Popular Articles

Emergency Physicians Don't Follow Established Clinical Guidelines For Diagnosing Patients With Possible Pulmonary Emboli
The number of MDCT examinations for suspected pulmonary emboli (PE) is rapidly increasing amongst ER patients, with a decrease in the number of positive studies. This may be due to a failure to adhere to established clinical guidelines for evaluating patients with suspected PE, according to a study performed at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI.

Hospitals Receive AHA Award For Improving Community Health Through Effective Collaborative Projects
The American Hospital Association (AHA) announced the winners of the AHA NOVA Award. These five collaborative hospital-led programs work to improve community health by improving health habits and other social and educational factors leading to better health status and improving access to care. Each program will be honored at a July 25 ceremony held during the association"s annual Health Forum Leadership Summit in San Francisco.
News of the day
Gefitinib Receives European Licence For The Treatment Of Lung Cancer For Patients With EGFR Activating Mutation Positive Tumours
AstraZeneca announced that it has received a licence by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) for its oral targeted anti-cancer drug, gefitinib, for EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase) activating mutation positive patients with Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer and accounts for 80% of all lung cancer cases. [1] The licence means that for the first time, thousands [2] of patients undergoing first line treatment of NSCLC in the UK may benefit from a more effective, [3] oral alternative to doublet chemotherapy (UK standard of care) without many of the side effects associated with chemotherapy. [3]


Delays To Seeing Docs Stretch On

A new study finds the average wait for a medical appointment has increased by more than a week since 2004, to 8.6 days, USA Today reports. In Boston, the worst-performing city of the 15 surveyed for the Merritt Hawkins and Associates study, patients waited nearly 50 days, on average, to see a doctor.

Skills For Catheter Insertion Improved By Simulation Training

New technology allows student doctors to practice operations and other procedures on simulators before trying them out on real patients, just as pilots practice for emergencies on aircraft simulators. Medical educators feel that this will increase patient safety, by avoiding first-time mistakes being made on live patients. But does education by simulation actually work? Can doctors learn new skills on simulators instead of on humans?

Congress Unlikely To Approve Obama\'s Request For Additional Flu Money, Majority Leader Says

U.S House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday expressed skepticism that Congress would approve President Obama"s recent request for an additional $2 billion to help fight the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, Reuters/Washington Post reports.

Report Examines Zimbabwean Refugees In South Africa

According to a report released Tuesday by Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF), "Zimbabweans continue to cross the border [into South Africa] every day, legally and illegally, in massive numbers as a matter of survival," AFP/Google.com reports (AFP/Google.com, 6/2). An estimated "three million Zimbabweans - about a quarter of the entire population" have fled "the economic collapse and human rights abuses at home, as well as a cholera outbreak that has infected about 100,000 people," according to the BBC, and the "inauguration in February of a fractious power-sharing government in Zimbabwe has not stemmed the flight" (BBC, 6/2).

African Health Advocates Meet In Kenya To Discuss Need For Governments To Improve Basic Healthcare Services

Health advocates at a civil society meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, called for African governments to improve access to basic health care, IRIN reports. "African governments are failing to offer even the most basic healthcare that could save lives, speakers warned," writes IRIN.

Michigan Lawmakers Approve Request For State Health Agency To Use Private Funds For HIV/AIDS Program

The Michigan Department of Community Health recently received approval from state lawmakers to use $3.2 million in private funds to support the state"s AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the AP/Detroit News reports. Michigan"s House and Senate Appropriations Committees also approved requests by other state agencies to shift funds as a means to continue public programs that were affected by budget cuts ordered last month (Eggert, AP/Detroit News, 6/4).

Digital Medicine: Health Care In The Internet Era

With more than $19 billion in new spending planned for health information technology, the Obama administration is taking serious steps toward modernizing the U.S. health care system. Implementing health IT can reduce both costs and errors, but it requires extensive information infrastructure upgrades. Few hospitals, clinics or private practices have the funds to pay for new technology. The new Brookings Institution Press book Digital Medicine: Health Care in the Internet Era investigates the factors affecting digital technology"s ability to remake health care.

APIC Launches Online Infection Prevention Course

The first of six online courses to educate healthcare professionals on preventing the transmission of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) is being launched by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) cause 99,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Many U.S. Children Have Inadequate Access To Pediatric Trauma Care

Approximately 30 percent U.S. children live more than one hour away from a pediatric trauma center by ground or by air transportation, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Additional Phase II Data Demonstrate Improvement In Reported Symptoms In Patients Who Still Experience GERD Symptoms Despite PPI Therapy

Adding AZD3355, a novel GABAB receptor agonist, to a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) in patients with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), resulted in a 35% reduction in the mean total number of reflux episodes 0-24 hours after dose, compared with placebo.[i] These data were presented at the Digestive Diseases Week annual meeting (DDW®, 30 May - 4 June, Chicago).

American College Of Radiology Uses McKesson Solution To Offer Acclaimed Learning Library Online

Using McKesson"s Horizon Study Share™ reference case solution, the American College of Radiology (ACR) has made its entire library of ACR Learning File® images and content available online as a Web-hosted archive to ACR members and others in the field. The ACR Learning File® includes a collection of more than 3,600 peer-reviewed cases in 12 subspecialties, with more than 10,000 high-quality images depicting thousands of diagnoses. Key findings and detailed discussions supplement the images, making the library a unique experience for practicing radiologists and members in training. McKesson worked with ACR to transfer the entire ACR Learning File® library from CDs into the Horizon Study Share repository.

FDA Approves First Canine Cancer Therapy

Pfizer Animal Health today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first canine cancer therapy in the U.S. - PALLADIATM (toceranib phosphate) - which was developed by Pfizer to treat mast cell tumors in dogs. Pfizer made the announcement to veterinarians attending the 2009 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Convention.

Drugs That Fight 2009 H1N1 Influenza A Swine Flu To Be Screened By SRI International

SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research and development organization, has announced that that it will screen a library of well-characterized drugs against the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus, previously known as "swine flu." The work will be performed under a re contract from the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

WellQuest Launches Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program

WellQuest Medical & Wellness Corporation ("WellQuest") (OTCBB:WEQL) announced the recent launch of its Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program. WellQuest"s unique approach to weight loss addresses a growing $2 billion market.

Better Outcomes With Computer Aided Surgery - High Costs As An Obstacle To Broad Use

There are many indications that computer aided surgery has a major role to play in improving results in orthopaedic surgery, says Dr. Stefano Zaffagnini, who has played a pioneering role in the use of this technology and who moderates a symposium on this theme at the Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (EFORT), taking place from June 3 to 6 in Vienna, with more than 8,000 participants from around the world. This technology should allow total knee prosthesis using minimally invasive surgery to become a standard procedure within a decade. Osteotomy and hip operations are only two of the many other fields where computer aided surgery can also markedly improve results for patients, experts state at the EFFORT Congress in Vienna.

(DH) Contract Awarded To Develop Patient Reported Outcome Measures, UK

A new contract that will help improve the use of Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs), which support the NHS to collect patient feedback on the success of their operations, was today awarded to the Royal College of Surgeons and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

(DH) New Primary Care Approach Boosts Referrals To NHS Stop Smoking Services By 49%, Uk

The Department of Health is rolling out a new systems-based approach to improve stop smoking interventions in primary care. This new approach has increased referrals to local NHS Stop Smoking services by up to 49% in pilot areas.

