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ICU Infection Rates Not a Good Measure of Mortality Risk

Infections • • Public HealthMay 18 10

ICU-acquired infection rates are not an indication of patients’ mortality risk, according to researchers the University of Pennsylvania, undermining a central tenet of many pay-for-performance initiatives.

Public reporting of quality data is increasingly common in health care. These “report cards” are designed to improve the quality of care by helping patients choose the best hospitals. Yet, they only work if they successfully identify high performers, and may be misleading if they steer patients toward poor performers.

The findings will be reported at the ATS*2010 International Conference in New Orleans.

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Significant Number of Fathers Experience Prenatal, Postpartum Depression

Depression • • Psychiatry / PsychologyMay 18 10

About 10 percent of fathers experience prenatal or postpartum depression, with rates being highest in the 3 to 6 month postpartum period, according to an analysis of previous research appearing in the May 19 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on mental health.

James F. Paulson, Ph.D., of the East­ern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Va., presented the findings of the study at a JAMA media briefing on mental health.

It is well established that maternal prenatal and postpartum depression is prevalent and has negative personal, family, and child developmental outcomes, but the prevalence, risk factors and effects of depression among new fathers is not well understood, and has received little attention from researchers and clinicians, according to background information in the article.

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Older Chinese Consumers Perceive Themselves Younger than Actual Age

Public HealthMay 18 10

Since the Chinese government enacted the one-child policy in 1978 as a form of population control, the average age of Chinese citizens has begun to get older quickly. After recognizing this trend, Rui Yao, a University of Missouri assistant professor in the Personal Financial Planning department of the College of Human Environmental Sciences, studied the self-perceived age of aging Chinese consumers and how those perceptions should affect marketing strategies aimed at those consumers. Yao found the self-perceived age of older Chinese consumers to be significantly younger than their actual age.

“Someone who is 50 doesn’t think they are 50,” Yao said. “They see themselves as 45 or 40 years old.”

During the study, older Chinese consumers were surveyed in six different cities in China. Only consumers that were 50 years old and older were surveyed. While almost 50% of the people surveyed were between the ages of 50 and 59, only about 33% perceived themselves as being that old.

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Emphasis On Obesity Surgery Abroad

ObesityMay 18 10

Expat South Koreans are traveling back to their homeland for the best in obesity surgery at affordable prices in state of the art, high-tech and accredited facilities in Seoul, South Korea.

PlacidWay, a medical tourism portal based in Colorado, has been watching a growing trend in Asian Americans opting for healthcare in Asia, taking advantage of lower costs, state of the art and high-tech equipment, facilities and training without the long waits and astronomical cost of the same surgeries and procedures as found in the United States.

“The emphasis is on obesity surgery with expat South Koreans traveling back from the United States to Korea,” says Pramod Goel, CEO of PlacidWay.  “Education and access to information regarding weight loss and obesity facilities and clinics in Southeast Asia offer Asian Americans the opportunity to receive excellent, experienced and affordable healthcare in their native homelands.”

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Australian researchers identify a new disease

Public HealthMay 17 10

Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital have identified a previously undiagnosed condition and successfully treated it by performing an experimental stem cell transplant.

Having spent her late teenage years in and out of hospital Katie Pulling had almost given up hope. “It was very confusing and very daunting. I kept hearing the doctors say, ‘We don’t know what is wrong’, ‘We don’t know why you are so sick’,” said Katie, who lives in north-eastern NSW.

With no options left Katie agreed to an experimental stem cell transplant - a transplant which ultimately saved her life.

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Obesity turning into global epidemic, say experts

Obesity • • Public HealthMay 17 10

Stressing that obesity is turning into a global epidemic, affecting children, adolescents and adults in both developed and developing nations, on the eve of the World Hypertension Day, experts revisited the health hazards of excessive body weight.

“Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension, which in turn causes fatal conditions such as stroke, heart failure, weakening and expansion of blood vessels and kidney failure,” said Dr NP Singh, senior consultant, Fortis Hospital, Mohali. He said obesity was now the world’s worst nutritional problem, causing more ill health and deaths than poverty and infectious diseases.

“Unfortunately, increasing urbanisation, sedentary lifestyle and eagerness to adopt Western ways have resulted in more and more Indians joining the 1.5 billion victims of high blood pressure all over the world,” he said.

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The road map to solving childhood obesity

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 17 10

White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes says first lady Michelle Obama is speaking quite literally when she says the goal of her Let’s Move campaign is “solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.”

“That is literally achievable,” Barnes said in an interview for the new POLITICO video series, “The Politics of America’s Youth.” “In the 1970s, about 5 percent of the nation’s child and adolescent population was considered obese. Now, that’s shot up to 20 percent. We set the goal of 2030. So we’ll go from 20 percent childhood obesity to 5 percent childhood obesity by the year 2030.”

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, appointed by President Barack Obama, this month delivered a 124-page Report to the President, with 70 recommendations in five areas: early childhood, empowering parents and caregivers, health food in schools, access to healthful, affordable food and increasing physical activity.

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UC Davis team wins $3.3 million grant to conduct juvenile diabetes study

DiabetesMay 15 10

A husband-and-wife research team at the UC Davis School of Medicine has been awarded a five-year, $3.3 million grant to lead a nationwide study on how to prevent brain swelling in children with diabetes.

