Posts filed under ‘Health – Physical and Psychological’
What a great way to start the day:
20 cancer patients participated in a unique makeover experience. They were invited to a studio. Their hair and makeup were completely redone. During the transformation, they were asked to keep their eyes shut. A photographer then immortalized the moment they opened their eyes. This discovery allowed them to forget their illness, IF ONLY FOR A SECOND.
I think this whole field — the role gut bacteria plays in our health — is pretty darn interesting:
Yogurt eaters already know that not all bacteria are bad for you. They may not realize that some bacteria are so important that one day people may fight off disease with pills filled with bacteria instead of drugs.
Seres Health hopes to develop the first regulated, clinically approved bacteria-filled pill to treat diseases associated with disruptions to the microbes inside the human body. The company launched last month with $10.5 million in investments; its founders have been working on the bacteria pill for two years and say they’re already testing one candidate treatment in patients.
A new understanding of the microbiome—the collection of microbes inhabiting a body—has led a wave of companies, from startups to large pharmaceutical companies, to look at bacteria as a new area of focus.
If successful, Seres Health could create a new kind of medicine. “We aren’t talking about new chemical entities made in vats,” says Noubar Afeyan, a cofounder of Seres and a partner at the venture-capital firm Flagship Ventures, which has invested in Seres. “We are talking about living organisms that colonize the human gut naturally.”
Hee hah. Rid’em cowboy
Gun deaths have outpaced motor vehicle fatalities in Colorado since 2009, but data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment indicate the state has passed yet another milestone in death statistics.
For the first time in 2012, suicides by firearm alone surpassed motor vehicle fatalities, with 457 Coloradans dying in fatal car crashes and 532 taking their own lives using guns.
Gun suicides experienced their biggest increase in the past 12 years between 2011 and 2012, jumping up nearly 20 percent. Experts say many of these deaths are preventable, but that prevention requires framing suicide as a public health issue, not an insular problem.
Colorado ranks 32nd in the nation for traffic fatalities per miles traveled, according to 2009 numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet Colorado has the eighth-highest suicide rate per capita, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“In these Western states, you pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” Breitzman said. “There is a lot of value placed on being independent instead of being interdependent.”
The “liberal media” has adopted the Republican spin that repealing the Affordable Care Act is popular. Problem is, if the “liberal media” dug just a wee bit below the surface of the latest poll, they’d find that a lot of people oppose it because it doesn’t go far enough. But no. They’re too lazy and too afraid of being accused of having a “liberal bias.” So you can be sure you won’t hear a peep about this today (or tomorrow, or ever):
This has always been the inconvenient detail for the right. Conservatives look at the top-line poll results and say, “See? 58% of Americans oppose ‘Obamacare.’ Therefore, Democrats should listen to Republicans and gut the law.”But it’s the nuances of Americans’ attitudes that matter. In this CNN poll, 40% of the public backs the Affordable Care Act and another 14% want the law to go even further and be more ambitious.In other words, as the CNN analysis explained, 54% of the country either supports Obamacare, or say it’s not liberal enough.
Hey, I’m like the next person in that I’m spoiled to the Internets and short articles and quick this and fast that so when I come across a longish article I kind of wince. But I’m fascinated by the whole issue of antibiotics and how bacteria are evolving such that they’re antibiotic-resistant. This morning I came across a fascinating article about that that was fascinating and worth the time from beginning to end: Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future — After 85 years, antibiotics are growing impotent. So what will medicine, agriculture and everyday life look like if we lose these drugs entirely?
The breadth of the problem has escaped me until now. For example, treating burns would “have a very, very difficult task keeping people alive” and maybe we should forget about transplantation. People who get transplants are loaded up on antibiotics prior to surgery and if a transplant surgery is pretty much guaranteed to kill them, because antibiotics become ineffective, who in the world would be willing to perform the operation?
And get this mind-blowing quote:
Bacteria can produce another generation in as little as twenty minutes; with tens of thousands of generations a year working out survival strategies, the organisms would soon overwhelm the potent new drugs.
Imagine getting a simple paper cut and dying from it. Or having something as common as a ruptured appendix (which I had in 2005):
Doctors routinely perform procedures that carry an extraordinary infection risk unless antibiotics are used. Chief among them: any treatment that requires the construction of portals into the bloodstream and gives bacteria a direct route to the heart or brain. That rules out intensive-care medicine, with its ventilators, catheters, and ports—but also something as prosaic as kidney dialysis, which mechanically filters the blood.
