Thursday, December 29, 2011

5 Ways Poor Dental Care Makes You Sick from Yahoo News

Even if you brush your teeth daily, you may still have dangerous bacteria growing inside your mouth. Not only could that lead to periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease that comes with symptoms such as bleeding when you brush and gum pain), but studies also find a link between poor oral hygiene and major health issues. Here are some ways that missing the mark on oral care could harm your heath.

1. It may hurt your heart.
People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease compared to those don't have periodontitis. Researchers aren't exactly sure of why this might be, but one theory is that harmful bacteria from your mouth enters your blood stream and attaches to fatty plaques in your heart's blood vessels, leading to inflammation and upping your risk of clots that can trigger heart attacks.

For the full article please go here.

Resolving to eat healthy foods in 2012 from USA Today

New Year's resolutions to eat better are often rife with dietary deprivation. Vowing to avoid sweets at all costs, giving snacks the boot and swearing off burgers and fries can quickly derail your commitment to good nutrition. I see it happen all the time.

Why not take a more positive approach to changing eating habits for the better in 2012 and beyond? Instead of concentrating on what you can't eat, plan your eating pattern to include more nutrient-rich choices.

I reached out to my colleagues, some of the country's top health experts, and here's what they recommend you put on the menu in 2012 and every year.

For the full article please go here.

Regaining Weight Bad For The Health from Medical News Today

Recent research has shown that even after dieting and losing weight, the body tends to try its best to regain the lost fat stores. Holiday times tend to be tough for those trying to stay trim, and New Year resolutions often don't stick.

Perhaps an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition will provide some extra incentive. The study shows that older women who lose weight tend to gain it back again as fat not muscle.

Barbara Nicklas, Ph.D., a gerontologist at the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation at Wake Forest Baptist and principal investigator for the study put it rather frankly :

For the full article please go here.

Nutrients May Stop Brain Shrinkage Linked To Alzheimer's from Medical News Today

A study of elderly people finds that those whose diets were high in certain essential nutrients were less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer's disease and more likely to score better on tests of mental performance. The researchers published a paper on how they came to these findings in the 28 December online issue of Neurology.

The paper's first author is Dr Gene Bowman from the Departments of Neurology and Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. He and his colleagues describe three sets of findings:

For the full article please go here.

Top health stories of 2011 from CNN

(CNN) -- The most deadly recorded listeria outbreak and concerns about nuclear radiation after Japan's biggest earthquake made major health headlines this year, along with several notable deaths to cancer and the inspiring recovery of a Congresswoman who suffered brain injuries from a gunshot wound.

Here's a look back at some of the top stories of 2011, a year that marked major anniversaries in some of the world's most pernicious diseases -- HIV/AIDS and the "war" on cancer.

For the full article please go here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Secrets to a Super-Happy Winter from

By Leslie Barrie

Freezing temps? Check. Gray skies? Check. Crabby mood? Check again. But not for long! It may be gloomy outside, but your outlook doesn’t have to be.

"There are simple things you can do to stay positive," says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of The How of Happiness. "It’s important to keep your mood up because it can help you avoid everything from gaining extra pounds to feeling lethargic." Try these techniques to stay sunny all winter long—no trip to the Bahamas required!

For the full article please go here.

MRI Scans Better For Suspected Heart Disease Patients from Medical News Today

In recent years, imaging techniques such as the most commonly used single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), have gradually replaced exercise treadmill tests for diagnosing heart disease. Now a five-year trial of over 750 heart disease patients conducted by the University of Leeds in the UK suggests that a more modern scanning method based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is better for diagnosing coronary heart disease than SPECT and should be more widely adopted.

The findings could change the way patients with suspected heart disease are tested, not least because the MRI approach, called multiparametric cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), does not involve invasive procedures or ionizing radiation.

In a paper published online on 23 December in The Lancet, lead author Dr John Greenwood, senior lecturer and consultant cardiologist at Leeds, and colleagues, conclude that CMR is superior to SPECT, which varies in accuracy and exposes patients to ionizing radiation. They conclude that CMR should form part of all evidence-based clinical management guidelines for the diagnosis of coronary heart disease (CHD).

For the full article please go here.

Tests for biomarker may diagnose heart attack within hours from CNN

One of the most common reasons people go to the emergency room is for serious chest pains. Time is crucial when someone is having a heart attack. If doctors don't make a diagnosis quickly, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Now, there may be a new tool to help ER doctors make a quicker diagnosis. A new highly sensitive test can detect troponin, a protein in the muscle tissue, according to new research in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). According to cardiologists, the higher the levels of troponin, the more likely it is a person will have a heart attack. If tropin isn't present, the likelihood of a heart attack is much smaller.

Researchers say this new test could also help physicians monitor patients who present with chest pains but no heart attack symptoms in the hours after being admitted to the hospital.

"Early identification of individuals at high and intermediate risk for myocardial ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle) is crucial because they benefit the most from early and aggressive treatment," said the study's authors.

For the full article please go here.

What Makes Anesthetics Work from Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Dec. 22, 2011) — Physicians use inhalation anesthetics in a way that is incredibly safe for patients, but very little is known about the intricacies of how these drugs actually work in children and adults. Now, researchers have uncovered what cells respond to anesthesia in an organism known as the C. elegans, according to a new study from the Seattle Children's Research Institute. C. elegans is a transparent roundworm used often in research. The study, "Optical reversal of halothane-induced immobility in C. elegans," is published in the December 20, 2011 issue of Current Biology.

For the full article please go here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Goldilocks Principle of Stress: Too Little Is Almost As Bad as Too Much

A life free of stress and adversity sounds blissful. But, in fact, the happiest and healthiest people are those who have had at least some early exposure to negative experiences, according to a new research review.

