Friday, March 29, 2013

Majority of doctors opposed to full access to your own electronic records

Doctors oppose transparency, patient access to records--

Majority of doctors opposed to full access to your own electronic records | Ars Technica: "Technology is making transparency easier than ever and with the advent of electronic medical records, you might think doctors and other caregivers would embrace transparency for patients. After all, in the US and most modern counties, you have the right to review your own health records. Yet a recent survey by Harris Interactive reported first at Computerworld reveals that doctors aren't big fans of full transparency. A survey of 3,700 doctors in eight countries revealed that only 31 percent believe that patients should have full access to their own medical records via electronic means. That's less than one in 3. The majority of those surveyed, some 65 percent, supported "limited access," while the remaining 4 percent believe there should be no access granted to patients. So, despite the fact that we have rights to review and amend our records, doctors don’t want it to be easy for us to do so via electronic means. I find these numbers incredibly disappointing, although not surprising. While there might be many motivations for wanting to deny patients full access to their medical records, I know firsthand one such motivation: these documents can be terribly inaccurate. Mistakes can run from the serious to the banal. Ars’ own Casey Johnston told me her medical records reported the wrong birthdate for her. Not a huge deal, but also, sort of a silly mistake to make. I experienced something a little more serious. A few years ago I decided it was time to get some life insurance for both my wife and myself. Because we were seeking a significant policy, we were put through a fairly intense wringer, including a battery of medical tests conducted in our home and an extensive review of our medical records, in addition to multiple interviews. Through this process, I came to realize that my own medical records were littered with inaccuracies. . . . " (read more at the link above)

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mushrooms Could Be The New Plastic

Sounds good--

Can Mushrooms Be The New Plastic? | Collective-Evolution: "Today, plastics are among the most toxic and polluting substances we use on a daily basis. Simply focusing on styrofoam alone, it is a $20+ billion industry who’s products are found in anything from TV protective packaging to disposable coffee cups. The trouble with all of this styrofoam is that it cannot be recycled or disposed of. Once created, it stays on the planet for thousands and thousands of years. Styrofoam is petroleum based and contains a carcinogenic and neutroxic chemical called Benzene.[1] In 1986, the Environment Protection Agency National Human Adipose Tissue Survey identified styrene residues in every single sample of human fat tissue they studied, all of which were complied in 1982 within the US. This was the first time it was recognized that styrene from food and other packaging could find its way into the human body.[2] Simply put, styrofoam is not only poisoning our environment but also our bodies due to its highly toxic nature . . ." (read more at link above)

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Monday, March 25, 2013

The prostate cancer dilemna

To test or not?--

Life after prostate cancer improved thanks to better detection and more treatment choices - Health - "Given that most men don’t die from prostate cancer and that blood tests, like the PSA, can result in unnecessary surgeries, which contain a host of risks, the U.S. Prevention Services Task Force recommended against routine screening for prostate cancer in 2012. That recommendation proved controversial among urologists. “There have been conflicts in the media, even in medical literature, ‘Why do we care about prostate cancer, it doesn’t kill many people and most of the time it’s benign and most men die with prostate cancer?’ But we are still dealing with tens of thousands of men dealing with prostate cancer and annually die from it,” Sundararaman said. “What we want to do, from start to finish, we want to make sure a patient understands that they can empower themselves about their situation. Not knowing, not checking is not an appropriate way to deal with this."

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Why Your Employer May Drop Your Health-Care Plan

Why Your Employer May Drop Your Health-Care Plan - Businessweek: " . . . Fear of backlash from workers keeps many employers from dropping coverage, as Bloomberg reported in December. Tax deductions for health spending also encourage businesses to keep offering benefits. Still, while few admit it publicly, many American companies would love get out of the health insurance business. For employers, providing health insurance is expensive and the cost increases are unpredictable. Their competitors in most other wealthy nations don’t have to bear the same costs: That’s usually the government’s job. . . ."

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ignore Sheryl Sandberg - How to Get to the Top

Ignore Sheryl Sandberg: How to Get More Working Women to the Top - "We have been putting smart women on the couch for 40 years, since psychologist Matina Horner published her famous studies on "fear of success." But the portion of top jobs that go to women is still shockingly low. That's the irony of Ms. Sandberg's cheerleading for women to stay ambitious: She fails to see that her own agenda isn't nearly ambitious enough. "Leaning in" may help the relative handful of talented women who can live with the way that top jobs are structured today—and if that's their choice, more power to them. But only a small percentage of women will choose this route. Until the rest of us get serious about altering the way work gets done in American corporations, we're destined to howl at the moon over the injustice of it all while changing almost nothing."

