abuse --

Plan to use hidden cameras to monitor care homes | Society | The Guardian: Hidden cameras could be used to monitor the services provided by care homes under plans being considered by the health and social carewatchdog in England. Other ideas include the use of so-called mystery shoppers who would pose as customers of care homes in order to test the quality of service provided. The proposals were unveiled by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which said it would hold discussions over "the potential use of hidden surveillance". The CQC's new chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, outlined her priorities in a document published ahead of a public consultation next spring, part of a process of changing the way the watchdog monitors providers. . ."

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Consumer Reports says ‘Stay Away From HealthCare.gov'

Consumer Reports: ‘Stay Away From HealthCare.gov' | National Review Online: "Consumer Reports, which publishes reviews of consumer products and services, advised its readers to avoid the federal health-care exchange “for at least another month if you can.” “Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made,” the magazine said, having tested the site themselves over the course of the past three weeks. . . ."

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Doctors are not Sherlock, Have You Consulted Watson?

IBM's Watson is better at diagnosing cancer than human doctors (Wired UK): " . . . The first stages of a planned wider deployment, IBM's business agreement with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and American private healthcare company Wellpoint will see Watson available for rent to any hospital or clinic that wants to get its opinion on matters relating to oncology. Not only that, but it'll suggest the most affordable way of paying for it in America's excessively-complex healthcare market. The hope is it will improve diagnoses while reducing their costs at the same time. . . ."

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Misdiagnosis, Doctors Making Bad Decisions

Why We Make Bad Decisions - NYTimes.com: " . . . Physicians do get things wrong, remarkably often. Studies have shown that up to one in five patients are misdiagnosed. In the United States and Canada it is estimated that 50,000 hospital deaths each year could have been prevented if the real cause of illness had been correctly identified. . . ." (more at link above)

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Increase your intelligence

You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network: "I have come up with five primary elements involved in increasing your fluid intelligence, or cognitive ability. . . . But it isn’t impractical to adopt lifestyle changes that will have the same—and even greater cognitive benefits. These can be implemented every day, to get you the benefits of intense entire-brain training, and should transfer to gains in overall cognitive functioning as well. These five primary principles are: 1. Seek Novelty 2. Challenge Yourself 3. Think Creatively 4. Do Things The Hard Way 5. Network . . ." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Millions Of Consumers Get Health Insurance Cancellation Notices

Obamacare causing massive cancellation of Health Insurance Policies nationwide -- Obama lied when he promised you would be able to keep your current policy --

Thousands Of Consumers Get Insurance Cancellation Notices Due To Health Law Changes - Kaiser Health News: "Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people – about half of its individual business in the state.  Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent.. . .." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

How to take control of your life online

Conscious computing: how to take control of your life online | Technology | The Guardian: "After all, distraction – as the Australian philosopher Damon Young points out in his book of that name – isn't just a minor irritant. It's a serious philosophical problem: what you focus on, hour by hour, day after day, ends up comprising your whole life. "To be diverted isn't simply to have too many stimuli but to be confused about what to attend to and why," Young writes. "Distraction is the very opposite of emancipation: failing to see what is worthwhile in life, and lacking the wherewithal to seek it." To recover from techno-distraction, "what's required is not Luddite extremism but a more ambitious relationship to our tools – one that promotes our liberty instead of weakening it.""

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dental Care, Startup, Obamacare, Gaps

A Dental Care Startup Sees Profit in Obamacare's Gaps - Businessweek: "The Affordable Care Act is expected to bring millions of Americans into the health-care system, increasing market opportunity for industry incumbents and startups alike. Less heralded is the business potential from individuals who slip through Obamacare’s gaps. A startup called Brighter, which helps people without dental insurance get better prices from dentists, sees itself in the latter category. Noting that Obamacare isn’t likely to improve access for the more than 135 million Americans who lack dental coverage (PDF), it aims to do what traditional insurers do: use economies of scale to negotiate better prices for them. As of today, Brighter Chief Executive Officer Jake Winebaum says that patients who use his company’s platform to book appointments with 350 participating Los Angeles dentists will pay, on average, 53 percent less than standard out-of-pocket costs. The Santa Monica (Calif.)-based company, which has raised $15 million in venture capital, plans to profit by charging dentists to access uninsured patients. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Helping Children, Sport Safety

Helping Children Play Safely in Sports - NYTimes.com: . . . Children should not have to pay a painful, and sometimes deadly, price for doing what is good for them. The risks can be minimized when young athletes have proper equipment, a safe environment in which to play, and access to health care professionals who know when and how to intervene. Whether your child plays organized sports like soccer, football or basketball, or participates in cheerleading or marching band, the advice that follows can help prevent potentially serious injuries. Much of it is based on safety tips issued last month by the athletic trainers’ association. . . . . (read more at link above)

