Category Health

HFCS Sales Down

From AP:

U.S. use of the sweetener found in most soft drinks, cereals and a range of other products dropped 11 percent between 2003 and 2008, the most recent year figures were available. A number of companies also have stopped using corn syrup in some or all products, including Hunt’s ketchup, Snapple, Gatorade and Starbucks’ baked goods.

Producers blame the decline on a campaign that argues corn syrup is behind rising obesity in the U.S. and that favors sugar over the refined product, although most nutritionists find little difference between the two. They also accuse the sugar industry of pushing a campaign that has helped sugar refining increase about 7 percent from 2003 to 2008.

As of 2008, high fructose corn syrup makers produced an average of 53.1 pounds a year for every American, compared with 65.7 pounds of sugar produced for use in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency doesn’t track consumption.

“I think what we’re seeing is a real awakening of public interest and public consciousness of the food we eat,” said activist Curt Ellis, a producer of the 2004 movie “King Corn” about subsidies that helped corn become a dominant U.S. crop.

Ellis added, though, that he wished Americans would stop eating so many sweeteners, whether refined from corn or sugar.

Obesity Trends in the U.S. [1985 - 2006]*

An animated chart from The Endowment for Human Development.

Walmart fires Michigan man for using medical marijuana

From wzzm13:

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WZZM) – Now that medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, can an employer fire a worker who tests positive for the drug?

WalMart says it can, so it did. “I was terminated because I failed a drug screening,” says former WalMart employee Joseph Casias.

In 2008, Casias was the Associate Of The Year at the WalMart store in Battle Creek, despite suffering from sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor.

At his doctor’s recommendation, Casias says he legally uses medical marijuana to ease his pain.

“It helps tremendously,” he says. “I only use it to stop the pain. To make me feel more comfortable and active as a person.”

Wait…. You need to take a drug test if you work at Walmart???

Poll Finds Most Doctors Support Public Option

Hrmph.. Fucking socialists.

Among all the players in the health care debate, doctors may be the least understood about where they stand on some of the key issues around changing the health care system. Now, a new survey finds some surprising results: A large majority of doctors say there should be a public option.

When polled, “nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options,” says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.

Most doctors — 63 percent — say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance. That’s the position of President Obama and of many congressional Democrats. In addition, another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they’d like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent.

(via Gerry Canavan)

Sebelius: Public Health Care Option “Not The Essential Element”

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON – Bowing to Republican pressure, President Barack Obama’s administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama’s liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

Officials from both political parties reached across the aisle in an effort to find compromises on proposals they left behind when they returned to their districts for an August recess. Obama had sought the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation’s almost 50 million uninsured, but he never made it a deal breaker in a broad set of ideas that has Republicans unified in opposition.

Update:

Now I’m just confused:

An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “misspoke” when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option “is not an essential part” of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president’s view, the most important element of the reform package.

Is Public Healthcare in the UK as Sick as Rightwing America Claims?

From The Guardian:

The NHS has become the unexpected target of those opposed to Barack Obama’s healthcare reform proposals. Republicans and rightwing commentators in the US have made strong allegations about the failings of Britain’s health system. Denis Campbell and Girish Gupta put those claims to professionals in the health sector

The claim

Ted Kennedy, 77, would not be treated for his brain tumour if he was in Britain because he is too old – Charles Grassley, Republican senator from Iowa.

The response

Untrue, says the Department of Health. “There is no ban on anyone of any age receiving any treatment, ” said a spokesman. “Whether to prescribe drugs or recommend surgery is rightly a clinical decision taken on a case by case basis.”

The claim

In England, anyone over 59 years of age cannot receive heart repairs, stents or bypass because it is not covered as being too expensive and not needed – an anonymously authored, but widely circulated, email, largely sent to older voters

The response

Totally untrue. Growing numbers of patients over 65 with heart conditions are having surgery, including valve repairs and heart bypass surgery, says Professor Peter Weissberg, the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) medical director. For example, the average age at which people have a bypass operation has risen from 58 in 1991 to 66 in 2008.