Despite the popular notion, stress isn’t all bad. In fact, low to moderate amounts of stress are necessary for healthy growth. What’s harmful is large doses of uncontrollable stress — experiencing a natural disaster, for instance, or living in extreme poverty — particularly in early life. Also harmful, it turns out, is having experienced no stress at all.

The new review adds weight to a growing body of evidence that most brain systems function like muscles: they are strengthened through exposure to gradually increasing loads at the appropriate stages of development, but they will wither without exercise and get injured if they are suddenly overloaded without prior training. The stress system is a prime example.

For the full article please go here.

Nurse's Path to Stress Prevention: Straight Talk, Simple Tips from Nurse Together

Deadlines. The daily commute. Work is stressful as it is. But for healthcare professionals, the word 'stress' takes on a whole new meaning. On top of the everyday demands of your job, the profound responsibility of caring for your patients coupled with managing the needs of their loved ones, can take its toll on your mental and physical well-being. Over time, day-to-day stress factors can add up, leaving you feeling anxious, fatigued and overwhelmed. Understanding how stress works is the first step toward regaining control and ensuring a positive work environment.

Stress: What Causes It?

Stress is a normal biological reaction to events or situations that happen every day. Linked to the natural “fight or flight” response that occurs when your body perceives danger, stressful situations trigger the release of certain hormones that increase your heart rate, heighten awareness and cause a temporary surge of energy.

For the full article please go here.

The 6 Best Foods for Winter from Yahoo News

It’s the first snow of the season, and it’s so heavy and wet that it clogs your snowblower. You have two choices. Option 1: Shove your arm between the augers and remove the blockage. The downside: You’ll lose your arm in the process, and having it reattached will probably bankrupt you. Option 2: Turn off the machine, grab a broom stick, and chip at the blockage until it crumbles.

You might be thinking, “What kind of lunatic would choose option 1?” Well, lunatics like the American people. The U.S. spends more than $2 trillion on health care each year, with much of that cash going toward the treatment of obesity-related complications like heart disease and diabetes. We’re fixing our health problems retroactively, with medication and surgery, even though we could prevent most of them by making smarter choices about what we eat.

There’s no better time to put this notion to the test than the winter months. Winter is not necessarily conducive to good health; the season conjures up images of calorie-loaded comfort foods, fireside naps, and runny noses. Read on for six everyday foods that will keep you healthy and strong from December to March and beyond, compliments of the all-new Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide, which includes thousands of smart swaps that can help you shave 20 pounds or more in just 6 weeks.

For the full article please go here.

Medicare: Who Said That? From Kaiser Health News

In the past year, Medicare politics and policies have grabbed headlines, with politicians from both sides of the aisle talking about “saving Medicare,” “protecting beneficiaries,” “improving quality of care,” and “curbing fraud and abuse.” But a longer look at the program’s history shows that many of these ideas have been a part of the Medicare discourse since its earliest days, beginning even before the program was signed into law.

To test your knowledge of who has said what about Medicare, Kaiser Health News gathered the following 15 quotations. For each quote, you will have multiple-choice answers and, when you are done, you can check your work against a detailed answer key. Good luck!

For the full article please go here.

New powerful painkiller has abuse experts worried from MSNBC

NEW YORK — Drug companies are working to develop a pure, more powerful version of a highly abused medicine, which has addiction experts worried that it could spur a new wave of abuse.

The new pills contain the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone, packing up to 10 times the amount of the drug as existing medications such as Vicodin. Four companies have begun patient testing, and one of them — Zogenix of San Diego — plans to apply early next year to begin marketing its product, Zohydro.

If approved, it would mark the first time patients could legally buy pure hydrocodone. Existing products combine the drug with nonaddictive painkillers such as acetaminophen.

Critics say they are especially worried about Zohydro, a timed-release drug meant for managing moderate to severe pain, because abusers could crush it to release an intense, immediate high.

"I have a big concern that this could be the next OxyContin," said April Rovero, president of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse. "We just don't need this on the market."

For the full article please go here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Critical Need for Continuing Education from Nurse Together

In writing my book and preparing educational courses for nurses, I have devoted much study to critical thinking and its application to nursing. While critical thinking is a very large subject with many parts, one component stands out in our world of evolving technology, mass communication and frequent research updates; accurate information.

In our initial training, we were exposed to the most up-to-date information available. This was the frequently cited reason for always having to purchase the newest edition of text books. We dutifully studied and were tested on information that would allow us to practice state of the art nursing. Later, we were tested on this same information to earn our license. After all of this training and testing, we were set free to be nurses. Having graduated from my nurses training in 1973, there was no continuing education requirement for my state at that time.

For the full article please go here.

Berwick: How Health Care Can Trim a Trillion in Costs from H and HN

During recently departed Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick's return to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's National Forum in Orlando earlier this month, I saw him speak twice — once during a keynote address for all Forum attendees, and during a small press briefing.

During both appearances, Berwick hammered home the pressure the health care industry faces to curb health care spending — and how those ends can be accomplished in tandem with improvements to quality. To be sure, Berwick isn't the first health care expert to link reduced costs with quality improvements, but he believes the system, using principles of the Lean and quality improvement movements, could stand to trim a staggering $1 trillion — or what he estimates as roughly a third of overall U.S. health costs.

For the full article please go here.