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

US health care, disintermediation

Claiming the $1 trillion prize in US health care | McKinsey & Company: "First, payers (and patients) must redefine the roles they expect providers to play and clearly establish that they want these roles to match the needs of 21st-century patients. In a system characterized by complexity, specialization, a high prevalence of chronic illness, and a proliferation of drugs and devices, the United States needs fewer component providers who specialize in a single task, such as taking diagnostic images. Instead, it will need more healers (providers who can achieve specific objectives for patients during episodes of care) and partners (providers who can help improve a patient’s health and wellness over a longer period of time). Today, few providers act as or are rewarded for being healers or partners. . . ."

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wireless Way to Save Health-Care Costs

Sleep apnea is “widely underd iagnosed,” so smartphone detection—which Poceta welcomes—may drive up health-care costs. “As a matter of business, the bigger number being screened will uncover more of those who need the expert and the sleep lab,” he says.(source infra)

The Wireless Way to Save Health-Care Costs | MIT Technology Review: "Starting in August, he’s spearheading a new study called “Wired for Health” that will gauge the economic value of three commercial wireless devices (AliveCor, the Withings blood pressure monitor, and an iPhone glucose meter) in 200 patients with diabetes, hypertension and heart-rhythm disorders, the type of chronically ill patients who account for about 80 percent of all medical bills nationwide. The controlled study will give the devices to only half the participants and will assess whether actively tracking their health reduces health-care costs."

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Sport for Head Injuries, Cycling

Really? Cycling Is the Top Sport for Head Injuries - NYTimes.com: " . . . In New York City, 75 percent of all fatal bike accidents involve a head injury. In addition to wearing a helmet, another helpful precaution is using a marked bike lane: Streets that have them have 40 percent fewer crashes ending in death or serious injury. Bike accidents contribute to more sports-related head injuries than any other activity."

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Order, Disorder, Creativity

What a Messy Desk Says About You - NYTimes.com: "“Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition,” Dr. Vohs and her co-authors conclude in the study, “which can produce fresh insights.” The implications of these findings are also practical. “My advice would be, if you need to think outside the box” for a future project, Dr. Vohs says, then let the clutter rise and unfetter your imagination. But if your primary goal is to eat well or to go to the gym, pick up around your office first. By doing this, the naturally messy can acquire some of the discipline of the conscientious."

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Behavior Therapy, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Adding cognitive behavioral therapy may be more effective than an antipsychotic drug for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, a new study found.(souce infra)

Behavior Therapy Aids Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - NYTimes.com: " . .  . Researchers studied 100 people with O.C.D. who were taking antidepressants without sufficient improvement. They randomized 40 to the antipsychotic risperidone (brand name Risperdal), 20 to a placebo pill, and 40 to exposure and ritual prevention, a special form of C.B.T. delivered twice a week over eight weeks. All continued their antidepressants as well. The study was published online in JAMA Psychiatry, and several of the authors have financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.. . . "

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Life expectancy, disease

Life expectancy history: Public health and medical advances that lead to long lives. - Slate Magazine: "The vast majority of deaths before the mid-20th century were caused by microbes—bacteria, amoebas, protozoans, or viruses that ruled the Earth and to a lesser extent still do. It’s not always clear which microbes get the credit for which kills. Bills of mortality (lists of deaths by causes) were kept in London starting in the 1600s and in certain North American cities and parishes starting in the 1700s. At the time, people thought fevers were spread by miasmas (bad air) and the treatment of choice for pretty much everything was blood-letting."

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Children as Chattel, USA, International Adoptions

No authority tracks what happens after a child is brought to America, so no one knows how often international adoptions fail. The U.S. government estimates that domestic adoptions fail at a rate ranging from "about 10 to 25 percent." If international adoptions fail with about the same frequency, then more than 24,000 foreign adoptees are no longer with the parents who brought them to the United States. Some experts say the percentage could be higher given the lack of support for those parents.(source infra)

Reuters Investigates - The Child Exchange: "....Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America. The practice is called "private re-homing," a term typically used by owners seeking new homes for their pets. Based on solicitations posted on one of eight similar online bulletin boards, the parallels are striking...."

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Trader Joe's, Part-Time Workers, Obamacare

Trader Joe's To Drop Health Coverage For Part-Time Workers Under Obamacare: Memo: "While the stakes for workers aren't clear, the benefits to Trader Joe's under the new arrangement are obvious. The implementation of Obamacare provides an opportune moment for the company to get in line with less generous competitors, and the savings the company finds in dropping coverage for part-timers will almost certainly outstrip the $500 it will give employees to defray what they end up paying on the exchanges."