Next to go: surgery, especially on sites that harbor large populations of bacteria such as the intestines and the urinary tract. Those bacteria are benign in their regular homes in the body, but introduce them into the blood, as surgery can, and infections are practically guaranteed. And then implantable devices, because bacteria can form sticky films of infection on the devices’ surfaces that can be broken down only by antibiotics.
I highly recommend the article. We’ve got to deal with this. If you’re a parent, start making noise for the sake of your kids or grandkids.
Again, here’s the link.
A few days ago I read an article in my local newspaper, which I can’t find on its website now but which read something like this, from the New York Post:
Good luck finding a doctor under ObamaCare.
New York and most other states already face a shortage of physicians and won’t have enough primary-care MDs to serve the millions of newly insured patients, data reviewed by The Post reveal.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah admitted the shortage presents a “potential for a real crisis” in medically underserved areas when the Affordable Care Act kicks in.
Then, out of the blue, I came across this today:
The United States pays roughly twice as much for its doctors as people in other wealthy countries. The reason is that physicians in the United States use their political power to limit the supply of doctors both by restricted med school enrollments and excluding foreign trained physicians. (Yes, 25 percent of U.S. physicians are foreign-trained. Without protectionist measures that number could be more than 50 percent — just like with farm workers.) As a result of this protectionism almost one-third of doctors are in the richest one percent of the income distribution and the overwhelming majority are in the top 3 percent.
Too bad the guy who wrote the article for the Post didn’t take the time to actually do his job as an alleged journalist and ah, dig into the facts a bit more. The issue is much more complicated than he led us to believe.
Life in the United States — low wages, lack of affordable health care, no compensation for vacation time or time off to care for children or aging relatives (to name but a few things — as in stress) — means a death rate lower than 24 other countries (per the OCED):
Sheesh. This graph is way too small to read. See a larger version here.
As someone who has experienced the anguish of mental illness (one of my brothers committed suicide in 1988), I find this heartbreaking on so many levels:
[Virginia state] Sen. Creigh Deeds was stabbed multiple times early today at his Bath County home and his son, Gus, is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Gus Deeds had been released Monday following a mental health evaluation performed under an emergency custody order, an official said.
At a news conference in Charlottesville, a Virginia State Police spokeswoman said Deeds was stabbed numerous times in the head and torso but was alert and had given statements to authorities. She said Deeds, who was being treated at the University of Virginia Medical Center, had been seriously wounded.
Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge County Community Services Board, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the emergency custody order, or ECO, allowed Gus Deeds to be held as long as four hours to determine whether he should be held longer, up to 48 hours, under a temporary detention order.
The son was evaluated Monday at Bath County Hospital, Cropper said, but was released because no psychiatric bed could be located across a wide area of western Virginia.
My thoughts are with the family.
Mental illness is no different than any other illness such as cancer, diabetes or hypertension. When, oh when, will we ever get that?
Don’t get me wrong. Given the Obama administration’s expertise at utilizing the Internet to mobilize volunteers and target voters during the 2008 and 2012 election, I think it’s astonishing that it has flubbed the Obamacare website roll out.
That said, complicated systems do tend to take time to work themselves out:
I’m trying to be understanding but I still think what happened is inexcusable.
One of the images that is seared in my brain is that of President-elect Barack Obama walking up the stairs of conservative columnist George Will’s Georgetown D.C. brownstone in January, 2009 — after he was elected president but before he was sworn in — “to dine with a host of right-wing luminaries.”
At the time I thought wow, this is not good. Obama won by a huge margin but the first group he courted were wingers? He didn’t meet with those who made his win happen?
Fast forward to 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Obama and his White House staff continued to freak the f**k out about what Republicans wouldl think or say about them and voila, we have the mess that is the Obamacare rollout.
Obama and his BFFs weren’t puffed up and proud about what they were doing; confident that it was right and good. They were cowed and intimidated and scared about what Republicans would think or say: HealthCare.gov: How Political Fear Was Pitted Against Technical Needs.
Just think: One man’s insecurities can change the direction of a country (or a world for that matter). What we needed in Obama, imho, was a strong man who called out the Republicans as the paper tigers that they are, but no. He doesn’t have it in him.
My father had polio as a kid but recovered, only to be struck down by “post-polio syndrome” in his 50s so I’ve seen that awful disease up close and personal.
No one in the world should suffer from polio in this day and age so bravo to the World Health Organization for attacking what could be a developing polio epidemic in Syria, as if children there haven’t suffered enough already:
Ten cases of polio have been confirmed among children in Syria, the first outbreak of the disease in that country since 1999, a World Health Organization spokesman told CNN Tuesday.
