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Showing posts from September, 2007

Milestone for EverythingHealth

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We bloggers love visits. I am amazed that Everythinghealth has had over 10,500 visits since I started tracking in about March! Readers come from all over the globe..Dubai, Ireland, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Canada, UK, China, Indonesia, Denmark, Mexico, Germany, France, Egypt, Italy, Thailand, India, Israel, Hungary, Philippines, and across the U.S. (So sorry if I left your country out.) I am just fascinated by the web and the instant and easy access to information, friends and knowledge.
Thank you for visiting and please return often.

Colorectal Cancer and Coronary Artery Disease

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A landmark study was released in Jama last week that showed a strong correlation between colon cancer and blockage in the coronary (heart) arteries. It is becoming known that colon cancer and Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) have the same environmental risk factors. Diabetes, smoking, hyperlipidemia, sedentary lifestyle, high-fat, low fiber diet and hypertension are significant health hazards world wide.

This study did colon cancer screening (colonoscopy) on over 600 patients. The three groups studied were:
General population (control group),
People with no CAD and
People who had Coronary Artery Disease.

The researchers found 34% of patients in the CAD positive group had colon cancer. In the age and sex matched general population, only 21% had a colorectal cancer. And only 18% of patients without CAD had a colon neoplasm.

This is a remarkable finding. Both colorectal cancer and CAD probably develop from chronic inflammation. Inflammation is now being recognized as an important cause…

Insurance Profit - Yes There is Blame

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Health Affairs had an analysis of why hospital bills are so high and said you could "Blame the Paperwork". Anyone in the health industry could have told you that! The amount of waste and expense in getting the bill paid by the insurance company could cover the uninsured in the U.S.

The study, funded by PNC Financial Services Group, contends that about one-third of all healthcare costs can be attributed to administration—an unacceptably high share, according to the 1,000 consumers who were surveyed along with 200 hospital and insurance company executives. Here is what they found:

Hospital executives reported that one in five claims submitted is delayed or denied and 96 percent of all claims must be submitted more than once. Hospitals that do not use electronic billing or claims submission processes reported resubmitting a claim 11 times or more, or nearly four times more than those hospitals using electronic …

Top 10 Prescribed Drugs

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Patients are always complaining that they take so many prescription drugs. Most drugs people take are not treatment but are preventing disease and early death. That's why they are taken chronically. (and are such a financial boon for the pharmaceutical industry). The top 10 drugs prescribed by Internists in 2006 are:

1. Lipitor (a statin for high cholesterol..now used for diabetes too)

2. Lisinopril (an Ace inhibitor for high blood pressure and diabetes and congestive heart failure)

3. Hydrocodone/APAP (a narcotic pain reliever..you know it as Vicodin)

4. Atenolol ( a beta blocker used for high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and migraine)

5. Hydrocholorothiazide (a diuretic mainly used for high blood pressure)

6. Levothyroxine (a thyroid replacement)

7. Furosemide (a diuretic called Lasix used for congestive heart failure)

8. Norvasc (a calcium channel blocker used for high blood pressure and angina)

9. Metformin (used for diabetes and polycystic ovary called glucophage)

10. T…

Gloves for Garbage Pickers

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The next time you feel like complaining because you have a crummy boss or benefits are being slashed...think about work conditions in Delhi. This eye opening glimpse of the life of "ragpickers" from the New York Times is enough to silence any whiner.

"More than 95 percent of New Delhi has no formal system of house-to-house garbage collection, so it falls to the city’s ragpickers, one of India’s poorest and most marginalized groups, to provide this basic service. They are not paid by the state, relying instead on donations from the communities they serve and on meager profits from the sale of discarded items. On Oct. 2, Gandhi’s birthday, the Delhi state government will make a small but significant concession. In response to pressure from a ragpickers’ union, it will supply about 6,000 with protective gloves, boots and aprons." They would prefer earning more than $38/month so they can feed and clothe their children.

Cigarette Additives

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It drives me crazy that tobacco farmers are subsidized by our government and that tobacco makers have targeted other countries to pick up the slack of decreased cigarette smoking in the United States.