What Will 2012 Bring? from H and HN

As we head into the holiday break, the editors and staff at H&HN Daily would like to say "Thanks." We launched Daily back in February and since then our subscriber base as continued to grow and the feedback from you, the readers, has been tremendous. Daily has become an integral part of the H&HN brand. We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and we have some exciting things planned for 2012:

On Jan. 4, we'll introduce a new monthly column, "ICD-10 In Real Time." In partnership with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, three leading CIOs will share their experiences of getting their institutions ready for the mammoth transition to ICD-10. The column will appear on the first Wednesday of every month.
Our series on cost containment strategies — Fiscal Fitness — will continue to build. Podcasts and blogs will provide in-depth analysis on how hospitals are taking inefficiencies out of the system.
There will be even more integration between H&HNDaily and the print magazine. For instance, web-extra podcasts with people profiled in the magazine's Interview and Extra Mile departments.

For the full article please go here.

Improving Cancer Care Via Patient Empowerment And System Transformation from Medical News Today

Physicians can use medical records to track the quality of cancer care and determine whether their patients are receiving the right treatments at the right time. Yet the patient is the only one who ultimately can evaluate the quality of his or her experience while receiving treatment.

In "Quality Measurement and System Change of Cancer Care Delivery," published in the Regenstrief Conference supplement to the December 2011 issue of the journal Medical Care, investigators from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine explore current cancer care quality measurement and discuss new ways to empower patients and promote system transformation to improve quality of care.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease in the United States. However, the federal government and health care quality organizations have fewer reporting requirements for quality of cancer care than for treatment of many other diseases.

For the full article please go here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Readied To Donate Organs, 21-Year-Old Emerges From Coma from Yahoo

Sam Schmid, an Arizona college student believed to be brain dead and poised to be an organ donor, miraculously recovered just hours before doctors were considering taking him off life support.

Schmid, a junior and business major at the University of Arizona, was critically wounded in an Oct. 19 car accident in Tucson, which took the life of his friend and roommate.

The 21-year-old's brain injuries were so severe that the local hospital could not treat him. He was airlifted to the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Phoenix, where specialists performed surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm.

As hospital officials began palliative care and broached the subject of organ donation with his family, Schmid began to respond, holding up two fingers on command. Today he is walking with the aid of a walker, and his speech, although slow, has improved.

Doctors say he will likely have a complete recovery. He even hopes to get a day pass from the hospital to celebrate the holidays with his large extended family.

"Nobody could ever give me a better Christmas present than this -- ever, ever, ever," said his mother, Susan Regan, who is vice-president of the insurance company Lovitt-Touche.

For the full article please go here.

Wal-Mart Pulls Formula After Baby's Death from National Public Radio

Wal-Mart has pulled a batch of powdered infant formula from its stores nationwide after a newborn Missouri boy who was given the formula became gravely ill with a suspected bacterial infection and died after being taken off life support, the retailer said Wednesday.

No government recall had been ordered for the 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn powder with the lot number ZP1K7G. Manufacturer Mead Johnson Nutrition said its records showed the lot tested negative for the bacterium before it was shipped.

But Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee said the company decided to pull the lot "out of an abundance of caution" while health officials investigate Sunday's death of 10-day-old Avery Cornett. The product could go back on shelves depending on the outcome of the investigation, but customers who bought the cans have the option of returning them for a refund or exchange, Gee said.

For the full article please go here.

Encouraging Loved One To Lose Weight Could Be Best Gift This Christmas from Medical News Today

Encouraging an overweight partner or close friend to shed some pounds could be your best gift to them this Christmas. Yet a recent UK poll finds that while most people worry that an excessive waistline might be affecting their loved one's health, a considerable number shy away from raising the matter with them.

The International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk (ICCR), an academic organization based at Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada, commissioned the poll to highlight the risk of being overweight, particularly around the waist.

Carrying too much fat around the waist raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, coronorary heart disease, and stroke.

For the full article please go here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter holidays are peak time for heart attacks from USA Today

It's the grimmest of holiday statistics: Heart-attack deaths peak on three days of the year, and one of them is Christmas. The other two are the day after Christmas and New Year's Day.

Salt and alcohol can raise blood pressure, fatty foods can boost cholesterol and even one rich meal can adversely affect blood vessels.

Salt and alcohol can raise blood pressure, fatty foods can boost cholesterol and even one rich meal can adversely affect blood vessels.

Talk about your lump of coal.

And it gets worse. The holiday peak is just part of a larger, well-established pattern: More people die of heart attacks in winter than at any other time of year. In other words: It's truly the season to know your risks — and reduce them, if you can. But first, it may help to ponder why these days are so deadly.

For the full article please go here.

Do you really want to know what your doc is writing about you? from MSNBC

By Kimberly Hayes Taylor

Have you ever been tempted to sneak a peek at those notes your doctor is scribbling about you? If you have, you’re like most patients, new Harvard research shows.

But chances are, your doctor would rather you keep your nose out of his notes. A poll of 100 primary care doctors nationwide conducted by Truth On Call for found that 68 percent of physicians have written something in a patient's chart they wouldn't want that person to see.

For the full article please go here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bombast, Negativity … and Yet … from H and HN

If I had to sum up 2011 in one word, that word would be "peeved." You can probably think of more colorful words but, for this space, that'll do.

From all those folks on the other side of the globe who got so fed up with the bullying and the oppression and generally being treated like crap that they finally chased the despots out of their gilded fortresses to the Tea Partyers and Occupy Wall Streeters here at home who want to throw our own bums out but can't agree on which of those bums ought to be first down the gangplank, 2011 has been a banner year for aggravation, exasperation and just plain bad moods.

I don't know about you, but it hasn't been 365 days of unadulterated bliss for me either. My buying power isn't all that powerful and my life savings ought to be put on life support. Not only that, but my Chicago Cubs — well, let's not even go there, OK?