Prestigious French Award For Heart Research Won By Olson

Dr. Eric Olson, chairman of molecular biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been awarded the Institut de France"s prestigious Lefoulon-Delalande Foundation Grand Prize for his work on gene regulation in the cardiovascular system.

Embracing Your Primitive Nature Can Help In Fight Against Depression

He doesn"t care for the term "caveman therapy." But Stephen Ilardi, associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas, has turned to our hunter-gatherer ancestors for clues about how to best combat major depressive disorder.

New National Cancer Standards For Sarcoma Services Published, Wales

New standards to improve access to diagnosis and treatment of sarcomas have been published by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Eighth International Conference On Bipolar Disorder To Be Held In Pittsburgh, June 25 To 27

Nearly 1,000 researchers, clinicians and mental health advocates are expected to attend the Eighth International Conference on Bipolar Disorder, June 25 to 27, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The event is held only once every two years and is the largest meeting of its kind solely devoted to bipolar disorder, a disease that affects almost six million Americans.

Advance Toward New Drugs That Turn Genes On And Off

Scientists in Michigan and California are reporting an advance toward development of a new generation of drugs that treat disease by orchestrating how genes in the body produce proteins involved in arthritis, cancer and a range of other disorders. Acting like an "on-off switch," the medications might ratchet up the production of proteins in genes working at abnormally low levels or shut off genes producing an abnormal protein linked to disease. Their report is in the current issue of ACS Chemical Biology, a monthly journal.

Study Reveals "Unacceptable Delays" In Stroke Prevention Surgery

Only one in five UK patients have surgery to reduce their risk of stroke within the two week target time set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), finds a study published on bmj.com today.

NEJM Study Points To New Era In Hepatitis C Treatment

For patients with the most common form of hepatitis C, the addition of a hepatitis C specific protease inhibitor called telaprevir to the current standard therapy can significantly improve the chances of being cured, and it does it in half the time of standard therapy alone.

Funding For Research On The H1N1 Flu Virus Announced By Government Of Canada

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, is pleased to announce another measure to address the H1N1 flu virus. The Government of Canada will fund a national influenza research network focused on pandemic vaccine evaluation. The network will strengthen Canada"s capacity to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a pandemic influenza vaccine and vaccination programs.

Revolutionary Dental Snapshot

When toothache makes a visit to the dentist unavoidable this often marks the start of a time-consuming treatment marathon for the patient. If the tooth cannot be saved and a dental prosthesis is necessary, the dentist first has to make a silicone impression for the dental laboratory. The patient is sent home with a provisional repair and dental technicians set to work on modeling a plaster impression. The model is then scanned using digital cameras and from the geometric measurement data obtained the matching dental prosthesis is produced.

Novel Cell Therapies To Treat Cancer

Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development, a unit of Centocor Research & Development, Inc., has announced that it has entered into a five-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), with Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., chief, Surgery Branch, serving as the NCI principal investigator, to research and develop novel cell therapy technologies as potential treatments for a variety of cancers. These adoptive immunotherapy technologies are designed to work by helping the immune system fight cancer. Standard cancer treatments still have not progressed much beyond surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, which are effective at killing tumor cells but also can harm or kill healthy tissues. Adoptive immunotherapies have the potential to spare healthy tissue because they are designed to directly find and destroy cancerous tumor cells using a patient"s own immune system T cells.

Real-Time Observation Of Queensland\'s Drinking Water

CSIRO and a local water authority in Queensland, SEQWater, have joined forces to monitor the Lake Wivenhoe catchment, which spans an area about the size of the city of Brisbane, and supplies water to the region"s 1.5 million residents.

Preventable Maternal Deaths Should Be Recognized As Women\'s Rights Violations, Opinion Piece Says

"Human rights organizations around the world are starting to demand that governments recognize preventable maternal death as a violation of women"s rights," Mary Robinson and Alicia Yamin, both advisory council members of the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights, write in a Boston Globe opinion piece. They add that with the "United Nations Human Rights Council"s June session just around the corner, governments have a chance to prove that they value women"s lives by taking concrete action on this issue." According to Robinson and Yamin, "[m]ore than one woman dies every minute from preventable causes in childbirth, and for every woman who dies as many as 30 others are left with lifelong, debilitating complications."They continue, "Moreover, when mothers die, children are at greater risk of dropping out of school, becoming malnourished and simply not surviving," adding, "Not only is maternal mortality and morbidity a global health emergency, but it triggers and aggravates cycles of poverty that cause generations of suffering and despair." The authors write, "Asserting that these preventable deaths are an issue of human rights does not mean that poor governments are going to be blamed for not doing what they cannot do." Instead, "understanding the profound injustice of disparities in maternal deaths makes it all the more urgent that donor states honor their funding commitments and that effective monitoring and accountability mechanisms are put in place to ensure that aid is going to the interventions that evidence has shown will save women"s lives," they add.According to Robinson and Yamin, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton 14 years ago at the Fourth World Conference on Women, then U.S. first lady, "declared that "women"s rights are human rights."" They add that Clinton recently has "passionately and eloquently affirmed [the Obama] administration"s commitment to women"s reproductive health needs around the world, and the Obama administration has called for increased funding for global health." They conclude, "As a new member of the Human Rights Council, the United States has the chance to lead the way in promoting a woman"s right to go through pregnancy and childbirth in safety and, just as important, to back up that assertion with adequate funding commitments" (Robinson/Yamin, Boston Globe, 6/4).

Debate Over Taxing Health Benefits Picks Up

"As the debate on how to fix health care picks up pace, so does discussion about one of the most lucrative ways to pay for it:" taxing employer-provided health benefits, CNN reports. The "tax-free arrangement" in which an employer"s contribution to employee health benefit "is treated as tax-free to the employee in terms of income tax and payroll tax," was "born during the days of wage control in 1943." According to Paul Fronstin, director of the health research program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, employers were not allowed to "attract workers on the basis of better pay," so instead they offered the benefits "as a way to compete for the best talent." Over the past 66 years, employees have come to expect it. But "tax and health experts say it"s inequitable. High-income workers and those with the most expensive health insurance plans enjoy the biggest break as a result of the tax exclusion."

WHO Recommends Worldwide Use Of Rotavirus Vaccine For Children

To reduce an estimated half million deaths and two million hospitalizations from diarrhea caused by rotavirus each year, the WHO on Friday recommended that oral rotavirus vaccines be added to national childhood immunization programs, broadening access to the vaccine in the developing world,

Officials Concerned About Potential Disease Outbreaks Among Displaced Pakistanis; Obama Requests More U.S. Aid Money

U.N. officials on Thursday expressed growing concern about potential disease outbreaks among the two million displaced Pakistanis and warned that aid money is running out, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 6/4). According to the U.N., more than two million Pakistanis have been driven from their homes in the past month because of a government-led offensive against the Taliban, "in addition to the 400,000 already displaced in fighting last year," Environment News Service reports (ENS, 6/4).

Economist Articles Examine Use Of Mobile Phones For Global Health

The Economist examines how mobile phones could be used to detect the spread of diseases worldwide. According to the Economist, "[t]he world"s 4 billion mobile phones could be turned into sensors on a global data-collection network" and aid workers, engineers and several other professionals "are now building systems that use handsets to sense, monitor and even predict population movements, environmental hazards and public-health threats."