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

House, Physical Space, Home, Mental Space

Silicon Valley techies spur home building and remodeling boom - SiliconValley.com: ""We wanted space," said Charlotte Matityahu. "The last thing we wanted was a new home, so we found a really old, dysfunctional giant barn of a thing and made it into a home, not a house. What you need is a place to decompress and create mental -- not physical -- space, so you can process everything and get ready for tomorrow."" (read more at link above)

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Science of Mind

The New Science of Mind - NYTimes.com: " . . . Consider the biology of depression. We are beginning to discern the outlines of a complex neural circuit that becomes disordered in depressive illnesses. Helen Mayberg, at Emory University, and other scientists used brain-scanning techniques to identify several components of this circuit, two of which are particularly important. One is Area 25 (the subcallosal cingulate region), which mediates our unconscious and motor responses to emotional stress; the other is the right anterior insula, a region where self-awareness and interpersonal experience come together. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bacteria from slim people, Treating obesity

Bacteria from slim people could help treat obesity, study finds | Society | The Guardian: "Bugs that lurk in the guts of slim people could be turned into radical new therapies to treat obesity, according to a new study. The claim follows a series of experiments which found that the different populations of bacteria that live in lean and overweight people caused mice to lose or gain weight. The findings build on a growing body of work that gives the millions of microbes that live in the gut a major role in weight control." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Work That Matters, Making Time

Make Time for the Work That Matters - Harvard Business Review: "We’ve spent the past three years studying how knowledge workers can become more productive and found that the answer is simple: Eliminate or delegate unimportant tasks and replace them with value-added ones. Our research indicates that knowledge workers spend a great deal of their time—an average of 41%—on discretionary activities that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled competently by others. So why do they keep doing them? Because ridding oneself of work is easier said than done. We instinctively cling to tasks that make us feel busy and thus important, while our bosses, constantly striving to do more with less, pile on as many responsibilities as we’re willing to accept." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Age of Denial

Our society no longer values the integrity of scientific fact -- but did it ever? Welcome to the Age of Denial - NYTimes.com: "Today, however, it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact. Narrowly defined, “creationism” was a minor current in American thinking for much of the 20th century. But in the years since I was a student, a well-funded effort has skillfully rebranded that ideology as “creation science” and pushed it into classrooms across the country. Though transparently unscientific, denying evolution has become a litmus test for some conservative politicians, even at the highest levels." (read more at link above)

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Safer Drinking Water

A Quest for Even Safer Drinking Water - NYTimes.com"Water drawn from the faucet is markedly different from the water that leaves the system’s treatment facility. “The ecology,” Dr. Pace said, “is the distribution system.” Bacteria can evade disinfectant by slipping into an amoeba’s digestive system or inside protozoan cysts, persisting there for up to a hundred years. But many species survive in so-called biofilms — a sticky polymer made of DNA, proteins, and carbohydrates clinging to pipes like plaque. Back at the lab, Dr. Pace’s team is sequencing DNA in the water samples and finding evidence that this slime may be knocked loose, carrying organisms throughout a water distribution system." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

$546 for Six Liters of Saltwater

How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater - NYTimes.com: "Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution. It is no secret that medical care in the United States is overpriced. But as the tale of the humble IV bag shows all too clearly, it is secrecy that helps keep prices high: hidden in the underbrush of transactions among multiple buyers and sellers, and in the hieroglyphics of hospital bills. At every step from manufacturer to patient, there are confidential deals among the major players, including drug companies, purchasing organizations and distributors, and insurers. These deals so obscure prices and profits that even participants cannot say what the simplest component of care actually costs, let alone what it should cost. And that leaves taxpayers and patients alike with an inflated bottom line and little or no way to challenge it." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Meditation, Mindfulness, Wandering Minds

Wait, What's That? The Science Behind Why Your Mind Keeps Wandering | Fast Company | Business + Innovation: "If you've ever tried mindfulness meditation--and you have by now, given our opening paragraph--this news won't be entirely surprising. Our minds tend to wander (and a wandering mind can be dangerous--like if you're contemplating your way in a moving car. The key, as Killeen explains, is to cooperate with mental movements. One of the first keys, he says, is to recognize that you have a finite attentional window--and structure your workflow to be congruent with that capacity. This speaks to how we've talked about how work is a series of sprints--and to be our most productive and most creative, we need to unplug throughout our workdays." (read more at link above)

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brain infections, Amoebas, Warm bodies of fresh water

MIAMI: Boy with rare brain infection on ventilator - Nation Wires - MiamiHerald.com: " . . . Infections from the amoeba are rare. Florida officials cited federal statistics showing that 28 infections were reported in the U.S. from 2003 to 2012, mostly from exposure to contaminated recreational water. A person cannot be infected with the amoeba by drinking contaminated water, state officials said, and the amoeba is not found in salt water. Victims typically are exposed to the bug while swimming or doing water sports in warm ponds, lakes, rivers and canals during the hot summer months, mostly in the South." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Do You Need A Trophy Husband? (video)

Philadelphia -WTXF FOX 29
Trophy Husbands a New Trend?