For the full article please go here.

Are Antibiotics Making Us Fat? from Yahoo News

Farmers have long used antibiotics to fatten up livestock—and now there’s growing evidence that these drugs may have the same effect on people. What’s more, instead of being miracle cures, there’s now scary speculation that antibiotics could be jeopardizing our health by making us more prone to lifestyle diseases, from type 2 diabetes to heart attacks and fatal strokes. If that sounds far-fetched, consider this: States with the highest rates of antibiotic prescriptions also rank as the least healthy, Wired magazine reported on November 25.

When the nonprofit research group Extending the Cure recently mapped antibiotic prescriptions by state, it found the heaviest use (measured per 1,000 people) in the eastern half of the US, particularly West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama, all of which comprise the so-called Stroke Belt, due to the high rate of stroke fatalities. According to CDC data, Wired adds, these states (and to a lesser extent, much of the eastern US) also have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart attacks, compared to the western US. While these correlations don’t prove that antibiotic overuse triggers these diseases, studies suggest that it could drive up obesity by changing how our stomachs work. Here’s a look at the findings.

For the full article please go here.

What was I just saying? 9 reasons you can't focus from MSNBC

You walk into a restaurant to meet a friend and remember you were supposed to meet somewhere else. You leave your boss's office and, quick as that, forget the deadline she gave you for a new project. You had your keys in your hand, you were just holding them, and now they're gone — again. What's going on? Here, nine possibilities for why your mind is wandering, and expert advice on how to get your concentration back.

For the full article please go here.

Two dead in Louisiana after unclean water used in neti pots from CNN

Louisiana health officials are warning residents not to use nonsterilized tap water in neti pots after the deaths of two people who exposed their brains to a deadly amoeba while flushing out their nasal passages.

The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, can be found in lakes and ponds as well as in contaminated lukewarm tap water. The organism doesn't pose a threat when ingested, but if it becomes lodged in a person's nose it can end up in the brain and cause an infection.

The infection, lethal in 95% of cases, triggers an array of symptoms that resemble those of bacterial meningitis, including vomiting, headaches and sleepiness. As it progresses, it can cause changes in a person’s behavior and lead to confusion and hallucinations. It usually causes death within one to 12 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the full article please go here.

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs May Reduce Mortality for Influenza Patients from Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2011) — Statins, traditionally known as cholesterol-lowering drugs, may reduce mortality among patients hospitalized with influenza, according to a new study released online by The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

It is the first published observational study to evaluate the relationship between statin use and mortality in hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection, according to Vanderbilt's William Schaffner, M.D., professor and chair of Preventive Medicine.

"We may be able to combine statins with antiviral drugs to provide better treatment for patients seriously ill with influenza," said Schaffner, who co-authored the study led by Meredith Vandermeer, MPH, of the Oregon Public Health Division.

For the full article please go here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top 10 medical innovations of 2011 from Time Magazine.

It's not quite human cloning, but it's close. Researchers reported using a variation of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) — the same technique that created Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned, from a skin cell of a ewe — on human cells. SCNT involves replacing the genetic material of an egg cell with the DNA from a mature cell (a skin cell, for example). The egg is then stimulated to divide, and if it develops fully, produces a genetically identical clone of the animal from which the mature cell was taken.

For the full article please go here.

Ohio first state to use Direct messaging across state lines from

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio is the first state in the nation to successfully send and receive health information across state lines, using Direct secure messaging, through its statewide health information exchange, CliniSync, according to the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP). The OHIP, a Medicity client, is the state-designated HIE for Ohio.

Medicity announced Friday that it has helped OHIP to conduct live messages between one physician's office in Lima, Ohio and another in Biloxi, Miss. Mississippi's state-designated HIE, the Mississippi Health Information Network (MS-HIN), is also a Medicity client. The partnership also performed live instances of Direct messaging within the state of Ohio.

For the full article please go here.

Get Fit: 10 Ways to Get Your Fitness Game Plan Going for the New Year (Or Anytime)! From Huffington Post

Are you thinking about it yet? You probably will be soon... once all the eggnog wears off and your holiday hangover starts to give you pangs of guilt.

But fear not. Here are 20 ways to get you started up or back on track to a healthier, fitter lifestyle. Take two Alka-Seltzers and read on:

For the full article please go here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Get Headaches? Smart Ways to Deal from

By Winnie Yu Scherer

Sometimes you know exactly what's causing that pounding in your skull. Other times, you're blindsided. Headaches—whether debilitating migraines or less-painful-but-still-annoying tension headaches—are often set off or made worse by a key trigger, says Brian Grosberg, MD, director of the Inpatient Headache Program at Montefiore Headache Center in New York City.

Here, the seven most common pain provokers, and how to head off the hurt. (See your doctor if these DIY fixes don't do the trick; for those plagued by headaches, prescription meds may help.)

For the full article please go here.

Experimental Magnetic Pulses May Help Heal A Brain After Stroke from NPR

A little brain stimulation seems to speed up recovery from a stroke.

This isn't the sort of brain stimulation you get from conversation. It's done using an electromagnetic coil placed against the scalp.

Researchers think the treatment encourages brain cells to form new connections, allowing the brain to rewire itself to compensate for damage caused by a stroke.

The latest evidence that stimulation works comes from Italy, where researchers treated patients with a condition called hemispatial neglect. It's a common problem in stroke patients that leaves them unable to see or recognize anything on one side of their body, even though their eyes work just fine.

For the full article please go here.

In Third-Degree Burn Treatment, Hydrogel Helps Grow New, Scar-Free Skin from Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Dec. 13, 2011) — Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a jelly-like material and wound treatment method that, in early experiments on skin damaged by severe burns, appeared to regenerate healthy, scar-free tissue.