Recent Releases: Human-Rights And Health; WHO\'s TB Report; Drug-Resistant TB

Lancet Study Finds No Association Between Human-Rights Treaties and Health Status

Surgery No Better Than Drugs For Heart Disease Survival In Diabetes Patients

An international landmark study found that death rates for patients with both type 2 diabetes and heart disease was the same whether they received

Paramedic Struck Off For Making False Job Applications

Paramedic, Ms Kim Holland has been struck off the HPC Register for

Protecting The Value Of Long-Term Care Insurance

Today, U.S. Senators Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) of the Special Committee on Aging examined the long-term care insurance industry. The high cost of long-term care and the current economic instability are creating significant financial planning challenges for baby-boomers, seniors, and individual states. The committee discussed the industry"s current limitations and how to prepare for the growing number of seniors who will be in need of long-term care.

Hearing Loss More Prominent In Men, Says Miracle-Ear

When it comes to maintaining their health, men tend to wait for serious symptoms to appear before taking the necessary precautions. Indications of serious physical conditions, however, can oftentimes take a silent form. Take hearing loss: The condition affects more than 31 million people, 65 percent of whom are men, but the signs of the condition are typically overlooked. With that in mind, Miracle-Ear is honoring National Men"s Health Week, which begins on June 15th, with advice on what to look - or listen - for to determine if men are living with diminished hearing capacity.

Cobalis Corporation Is Awarded Two New International Patents In Canada And Mexico For Its Revolutionary Anti-Allergy Relief Product PreHistin(R)

Cobalis Corporation (OTC:CLSC) was recently awarded two additional International Patents in Canada and Mexico and has a patent pending application in Japan. PreHistin® is patented, safe for long-term daily use and available without a prescription. It is available in a cherry flavored, all natural, proprietary cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) sub-lingual lozenge that is taken twice daily to regulate allergy sufferers" response to both indoor and outdoor allergens with daily and year round usage.

NMC To Develop Practical Guidelines For Professionals On Whistle-blowing

The NMC has started work to improve its advice and information on whistle-blowing for nurses and midwives.

RCN Welcomes The Appointment Of Andy Burnham As The New Secretary Of State For Health

Commenting on the news that the Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP has been appointed as the new Secretary of State for Health, Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said:

Health Visitors Reject Call For MMR To Be Made Compulsory

Health visitors are opposed to a proposal to make the MMR immunisation mandatory for young children.

AARP On Medicare Trustees Report: "Medicare\'s Accelerating Insolvency. Will Only Be Fixed By Comprehensive Reform In 2009."

AARP Executive Vice President John Rother issued the

Xenophon Attacks South Australian Aged Care Nurses

Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) Federal Secretary Ged Kearney said comments made by Senator Nick Xenophon today display a lack of understanding of the award modernisation process and the benefits this process brings to nursing staff, employers and the aged care industry.

Study Shows Consistent Use Of Insulin Pump Therapy, Augmented With Continuous Glucose Monitoring, Results In Significant A1C Reductions

Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) announced results of a randomized, controlled trial to demonstrate the benefits of an insulin pump therapy augmented with real-time continuous glucose monitoring (Personal CGM) versus a conventional pump and self-monitoring of blood glucose in type 1 diabetes patients with poor metabolic control. Study findings showed that patients who used Personal CGM more than 70 percent of the time achieved nearly a full percentage point reduction in A1C (average blood glucose levels). The results were presented at the 69th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in New Orleans.

Food Provides Critical Lifeline And Stability For Pakistan Displaced

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is streaming

China Quarantines New Orleans Mayor And Wife Over Swine Flu

Although they have no symptoms themselves, the mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, Ray Nagin, his wife and a member of his security staff

What Is Cystitis? What Causes Cystitis?

Cystitis refers to inflammation of the lining of the bladder. It usually occurs when the normally sterile urethra and bladder (lower urinary tract) are infected by bacteria and become irritated and inflamed. Cystitis is fairly common and can affect both men and women and people of all ages. However, it is more common in women.

Study Finds Noninvasive Blood Test For Liver Fibrosis May Alleviate Need For Liver Biopsies For Some Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C

A study in the June issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, published by Elsevier, demonstrates that the Hepascore(TM) liver fibrosis blood-serum test panel may help physicians more accurately diagnose and stage liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV), potentially alleviating the need for liver biopsy, the standard of care for staging fibrosis, in a particular subset of patients. The Hepascore test panel is provided exclusively by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the world"s leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services.

Experts Launch Think Tank For Mystery Disease

Ten leading scientists in Europe have formed a Think Tank for ME and will hold their first meeting on the 13th of June. They want to initiate an effective research effort to find the secret behind the mystery disease that cripples an increasing number of lives. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, often referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), is a disease which affects at least one million individuals in the US, and an even greater number in Europe. Despite the large number of people affected, there is a lack of serious large-scale research initiatives focused on the disease. The number of patients is rapidly increasing but healthcare personnel lack knowledge about existing research and possible treatments.

Creighton Medical Laboratories First To Offer New Cancer Test

Creighton Medical Laboratories, based at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, announced today that it has become the first clinical laboratory worldwide to offer a new and more effective testing method for cancer.

Group Banned From Teaching Abstinence-Only Program In Sonoma County, Calif., Public Schools

Free to Be, a federally-funded organization in California that teaches abstinence-only sex education to students, is at the center of a debate with education officials and others in Sonoma County over whether their curriculum is in compliance with state rules requiring that sexual health education programs in public schools be "balanced" and include information on sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and contraception, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Sonoma County Office of Education officials in May banned the group from giving any further presentations on public school campuses, citing state law. Free to Be, as well as several school superintendents from around the county, said they are currently reviewing their legal options (Benefield, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 6/7).

Two Physicians Treat Most Residents With HIV In Southeastern Wyoming

The Casper Star-Tribune profiled Carol Fischer and Mark Dowell, the only two physicians in southeastern Wyoming that treat large numbers of people with HIV. There are more than 100 people in Wyoming living with HIV, according to the state Department of Health, and Fischer and Dowell treat most of them, the Star-Tribune reports. Fischer has been deemed the "de facto AIDS doctor" in the area as she received no formal training on HIV, but Dowell is an expert on the disease who became the state"s first full-time infectious disease specialist (Miller, Casper Star-Tribune, 6/7).

Washington Independent Examines U.S. Food Aid

The Washington Independent examines a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which found that a federal law requiring most international food aid to come from U.S. farmers could be "hobbling efforts to feed the world"s hungry." Currently, Food for Peace - the nation"s largest food aid program - "requires that the crops be purchased from U.S. growers, processed through U.S. companies, and shipped using U.S.-flagged vessels," according to the article.

Taxing Health Benefits Could Be Used To Pay For Expanded Coverage, Drive Out Unnecessary Care, Some Say

Economists say taxing health benefits not only could raise billions per year for health care reform efforts, but also could make the system run better, NPR and KHN report.

Grassley Strikes Back At Obama, Other Strong Personalities Emerging In Health Debate

Several newspapers had articles about major congressional players in the health care debate.

Obama Ramping Up Reform Efforts

President Barack Obama is ramping up his efforts to overhaul the nation"s health care system, including devoting his Saturday radio and video address to health reform.