WHO’s Oliver Rosenbauer said the confirmations were among 22 suspected cases that were identified on October 17 in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor after the children exhibited symptoms of “acute flaccid paralysis” — a sudden onset of weakness and floppiness in any part of a child’s body or paralysis in anyone in whom polio is suspected as the cause.
The confirmation was key because other diseases can cause similar symptoms.
Most of the victims were younger than two years old and were unimmunized or underimmunized, WHO said in a statement.
On October 24, health officials launched a program to immunize 1.6 million Syrian children against polio, measles, mumps and rubella — in government- and rebel-held areas. The response, which will also include neighboring countries, is expected to last at least six months, the WHO said.
According to UNICEF, 500,000 children in Syria have not been vaccinated against polio.
Given the fighting, the large-scale movement of refugees and the number of children who have not been fully immunized, “the risk of further international spread of wild poliovirus type 1 across the region is considered to be high,” it added.
My husband’s neurologist should have been an accountant. The guy has absolutely no bedside manner. He’s about as warm as a piece of cardboard and he has the personality of a rock. Everyone says he’s “one of the best” in the area so we keep going to him but Dan’s visits — thus far, thank God, he only goes twice a year — are so uncomfortable we literally dread them.
The doc probably 40, 45-years-old. When I think about his apparent inability to express any kind of warmth, I think surely — surely — medical schools are addressing that issue now, with current students.
I guess not. Man this is discouraging:
Interns observed interacting with hospitalized patients exhibited five basic behaviors associated with etiquette-based medicine during only 4% of all encounters.
Medical interns rarely bother with common acts of courtesy when they meet their patients in the hospital, but are often unaware of it.
That’s according to a study of how 29 interns interacted with 732 patients hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center during one month, January, 2012.
In the study, interns failed to introduce themselves at the start of 60% of their patient encounters, failed to explain what role they play in their care with 63%, and failed to touch 35% of their patients either with a handshake or other reassuring gesture or with a physical exam. They failed to sit down to talk with 91% of their patients, and failed to ask 25% standard open-ended questions to elicit conversation that reveals more about the patients’ problems and makes them feel more comfortable.
There’s no excuse for this kind of rude behavior. And why do they set common decency apart by labeling it “etiquette-based medicine?” I mean, you walk into a little room in which there is a probably-scared human being and I don’t care who you are — a plumber, a hairdresser, and street sweeper or a doctor — you extend your hand, you say “Hi,” and you introduce yourself. What’s so damn hard about that?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Back in the day — the mid-90s — when I worked as a paralegal in a medical malpractice law firm — one in 11 women got breast cancer. Today it’s one in eight.
Ladies, get your mammogram. And yes guys, this is exactly what it’s like. Hey, we’ve gotta have a sense of humor about it.I’m due for a smasher next month.
Yup. My Tweet of the Day:
I saw this ad on my local Denver/ABC News station tonight. I guess I better run out and sign up to have “Energy From Shale” put five or ten fracking wells in my backyard tonight. Sounds so idyllic!
I’d never eat meat from Ms. Kern’s ranch and man-oh-man, I feel sorry for her kids. I have a bad feeling about this. I think she’s going to regret it. When you “talk with experts” from the fracking industry about fracking ah, yeah, it’s gonna sound great.
As an aside, Ault, Colorado is in Weld County. On November 5, Weld County will vote on seceding (or not) from Colorado.
The farm and pharmaceutical lobbies have blocked all meaningful efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics in raising livestock in America, a practice that contributes to a major public health risk, a study released Tuesday found.The report says Congress has killed every effort to legislate a ban on feeding farm animals antibiotics that are important in human medicine. Not only that, but regulation of livestock feeding practices has grown weaker under the Obama administration, the study says.
“Our worst fears were confirmed,’’ said Bob Martin, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which issued the report. The Food and Drug Administration’s statistics, he said, show that fully 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in this country are fed to food animals.
FDA guidelines in the pipeline, Martin said, would require the industry to stop using antibiotics specifically to bulk up cows and other food animals but would continue to allow their use for “disease-control.” What constitutes disease-control is so loosely defined, however, that there would be “no change” in the use of antibiotics, Martin said.
“In a couple of areas, the Obama administration started off with good intentions. But when industry pushed back, even weaker rules were issued,” he said. “We saw undue influence everywhere we turned.”
This article illustrates the incredible power of lobbyists. Surely just about everyone in congress, if they’d stop and think for a sec, understands that pumping feed animals full of antibiotics is a very bad idea. I mean, even doctors at the esteemed John Hopkins for God’s sake are telling them that but do they listen? No, because they’re more terrified of the lobbyists than medical experts or even of us, the voters.