In the Dec. 12-16 online Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers reported their promising results from mouse tissue tests. The new treatment has not yet been tested on human patients. But the researchers say the procedure, which promotes the formation of new blood vessels and skin, including hair follicles, could lead to greatly improved healing for injured soldiers, home fire victims and other people with third-degree burns.

For the full article please go here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Stress: 6 Ways To Deal With Difficult Family Members During The Holidays from Huffington Post

George Burns once said: "Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city." So that would explain why the holidays are so stressful. Those dear relatives who live in San Francisco suddenly are lingering in front of your refrigerator in Cincinnati, Ohio and you have to figure out a socially acceptable way of setting the table together, resisting the urge to re-expose the childhood wounds that you've learned to protect.

Here are a few tips I use in interacting with those family members who tend to wake my grumpy inner child, triggering an ugly tantrum right about the time Santa shows up with his loot.

1. Repeat: It's Not About Me

You think it's about you when your brother calls you a "selfish, lazy, son of a something," but actually it's not. He may point his finger at you and say, "You. I'm talking about you." But he's really not. He is seeing something that has nothing to do with who you are.

For the full article please go here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Try alternative remedies if heartburn hits during holidays from USAtoday

If you have GERD — a common condition that causes symptoms from acid indigestion to chest pain severe enough to be mistaken for heart attack — you've probably tried conventional treatments, such as over-the-counter or prescription acid-reducing medications.

But you may not know about alternative treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Here are three options. Santa spoiler alert: One treatment will have you stepping away from the holiday cookies.

•Take melatonin. Mention this natural hormone and most people think "sleep aid." But research reported in the April 2011 Journal of Pharmacology shows melatonin reduces stomach acid but doesn't block it, as many GERD medicines do, notes Mark Stengler, a naturopathic medical doctor and author of books on integrative medicine. That matters because "you need stomach acid for normal digestion" and "to prevent bad bacteria," he explains. For his adult GERD patients, Stengler prescribes 3 to 6 milligrams of melatonin daily at bedtime; it is not recommended for children and pregnant women.

For the full article please go here.

Cancer Vaccine Significantly Reduces Tumor Size from Medical News Today

An experimental cancer vaccine has been found to reduce tumor size by an average of 80%, researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Georgia reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In their animal experiment, mouse models that mimic most human pancreatic and breast cancer cases had dramatic reductions in tumor size - even among those that had not responded to standard treatments.

Tumors that share the same distinct carbohydrate signature may be especially treatable with this new vaccine, say the authors. This includes various cancers such as colorectal, ovarian, breast, pancreatic and some others.

Co-senior author Geert-Jan Boons, wrote:

For the full article please go here.

Researchers Design Alzheimer’s Antibodies: Surprisingly Simple Method to Target Harmful Proteins from Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2011) — Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to design antibodies aimed at combating disease. The surprisingly simple process was used to make antibodies that neutralize the harmful protein particles that lead to Alzheimer's disease.

The process, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could be used as a tool to understand complex disease pathology and develop new antibody-based drugs in the future.

For the full article please go here.

Big providers compare notes on product usage from

ST. LOUIS, MO – The Healthcare Transformation Group (HTG), a collaborative of Geisinger Health System, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic and Mercy, is seeking to spur efficiency and safety by performing data analysis to determine specific product lines the group has in common.

Earlier this year, the HTG hosted a summit with its top 20 suppliers to discuss how to move the healthcare industry forward with GS1 Standards adoption. Each supplier shared their plans and timeline toward adoption, and asked what product lines or manufacturing divisions they should focus on first in the adoption of standards in healthcare. 

For the full article please go here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Health Care System Tailor-Made For Patients from H and H Networks

Incorporating patient perspectives into the design of health care delivery was one of the major themes of the recently concluded Institute for Healthcare Improvement 2011 National Forum in Orlando. The meeting marked the first time patients were on the IHI faculty, and session after session featured patients and advocates describing their firsthand experiences to an audience of hospital administrators and clinicians.

Of course, excellent patient care has always been the desired end result in health care — the hard part is delivering on that promise, and an emerging school of thought suggests that listening to patients is an essential part of achieving excellent outcomes. During a press briefing at IHI, Gary Kaplan, M.D., chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, noted that his system puts patients at the top of its care "pyramid," and emphasizes listening to their stories as one way of meeting that goal.

"We asked [patients], how did it feel lying on stretcher outside the operating room?" Kaplan said.

For the full article please go here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stress Early in Pregnancy Linked to Fewer Baby Boys via Yahoo News

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A stressful early pregnancy could lower a woman's odds for delivering a boy and raise her risk for premature delivery, a new study suggests.

The findings from an investigation of how the stress of a major 2005 earthquake affected pregnant women in Chile suggest that pregnancy can be impacted by exposure to stress itself rather than the factors that often accompany or cause stress, such as poverty, the researchers said.

The investigators analyzed the birth certificates of all the babies born in Chile between 2004 and 2006, which was more than 200,000 per year. The birth records provided information about the babies and their mothers, including how close the mothers lived to the epicenter of the magnitude 7.9 earthquake.

Reporting in the Dec. 8 issue of Human Reproduction, the study authors found that exposure to the earthquake during the third month of pregnancy reduced the ratio of male to female births.

For the full article please go here.

How 10 million dollars can spark Health Care innovations from CNN

Dr. Peter Diamandis wants you to be the CEO of your own health care.

You should be able to make decisions based on technology that analyzes your body and gives you personalized feedback and treatment recommendations, he says. And Diamandis wants to speed the development of that technology along by offering prizes for the people who can make it happen.

