U.S. FDA proposes social media guidelines for drug industry | Reuters – “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday issued proposed guidelines for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries for posting information on social media networks and correcting misinformation posted by others. The long-awaited guidance would effectively limit the amount of product advertising a company can do on sites where character space is limited, such as Twitter.”
Senate panel scolds TV’s Dr. Oz over diet claims | Reuters – “A U.S. Senate panel probing bogus diet product ads took celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz to task on Tuesday for touting weight-loss products on his syndicated television show. Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, the chairwoman of the Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, said Oz had a role in perpetuating weight-loss fraud through his show.”
Psychiatrists Plagued by Job Stress – “Psychiatrists are a highly stressed group, owing in large part to their interaction with patients, new research suggests. A survey of nearly 3000 physicians from Finland showed that psychiatrists were less satisfied with their jobs, had more psychological distress, and felt more patient-related stress compared with other medical specialists.”
Benefits of Breast Cancer Screening ‘Modest at Best’ – “Researchers from Norway found that screening reduced deaths from breast cancer by about 28%, which extrapolates to about 27 deaths avoided for every 10,000 women invited to biennial screening over a lifetime. The study was published online June 17 in BMJ. “
A Consumer Update from the US Food and Drug Administration
Can carrying around a brochure help save your life?Yes, if it’s the “My Medicines” brochure offered by FDA’s Office of Women’s Health (OWH). It’s designed to help consumers track the medications they use.
My Medicines features a chart that allows you to list information about your prescription medicines, including the names of the medicines, how much you take, when you take them, what condition they are treating, and the number of refills.Continue reading →
Some cancer patients and their insurers are seeing their bills for chemotherapy jump sharply, reflecting increased drug prices and hospitals’ push to buy oncologists’ practices and then bill at higher rates.
Patients say, “‘I’ve been treated with Herceptin for breast cancer for several years and it was always $5,000 for the drug and suddenly it’s $16,000 — and I was in the same room with the same doctor same nurse and the same length of time’,” said Dr. Donald Fischer, chief medical officer for Highmark, the largest health plan in Pennsylvania.Continue reading →
Washing raw chicken increases risk of food poisoning – Medical News Today – “Washing raw chicken can lead to a potentially dangerous form of food poisoning caused by Campylobacter bacteria, which spread onto hands, clothing, cooking utensils and work surfaces as water droplets splash off the raw meat. Now, the UK’s Food Standards Agency is urging people to stop washing raw chicken in an effort to reduce the estimated 280,000 people a year who become ill from Campylobacter.”
Despite having the most expensive health care system, the United States ranks last overall among 11 industrialized countries on measures of health system quality, efficiency, access to care, equity, and healthy lives, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.
The other countries included in the study were Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand Norway, Sweden Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
While there is room for improvement in every country, the U.S. stands out for having the highest costs and lowest performance—the U.S. spent $8,508 per person on health care in 2011, compared with $3,406 in the United Kingdom, which ranked first overall.
Jessie Yuan, physician at the Eisner Pediatric & Family Health Center in Los Angeles, treats diabetic patient Oscar Gonzales. Gonzalez was unaware he had been switched to Medi-Cal until Yuan informed him about the change (Photo by Anna Gorman/KHN).
After mass shootings, like the ones these past weeks in Las Vegas, Seattle and Santa Barbara, the national conversation often focuses on mental illness. So what do we actually know about the connections between mental illness, mass shootings and gun violence overall?
To separate the facts from the media hype, we talked to Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine, and one of the leading researchers on mental health and violence. Swanson talked about the dangers of passing laws in the wake of tragedy ― and which new violence-prevention strategies might actually work.
Here is a condensed version of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.
Mass shootings are relatively rare events that account for only a tiny fraction of American gun deaths each year. But when you look specifically at mass shootings ― how big a factor is mental illness? Continue reading →
From right, researcher Dr. Steven Russell of Massachusetts General Hospital stands with Frank Spesia and Colby Clarizia, two participants in a type 1 diabetes trial testing an electronic device called a bionic pancreas – the cellphone-sized device shown – which replaces their traditional fingerstick tests and manual insulin pumps. Photo courtesy of Adam Brown,
From the National Institutes of Health
People with type 1 diabetes who used a bionic pancreas instead of manually monitoring glucose using fingerstick tests and delivering insulin using a pump were more likely to have blood glucose levels consistently within the normal range, with fewer dangerous lows or highs.
The report was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine
TThe researchers — at Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital — say the process of blood glucose control could improve dramatically with the bionic pancreas. Currently, people with type 1 diabetes walk an endless tightrope.
Because their pancreas doesn’t make the hormone insulin, their blood glucose levels can veer dangerously high and low.
Several times a day they must use fingerstick tests to monitor their blood glucose levels and manually take insulin by injection or from a pump.
In two scenarios, the researchers tested a bihormonal bionic pancreas, which uses a removable tiny sensor located in a thin needle inserted under the skin that automatically monitors real time glucose levels in tissue fluid and provides insulin and its counteracting hormone, glucagon, via two automatic pumps.Continue reading →
Once again, U.S. has most expensive, least effective health care system in survey – The Washington Post – A report released Monday by a respected think tank ranks the United States dead last in the quality of its health-care system when compared with 10 other western, industrialized nations, the same spot it occupied in four previous studies by the same organization. Not only did the U.S. fail to move up between 2004 and 2014 — as other nations did with concerted effort and significant reforms — it also has maintained this dubious distinction while spending far more per capita ($8,508) on health care than Norway ($5,669), which has the second most expensive system.
Poll finds enduring support for Massachusetts health law – Health & wellness – The Boston Globe – “he strong public support for the Massachusetts health care law has not wavered, despite the well-publicized troubles of the state’s new health insurance website, a new poll has found. Sixty-three percent of adults said they support the law, which is intended to ensure that almost everyone has health insurance — the same percentage as in a similar survey conducted in 2011. Both polls were conducted by the Boston Globe and the Harvard School of Public Health.”
Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that are harmful. Health care providers know that at least 250 of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are harmful.
If you smoke, your risk of developing smoking-related diseases, such as lung and other cancers, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory illnesses, increase with each additional year you smoke.Continue reading →