Think about it for a second: The United States congress may singlehandedly be making antibiotics ineffective worldwide because it’s succumbing to bribes by corporate lobbyists, putting 7 billion people at risk.
How do these guys sleep at night?
Give. Me. A. Break. It’s enough to gag me to hear Grover Norquist having a big huge faux sad over this party trying to “hurt people’s health care.” That bloodsucker hasn’t given a thought to anyone but himself in 30 years.
Grover Norquist isn’t happy with the Defunders. The Americans for Tax Reform president told reporters today that they have a lot of apologies to make and bridges to re-build.
“It’d be a good idea if they stopped referring to other Republicans as Hitler appeasers because they opposed the strategy they put forward which failed,” Norquist says. “I think if you make a mistake as big as what they did, you owe your fellow senators and congressmen a big apology — and your constituents, as well, because nothing they did advanced the cause of repealing or dismantling Obamacare.”
Norquist refrained from naming the specific people who he thinks owe apologies to the rest of the conservative movement, but his reference is transparent — during his lengthy floor speech, Senator Ted Cruz said Republicans who supported a CR that would fund Obamacare were comparable to Neville Chamberlain.
Norquist adds that the defund effort has hurt its proponents’ goals.
“They hurt the conservative movement, they hurt people’s health care, they hurt the country’s economic situation and they hurt the Republican party,” he says. “And a lot of congressmen and senators are not going to win because we spent three months chasing our own tail — or at least, parts of the conservative movement spent three months chasing their own tail.”
Now that polls show Republicans in the toilet, life-long mother f’ers like Norquist are running for the exits.
A once-in-a-decade typhoon threatened Japan on Tuesday, disrupting travel and shipping and forcing precautions to be taken at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Typhoon Wipha is moving across the Pacific straight towards the capital, Tokyo, and is expected to make landfall during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, bringing hurricane-force winds to the metropolitan area of 30 million people.
The center of the storm was 860 km (535 miles) southwest of Tokyo at 0800 GMT, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on its website. It was moving north-northeast at 35 kph (22 mph).
The storm had weakened as it headed north over the sea but was still packing sustained winds of about 140 kph (87 mph) with gusts as high as 194 kph (120 mph), the agency said.
The agency issued warnings for Tokyo of heavy rain, flooding and gales, and advised people to be prepared to leave their homes quickly and to avoid unnecessary travel.
A spokesman for the meteorological agency said the storm was a “once in a decade event”.
The typhoon is expected to sweep through northern Japan after making landfall and to pass near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, on the coast 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, later on Wednesday.
Typhoon Wipha is the strongest storm to approach eastern Japan since October 2004. That cyclone triggered floods and landslides that killed almost 100 people, forced thousands from their homes and caused billions of dollars in damage.
I’ve got to start keeping track of the infrastructure failures that are occurring all across the United States; everything from water main breaks to computer glitches. I read about them here and there almost every day. They seem small on their own but together, they add up.
Our country is falling apart. Literally. The thing is, the failures aren’t happening in areas where rich white people live so we aren’t hearing about them.
Case in point. This is an emergency:
Power Outage Shuts Down Food Stamp Program In 17 States
SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – Food stamp recipients in 17 states lost access to the electronic system used by stores to verify their benefits on Saturday, leaving many unable to buy groceries, the company that manages the system said.
People enrolled in the government food assistance program use plastic vouchers similar to debit cards. Starting at about 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), some of those cards stopped working, Xerox spokesman Kevin Lightfoot said.
A power outage that started the problem was fixed within 20 minutes, Lightfoot said, but shoppers continued to run into difficulties throughout the day. By early evening, the problem still had not been fixed.
States States experiencing problems included Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois,Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio,Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, Lightfoot said.
My food bank-volunteer-self knows this is going to hurt so many people in so many ways. The ripple effect will be tremendous lest it’s fixed tonight. Get that “electronic system” up and running ASAP! Oh, wait, the government’s shut down. Shi*t.
Second District [Oklahoma] Congressman Markwayne Mullin heard a different story and told a different tale during his one-hour telephone town hall Monday night.
When a caller identifying herself as a doctor said universal health care seemed to work in other industrialized countries, Mullin said it ought to require a national referendum in the United States.
“If we really want this, we have to have a constitutional change and people need to vote on it,” Mullin said. “This needs to be the will of the people. This is the will of a party.”
The same caller mentioned in passing that a friend who died of cancer never went to the doctor because she did not have health insurance.