Diamandis is the founder and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, which offers $10 million prizes for various technological feats.

In October, he announced the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco, which is a challenge to sequence 100 genomes of centenarians quickly, cheaply and accurately.

Such sequencing is getting more accurate and inexpensive all the time. And data collected from sequencing specific groups of people – those who have had specific diseases, for instance – will help scientists gain a better understanding of those conditions and how to treat them.

For the full article please go here.

Access to the Power of Vaccines from Huffington Post

Several major announcements have been made in recent weeks about the expansion of vaccine access to the world's poor. This progress and the "Power of Vaccines" are the subject of a high level discussion today in Washington convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), featuring USAID Administrator Raj Shah and speakers from NIH, CDC, the GAVI Alliance and Johns Hopkins University.

From rolling out the first diarrhea vaccines in Africa, to doubling the number of low-income countries approved for vaccines against pneumonia, to announcing they will now assist countries introduce vaccines for that prevent cervical cancer, the GAVI Alliance and its partners are tearing down the barriers to vaccine access that have historically divided rich from poor on our planet.

To appreciate how far we've come you need to remember where we started. Consider the situation with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) in 2003. At that time, developing country access to these vaccines seemed almost unthinkable. The vaccine had only been routinely used in the U.S. for three years, and the manufacturer was struggling to supply American children who paid top dollar prices. Access to affordable supplies of this vaccine was out of the question. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) had not yet recommended the vaccine for use and most developing countries had little appreciation for the burden of pneumococcal disease in their countries. Finally, our track record in vaccine access was generally lame, with 15 years or more passing before poor countries accessed the same vaccines as richer ones.

For the full article please go here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 Offers Free Job Postings for Nurse Educators from Nursing Together

With its goal of empowering the nursing community, is now opening its job board to nursing educational institutions and organizations’ “Nurse Educator” needs for FREE.

The critical lack of nurse educators today has affected the nursing profession in its ability to train enough candidates and post-graduates to ease the nursing shortage., being one of the fastest-growing free online communities for nursing professionals, wants to give back by allowing nursing institutions to post nursing educator jobs at no charge.

“As continues to support educational clients, I wanted to make sure we give back and offer support not only to organizations hiring nurse educators, but to also offer a valuable resource for those searching for nurse educator positions,” said Jenny SolCruz, Vice President of Community for “It is a part of our ongoing commitment in supporting the advancement of nurses.”

For the full article please go here.

NIH panel urges research on treating early prostate cancer from USA Today

The treatment may be worse than the disease itself in a growing percentage of men diagnosed with prostate cancer, so there is an "urgent need" for more research into the role of delaying treatment or avoiding it altogether, a panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health concluded Wednesday.

Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in U.S. men. This year, more than 240,000 are expected to be diagnosed, and 33,000 are expected to die from it. Surgery or radiation can cure prostate cancer, but the treatments leave many men with erectile dysfunction and/or urinary incontinence.

Before PSA screening was introduced in 1987, most prostate cancers were detected at a more advanced stage. Men either had symptoms from advanced disease or their doctor felt a growth in the gland during a rectal exam.

For the full article please go here.

Studies: New drug combinations slow down metastatic breast cancers From CNN

(CNN) -- A new combination of treatments can help battle some forms of metastatic breast cancer and slow down the spread of the disease, according to two separate studies.

The new studies show that the combinations of treatments significantly overcome or reduce drug resistance in the metastatic phase. That phase is when the cancer has spread beyond the breasts and lymph nodes, doctors said.

Results from the two clinical trials also revealed combining two targeted therapies can slow the progression of the cancer. Scientists presented the research at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on Wednesday in Texas.

About 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer a year, according to Dr. Ben Ho Park, an associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"These two studies address about 80% of breast cancers in the metastatic setting," said Park, who is not involved in the trials.

For the full article please go here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Check us out on Youtube!

Whining wanted: Project tracks flu one sneeze at a time from MSNBC

By JoNel Aleccia

Getting the flu may be miserable, but if there’s any comfort, it’s in the perverse pleasure of cataloging symptoms. The sneezing, the coughing, the aches and the chills. The sudden high fever. The terrible sore throat.

Usually, finding anyone to listen -- except for spouses bound by duty and a shared mortgage -- is a tough task.

But not this year.

Thanks to a just-launched effort that aims to track the spread of influenza in real time, flu sufferers now have a place where they can whine to their hearts’ content, all the while contributing to the public good.

For the full article please go here.

Leapfrog Group names top hospitals for 2011

WASHINGTON – Sixty-five hospitals have earned The Leapfrog Group's annual "Top Hospital" designation, equaling 2010's record-setting total. The designation, which Leapfrog bills as the most competitive national hospital quality award in the country, recognizes quality of care.

Quality measures, which hinge on the use of healthcare information technology, include preventing medical errors, reducing mortality for high-risk procedures like heart bypass surgery, and reducing hospital readmissions for patients being treated for conditions like pneumonia and heart attack.
[See also: Research aims to boost follow-up care with IT]

Officials tout the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, now in its 11th year, as the toughest standard-bearer, providing the most complete picture of a hospital's quality and safety.

The survey focuses on three critical areas of hospital care:

how patients fare,
resources used to care for patients, and
management practices that promote safety and quality.

For the full article please go here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Protect Yourself From Food Poisoning from

Recent headlines about contaminated foods, from peanut butter and salad to turkey and eggs, are enough to make even the most intrepid eater a little bit paranoid. But before you commit to a life of vitamins and astronaut ice cream, take comfort in the fact that you’ll likely be OK eating as you always have: "We have a very safe food system," says Shelley Feist, executive director of the Partner-ship for Food Safety Education. There are only three foods so risky that you should avoid them altogether. Here’s the red-light list:

For the full article please go here.