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Placebo Science, Treatment, Doctors

How caregivers present and administer treatments has a powerful effect on clinical outcomes --

A Powerful Tool in the Doctor's Toolkit - NYTimes.com: " . . . Suddenly there was a plausible pharmacological mechanism for how placebos work and research in the field flowered. In June, Harvard Medical School and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation held an international medical conference devoted entirely to placebo science. Dr. Kaptchuk describes placebos as not just the traditional sugar pill, but also “everything that surrounds a medical treatment”: how caregivers describe the medication, how they administer it, the expectations they have for the medicine, their tone of voice, their strength of eye contact. In short, everything that doctors and nurses do in an interaction with a patient. This is not especially surprising. Healers and shamans have known intuitively about the importance of this interaction since the dawn of time. . . . "

Another read: The Experts: Doctor Payment Changes - WSJ.com

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Avoid Estate Battle After You Die

How to Avoid an Estate Battle After You Die - NYTimes.com: " . . . Contesting a will is costly, time-consuming and emotional. One way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to make the downside of losing a risk too severe to take. Long before death, when a will is filed and takes effect, people can put their assets into a revocable trust. They still have access to the money during their lifetime and can keep those assets out of the probate process. The trust could also act as a substitute for a will by naming other beneficiaries. “The disappointed family member doesn’t have a legal right to challenge it,” Mr. Rothschild said. “They’d have to go to the court and say, ‘Even though it’s been in existence for many years, mother wasn’t competent to put it together.’ ”When it comes to a will, one way to reduce the chances of a challenge is to put in a no-contest clause. In doing so a parent would leave a little to the otherwise disinherited children, but if they contest the will they get nothing." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why Long Marriages End

Why Long Marriages End - Marriage, Divorce, Break Up, Separation - AARP: "The answer is longevity. We live so much longer now. Half a century ago, an unhappy couple in their mid-60s might have stayed together because they thought it wasn't worth divorcing if they had only a few years left to live. Now, 65-year-olds can easily envision at least 20 more active years — and they don't want them to be loveless, or full of frustration or disappointment."

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

New Doctors, 8 Minutes Per Patient

For New Doctors, 8 Minutes Per Patient - NYTimes.com: " . . . . While more research still needs to be done, augmenting federal support of residency training programs to increase the number of trainees, decrease resident workload and make the current restrictions on hours more flexible, could help alleviate some of the pressures young doctors now face and allow them to spend more time with patients. “There is just no substitute for time in doctor-patient relationships,” Dr. Fletcher said. “Efficiency is important but it isn’t the end of the story.”"

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ticks making people allergic to red meat (video)

Love Red Meat? Watch Out for Ticks. - WSJ.com: "If Lyme disease isn't reason enough to avoid ticks, here's another: the inability to enjoy a burger. Odd as it seems, researchers say that bites from the voracious lone star tick are making some people allergic to red meat—even if they've never had a problem eating it before."

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Aspirin Cancer Prevention

Aspirin for Cancer Prevention | Devil in the Data | Big Think: "With all this data available, you'd think the makers of aspirin and ibuprofen would be touting anti-cancer benefits of their products (which they can legally do, given the extensive nature of the scientific evidence), and you'd think the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, and other agencies charged with promoting public health would be quick to spread the word. Not so, however. There's too much money to be made treating cancer, after it takes root." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Foreign Doctors, Obstacles to Practice in US

Despite a shortage of doctors in some parts of the United States, a trend that may worsen under the new health care law, it takes years for a foreign doctor to be licensed here.

Path to United States Practice Is Long Slog to Foreign Doctors - NYTimes.com: " . . . many foreign physicians and their advocates argue that the process is unnecessarily restrictive and time-consuming, particularly since America’s need for doctors will expand sharply in a few short months under President Obama’s health care law. They point out that medical services cost far more in the United States than elsewhere in the world, in part because of such restrictions. The United States already faces a shortage of physicians in many parts of the country, especially in specialties where foreign-trained physicians are most likely to practice, like primary care. And that shortage is going to get exponentially worse, studies predict, when the health care law insures millions more Americans starting in 2014. . . . "

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

High Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia

HIgh blood glucose levels are tied to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia in a new study.

High Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia - NYTimes.com: " . . . Now comes a novel observational study of patients at a large health care system in Washington State showing that higher blood glucose levels are associated with a greater risk of dementia — even among people who don’t have diabetes. The results, published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, “may have influence on the way we think about blood sugar and the brain,” said Dr. Paul Crane, the lead author and associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington. . . . "

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Obamacare Limit on Consumer Costs Delayed

The Obama administration has put off another provision — on deductibles and co-payments — until 2015 --

A Limit on Consumer Costs Is Delayed in Health Care Law - NYTimes.com: " . . . . For people with serious illnesses like cancer and multiple sclerosis, Ms. Weinberg said, out-of-pocket costs can total tens of thousands of dollars a year . . . In promoting his health care plan in 2009, Mr. Obama cited the limit on out-of-pocket costs as one of its chief virtues. “We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick,” Mr. Obama told a joint session of Congress in September 2009.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Recovery After Divorce or Job Loss a Long Process

After Divorce or Job Loss Comes the Good Identity Crisis - WSJ.com: "Whether you've lost a job or a girlfriend, it won't take long before someone tells you, Dust yourself off. Time heals all wounds. Yes, but how much time? Experts say most people should give themselves a good two years to recover from an emotional trauma such as a breakup or the loss of a job. And if you were blindsided by the event—your spouse left abruptly, you were fired unexpectedly—it could take longer. That is more time than most people expect, says Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago and former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It's important to know roughly how long the emotional disruption will last. Once you get over the shock that it is going to be a long process, you can relax, Dr. Gourguechon says. "You don't have to feel pressure to be OK, because you're not OK.". . ."

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Antidote to Emptiness

The behavior of men like Anthony Weiner and Steven A. Cohen suggests they were desperately seeking validation, the author writes. But there are better ways to fill that inner emptiness.

The Antidote to Emptiness - NYTimes.com: " . . . We worship at the altar of “winners,” without recognizing that it sets up a zero-sum game in which the consequence must necessarily be a lot of “losers.” We undervalue qualities like humility, vulnerability, personal responsibility and compassion. There are antidotes. The first is self-awareness, or the willingness to honestly face our deepest insecurities and fears, to keep pushing through our infinite capacity for self-deception. The second is the capacity to accept our own deepest opposites – our best nature and our worst, rather than inflating the former and denying the latter. None of us will ever be completely free of our shortcomings and our compulsions, but by recognizing and accepting them, we can exercise more choice about whether to act them out. Finally, there is no more powerful antidote to the havoc we can wreak out of the desperate hunger to prove we matter than to truly serve others without expectation of reward. Paradoxically, nothing makes us feel better about ourselves."

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nightmares After ICU

Patients who have prolonged stays, getting intubated and sedated, may experience severe hallucinations, putting them at risk of PTSD for years to come, studies show--

Nightmares After the I.C.U. - NYTimes.com: " . . . Annually, about five million patients stay in an intensive care unit in the United States. Studies show that up to 35 percent may have symptoms of PTSD for as long as two years after that experience, particularly if they had a prolonged stay due to a critical illness with severe infection orrespiratory failure. Those persistent symptoms include intrusive thoughts, avoidant behaviors, mood swings, emotional numbness and reckless behavior. Yet I.C.U.-induced PTSD has been largely unidentified and untreated. . . ."

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Living Apart Together, LAT Life

The LAT life is healthy, according to all the studies. O.K., one study, admittedly puny in scope, but it just came out. Published in the current issue of the Journal of Communication, it closely followed 63 couples, about half of whom lived together and half of whom couldn’t, separated by circumstance rather than choice. The couples in commuter relationships said that their conversations were less frequent but deeper. They confessed more, listened harder and experienced a greater sense of intimacy. Absence worked its aphoristic magic on the heart. Fondness bloomed . . . (source infra)

Of Love and Fungus - NYTimes.com: " . . . Even in earlier eras, before the ready meeting place of cyberspace, this sort of arrangement worked. Fannie Hurst, a hugely popular short-story writer in the early 20th century, and her husband had separate studio apartments in the same building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They made appointments to see each other. She explained that most of the other marriages she’d observed were “sordid endurance tests, overgrown with the fungi of familiarity and contempt.”. . . "

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Jungle Indoors (video)

The Jungle Indoors: "Researchers are just beginning to understand the sheer number and type of organisms that live inside the home with us."