The 2007 farm bill was passed in July and continues the 75 year tradition of tobacco subsidies. As the tobacco farmers line up for government handouts, the Wall Street Journal reports:

"Nationwide, the tobacco crop has been rebounding. Today there are 355,000 acres under cultivation — still down from the 408,000 acres in 2004, but on the rise. Some farmers reinvested their buyout cash in their tobacco operations. In big tobacco-producing states such as Kentucky, and in smaller ones like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, many tobacco farmers are enjoying renewed prosperity. Tobacco production in Pennsylvania has more than doubled since 2004. In Illinois, production has gone from practically none to at least 1,000 acres."

At the same time as our tax dollars are used for growing tobacco, s…

More Maasai Health

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Our Maasai visitors have left and we feel an emptiness in our home. They were so loving and warm and touch is a huge part of their culture. We really feel blessed to have experienced these wonderful, musical people from Kenya and we hope to visit them there when we can.

The Maasai's are a tribe of 350,000 found in Kenya and Tanzania. They are semi nomadic cattle herders and warriors who now live on the driest and least fertile areas because of less and less available land. Polygamous, the men can have as many wives as they can afford. Each wife has her own hut made of grass, mud and cattle dung and she and the children care for her own herds of cattle.

Girls are circumcised at about age 13 and married at puberty to an older male. Young men are circumcised in a ceremonial ritual at age 18 and they reenter society as men. They are not eligible for marriage, however, until they are 28-35 years old. It is a male dominated society and women do most of the work.

The Maasai healer is call…

Post Secret-again

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Its Sunday and for anyone who missed the link to Post Secret website, I wanted to give it again. Each week the secrets change so check back every sunday for the new ones. Some are pretty heartbreaking!

New FDA Approvals/Medical Updates

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Readers of Everythinghealth like to be on the cutting edge so here are so here are some new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals.

Home-Based Fertility Screening: The first at-home fertility screening test for men and women enables couples to assess fertility earlier. the screening kit includes male (motile sperm) and female (follicle-stimulating hormone) tests proved 95% accurate. It is cleverly called "Fertell."

Lipid Profile Device: CardioChek PA is a diagnostic devise that can measure a patient's lipid profile in the office or waiting room in less than 2 minutes. (you can buy it for home use but be prepared to spend $149 for the machine, plus cost of various test strips, shipping, etc).


Estradiol Spray to Treat Menopause: Evamist has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of menopause symptoms. The spray is delivered in metered doses. ( I have been unable to find any information on this and I am not aware of any physicians prescribing it. Please comm…

Stop the Clash of Civilizations

No explanation needed. The film is the blog!

Maasai Medicine

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The next best thing to travel and experiencing something new, is to have travelers come to you. I have been fortunate to be able to host a Maasai Cultural Dance troupe in my home this week as they perform in my town. Their mission is to uplift the villagers in Kenya, Africa by selling their beads and art and earning money that they take back home. That money is used for education and a better life for their families. Seleina and Sironka, the group leaders, are my guests and they both speak English. The difference between their lives in a small village in Maasai country and my life in the medically sophisticated U.S. struck me tonight as I questioned Seleina about health care in Kenya.

I attended a quality meeting this morning where we discussed a sentinal event. A sentinal event is something so rare, so unusual, that teams of professionals are brought together to evaluate it, dissect the components and institute processes to prevent it from ever happening again. This sentinal even…

The Hospitalist - What the heck is that?

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The average American doesn't know that a revolution has occurred in medicine and there is a new type of doctor called a "Hospitalist". It is the fastest growing branch of medicine and there are 20,000 doctors today that practice only hospital medicine. Most hospitals in America employ Hospitalists and if you are admitted to a hospital, it is likely that he/she will be your main attending doctor...not your primary care physician.

The Hospitalist is a doctor with Internal Medicine or Family Practice training, who is always on site. They are available to admit patients, manage care during the day, review tests, change medication, and respond to the patient and nurses instead of rushing in at 7 AM and then back to the office to care for a full day of patients. Hospitalists don't have an office practice, nor do they follow patients once they are discharged.

Hospitals like them because they reduce length of stay and follow standard protocols of care. That should lead …

Guest Post-Hangovers 101

Hey, Everythinghealth readers! Check out the blog Med-Friendly. I wrote a guest post on "Hangovers 101" that is there for the reading.