“There are a lot of programs out there that if people need medical help they can get it,” Mullin said. “There are a lot of hospitals out there that do the work for free.”
I didn’t know that! Wow.
Phew. Now I can relax. If I ever get cancer I don’t have to worry about being charged hundreds of thousands of dollars for treatment. I’ll just go to one of them hospitals that’ll treat me for free! Woohoo!
I like quizzes so I took the one over at Food and Water Watch asking, “What Are They Feeding Your Food?”
I “scored” a 68%.
What shocked me most was I was right in my guesstimation that 80% of the antibiotics administered in the United States are fed to the animals we eat. Thus, they’re fed to us.
So disturbing and maddening given articles like this, End of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Could be Possible, that we’ve been reading for years.
I’m so glad Washington isn’t messing around with stupid stuff and that they’re ON IT!
Is Ted Cruz’s Wife (She Works at Goldman Sachs) Covered by a $40,000 Per Year Health Insurance Policy?
I just came across this little ditty:
Toward the end of Ted Cruz’s more than 20-hour occupation of the Senate floor Tuesday and Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) tried to pin the GOP senator down.
“Will the senator from Texas for the record tell us now — and those who watched this debate — whether he is protected and his family’s protected?” Durbin asked Wednesday morning, repeating a question he’d been trying to get Cruz to answer.
“I’m happy to tell you now I am eligible for it and I am not currently covered under it,” Cruz responded.
Really? Why not? Humm. Maybe he’s covered by Goldman Sachs:
Top Wall Street executives get some of the best health coverage on the planet. Cruz’s wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, is a regional head of a Goldman Sachs division.
According to a 2009 New York Times report, top executive officers and managing directors at the bank participate in a health care program that costs Goldman more than $40,000 in premiums for each particpant’s [sic] family annually.
A Cruz representative wasn’t immediately available to comment.
A $40,000 annual premium? That must be SOME coverage.
I think it’s a rather pertinent question to ask what kind of medical insurance Cruz has. After all, he’s advocating taking it away from millions of people so I think that info would be kinda interesting, to say the least.
The official name of “Obamacare” is the Affordable Care Act or ACA. That said, it’s about time a pollster asked this question:
29 percent of the public supports Obamacare compared with 22 percent who support ACA. Forty-six percent oppose Obamacare and 37 percent oppose ACA. So putting Obama in the name raises the positives and the negatives. Gender and partisanship are responsible for the differences. Men, independents and Republicans are more negative on Obamacare than ACA. Young people, Democrats, nonwhites and women are more positive on Obamacare.
The Tea Party is holding a rally — or trying to anyway — in front of the Capitol in Washington today. You can read all about it here. The Tea Party News Network was showing a live feed, here, but they’ve since replaced it with an advertisement for the rally itself.
I dipped in a few minutes ago and took this screenshot and, as you can see,
Love this scathing — scathing — editorial from the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
The moment the Republican obfuscators of Obamacare feared has come to pass.
On Tuesday, the Post-Dispatch’s Tim Logan reported that a Virginia-based company is bringing to Wentzville one of three national call centers to handle health insurance applications under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed derisively by the GOP as Obamacare.
Serco Inc., a private company that contracts with the federal government, is bringing 600 jobs to a legislative and congressional district that is redder than red.
That’s 600 jobs, with benefits, to the 3rd Congressional District of Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, who brags on his website that he’s voted to defund Obamacare 37 times.
Those 600 jobs are also in the hometown and state Senate district of Republican Scott Rupp, who proudly brags of his co-sponsorship of two statewide referendums in which Missourians expressed their dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama’s plan to increase the number of Americans who have insurance and pump billions of dollars into the nation’s health care economy.
Six hundred jobs, Mr. Rupp.
I’ve made a note to myself to follow these two Republicans to see what happens next. Meanwhile, I’m laughing my ass off at the fix they’ve gotten themselves into.
Check out this graph (far right) showing the percentage of 19- to 25-years-olds who are enrolled in their parents’ health insurance plan(s) — thanks to Obamacare — that are Democratic or Republican. Republicans win.
I know I’ve already posted a Tweet of the Day but I don’t want to ignore this — and forget about it — before I put it up:
Get on it Obama:
Far as I can tell, voting to repeal Obamacare is pretty much the only things House Republicans do. If they hold another vote — as John Boehner promised today — it will be the 38th time they’ve done so.
The House will vote again to repeal part of Obamacare, Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday.
A vote would most likely target the provision that requires individuals have health insurance, GOP sources say.