The claim

Breast cancer kills 46% of its targets in Britain, compared with 25% in the US; prostate cancer kills 57% of the Britons it strikes, compared with 25% of American victims; Britain’s heart attack fatality rate was 19.5% higher than America’s in 2005 – Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco-based thinktank

The response

Breast cancer does claim more lives, proportionally, here than in the US. According to the 2002 Globocan database run by the World Health Organisation’s cancer advisers, 19.2 of every 100,000 Americans die of the disease, but 24.3 per 100,000 here die. On prostate cancer, a Lancet Oncology global study last year found that 91.9% of Americans with the disease were still alive after five years compared to just 51.1% in the UK. With heart attacks, 40% of Britons who suffer one die from it compared to 38% in the States – nowhere near the difference claimed.

The Alternative Medicine…. It Does Nothing!

From MSNBC:

BETHESDA, Md. – Ten years ago the government set out to test herbal and other alternative health remedies to find the ones that work. After spending $2.5 billion, the disappointing answer seems to be that almost none of them do.

Echinacea for colds. Ginkgo biloba for memory. Glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis. Black cohosh for menopausal hot flashes. Saw palmetto for prostate problems. Shark cartilage for cancer. All proved no better than dummy pills in big studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.

(via Bad Astronomy)

Mercy Abortions: What Dr. Tiller Did

From RH Reality Check:

Without a doubt, the number one reason for abortions past 24 weeks is the late discovery of a fetal anomaly incompatible with life. I’ve talked with many women who find themselves in this situation and it is always an extremely difficult and heart-wrenching situation. Many women even underwent infertility treatments to become pregnant. But, when the pregnancy goes horribly awry, a Mercy Abortion is the best solution in a no-win situation. These are women who need abortion more than many others. Therefore, it’s ironic that they are the ones being punished by focusing on the procedures that are life-saving for them.

One of the reasons for this is that many of these anomalies aren’t apparent in pregnancy until the later stages. Also, most women get a sonogram paid for by insurance in the early weeks of pregnancy, but don’t get another one until well after 20-22 weeks.

Imagine if you can that you are happily carrying a baby that you’ve wanted all your life. You’ve had the baby showers and decorated the room already. Then comes the devastating news that the baby is anencephalic. That means that the baby has no brain and will die a horrible death shortly after birth….

…You’re 28 weeks along and the OB/GYN that’s been caring for you can’t help you out. You see, the hospital where he practices will gladly take your money and let you give birth there, but they won’t let your OB/GYN perform a Mercy Abortion on you so that you can maintain your fertility for future pregnancies and lessen the devastation on you and your family by ending the pregnancy now.

Oh no. The powers that be want you to carry that anencephalic baby for 10 more weeks, then give birth, then slowly watch it die right in front of your eyes. Now, if that’s how you want to handle the situation, fine. But, if you’d like a more merciful ending to this tragic situation, a trip to Dr. Tiller or Dr. Hern might be in order. For now, that is.

The Truman Syndrome

From the NY Times:

The Truman Show delusion, or Truman Syndrome, has drawn attention in recent months, in the United States and Britain, as psychiatrists in both countries describe a small but growing number of psychotic patients who describe their lives as mirroring that of the main character in the 1998 film “The Truman Show.”

Played by Jim Carrey, Truman Burbank leads a mundane existence in the suburbs, starting from the time he was in the womb, while being filmed for a documentary television show that he cannot escape. Everyone is in on it, including his wife, and no one will believe Truman when he discovers clues that his life is being chronicled all the time by cameras.

With Internet delusion, patients typically incorporate the Internet into paranoid thoughts, including a fear that the Web is somehow monitoring or controlling their lives, or being used to transmit photographs or other personal information.

The delusions are fueling a chicken-and-egg debate in psychiatry: Are these merely modern examples of classic paranoia fed by the current cultural landscape, or is there something about media like reality television and the Internet that can push people over the sanity line?

(via Conceptual Trends)

Medical Manikins

From oobject.com:

Manikins (the alternate spelling, mannequin, is usually used for the store window variety) which are used for medical training are extremely interesting devices with accurate and working anatomical elements. This list is larger than usual since the number of interesting items meant that we kept on looking.


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