Five Must Do's For a Sick Loved One

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When a loved one is sick, we often feel totally helpless and caught up in the medical world. If people only knew how important their role as caregiver really is. Credit goes to Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, for these wonderful tips on how to fight for and protect a sick loved one.
Don't be afraid to intervene: If you see something going on that strikes you as wrong, say so. A medication that you've never seen before, a dressing that remains after a doctor said it would be removed, IVs that should be given on a regular schedule. It's OK to push and not accept the first answer.
Ask Questions until you understand the answer: If the doctor says surgery is needed and you don't understand why or when or how...ask. If explanations are given in terms that make no sense..push until you understand.
You know things that the doctors don't: You know if your loved one is in pain, has been bleeding longer than the doctor thinks, is shy and won't talk or hundreds of other facts th…

Primary Care Doomed - what does it take to get paid?

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Most primary care doctors are running a small "mom and pop" business and any business will fail if payment is not received. A review of "ageing reports" (accounts receivable) can be eye opening for the doctor. Thirty-60-90 days past due can be a financial disaster. But what about bills that are not paid for over a year? It is not uncommon for active patients who get prompt return phone calls, easy access when needed and seem to be very happy with the service to just ignore the bill.

Seeing this list of patients who just won't pay their bill is usually a shock for the doctor. All of these statements were first sent to insurance companies. The insurers delayed as long as possible (60 days or more) and either made a partial payment or paid zero because it was applied to the patient's deductible, or the patient wasn't even insured at that time.

The patient received an explanation of benefits (payment or lack of payment) from their insurer at the same ti…

Katrina Nursing Home Owners Aquited

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Justice was served when the jury acquitted the operators of St. Rita's nursing home in New Orleans, on 35 counts of negligent homicide and 24 counts of cruelty to the infirm today. The Manganos, age 64 and 67 have run that home for 20 years and have been through many hurricanes. Katrina was different. The water surge and levee break caused water to rapidly rise and evacuation of all the bed bound and demented patients was impossible. The Manganos managed to rescue 24 frail patients but the others drowned.

Of the 1400 Katrina deaths, one hundred forty patients died in nursing homes and hospitals. As a medical volunteer, I saw the destruction and experienced the human drama after Katrina. I know first hand of the terrible conditions from the storm and aftermath. St. Bernard's Parish was one of the worst hit. Mile after mile was silent, oozing water and mud with only the sad, sick animals showing signs of life. The graveyard crypts were open, with caskets flung around, ac…

ADHD and Food Additives

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Parents around the world can now say "See, I told you so!" A study released in Lancet and reported in the New York Times has shown a possible link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and common food additives.

This was a well run study that focused on a number of food colorings and the food preservative "sodium benzoate", that are found in many foods. Children ages 3, 8 and 9 were given placebo drinks (no additives) and drinks that contained the additives. They controlled other aspects of their diet so they did not eat other preservatives. They also controlled the dose so it was equivalent to one or two pieces of candy a day. Parents and teachers were involved in rating the behavior for inattention and activity and no-one (including the researchers) knew which group was which. This is called "double blind" and is the best form of research.

They found that the kids who ingested the additives were more hyperactive and had…

Why Are Americans So Fat?

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In just one year, a new study shows, obesity rates have shot up across the country.
Why are Americans so fat? Here are my reasons...feel free to add your own.












22% of Americans did not do any physical activity in the past month.Our government subsidizes high fructose corn syrup. It is cheap and in everything!No one cooks anymore. Fast food is fat food.
Kids have too many choices. (remember when mom cooked something you didn't like? You picked at it and got away from the table fast)We have huge portions. Rent the movie "Supersize Me" and you will be shocked.Food is available everywhere...all night markets, fast food on every corner, snacks at every office, cupcakes and candy at every holiday/school birthday.
We eat too fast. In other countries they chew and relax. We work.Stress hormones affect metabolism. We need to chew and relax.Cheap food is fat food. Poverty and obesity go hand in hand in America.TV, Computer games, Play Station.Kids are restricted from playing free…

Plain Soap Kills Germs as Well as Antibacterial Soap

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I was surprised at the results from researchers at University of Michigan School of Public Health that found the effectiveness of plain ole' soap is as good as antibacterial products at killing bacteria.

Soaps, detergents and other "antibacterial" products that contained triclosan were no better than plain soap for preventing infections. Washing your hands is very important for preventing the spread of infections, especially after using the toilet (duh!), changing a baby or handling raw foods, but plain soap does the trick.

Apparently these results are not new news. An FDA advisory panel looked at the effectiveness of antibacterial products in 2005 and concluded regular soap was just as effective. Who knew?