Doctors And Hospitals Look For Ways To Cut Costs, Improve Quality

The "patient-centered" practices movement is growing in popularity, the New York Times reports. Primary care physicians in the practices "spend more time with patients, emphasize prevention and education" to keep patients healthy and "can handle many medical problems without referrals to specialists." Often, "this kind of care can reduce a patient"s medical bills." Dr. Jose Batlle, a doctor in the Bronx, for example, gives patients his cell phone number and helps his patients cut down on the number of prescription drugs that have him prescribed to them by multiple specialists. "I prefer to keep them healthy than treat them when they are sick," Batlle says.

A Selection Of Opinions And Editorials

Obama"s Health Cost Illusion Wall Street Journal

DrugScope Welcomes National Treatment Agency Announcment Of Increased Funding For Drug Treatment

DrugScope has welcomed the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse"s announcement of an extra чЈ11.8m government investment in drug treatment.

In Patients With Diabetes And Stable Heart Disease, Medical Therapy Equal To Bypass, Angioplasty

Optimal medical therapy for patients with diabetes and stable coronary heart disease is equally effective at lowering the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke as prompt revascularization procedures with either coronary bypass surgery or angioplasty, according to results from an international multicenter clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health. Optimal medical therapy includes intensive drug therapy and lifestyle interventions, such as dietary changes and smoking cessation.

CFIA And USDA Revise Potato Cyst Nematode Guidelines

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced revised guidelines for potato cyst nematode (PCN) that will allow continued trade of seed potatoes between the two countries. While PCN does not pose a risk to human health, it is recognized internationally as a destructive plant pest of economic importance and, therefore, a quarantine pest for the United States and Canada.

Association of American Medical Colleges Lauds American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds For National Health Service Corps

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., issued the following statement today on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius"s recent announcement that the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) would provide nearly 3,300 new loan repayments for health professions training. The $200 million in repayment funds were made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA):

News From The Journal Of Clinical Investigation, June 8, 2009

ONCOLOGY: Learning about antitumor immune responses from human patients

AdvanDx Receives FDA 510(k) Clearance For GBS PNA FISH(R) For Rapid Detection Of Group B Strep From Lim Broths

AdvanDx announced it received FDA 510(k) clearance for GBS PNA FISH(R) for detection of Streptococcus agalactiae, aka Group B Strep, from turbid Lim Broths inoculated with vaginal and rectal swabs obtained from pregnant women between 35 and 37 weeks gestation. The 90 minute molecular diagnostic test enables rapid and highly sensitive detection of Group B Strep from Lim Broths to help detect colonization in pregnant women.

Maintaining Cognitive Function In Old Age

Not everyone declines in cognitive function with age. Elderly people who exercise at least once a week, have at least a high school education and a ninth grade literacy level, are not smokers and are more socially active are more likely to maintain their cognitive skills through their 70s and 80s, according to research published in the June 9, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Total Sleep Time Not Increased By Regular Daily Exercise, Study Finds

According to a research abstrac presented on June 8 at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, days with increased activity were followed by nights with lower total sleep time (TST), while nights with lower TST were followed by increased activities during the next day.

Discovery Of Relationship Between Napping, Hyperactivity, Depression And Anxiety In Young Children

Napping may have a significant influence on young children"s daytime functioning, according to a research abstract presented on Monday, June 8 at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

FDA Warns Consumers Not To Use Skin Products Made By Clarcon Due To Bacterial Contamination Risk

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Roy, Utah, is voluntarily recalling some skin sanitizers and skin protectants marketed under several different brand names because of high levels of disease-causing bacteria found in the product during a recent inspection. The FDA is warning consumers to not use any Clarcon products.

Looking For Excellence - NHS Alliance Launches Acorn Awards 2009

Entries are invited for the 2009 NHS Alliance Acorn Awards. This year, the awards, which recognise excellence in primary care, have nine categories. Since last year, the NHS Alliance introduced a new category, Pharmaceutical Services Commissioning, which has been designed to showcase Primary Care Trusts which are excelling at world class commissioning of pharmaceutical services.

Americans Who Say They Are In Excellent Health Enjoy More "Special" Birthday Celebrations

As the official sponsor of birthdays, the American Cancer Society announced new survey results that show people who say they are in excellent health enjoy better birthdays. The online survey of 2,002 U.S. adults, which demonstrated a strong link between health and attitudes about birthdays, revealed that people who say they are in excellent health are more likely to consider birthdays special and exciting events. In addition, people who say they are in excellent health are nearly twice as likely to love celebrating birthdays, generally consider them fun and feel more special on their birthday than people who say they are in poor health.

Colorectal Cancer Increasing In Young Adults

A new study finds that in sharp contrast to the overall declining rates of colorectal cancer in the United States, incidence rates among adults younger than age 50 years are increasing. The authors theorize that these increases may be related to rising rates of obesity and changes in dietary patterns, including increased consumption of fast food. The study, which appears in the June 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, says further studies are necessary to elucidate causes for this trend and to identify potential prevention and early detection strategies.

General Medical Council Announces Launch Date For Doctors\' Licences, UK

The GMC has announced the launch date of a milestone in medical regulation. From 16 November, all doctors will need a licence in order to practise medicine in the UK.

Premier\'s Award For Victorian Cancer Treatment Doctor

A breakthrough in the treatment of cancer and an unexpected finding about the life span of blood clotting cells have led Victorian scientist Dr Kylie Mason to be awarded the prestigious 2009 Premier"s Award for Public Health and Medical Research.

Vaporized Viral Vector Shows Promise In Anti-Cancer Gene Therapy

A new lung cancer therapy employing a vaporized viral vector to deliver a cancer-inhibiting molecule directly to lung tissue shows early promise in mouse trials, according to researchers at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Korea.

Pitt Diabetes Researchers Identify Key Molecular Pathway Critical To Replication Of Insulin-Producing Cells

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are trailblazing the molecular pathway that regulates replication of pancreatic beta cells, the insulin-producing cells that are lacking in people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Plant-Based, Low-Carb Diet May Promote Weight Loss And Improve Cholesterol Levels

Overweight individuals who ate a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet high in plant-based proteins for four weeks lost weight and experienced improvements in blood cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors, according to a report in the June 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. A high-carbohydrate, low-fat vegetarian diet also resulted in weight loss but without the additional cardiovascular benefits.

Enzyme Necessary For DNA Synthesis Can Also Erase DNA

In this week"s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS, Uppsala University scientists describe a new mechanism behind an important process that causes a rapid reduction of DNA in the chromosomes of bacteria. The findings advance our knowledge of how DNA content has been reduced, which is something that has occurred in bacteria that live as parasites inside the cells of other organisms.

Nicotine\'s Double Role In Lung Cancer

A lung cancer treatment that inhibits nicotine receptors was shown to double survival time in mice, according to Italian researchers.

Academy Publishes New Volume Of Essays Examining The Use Of fMRI To Recognize Deceit

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has published a new collection of essays, "Using Imaging to Identify Deceit: Scientific and Ethical Questions," examining the scientific support for using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to recognize deception.

CSIRO Deal To Commercialize \'Artificial Gut\'

CSIRO Food Futures National Research Flagship and Australian company Stadvis Pty Ltd have signed a worldwide license agreement to commercialise an automated instrument that accurately predicts glycemic index (GI) and resistant starch (RS) in food products.