A “diabetic crisis” occurs when the body releases acidic ketones into the blood, a byproduct of burning fat stores for energy. They can result in neurological injuries and sometimes death.

The award’s recipients are Nathan Kuppermann, professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Nicole Glaser, associate professor of pediatric endocrinology. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is funding the grant.

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Signs, prevention, cure of Diabetes

DiabetesMay 15 10

That is one way to keep Diabetes at bay. Zeenia F Baria speaks to the experts.

The number of diabetics is increasing at an alarming level all of the globe. And one of the topmost reasons for this increase in numbers is the lifestyle that people have adopted in recent years.

Obesity and Bariatric surgeon, Dr Mufazzal Lakdawala says that Diabetes can be described as a disease in which the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not utilise the produced insulin properly leading to a high blood glucose level. “There are two types of diabetes — Type 1 diabetes, in which there is no generation of insulin in the body and Type 2 diabetes, in which the cells in the body become resistant to insulin.

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Diabetes increases risk of cardiac arrest

Diabetes • • HeartMay 15 10

A recent study indicates that coronary disease casualties are starting to fall in Ontario, but having diabetes significantly increases the risk of cardiac arrest . The study has established that a 35 per cent decrease in deaths from coronary disease occurred between 1994 and 2005, largely due to healthier lifestyles .

A research team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto partnered with other institutes such as the University of Liverpool and the Canadian Heart Research Centre to reach their conclusions.

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Facts About Type 2 Diabetes Cure

DiabetesMay 15 10

Have you just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Are you looking for a type 2 diabetes cure? Find out the truth about type 2 diabetes cure.

The Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes may be classified as either type 1 or type 2. A type 1 diabetes is a more severe condition because people suffering from this condition do not produce adequate insulin to regulate glucose levels. It is believed that genetic factors may play a big role in the development of type 1 diabetes. Type 2 on the other hand is characterized by insulin resistance. A type 2 diabetic’s pancreas may be fully functional but the body’s cells are resistant to the influence of insulin and do not take in as much glucose for cell energy production.

Most Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Although it is as devastating as type 1, it can be easier to manage especially when detected early because it does not involve a defective pancreas.

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Keeping Active With Diabetes and Arthritis

Arthritis • • DiabetesMay 15 10

Daily physical activity is essential for good health and blood glucose control in people with diabetes. But what if you also have arthritis? One in five American adults has been diagnosed with arthritis, and half of all adults with diagnosed diabetes also have arthritis. Symptoms of arthritis can make it difficult to be active. But don’t let that stop you in your efforts: Frequent physical activity can help reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis by improving muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility. Routine exercise also increases energy levels and helps with weight control. Other benefits include lowered blood pressure, a lower risk of heart disease, and sometimes improved sleep patterns.

If you have arthritis as well as diabetes, it is important to keep your muscles as strong as possible, because the stronger the muscles and tissues are around the joints, the better they will support and protect those joints. When you don’t exercise, your muscles become weak and your bones become more brittle, which leads to a worsening of arthritis symptoms and to other health problems such as osteoporosis, the decrease in bone density that can lead to bone fractures.

About arthritis
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, in which cartilage in the joints deteriorates.

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Preserve community access to diabetes supplies, says pharmacy group

Diabetes • • Public HealthMay 15 10

Backers of a bill that would remove certain diabetes testing supplies from national competitive bidding say it will inject “some sanity” into the program.

Introduced May 6 by Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act would exempt diabetes supplies like strips, monitors and lancets, that are furnished by small community pharmacies, from the bidding program. The Small Business Administration classifies small pharmacies as those with annual sales of $7 million or less.

While nearly three quarters of community pharmacists offer some DME, including diabetes supplies, it typically comprises less than 10% of their business, says John Norton, associate director of public relations for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

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The Voices of Thyroid Disease

EndocrinologyMay 14 10

Although many people haven’t heard of thyroid conditions like Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s syndrome, thyroid problems are finally getting more attention.

The thyroid is a tiny gland in the neck that can sometimes make too much or too little of various hormones, causing a host of problems. President George Bush and his wife, Barbara, were both told they had thyroid conditions. In 2007, thyroid problems received the ultimate celebrity endorsement when Oprah Winfrey announced she was suffering from thyroid-related health issues.

In Wednesday’s Patient Voices feature, Karen Barrow, a New York Times producer, shares the stories of six men and women with thyroid disease. You’ll hear from Antonio Richardson, 25, of St. Paul, Minn., who was told he had Graves’ disease, which is rarely found in young men. He channeled his fears into music and now writes rap songs under the name A&R about living with chronic illness.

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China scientists find use for cigarette butts

Public Health • • Tobacco & MarijuanaMay 14 10

Chemical extracts from cigarette butts—so toxic they kill fish—can be used to protect steel pipes from rusting, a study in China has found.

In a paper published in the American Chemical Society’s bi-weekly journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the scientists in China said they identified nine chemicals after immersing cigarette butts in water.

They applied the extracts to N80, a type of steel used in oil pipes, and found that they protected the steel from rusting.

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