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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

World No Tobacco Day Is Today, May 31st

Today in celebrating no smoking day, I would like to bring an Ssatement from Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH
Tobacco use, the major preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide, represents a public health catastrophe. Globally, tobacco use is projected to cause a billion deaths in this century. Every year in the United States, more than 440,000 Americans die preventable deaths from tobacco-related diseases. Every day, nearly 3,500 kids under the age of 18 try a cigarette for the first time and 850 of them become daily smokers. The suffering behind these statistics is unbearable and unacceptable.
On World No Tobacco Day, we reaffirm global efforts to end this pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recently launched a strategic action plan to accelerate progress in our nation’s fight against tobacco. Next month, the Food and Drug Administration will unveil the final version of new graphic warnings for cigarette packages and advertisements, which will help motivate smokers to quit and discourage nonsmokers from starting. And through our new health reform law, we are expanding access to tobacco cessation services to help more smokers receive the services they need and deserve.
We are at an unprecedented time in our nation’s history to protect the public’s health from tobacco dependence. Please join us in our efforts to combat this public health pandemic, so that more people have a fighting chance to enjoy their full potential for health.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Prevent Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)This Summer!

DO keep your ears as dry as possible.
  • Use a bathing cap, ear plugs, or custom-fitted swim molds when swimming to keep water out of your ears.
DO dry your ears thoroughly after swimming or showering.
  • Use a towel to dry your ears well.
  • Tilt your head to hold each ear facing down to allow water to escape the ear canal.
  • Pull your earlobe in different directions while your ear is faced down to help water drain out.
  • If you still have water in your ears, consider using a hair dryer to move air within the ear canal.
    • Be sure the hair dryer is on the lowest heat and speed/fan setting.
    • Hold the hair dryer several inches from your ear.
DON’T put objects in your ear canal (including cotton-tip swabs, pencils, paperclips, or fingers).
DON’T try to remove ear wax. Ear wax helps protect your ear canal from infection.
  • If you think your ear canal is blocked by ear wax, consult your health care provider rather than trying to remove it yourself.
CONSULT your health care provider about using commercial, alcohol-based ear drops or a 1:1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar after swimming.
  • Drops should not be used by persons with ear tubes, damaged ear drums, outer ear infection, or ear drainage (pus or liquid coming from the ear).
CONSULT your healthcare provider if your ears are itchy, flaky, swollen, or painful, or if you have drainage from your ears.
ASK your pool/hot tub operator if disinfectant and pH levels are checked at least twice per day—hot tubs and pools with proper disinfectant and pH levels are less likely to spread germs.
USE pool test strips to check the pool or hot tub yourself for adequate disinfectant and pH levels.
For more tips on what you can do to help prevent RWIs at your swimming facility, visit CDC’s Triple A’s of Healthy Swimming page.
For more information on ear infections, please see CDC’s Get Smart: Ear Infections page.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Doctors Trying To Censor Bad Patients Reveiws With "Mutual Privacy Agreement"

I read about this a few weeks back and wanted to write about it. While no doctor has asked me to sign one yet, if they do, I will do exactly what Timothy Lee of ArsTechnica did, walk away and ask insurance company for the next nearest doctor.
"When I walked into the offices of Dr. Ken Cirka, I was looking for cleaner teeth, not material for an Ars Technica story. I needed a new dentist, and Yelp says (I like the stars he is getting now!) Dr. Cirka is one of the best in the Philadelphia area. The receptionist handed me a clipboard with forms to fill out. After the usual patient information form, there was a "mutual privacy agreement" that asked me to transfer ownership of any public commentary I might write in the future to Dr. Cirka. Surprised and a little outraged by this, I got into a lengthy discussion with Dr. Cirka's office manager that ended in me refusing to sign and her showing me the door."
The just like Timothy published about the offices of Dr. Ken Cirka demanding to sign a "mutual privacy agreement", which basically asks you to sign your rights to any public commentary you make away. More and more doctors are doing this and if you do publish a negative comment, they will use the form you signed to remove it from, say a site like YELP.
Most these stupid, I meant uneducated, no I meant stupid doctors begin with a line claiming to offer stronger privacy protections than those guaranteed by HIPAA, the 1996 law that governs patient privacy in the United States. HIPPA is good enough, you do not need any more protection, and I doubt they can give any. They cannot release your information just because you did not sign an agreement to release your rights.
 "The agreement that Dr. Cirka's staff asked me to sign on that February morning began by claiming to offer stronger privacy protections than those guaranteed by HIPAA, the 1996 law that governs patient privacy in the United States. In exchange for this extra dollop of privacy, it asked me to "exclusively assign all Intellectual Property rights, including copyrights" to "any written, pictorial, and/or electronic commentary" I might make about Dr. Cirka's services, including on "web pages, blogs, and/or mass correspondence," to Dr. Cirka. It also stipulated that if Dr. Cirka were to sue me due to a breach of the agreement, the prevailing party in the litigation will pay the loser's legal fees"

More I read about it, more sick I get :) so I have picked some plump and useful sections from ArsTecnica's Timothy's article but to get a total scope of the copyright phenomena you will need to follow the link below to read his excellent article.
Timothy also spoke to people well versed in this kind of matters, like Wendy Seltzer, a fellow at Princeton's Center for Information Technology who founded the Chilling Effects clearinghouse for copyright takedown notices. She has said a medical professional seeking to use the copyright assignment to censor a review would have at least two serious legal problems. Copyright law and then the fair use.