Dialing Up The Degrees To Fight Cancer

"My wish is simple, but I wouldn"t have given it a second thought this time last year," Joe Castelli said as his eyes welled up with tears. "I want to see my children grow up. I have two daughters who are nine and seven."

New Analysis Shows Efficacy Of SIMPONI(TM) (golimumab) In Anti-TNF Experienced Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

A new analysis demonstrated that a greater proportion of patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who had prior treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha agents and received subcutaneous injections of SIMPONI(TM) (golimumab) once every four weeks experienced significant improvements in signs and symptoms through week 24, compared with patients receiving placebo. Patients continued to receive stable doses of methotrexate, sulfasalazine and/or hydroxychloroquine if receiving them at baseline. These data were presented at the 2009 European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Annual Congress.

Printing New Organs: Foundation Funds Medical Technology That Replicates Human Tissue

Methuselah Foundation has identified Organovo, Inc. as a leader in the extraordinary science of bio-printing. The US Department of Health and Human Services predicts: "Within 20 years regenerative medicine will be the standard of care for replacing all tissue/organ systems in the body." Organovo, with the support of Methuselah Foundation, is applying its breakthrough organ printing technologies to make that prediction a reality.

Arete Therapeutics Presents Positive Clinical And Preclinical Data For AR9281

Arete Therapeutics Inc. announced the presentation of three posters that validate the mechanistic activity and therapeutic potential of the company"s lead drug candidate, AR9281, an orally-administered soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) inhibitor that is in a Phase II clinical program for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. sEH is an enzyme involved in the metabolism of arachidonic acid, a key signaling molecule implicated in diabetes, hypertension and inflammatory disorders.

Veterinarian Offers Advice On Evacuating With A Pet If Disaster Strikes

A veterinarian at Kansas State University"s College of Veterinary Medicine has advice for pet owners who want to consider how pets fit into their own household emergency plans -- especially if that includes evacuating.

Embryology Study Offers Clues To Birth Defects

Gregg Duester, Ph.D., professor of developmental biology at Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham), along with Xianling Zhao, Ph.D., and colleagues, have clarified the role that retinoic acid plays in limb development. The study showed that retinoic acid controls the development (or budding) of forelimbs, but not hindlimbs, and that retinoic acid is not responsible for patterning (or differentiation of the parts) of limbs. This research corrects longstanding misconceptions about limb development and provides new insights into congenital limb defects. The study was published online in the journal Current Biology on May 21.

Mental Health America Honors Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Pete Domenici For Mental Health Leadership

Mental Health America, celebrating its 100th Anniversary as the founder of the organized mental health movement, will honor Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Pete Domenici for their legendary work on behalf of individuals with mental health conditions at its Centennial Gala on Thursday, June 11, in Washington, D.C.

"lab-On-A-Chip" Technology Advances Colorectal Cancer Screening

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer, America"s third leading type of cancer, is also one of the most preventable. One-third of all colorectal cancer deaths could be avoided by simple screening, they say. But colonoscopies, though highly effective, can also be painful, and current diagnostic techniques are time-consuming and sometimes inaccurate.

WHO, UNICEF Say Vitamin A, Deworming Interventions Safe, In Response To Alleged Deaths, Sickness In Bangladesh

The WHO and UNICEF on Tuesday said that vitamin A supplements and deworming tablets are safe, after two deaths and the "sickness of hundreds" were alleged among the children who received the interventions during a nationwide campaign in Bangladesh, Bernama.com reports (Bernama.com, 6/9).

Times Of Zambia/allAfrica.com Examines Maternal Mortality, Abortion

The Times of Zambia/allAfrica.com examines abortion in Zambia and efforts to reduce maternal mortality. "Unsafe abortions are one of the top five causes of maternal mortality in Zambia," writes the newspaper, which adds they are one factor keeping the country from meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goal target of reducing maternal mortality.

Minority Lawmakers Call For \'Aggressive Solutions\' To Health Disparities

"Black, Latino and Asian lawmakers want President Barack Obama to focus more on racial disparities reported in medical treatment as the White House works toward overhauling the nation"s health care system," the Associated Press reports. "Members of the Congressional Black Caucus sent Obama a letter last week calling for more attention to minority health problems" and are "expected to join lawmakers from Hispanic and Asian caucuses Tuesday at a news conference on Capitol Hill." They plan to "introduce an alternative health care proposal soon that would improve services in low-income areas, eliminate language barriers and improve data collection to help detect gaps in care for various racial and ethnic groups" (Evans, 6/9).

What Is Constipation? What Causes Constipation?

The word constipation comes from the Latin constipare meaning "to press, crowd together", and from 1400 A.D. Latin Constipationem. According to Medilexicon"s medical dictionary, constipation is "A condition in which bowel movements are infrequent or incomplete". Constipation is also known as costiveness, and irregularity.

Oregon House Passes Preemptive Health Reform Bills

The Oregon House of Representatives passed two health reform bills that a leading Democratic lawmakers says will help Oregon "fit into whatever happens on the national scale," the Portland Oregonian reports. One bill would tax insurers and hospitals more than $300 million over two years to provide coverage to an additional 115,000 Oregonians. These funds would "leverage nearly $1 billion in federal Medicaid matching money." The second measure would create an Oregon Health Authority to replace an existing Department of Human Services, but with a broader mandate to track health care claims data and harness consolidated purchasing power to "pressure insurers and hospitals to use evidence based care." State officials say the measure "would create an estimated 3,600 high-paying jobs in hospitals, medical clinics and other areas" (Graves, 6/8).

Editorials And Opinions

A Selection of Editorials and Opinions

Bullied Children \'Four Times More Likely To Develop Psychosis\'

Children who are bullied at school are up to four times more likely than their peers to develop psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions and paranoia - and the more severe the bullying the more severe the symptoms.

New Health Secretary Has Opportunity For Change, Says British Dental Association

The British Dental Association has welcomed the appointment of Andy Burnham as the new Secretary of State for Health. Mr Burnham replaces Alan Johnson, who has accepted the role of Home Secretary.

Genetic Variant Associated With Resistance To Chemotherapy Drug In Women With Breast Cancer

Researchers have found links between an individual"s genetics and their response to treatment with chemotherapy. The findings, by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues, show how a genetic variation, located in the SOD2 gene, may affect how a person responds to the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide. Cyclophosphamide is used in the treatment of breast and other cancers.

Medical Website Design Company Aurora Information Technology, Inc. Introduces The New Ovu-Trac(R) Website

Aurora Information Technology (Aurora IT), a developer of highly customized medical website designs, introduces the launch of the new Ovu-Trac® site (http://www.ovu-trac.com). Created with Bitrix Site Manager, the Ovu-Trac® website is an informational and educational portal that markets its signature product, the Ovu-Trac® Ovulation Predictor Kit. Manufactured by OvumOptics, Inc., the kit uses saliva to accurately identify fertility and ovulation. Customers can purchase the kit through the site"s Fertilit-eStore and read testimonials from customers who have used the product. The site also features market comparisons, product background and scientific research behind the concept of saliva testing for predicting ovulation.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Releases New Report On Health Disparities

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released a new report on health disparities in America and participated in a White House Health Care Stakeholder Discussion on the importance of reform that reduces disparities that exist in our current health care system. The new report Health Disparities: A Case for Closing the Gap is available at http://www.HealthReform.gov.