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Four Square Blocks: Design Williamsburg (video)

Four Square Blocks: Design Williamsburg: "Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has developed an animated design scene. We look at spots of visual interest in four square blocks."

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Two LA Interior Design Stores (video)

Made in L.A.: Two Interior Design Stores: "In a new series, the interior designer and writer David Netto explores Los Angeles and finds inspiration in his surroundings. In this episode, Netto visits Blackman Cruz and J. F. Chen. "

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Seeking Sexual Surrogates (video)

Seeking Sexual Surrogates: "In France, sexual surrogates for disabled people are not permitted, but some are pushing to make the practice legal."

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Doctors and the Truth

Doctors Badmouthing Other Doctors - NYTimes.com: comment - "THIS ARTICLE IS VERY DISTURBING The idea that physicians are being encouraged to be less critical of each other is one of the most disturbing things I have ever read. As a member of another profession that is also very reluctant to criticize its own, law, I think this article has it wrong. God bless those physicians courageous enough to testify when one of their "own" has negligently hurt a patient. There are many instances of where such heroes have had revenge taken on them by their peers.. . " (read more at link above)

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Skull Surgery: Perils and Potential

Skull Surgery Offers Perils and Potential - NYTimes.com: " . . . “All of us have seen miracles in people we’ve done this on, but the truth is we’re also probably creating a larger population of patients who are significantly disabled,” said Dr. Karin M. Muraszko, the chairwoman of the neurosurgery department at the University of Michigan. It is difficult for surgeons to know which patients might recover and which are likely to be left barely functional. But the decision must be made under unyielding time pressure, in emergency rooms and intensive-care units and battlefield hospitals. “We don’t want to save lives if we’re saving people to a state where they can’t function,” said Dr. S. Andrew Josephson, a neurologist and the chairman of the ethics committee at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Skull removal to address cerebral swelling for traumatic brain injury and severe stroke first became widespread in the 1970s. Over the years, surgeons have refined the technique to the point where death is averted in about half the cases. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Possible Cancer Toll of CT Scans

The Possible Cancer Toll of CT Scans - NYTimes.com: "Each year more than four million CT scans are performed on children, and they are increasing the risk for future cancer, a new study suggests. Researchers writing online last month in JAMA Pediatrics counted the number of CT scans performed on children under 15 from 1996 to 2010 in seven American health care systems, and calculated the average dose of radiation delivered to the head, abdomen, chest or spine. . . ."

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Getting Enough Sleep?

Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life--

Cheating Ourselves of Sleep - NYTimes.com: "Think you do just fine on five or six hours of shut-eye? Chances are, you are among the many millions who unwittingly shortchange themselves on sleep. Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Overcoming Your Negativity Bias

Overcoming Your Negativity Bias - NYTimes.com: " . . . . I decided to interrupt my snowballing reverie. Saccharine as it may sound, I began to write down everything I was feeling grateful for in that moment. I got on a roll, and after just a couple of minutes, I was not only feeling remarkably better, but also far more able to concentrate on the task at hand. It’s a simple concept: we construct our internal reality – our experience of the world — in large part by where we put our attention. More often than we recognize, we can make that choice consciously and intentionally. Doing so influences not just how we feel, but also how we perform, individually and collaboratively. It turns out that cultivating positive emotions such as joy, contentment, interest, pride and love pays huge dividends. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

What Does Your Doctor or Hospital Cost? Hard to Tell

Hospitals do not have to tell you their prices, and often they keep them secret -- until they send the bill--little transparency, failure to disclose, obstructions for patients

What Does Birth Cost? Hard to Tell - NYTimes.com: "“Every single person in government tells people, ‘Oh, you’ve got to make good choices,’ ” he said in an interview. “But patients have their hands tied. They can’t get costs and they can’t find out about quality.” If that bill were law, Therese’s problem would be solved. But for now, she needed some extra help to find out what those two hospitals were allowed to charge. So I e-mailed Donald McLeod, a Medicare spokesman, and asked for assistance. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kids on Speed

Pieter Cohen and Nicolas Rasmussen: A Nation of Kids on Speed - WSJ.com: " . . . . We still do not have a single randomized trial to help determine if starting stimulants as an adolescent or adult further increases the risk of future substance abuse, although the long and checkered history of medical stimulants would suggest it does. Certainly, the risks from recreationally using stimulants are already well-documented. In 2010, Adderall was second only in popularity to the painkiller Vicodin as a prescription drug of abuse among high-school seniors, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Adolescents often perceive prescription drugs as safer than illicit ones, but abusing prescription amphetamines can lead to seizures, psychosis and life-threatening heart disease. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Technology Alone Will Not Save Health Care

Technology Alone Will Not Save Health Care - Forbes: " . . . The business system of health care is profoundly inefficient, and the market is broken (or never existed). This means that resources are allocated to the wrong activities and consumers and plan sponsors pay too much for services they buy, and hence their finite money does not buy all the care they need. The result in the U.S. has historically been average outcomes at 2x the cost level of peer countries. In the future, now that money is becoming scarce and we are less able to pay twice what the other developed countries pay, the result will probably be sub-par care . . ."