But Timothy is not alone, the growing use of censorious copyright assignments recently caught the attention of law professors Jason Schultz and Eric Goldman, who created a site called Doctored Reviews to educate doctors and patients about the phenomenon.
In any case I am not a lawyer and this information is for informational purpose only.
ArsTechnica

Monday, May 16, 2011

NIH's Research Matters On HIV, Secondhand Smoking, And Drug Research Related To Blood Pressure.

NIH's Research Matters is an avenue for new on research related to all health matters. It publishes a series of article related to research weekly. These articles are from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health and we plan to include these in Meddesktop. The initial pointers include three articles related to HIV, Secondhand smoking, and a drug designed for Blood Pressure helping against muscle loss and rebuilding injured muscle.
Click on article headers for the complete article;

Community Involvement Raises HIV Testing Rates

A new study suggests that community-based programs in rural areas can increase HIV testing in young people. Putting this type of strategy into practice might reduce risky behavior and help keep the spread of HIV in check.

How Secondhand Smoke Affects the Brain

Secondhand smoke has a direct, measurable impact on the brain similar to what's seen in the person doing the smoking, according to new research.

Blood Pressure Drug May Help Muscle

A drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure shows promise in mouse studies for protecting against muscle loss and rebuilding injured muscle. The finding might have implications for slowing the muscle loss that occurs with age

Friday, May 13, 2011

Victrelis (boceprevir) Approved By FDA To Treat Chronic Hepatitis C

FDA approves Victrelis for Hepatitis C
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Victrelis (boceprevir) to treat certain adults with chronic hepatitis C. Victrelis is used for patients who still have some liver function, and who either have not been previously treated with drug therapy for their hepatitis C or who have failed such treatment. Victrelis is approved for use in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin.
The safety and effectiveness of Victrelis was evaluated in two phase 3 clinical trials with 1,500 adult patients. In both trials, two-thirds of patients receiving Victrelis in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin experienced a significantly increased sustained virologic response (i.e., the hepatitis C virus was no longer detected in the blood 24 weeks after stopping treatment), compared to pegylated interferon and ribavirin alone, the current standard of care.
When a person sustains a virologic response after completing treatment, this suggests that HCV infection has been cured.
Sustained virologic response can result in decreased cirrhosis and complications of liver disease, decreased rates of liver cancer (hepatocelluar carcinoma), and decreased mortality.
“Victrelis is an important new advance for patients with hepatitis C,” said Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H, director, Office of Antimicrobial Products in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This new medication provides an effective treatment for a serious disease, and offers a greater chance of cure for some patients’ hepatitis C infection compared to currently available therapy.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3.2 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C, a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to diminished liver function or liver failure.
Most people with hepatitis have no symptoms of the disease until liver damage occurs, which may take several years.
Most liver transplants performed in the United States are due to progressive liver disease caused by hepatitis C virus infection. After the initial infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV), most people develop chronic hepatitis C. Some will develop cirrhosis of the liver over many years. Cirrhosis can lead to liver damage with complications such as bleeding, jaundice (yellowish eyes or skin), fluid accumulation in abdomen, infections, or liver cancer.
People can get the hepatitis C virus in a number of ways, including: exposure to blood that is infected with the virus; being born to a mother with HCV; sharing a needle; having sex with an infected person; sharing personal items such as a razor, toothbrush with someone who is infected with the virus, or from unsterilized tattoo or piercing tools.
Victrelis is a pill taken three times a day with food. The therapy is part of a class of drugs referred to as protease inhibitors, which work by binding to the virus and preventing it from multiplying.
The most commonly reported side effects in patients receiving Victrelis in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin include fatigue, low red blood cell count (anemia), nausea, headache and taste distortion (dysgeusia).
Victrelis is marketed by Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck.
For more information:
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

MedlinePlus, James and the Peanut Allergy, Everyone Is A Winner

There are many uses for the National Library of Medicine fro everyone. We use it day to day for our research and general use.

The video below is a story about James, a 5th grader, who uses MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine to learn about and educate others of his peanut allergy.

Thanks you MedlinePlus! and the National Library of Medicine.

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