Obama Names NYC Health Commissioner Frieden Next CDC Director

President Obama on Friday named New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York Times reports. It has long been expected that Obama would select Frieden, an infectious disease specialist who is "widely admired" in the public health arena, according to the Times. In his seven years as health commissioner of New York City, Frieden pushed to establish HIV testing as a part of routine medical exams and defended a condom-distribution program that hands out more than 35 million condoms annually. Frieden is expected to take office in June and does not require Senate confirmation for the position. He will replace Richard Besser, the current acting director of CDC, who will return to his position as head of CDC"s coordinating office for terrorism preparedness and emergency response.The Times reports that Frieden will "inherit a host of immediate and long-term problems" at CDC, including organizational issues, low morale and the Obama administration"s health care reform agenda. "Health care reform also needs to be on his plate," Jeffrey Koplan, who served as CDC director from 1998 to 2002, said, adding, "There is a huge opportunity there to improve public health, and it"s one in which any CDC director will want to be a player." Several health care advocates praised the appointment, according to the Times. Dennis deLeon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS in New York City said that Frieden is "willing to challenge the status quo in an effort to make a difference." Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the not-for-profit Trust for America"s Health, said Frieden is a "transformational leader" who "can take public health to a new place" (Harris/Hartocollis, New York Times, 5/15).

Risk For Sleep Apnea In Musicians May Be Reduced By Playing A High Resistance Wind Instrument

The naturalistic respiratory muscle training with high resistance wind instruments may potentially reduce musicians" risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to a research abstract presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

What Is Dehydration? What Causes Dehydration?

Dehydration (from the Greek hydor (water)) and the Latin prefix de- (indicating deprivation, removal, and separation) occurs when more water and fluids are exiting the body than are entering the body. With about 75% of the body made up of water found inside cells, within blood vessels, and between cells, survival requires a rather sophisticated water management system. Luckily, our bodies have such a system, and our thirst mechanism tells us when we need to increase fluid intake. Although water is lost constantly throughout the day as we breathe, sweat, urinate, and defecate, we can replenish the water in our body by drinking fluids. The body can also shift water around to areas where it is more needed if dehydration begins to occur.

Oklahoma Antiabortion Lawmakers Try To Revive Vetoed Bill To Ban Stem Cell Research

Antiabortion lawmakers in Oklahoma on Wednesday attempted to revive vetoed legislation that would have banned embryonic stem cell research in the state by adding the ban to an unrelated bill (HB 1114) that would prohibit human cloning, the AP/CNBC.com reports. House members on Wednesday also added a prohibition on human cloning to that measure. According to Tony Lauinger, chair of Oklahomans for Life, the measure is "narrower" than the vetoed bill and would "ban reproductive cloning, as well as the creation of human embryos for the purpose of harvesting their stem cells."Gov. Brad Henry (D) had vetoed the measure that would have banned stem cell research three weeks ago. The veto subsequently was overwridden by the House and sustained by the Senate. The House on Wednesday also voted 88-6 to approve a measure (HB 1595) that would ban gender selection for genetically modified embryos and ban sex-selective abortions. The measure also would require physicians who perform abortions to report abortion-related information to the state Department of Health. In addition, the bill would require the department to publish annual abortion reports on its Web site and conduct periodic inspections of abortion clinics (AP/CNBC.com, 5/14).

Hormone Therapy May Confer More Aggressive Properties To Prostate Tumours

Hormone therapy is often given to patients with advanced prostate cancer. While it is true that the treatment prevents growth of the tumour, it also changes its properties. Some of these changes may result in the tumour becoming more aggressive and more liable to form metastases. This is one of the conclusion of a thesis presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Microbial RNA Ocean Catch Surprises MIT

An ingenious new method of obtaining marine microbe samples while preserving the microbes" natural gene expression has yielded an unexpected boon: the presence of many varieties of small RNAs - snippets of RNA that act as switches to regulate gene expression in these single-celled creatures. Before now, small RNA could only be studied in lab-cultured microorganisms; the discovery of its presence in a natural setting may make it possible finally to learn on a broad scale how microbial communities living at different ocean depths and regions respond to environmental stimuli.

Presentation Of The National Consortium For Translational Cancer Research

No progress without research - this is particularly true for cancer medicine. The chances of cure for those affected can only be further increased if research results are swiftly transferred from the laboratory into clinical practice. Framework conditions for this research transfer, also called translational research, will now be optimized in Germany. Last Tuesday, German Research Minister Annette Schavan, Friedrich Carl Janssen, Chairman of German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe), and Professor Dr. Otmar D. Wiestler, Scientific Director of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) presented the "National Consortium for Translational Cancer Research" in Berlin.

Cosmetic Ear Surgery Has The Youngest Age Of Patients, Survey Finds

So many classic childhood movies (Dumbo) and sing-a-longs (Do your ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro?) emphasize large and protruding ears. But it turns out that having protruding ears is often-times a humiliating feature for a teenager.

Exposure To Controversial Chemical May Be Greater Than Dose Considered Safe

People are likely being exposed to the commonly used chemical bisphenol A (BPA) at levels much higher than the recommended safe daily dose, according to a new study in monkeys. The results will be presented Thursday at The Endocrine Society"s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Exposure To Bisphenol A In Pregnant Mice Permanently Changes DNA Of Offspring

Exposure during pregnancy to the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, found in many common plastic household items, is known to cause a fertility defect in the mother"s offspring in animal studies, and now researchers have found how the defect occurs. The results of the new study will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society"s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

\'Hijacking Mechanism\' Of HIV-1\' Pinpointed By McGill/JGH Researchers

Researchers at McGill University and the affiliated Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at Montreal"s Jewish General Hospital - along with colleagues at the University of Manitoba and the University of British Columbia - may have found a chink in the armour of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), the microorganism which causes AIDS. They have pinpointed the key cellular machinery co-opted by HIV-1 to hijack the human cell for its own benefit. Their study was published in May in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Evaluating Language In Children With Autism

A new parent questionnaire, developed at the University of Waterloo, will help health practitioners to more accurately gauge the acquisition of language skills in children with autism.

SVS 2009: Ziehm Imaging Sets A New Standard In Mobile Imaging With The Ziehm Vision RFD

Ziehm Imaging is proud to announce that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given 510k clearance for the latest innovative mobile C-arm from Ziehm Imaging, the Ziehm Vision(R) RFD, for marketing and sales within the United States. Designed for use in endovascular surgery, interventional cardiology and interventional radiology, the Ziehm Vision RFD mobile C-arm combines the latest flat-panel technology and a true fully digital imaging chain with a compact design that delivers exceptional image quality. During demanding procedures physicians will benefit from improved visualization, workflow and reduced radiation dose.

The Personalities Making News Around Health Reform

Sen. Chris Dodd has taken the reins on health care reform while he juggles other bills and a tough re-election campaign, Roll Call reports.

Long Term Care Forms Part Of Health Plan

Long-term care plays a role in the Senate HELP committee health plan released Tuesday by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. The Associated Press reports that "Americans would be able to buy long-term care insurance from the government for $65 a month under a provision tucked into sweeping health care legislation that senators will begin considering next week."

New Study Shows Coaching To Patient Activation Levels Improves Disease Management Outcomes

People with chronic health conditions who receive coaching tailored to their level of health activation showed significant improvements in clinical outcomes, and experienced fewer hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room than those coached using traditional methods, according to a study published in the June issue of The American Journal of Managed Care.