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Whitbread PLC launches new brand 'hub' by Premier Inn

Whitbread PLC launches new brand 'hub by Premier Inn' - YouTube: Whitbread PLC, the UK's largest hotel group announced the launch of its new hotel concept, 'hub by Premier Inn'. The new concept will target major UK city centres such as London and Edinburgh, with the first 'hub by Premier Inn' to open on St. Martin's Lane in London in summer 2014. 'hub by Premier Inn' is a new generation of compact, city centre hotel with ingenious, contemporary room design and excellent connectivity that will offer good value for money and appeal to customers who value price, location and design over space. At 11.4 sq.m a 'hub' room is compact, and thanks to its innovative design every centimetre is optimised with a desk that folds into the Hypnos pocket-sprung bed, luggage storage under the bed, an en suite bathroom with power shower, free wifi and a 40" inch smart screen TV.  'hub by Premier Inn' will be the UK's first hotel with its own app, letting customers control their hotel experience. The 'hub' app means customers can book and check in online, as well as pre-select their room temperature and light settings. They can even choose which TV or radio channel they want playing in their room when they arrive and stream content from their phone or tablet direct to their TV.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How Aspirin Stems Cancer

How Aspirin Might Stem Cancer - NYTimes.com: "The use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs significantly reduces the risk for cancer, but no one has been able to explain why. Now researchers have found that these drugs slow the accumulation of a type of DNA change called somatic genome abnormalities, or S.G.A.’s, that lead to uncontrolled cell growth. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

ObamaCare and Dysfunctional Healthcare

Jenkins: The Young Won't Buy ObamaCare - WSJ.com: "Independent websites like Edmunds.com, AutoTrader.com and Kelley Blue Book publish detailed pricing information for consumers and do so for free. Why? The answer is obvious. Consumers want such information and businesses see opportunity in providing it, even for free, in order to attract eyeballs for advertising. Such information doesn't exist in health care because consumers don't demand it, because somebody else is almost always paying for our health care. Those of us who aren't subsidized directly by Medicaid, Medicare and the Veterans Administration are subsidized through the tax code to channel all our aches and pains through a third-party payment mill, disguised as employer-provided "insurance." Not being able to analyze "why" also leads to all kinds of anomalous conclusions." (read more at link above)

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Minimalist Workout

The Rise of the Minimalist Workout - NYTimes.com: "  . . .The most recent research suggests that a few minutes per week of strenuous exercise can improve aerobic fitness, generally more quickly than moderate activity does. In a representative study, which I wrote about this week, Norwegian scientists found that three four-minute runs a week — at a pace equivalent to 90 percent of a person’s maximal heart rate, an intensity that will feel, frankly, unpleasant — improved volunteers’ endurance capacity by about 10 percent after 10 weeks. . . ." (read more at link above)

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why Men are Boycotting Marriage (video)

Video - Opinion Journal: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage - WSJ.com: "Why Men are Boycotting Marriage Author Helen Smith on why men are boycotting marriage, fatherhood and the American Dream."

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Working harder a problem or the answer


Is working harder the answer, or the problem? Ask a workaholic. | The Work/Life Balancing Act: "Just last month, Ivan Glasenberg, the 57-year-old billionaire CEO of Glencore Xstrata, outspokenly told the media that he is not interested in helping his employees find work/life balance. He touts a tough, old-school 24/7 work ethic as a reason to buy shares in his commodity trading and mining company. “We work,” he said. “You don’t come here to take life easy. And we all got rich from it, so, you know, there’s a benefit from it.”" (read more at link above)

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Why a Health Insurance Penalty May Make Sense

Obamacare unintended consequences--

Why a Health Insurance Penalty May Look Tempting - NYTimes.com: "Once new health insurance exchanges are up and running in October, companies with 50 or more full-time employees will face a choice: Provide affordable care to all full-time employees, or pay a penalty. But that penalty is only $2,000 a person, excluding the first 30 employees. With an employer’s contribution to family health coverage now averaging $11,429 a year, taking that penalty would seem to yield big savings."