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Monday, March 18, 2013

FDA Launches Rare Review Into Diabetes Drugs (video)

Federal regulators are looking into a multibillion-dollar class of diabetes drugs after recent reports that they could be linked to pancreatic cancer. Peter Landers reports on The News Hub.
Video - FDA Launches Rare Review Into Diabetes Drugs - ". . . Facing growing evidence that some of America's top-selling diabetes medicines could lead to pancreatic disease, federal regulators on Thursday opened an unusual review of drugs from Merck & Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and other pharmaceutical makers. The Food and Drug Administration said it was asking researchers for more information about how the drugs, used to treat type-2 diabetes, could lead to inflammation of the pancreas and cause precancerous changes in cells. However, the FDA stressed it hasn't concluded that the medicines "may cause or contribute to the development of pancreatic cancer.". . . . "

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Friday, March 15, 2013

US health care: most expensive yet poor outcomes

US healthcare lags other nations--

" . . . hardly news that America spends more on health care than any other country. Nor is it news that this money fails to make Americans healthy. But a new report from America’s Institute of Medicine and National Research Council illuminates the many ways in which America’s health lags that of other rich countries and tries to explain why. Health spending reached $2.7 trillion in 2011, equal to 17.9% of America’s GDP (and more than the entire GDP of Britain). Yet America performs poorly on nearly every measure. Life expectancy has risen, but not as quickly as among America’s peers. In a ranking of 17 rich countries, America’s death rate from non-communicable diseases is higher than any country except Denmark. The statistics are particularly bleak for the young. America has the highest infant-mortality rate of the 17 rich countries examined. Its teenagers are more likely to become pregnant or die from a car accident or violence.|newe|1-11-2013|4585628|89083676|NA

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Anorexics Weigh In on Thinspo Sites

Anorexics Weigh In on 'Thinspo' Sites
ABC News
Thinspo –short for "thinspiration" – is a common term used to tag images and ideas posted on social media sites meant to encourage women to stay thin or become even thinner. Women of all shapes and sizes visit thinspo blogs, post thinspired messages and tweet out related images daily. They use thinspro as a motivational tool, much the same as tacking inspirational notes and photos onto a refrigerator or mirror. . . . . The 2008 International Internet Trends Study found that the number or pro ana and pro bulimia -- or "pro mia" -- sites increased 470 percent in the past two years. One of the top thinspo sites . . . receives an average of 280,000 page views ...

ABC News

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Welfare for the Medical-Industrial Complex

Welfare for the Medical-Industrial Complex
" . . . why does Obamacare run through the private sector? Raw political necessity: this was the only way that it could get past the insurance industry’s power. OK, that was how it had to be. But you should really be outraged at the efforts of some states to ensure that the Medicaid expansion is done not via direct government insurance but run through the insurance industry. What you need to understand is that this is a double giveaway, both to the insurers and to the health care industry, because private insurers don’t have the government’s bargaining power. It is, bluntly, purely a matter of corporate welfare for the medical-industrial complex. Oh, I guess you might believe that the relevant politicians sincerely believe that the magic of the market will somehow lower costs, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — and that rewarding their friends has nothing to do with it. Hey, I have this bridge to sell you.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Patients Should Think About Costs

Getting Patients to Think About Costs - " . . . A majority of the participants refused to consider the expenses borne by insurers or by society as a whole when making their choices. Some doubted that one individual’s efforts would have any real overall impact and so gave up considering cost-savings altogether. Others said they would go out of their way to choose the more expensive options, viewing such decisions as acts of defiance and a kind of well-deserved “payback” after years of paying insurance premiums. Underlying all of these comments was the belief that cost was synonymous with quality. Even when the focus group leaders reminded participants that the differences between proposed options were nearly negligible, participants continued to choose the more expensive options as if it were beyond question that they must be more efficacious or foolproof. The study’s findings are disheartening. But Dr. Goold and her co-investigators believe that public beliefs and attitudes about cost and quality can be changed. They cite the dramatic transformation in attitudes about end-of-life care as an example of how initiatives to improve understanding can lead people to make higher quality and more cost-effective decisions, like choosing hospices over hospitals. “We need to begin to talk about these issues in a way that doesn’t turn it into a discussion pitting money against life, and we need to find ways of getting people to think about not spending money on things that offer marginal benefit” Dr. Goold said. “Because it’s going to be tough otherwise trying to implement any cost-saving measures, if patients don’t accept them.”

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Effects of Bullying Last Into Adulthood

Effects of Bullying Last Into Adulthood, Study Finds - "Victims of bullying at school, and bullies themselves, are more likely to experience psychiatric problems in childhood, studies have shown. Now researchers have found that elevated risk of psychiatric trouble extends into adulthood, sometimes even a decade after the intimidation has ended. The new study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday, is the most comprehensive effort to date to establish the long-term consequences of childhood bullying, experts said. “It documents the elevated risk across a wide range of mental health outcomes and over a long period of time,” said Catherine Bradshaw, an expert on bullying and a deputy director of the Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence at Johns Hopkins University, which was not involved in the study. . . ."

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Mediterranean Diet Can Cut Heart Disease

Mediterranean Diet Can Cut Heart Disease, Study Finds - "About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found. The findings, published on The New England Journal of Medicine’s Web site on Monday, were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue. . . ."

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Friday, March 1, 2013

ObamaCare Nightmare?

Review & Outlook: ObamaCare's 'Baby Elephant' - " . . .. Some Republicans are folding apparently because trying to stop ObamaCare is too hard. Though he "never liked the Affordable Care Act," said Governor Brian Sandoval, "I am forced to accept it as today's reality and I have decided to expand Nevada's Medicaid coverage." Now there's a statement of vaulting political ambition. The reality is that ObamaCare remains deeply unpopular with the public and it will only get worse next year when individuals and small businesses are forced to buy coverage that is 20% or 30% more expensive than what they have. Some younger people will see premium shocks as high as 150% or 200%. HHS will manage the exchanges in 32 states starting in October but has released only 19 pages of regulatory guidance. ObamaCare is so convoluted, and HHS so incompetent, that the entitlement may explode on the launchpad. Why any Governor would climb on to this ship is a political mystery, but then they have their bad reasons."

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