Medtronic Launches Clinical Trial To Improve Quality Of Care For Implantable Defibrillator Patients

Medtronic, Inc (NYSE: MDT) announced the launch of the Shock-Less clinical trial. This trial will identify ways physicians can improve the quality of care for patients through optimal application of device-based tools designed to reduce unnecessary shocks in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillator (CRT-D) devices. Specifically, the Shock-Less study aims to create evidence that will increase the use of programming tools that reduce unnecessary shocks including features on Medtronic devices, such as Medtronic"s exclusive Lead Integrity Alert™ (LIA) and Anti-Tachycardia Pacing (ATP) During Charging™.

NPR Program Features Discussions On Several Topics Related To Abortion Rights

NPR"s "Talk of the Nation" on Tuesday included a discussion with NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner regarding abortion-rights policies and other reproductive health-related issues under the Obama administration. Rovner also discussed a recent Gallup poll that found more U.S. residents described themselves as "pro-life" rather than "pro-choice" for the first time. Rovner noted that public opinion on abortion "tends to be countercyclical to who"s in charge." For example, when the president and the majority in Congress both oppose abortion rights, supporters of those rights "tend to get kind of riled up," she said. Similarly, abortion-rights opponents often are more vocal when abortion-rights supporters occupy the White House and control the majority in Congress, "[s]o it wouldn"t be surprising that you would see ... more of a pro-life push in opinion polls." Rovner noted that the percentage of people who believe abortion should be always illegal or always legal has not changed significantly since 1975. The discussion included Obama"s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, and his administration"s proposal to repeal the Bush administration"s HHS "conscience" rule, which expanded the ability health care workers now have to refuse to provide services they find morally or religiously objectionable. Rovner said that a finalization of the Obama administration"s proposal on the refusal rule is expected in July, although she added that repealing the rule would "likely have little practical effect" because existing statutes already protect workers with moral and religious objections. When asked about whether Obama has lived up to the expectations of abortion-rights supporters who endorsed him as a candidate, Rovner said that the president has "tried very hard to steer middle ground on this issue, to say, really, there should be a way to find peace" (Conan [1], "Talk of the Nation," NPR, 6/9).Tuesday"s program also included a discussion on how some physicians decide whether they will perform abortions and how that decision affects their lives. Guests included Suzanne Poppema, board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, and John Kelly, a retired surgeon who opposes abortion rights (Conan [2], "Talk of the Nation," NPR, 6/9).

Government Targets Interfere With The Battle Against Superbugs, Says British Medical Association

The war on healthcare associated infections (HCAIs), or so-called "superbugs", will never be won unless long-term strategies are introduced to radically reduce their prevalence, says a BMA report launched recently.

Breast MRI Shows It\'s Not The Size Of The Lymph Node That Signals Spread Of Cancer

Physicians treating breast cancer first look to lymph nodes in a patient"s armpit to see whether cancer is spreading elsewhere in the body - but they may not be evaluating the nodes in the most effective way.

Discovery May Revolutionize Therapy In Muscular Dystrophy And Other Skeletal Muscle Disorders

Researchers at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School are a step closer to treating, and perhaps preventing, muscle damage caused by disease and aging. In their study, published in the June issue of Journal of Biological Chemistry, the scientists have linked the newly discovered protein MG53 to a pathway that repairs human muscle tissue along with the proteins caveolin-3 (Cav3) and dysferlin. Prior to this study, the underlying interactions that inhibited membrane repair in muscle tissue were unknown. Linking these proteins creates a mechanism that allows damaged membranes to be repaired, which may transform treatment for patients who suffer from severe complications of diseases such as muscular dystrophy, as well as cardiovascular disorders and conditions related to advancing age.

The Melanoma Research Alliance Awards Nearly Two Million Dollars In Research Grants That Address The Gap In Translational Science

The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) announced the recipients of nearly two million dollars in grants to fund 13 individual scientists pursuing innovative melanoma research proposals. This second round of MRA grants is focused on research that addresses the gap in translational science.

PIH Founder Farmer Discussing Possible Appointment To Coordinate U.S. Global Health Initiatives, Boston Globe Reports

Paul Farmer -- founder of Partners in Health and vice chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School -- said he is in discussions with the State Department about a possible Obama administration appointment to coordinate U.S. global health initiatives, the Boston Globe reports. Farmer made the announcement Monday during a meeting with HMS faculty. Farmer said that he has not decided whether he will accept the appointment if he receives a formal offer but that he is considering it, according to the Globe. The Globe reports that it was unable to confirm whether Farmer is being considered for a full-time policy position or for an advisory role or if the appointment would be a new or existing position. Several top positions at USAID -- including administrator, deputy administrator and the assistant administrator in charge of global health are vacant, the Globe reports. These positions are presidential appointments and would require Senate confirmation. In addition, Farmer could be discussing health policy positions with the State Department. Farmer did not respond for requests seeking comment. PIH and HMS also declined comment. A spokesperson at the State Department would not discuss personnel discussions that are in progress or possible new positions. Laurie Garrett, a global health policy specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the administration"s announcement last week of a $63 billion, six-year initiative that aims to address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other illnesses could allow new appointees the opportunity to make a significant impact in U.S. global health policy. Garrett, who has known Farmer for several years, added that she would be surprised if he is considering a government position in part because of his extensive involvement with PIH (Smith, Boston Globe, 5/15).

The Importance Of Sleep In Regulating Emotional Responses

According to a research abstract presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, sleep selectively preservers memories that are emotionally salient and relevant to future goals when sleep follows soon after learning. Effects persist for as long as four months after the memory is created.

New Jersey Senator Proposes Plan To Avert HIV/AIDS Drug Copayments

New Jersey state Sen. Joseph Vitale (D) -- chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee -- earlier this week proposed a plan to temporarily reduce rebate checks to senior citizens earning $100,000 to $150,000 in an effort to alleviate the effects of possible budget cuts on certain populations, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Vitale"s proposal also would avert planned $6 to $15 prescription drug copayments for people living with HIV/AIDS in the state (Livio, Newark Star-Ledger, 5/12). The copayments are part of Gov. Jon Corzine"s (D) $29.8 billion spending proposal for the state"s new fiscal year and would collect $1.36 million by creating copayments for HIV/AIDS drugs based on a sliding scale determined by income. The copayments would affect 9,000 people living with HIV/AIDS who have obtained no-cost medicine from the state because they do not qualify for other assistance programs. Advocates said that the copayments will hurt patients who are already struggling because of the poor economy (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/23). According to the Star-Ledger, Vitale"s proposal would save the state $15.7 million, including $9.7 million needed to allow 17,000 low-income families to enroll in the state"s health insurance program, FamilyCare. Senate Budget Committee Chair Barbara Buono (D) said that she does not believe it is possible to restore program cuts "given the collapse of revenues." According to the Office of Legislative Services, the current deficit for this year"s budget, which ends June 30, is at least $1.2 billon. Vitale said, "Our convictions are going to be tested as we come to terms with the fact that we simply don"t have enough money to fund all of the state"s priorities." He added, "But unless funding is restored for programs like NJ FamilyCare, Medicaid drug benefits and the AIDS Drug Distribution Program, I will be voting against the" fiscal year 2010 budget (Newark Star-Ledger, 5/12).