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Americans' Exploding Use of Prescription Drugs

Study: 70 Percent Of Americans On Prescription Drugs « CBS Atlanta: "According to the CDC, the percent of persons using at least one prescription drug in the past month increased nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2010. And the researchers said prescription drug spending will only increase in the future."

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

70 Percent Of Americans On Prescription Drugs

A nation of "pill-poppers"--

Study: 70 Percent Of Americans On Prescription Drugs « CBS Atlanta: "Researchers find that nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half receive at least two prescriptions. Mayo Clinic researchers report that antibiotics, antidepressants and painkiller opioids are the most common prescriptions given to Americans. Twenty percent of U.S. patients were also found to be on five or more prescription medications. . . ."

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Throat Cancer and HPV (video)

Throat Cancer and H.P.V.After remarks from the actor Michael Douglas attributing his throat cancer to a sexually transmitted virus, men are concerned that they, too, might be at risk.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

The Therapeutic Art of Doing No-thing

Doing nothing is different from doing no harm, that endlessly advertised professional goal for doctors. You can do a lot of things and still do no harm — and often not much good either--

Don't Do Something; Just Sit There - NYTimes.com: " . . . Doing nothing is also different from handing out placebo medications, an ethically complex activity featuring doctor as shaman. To really do nothing, all shamanic trappings must be abandoned: stethoscope, prescription pad, weighty pronouncements, the works. And yet — and this is key — doing nothing is also quite different from saying, “There’s nothing I can do for you; goodbye.” Most doctors are masters of this final nothing. But keeping a therapeutic relationship afloat without the usual tools, tricks or enticements — that is a rare achievement, and surely harder than the hardest microsurgery. . . Among more than 22 million cataloged medical articles I found exactly one that seemed likely to help. Published in The Rhode Island Journal of Medicine in 1986, “The Art of ‘Doing Nothing’ ” cannot be read online and took a week to arrive via interlibrary loan. It proved to be well worth the wait. “Physicians have been trained to expect the worst of every symptom,” wrote the author, Dr. David F. Wehlage, an Indiana psychiatrist. They “ ‘do everything’ to diagnose and treat it without regard for the destructive aspects of doing too much.” In fact, Dr. Wehlage pointed out, even such simple bromides as “take my advice and don’t worry” can be harmful, casting patients in a passive, dependent role that undermines their natural problem-solving capabilities. “The art of doing nothing is learning to help by not doing or advising,” he wrote. “The evaluation is the treatment.” . . . .(read more at link above)

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thanks To Obamacare, Doctor Shortage Set To Quintuple

Thanks To Obamacare, A 20,000 Doctor Shortage Is Set To Quintuple - Forbes: "Those who get their coverage through Medicaid or the exchanges may feel the effects of the shortage even more acutely, as many providers are opting not to accept their insurance. Right now, the United States is short some 20,000 doctors, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The shortage could quintuple over the next decade, thanks to the aging of the American population"

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Monday, June 17, 2013

New Cancer Drugs Empower Our Immune Systems

The drugs work by unleashing the immune system to attack cancer cells, much as it attacks bacteria or other foreign invaders in the human body.

Promising New Cancer Drugs Empower the Body’s Own Defense System - NYTimes.com: " . . . . The drugs, still generally in early testing, work in an entirely new way, by unleashing the immune system to attack cancer cells much as it attacks bacteria. That could be an alternative to often-debilitating chemotherapy. Finding ways to use the body’s own defenses has been a goal since the late 1800s, when a New York surgeon named William B. Coley noticed that cancer disappeared in a patient who had a severe bacterial infection. . . ."

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Why Long Marriages End

Why Long Marriages End - Marriage, Divorce, Break Up, Separation - AARP: "Lack of communication and loss of trust are also issues that seriously undermine a marriage. I suspect that it wasn’t so much an affair that sent Maria Shriver heading for the door, but more the fact that her husband had deceived her for so long. On top of that, she is dealing with public humiliation — as well as the destabilizing presence of a child. It is a rare relationship, of any length, that could face these factors and continue on. "

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Men's Use of Testosterone Rises

Men's Use of Testosterone on the Rise - NYTimes.com: " . . . Testosterone therapy can cause thickening of the blood, acne and reduced sperm counts. Many doctors worry that it also raises the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer, though some experts say that those concerns are unproved. Jacques Baillargeon, the lead author of the new research, said that the safety of long-term testosterone use had yet to be established in good studies. “I think these relatively healthy men who are starting testosterone at age 40 are potentially going to be exposed for a very long time, and we don’t know what the risks are,” said Dr. Baillargeon . . ."

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