What Every Baby Boomer Should Know About Medicare from Kaiser Health News

Throughout Robert Joseph's career, the Alvin, Texas, electrician always understood his health insurance policies. "I've never had a problem," Joseph says, "until I tried to sign up for Medicare."

The chief reason: Joseph didn't sign up when he turned 65. He was still working, receiving health insurance from his employer. And when his company went bankrupt at the end of 2009 -- Joseph was then 67 -- he received 18 months of severance pay.

"On my last day of work, I went to the Social Security office, asking for some guidance," recalls Joseph. He never spoke to an expert; instead, he says, he was handed a couple of forms to complete. He researched his Medicare handbook, which noted that "current" employees didn't need to apply for Medicare. Since he continued to get monthly severance checks that deducted Medicare taxes and he was allowed to continue buying health insurance through the same carrier for the 18 months, he thought he could wait to join Medicare. He was wrong.

For the full article please go here.

ADHD - Four Genes Linked To The Disorder from Medical News Today

Four gene variants, all members of the glutamate receptor gene family, appear to be involved in vital brain signaling pathways in a sub-set of children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), researchers from the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia reported in the journal Nature Genetics. The authors add that their findings could help create drugs that target those pathways, offering potential therapies for ADHD patients with those specific gene variants. There are an estimated half-a-million American children with ADHD and these gene variants.

Study leader Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., said:

For the full article please go here.

Substance in Cancer Medicine Could Prevent Heart Attacks, Preliminary Research Suggests from Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Nov. 23, 2011) — A substance in medicines for cancer and epilepsy could also prevent heart attacks, according to researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who have been using it to stimulate the body's own defense system against blood clots.

Heart attacks are normally caused by the formation of a blood clot in one of the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. The clot reduces the supply of oxygen, which can very quickly result in irreparable damage to the heart.

For the full article please go here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dr. Oz and Friends Bust Common Health Myths From Dr. Oz via Yahoo News

The information has been passed on through the generations – but is it accurate? A panel of experts and MDs speak up on the common myths that affect your health.

A panel of doctors and health experts blow the lid off the information and beliefs you swear by. While the truth may surprise you, you'll be more fully equipped to take better care of yourself.

For the full article please go here.

6 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore from Men's Health via Yahoo Health

One of Men’s Health’s top experts, T.E. Holt, M.D., a physician in North Carolina, tells this story about one of his patients:

A man came in, dragged by his daughter because, she explained, he had been steadily losing weight and was covered in big lumps. The lumps had been growing for 2 years, maybe more, she said.

I had no doubt, from the moment I saw him, that this man was dying. He had lumps as big as my fist on his forehead and his back, and as I came closer and moved around him, more came into view. When I pressed deeply into his belly, I felt a solid rock where there should have been yielding space.

It was metastatic sarcoma, a rare cancer of the connective tissue. Four months later, the man was dead.

When it comes to their health, says Dr. Holt, guys are notorious for doing too little, too late. As men, we’re told to play through the pain, tough it out, shake it off, and suck it up. There are a dozen other variations of the same message, and they’re all code for: Ignore your symptoms.

And why not? What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

Here’s the problem: Things kill us all the time. Even when we're young. In fact, guys between the ages of 20 and 40 are twice as likely to die as women, says Dr. Holt.

Most of us, I'd hope, would call a doctor if we were struck by blinding head pain, suddenly couldn't feel one side of our body, or, frankly, noticed fist-size bumps emerging from our foreheads. But some symptoms aren't so obviously dire. We asked writer Allen St. John to put together a list of surprising symptoms you should never ignore. Why? Because your life may literally be hanging in the balance. Call your doctor immediately if you feel . . .

For the full article please go here.

Can positive thinking make you well? From CNN

Editor's note: Deepak Chopra is a mind-body expert who specializes in integrating the healing arts of the East with the best in modern Western medicine. Learn more at

(CNN) -- Observers may have noticed recently that mainstream medicine is taking a harder line against positive thinking.

Surveys of the leading research in the field conclude that recovery rates from cancer, for example, are not higher among patients who take a positive attitude about fighting their disease. Studies that show the reverse have been small and, according to their critics, flawed in serious ways.

Anyone would be forgiven for throwing up their hands. This seems like another example of dueling data, where one study's findings are contradicted by the next study, leaving the public in a state of confusion.

Doctors are confused, too. It has always been part of a doctor's kit bag to tell patients to keep their spirits up. Until a few decades ago, it was standard not to acquaint a dying patient with the gravity of his condition, which implies an unspoken agreement that hearing bad news isn't good for patients.

For the full article please go here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

U.S. medical 'trash' saving lives abroad from CNN

(CNN) -- Doctors will often prepare for surgical procedures by opening instrument and supply kits that contain up to 100 items.

Many of these items, such as scalpels, needles or sponges, go unused; they're just not needed for that particular procedure. But because of government or hospital regulations in the United States, they are frequently thrown away, even when they are still wrapped.

"There are thousands of tons of medical supplies thrown away every day that are unused or clearly reusable," said Dr. Bruce Charash, a cardiologist in New York.

Fortunately, some nonprofit organizations, including Charash's Doc2Dock group, are finding ways to salvage these items and get them to people who need them desperately around the world.

For the full article please go here.

Lower Antioxidant Level Might Explain Higher Skin-Cancer Rate in Males from ScienceDaily

ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2011) — Men are three times more likely than women to develop a common form of skin cancer but medical science doesn't know why. A new study may provide part of the answer.

Researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC -- James) have found that male mice had lower levels of an important skin antioxidant than female mice and higher levels of certain cancer-linked inflammatory cells.

The antioxidant, a protein called catalase, inhibits skin cancer by mopping up hydrogen peroxide and other DNA-damaging reactive-oxygen compounds that form during exposure to ultraviolet B light (UVB), a common source of sunburn and cancer-causing skin damage. Studies by others have linked low catalase activity to skin cancer progression.

For the full article please go here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

6 Lies You Shouldn't Tell Your Doctor. from Yahoo News

By Jeanette Moninger

There isn't a lot your body can hide in one of those crinkly numbers. Maybe that's why so many women refuse to reveal much else at doctor visits. About a third of men and women in the United States admit to lying to their M.D.'s, according to a 2010 survey. But keeping secrets can be dangerous, especially if the information you're withholding leads to a wrong diagnosis. Besides, "a doctor's job is to advocate for your health, not judge," say Gary Fischer, M.D., a general internist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Here's why it's time to tell the whole truth -- and nothing but.

For the full article please go here.

Insight: Diabetes breakthrough stalled in safety debate from Rueters

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO | Thu Dec 1, 2011 8:33am EST

(Reuters) - It's a dream of medical science that looks tantalizingly within reach: the artificial pancreas, a potential breakthrough treatment for the scourge of type 1 diabetes.

Meant to mimic the function of a real pancreas, the artificial version is a complex device that combines a pager-sized continuous glucose monitor and sensor that tracks blood sugar with a pump that automatically delivers the correct dose of insulin at just the right time.

That technology could make a major difference to the three million Americans with the disease who must vigilantly monitor their blood sugar, even at night, and risk deadly consequences if they are slow to notice a dangerous change.

But it is caught up in America's long-running tug of war between supporters of more rapid medical innovation and those who seek better safety for new devices. A fresh confrontation is about to break open this week as the Food and Drug Administration lays out a path toward regulatory approval for such devices, expected as early as Thursday.

For the full article please go here.

Recent Facebook Litigation

Michael J. Sacopulos, Esq.

There have been several recent cases involving Facebook that have been released. These cases continue to show how social media has permeated our society. They also show a darker side of social media. Although not directly related to the health care world, I think that they provide some useful lessons. But first the cases…

Several weeks ago a Connecticut judge ordered a couple in the midst of a divorce an exchange of passwords for Facebook and dating websites. The husband’s lawyer argued, that postings by the wife, were evidence of her inability to take care of the couple’s children. The husband was arguing for full custody. The court agreed that this might produce irrelevant information in order for the wife to disclose Facebook and dating website passwords. The court agreed it might provide irrelevant information and ordered that the husband and wife exchange Facebook and dating website passwords. Finally the court went on to order that neither spouse may post messages pretending to be the other.

If you think that the Connecticut judge’s order for the parties to not post messages; reporting to be each other was unnecessary then hold on tight. In New Jersey, a woman was charged for creating a fake Facebook profile of her ex-boyfriend. As the ex-boyfriend is a narcotics detective, this woman posted such comments as “I am a sick piece of scum with a gun”. It gets worse. She posted in her ex-boyfriends name that he had herpes, frequented prostitutes, and was high all of the time. In New Jersey, a judge found that such behavior could constitute identity theft and the prosecution could go forward with her case against this woman.

For the full article please go here.

Gene Therapy Protects Mice Against HIV from Medical News Today

December 1st, World AIDS Day, and we find ourselves reflecting on how nearly 30 years after it first reared its ugly head, HIV is still newly infecting some two million adults a year, and despite millions of dollars and hours of research, the virus has proved elusive and slippery to vaccine developers. But an alternative path is starting to open up: gene therapy.

A new study published in Nature on Wednesday, describes how Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, a virologist and HIV researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, and colleagues, inserted a gene into the leg muscles of lab mice bred to be susceptible to human HIV, that caused them to make a broad range of antibodies that protected them against exposure to HIV.

This is still a long way from developing a gene therapy approach that works in humans, but it's a start. In fact it's more than a start because this has been done before, with monkeys. In 2009, researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, were the first to raise the possibility of gene therapy for preventing HIV when they showed it was effective in preventing transmission of the simian immunodeficiency virus, which is similar to HIV but infects monkeys.

For the full article please go here.

High levels of arsenic found in fruit juice from MSNBC

The apple and grape juice your kids are drinking may have arsenic at levels high enough to increase their risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, according to a new study by Consumer Reports.

A full 10 percent of the juices tested by the magazine had arsenic levels higher than what is allowed in water by the Food and Drug Administration.

“What we’re talking about here is not about acute affects,” Urvashi Rangan, senior scientist at Consumer Reports, told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “We’re talking about chronic effects. We’re talking about cancer risk. And so, the fact that 10 percent of our samples exceeded the drinking water standard underscores the need for a standard to be set in juices.”

The fear is that over time arsenic will accumulate in children’s bodies and raise their risk of cancer and other serious illnesses, Rangan explained.

For the full article please go here.

Government to pay $94M to build federal health insurance exchange from HealthIT

FAIRFAX, VA – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) tapped CGI Federal Inc. to build the government’s health insurance exchange, Federal Exchange (FX).

The contract has an estimated total value of $93.7 million over a two-year base with three, one-year option periods. The $55.7 million base contract has been awarded.

Under the contract, CGI will work with CCIIO to develop and implement the Federal Exchange in line with the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires the creation of a competitive health insurance marketplace for states and territories to help bring insurance coverage to 34 million additional Americans.

For the full article please go here.