Cancer Therapeutics, Inc.\'s Partner NanoTherapies, Inc. Utilizes Revolutionary Solution For Disrupting And Treating Cancer

Cancer Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCBB: CTHP), an emerging biotechnology business incubator with a specific emphasis on disruptive cancer treatments and nanotechnology, announced its new partner, NanoTherapies, Inc., is utilizing calcium phosphate nanoparticles to detect and treat cancer. These particles are about 350 times smaller than a human cell while providing both a safe and effective way to transport drugs and imaging materials into diseased cells.

AVI BioPharma, Inc. To Present At 7th Annual Biodefense Vaccines & Therapeutics Conference In Washington, D.C.

AVI BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVII), a developer of RNA-based drugs, announced that Patrick Iversen, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances, will present at the upcoming 7th Annual Biodefense Vaccines & Therapeutics conference taking place in Washington, D.C.

American Physical Therapy Association Endorses The Ness L300™ Foot Drop System

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) announced its official product endorsement of the NESS L300 Foot Drop System, manufactured by Bioness Inc. of Valencia, CA, the first functional electrical stimulation (FES) foot drop system to be endorsed by APTA.

Update Of Patient Experience PSA Scores, UK

The following statistics were released by the Department of Health: Patient experience PSA scores update based on data up to and including 2008 patient surveys. This publication updates the patient experience scores previously published on 24 November 2008. The patient experience PSA has been rolled forward as one of the indicators against "PSA delivery agreement 19: Ensure better care for all" for 2008-11. These figures report initial progress against the PSA target for sustained improvement in patient experience for the 2008-11 spending review period. Results are updated to include scores derived from survey results published by the Care Quality Commission in 2008. There are new data points for "adult inpatients" and "emergency department service users".

Motor Neuron Differentiation Specified By 2 Signals -- From Within And Out Of Cell

Two signals - an external one from retinoic acid and an internal one from the transcription factor Neurogenin2 - cooperate to activate chromatin (the basic material of chromosomes) and help determine that certain nerve progenitor cells become motor neurons, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report in the current issue of the journal Neuron.

Quick-Reference Handbook Provides \'Evidence-Based Endocrinology\' Recommendations

One of the most widely read books in endocrinology recently came out in its second edition.

ENT And Allergy Initiates A \'First Of Its Kind\' Self-Insured Medical Malpractice Program

ENT and Allergy Associates, LLP (ENTA), is pleased to announce the formation of OASIS (i.e., Otolaryngology, Allergy Specialty Insurance Services), a separate company that will be a vehicle to provide Otolaryngology and Allergy Specific medical malpractice coverage. OASIS, which will be domiciled in the State of Vermont, is the first RRG to provide medical malpractice coverage exclusively to ENT physicians and Allergists. ENTA decided to embark on this path as a means of stabilizing its malpractice premiums in the face of mounting deficits among the State"s largest carriers and the failure of the legislature to pass any meaningful tort reform. These factors will most likely result in substantial premium increases well into the future. In addition, ENTA, now a 96 physician practice, will be able to focus on controlling the risks unique to its specialty to ensure patient safety and physician compliance with its risk management policies.

Biothera Launches Clinical Trial In KRAS-Mutated Colorectal Cancer Patients

Biothera has initiated a Phase II clinical trial in stage IV KRAS-mutated colorectal cancer patients with its investigational drug Imprime PGG® in combination with Erbitux® (cetuximab), the company announced today.

In Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Models, Novel DNA Vaccine Leads To Kidney Damage Prevention

DNA vaccination using lupus autoantigens and interleukin-10 (IL-10, a cytokine that plays an important role in regulating the immune system) has potential as a novel therapy to induce antigen specific tolerance and may help to prevent kidney damage in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to a new study presented at EULAR 2009, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Simulation Game Helps Students Learn Dental Implant Procedures

A realistic computer game will soon be used to help dental students worldwide learn and reinforce dental implant procedures.

A Case Of Cecal Volvulus

Cecal volvulus is axial twisting that occurs involving the cecum, terminal ileum, and ascending colon. Rarely, it may take the form of upward and anterior folding of the ascending colon ("cecal bascule").

A Breakthrough In Gastric Carcinogenesis

Checkpoint with forkhead and ring finger (CHFR) is a mitotic stress checkpoint gene whose promoter is frequently methylated in various kinds of cancer. In gastric cancer, CHFR promoter hypermethylation has been reported to lead to chromosome instability (CIN) and genetic instability is one of the hallmarks of human cancer.

Researchers Confirm Link Between HPV And Head And Neck Cancer But Europe-wide Survey Shows Woeful Public Ignorance On Role Of Oral Sex

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an important causative agent in squamous cell cancers of head and neck (HNSCC) a new meta-analysis presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) confirms; but a separate European survey at the same meeting reveals the public is woefully ignorant about it and possible ways to avoid it. Lack of public awareness about the possible link between HPV-related head and neck cancer and oral sex with multiple partners presents a case for making vaccinations against HPV more widely available to boys as well as girls before they become sexually active, commented leading expert Professor Jean-Louis Lefebvre of Centre Oscar Lambret, Lille, France.

1/4 Of Patients On Highest Investigational Doses Of CP-690,550 Achieve ACR70 At Week 12

A quarter of active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients receiving either 10mg (24.6%) or 15mg (28.1%) twice daily of the investigational oral JAK-3 (janus-associated kinase) inhibitor CP-690,550 (CP) achieved ACR70* after 12 weeks, according to the results of a new study presented at EULAR 2009, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark. The primary outcome for the study was ACR20*, with 75.4% of patients achieving this measure at 12 weeks for both 10mg and 15mg doses.

Arizona ADAP Cuts Number Of Medications Covered Under Program

The Arizona AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) has reduced the number of medications it will cover - antiretrovirals and drugs that treat opportunistic infections will not be affected, the Arizona Daily Star reports. The program relies heavily on federal funding. Judy Norton, chief of the state"s Office of HIV, STD and Hepatitis C Services, said the state received $2.3 million less than what it requested from the federal government, requiring the program to make cuts. According to the Daily Star, federal ADAP funds are "drying up as drug costs rise and as more" people living with HIV/AIDS are enrolling in the program. The Arizona ADAP has been serving about 1,100 patients statewide, although the number has gone up in recent months, Laura Oxley, Arizona Department of Health Services spokesperson, said. A letter explaining the changes to the program was sent to clients and providers earlier this week (Innes, Arizona Daily Star, 6/11).

G8 Off Track On Aid Commitments To Africa; France, Italy Responsible For 80% Of Shortfall, Report Says

The Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations are "collectively off course in delivering on a 2005 pact to more than double aid to Africa through 2010," according to an annual report released Thursday by the One Campaign, Reuters/Washington Post reports (Wroughton, Reuters/Washington Post, 6/11).

National Survey Looks At HIV/AIDS In South Africa

According to the results of a national survey conducted in 2008 and released Tuesday, HIV prevalence among South Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 dropped from "a high of 10.3 percent in 2005 to 8.7 percent last year, with the decreases most marked among teenagers," AFP/Google.com reports (AFP/Google.com, 6/9). The Telegraph writes, "HIV prevalence in children between 2 and 14 fell from 5.6 per cent in 2002 to 2.5 per cent last year, mainly thanks to the spread of drugs to prevent women passing on the virus to their children" (Telegraph, 6/10).