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Thursday
Nov112010

Healthcare 'Not as Safe' as Americans Believe?

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) – A new measure of patient safety may show that the U.S. healthcare system is not as safe as some may think, according to an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah.

"While traditional measurements of patient safety show that our system is very safe, a new global trigger tool developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) shows that the current safety measures pick up less than 10 percent of injuries patients suffer in the hospital," said David Classen at the MedeAnalytics Clinical Leadership Summit in San Francisco.

Classen said the new measurement can detect 60 different adverse outcomes in patients -- a tool he said may help to show flaws in the healthcare system and improve care to Medicare patients.

The new method is expected to be detailed in a report to Congress over the next several months.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Former GSK Lawyer Charged in Wellbutrin Cover-Up

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a former vice president and lawyer at GlaxoSmithKline with trying to cover up evidence that the company was illegally marketing the depression drug Wellbutrin as a weight-loss aid, reports MedPage Today.

Lauren Stevens of Durham, N.C. was charged with one count of obstructing an official proceeding, one count of concealing and falsifying documents to influence a federal agency, and four counts of making false statements to the FDA, according to the FDA.

The indictment doesn't name the company or the drug, but a lawyer for Stevens confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Stevens was a vice president at GlaxoSmithKline and that the indictment relates to Wellbutrin and an ongoing investigation into the company marketing the depression drug to treat weight loss -- a health issue for which it is not approved.

A spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline confirmed that Stevens was employed in the company's legal department and that she is now retired.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Childhood Weight Bullying May Trigger Eating Disorders in Adulthood, Say Doctors

(PHOENIX) -- Children who are teased about their weight are less likely to have a desire for exercise or physical activity, say doctors at the Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders.

Particularly during preteen years, children are more susceptible to developing negative self-image, which can last into their adult years.  Consequently, children who are bullied about their weight are more sensitive to "poor body dissatisfaction," say psychologists.

"We know that weight bullying happens to a lot of children," said Dena Cabrera, PsyD, a psychologist and director of educational outreach at Remuda Ranch.  "Bullying can perpetuate the cycle of lack of exercise as well as using food as a source of comfort."

Dr. Cabrera says that the parents' role is crucial in matters of bullying or self image and that parents must work toward "creating a home environment that fosters healthful eating and physical activity."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Thursday
Nov112010

Lower Protein Infant Formula Supports Growth Rate Similar to Breast Milk, Study Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MADISON, N.J.) -- In a recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that infants who were fed a lower-protein infant formula gained weight at a rate similar to infants who were breastfed.

"This study showed that when we fed infants with a formula that contained specially-adjusted levels of protein that more closely matched those found in breast milk, these babies grew at a rate similar to breastfed babies," said Rosario Capeding, M.D., from the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in the Philippines.

Dr. Capeding, a pediatrician, added that early childhood nutrition is especially important and that child growth and development are dependent on support from nutrients in the "most appropriate proportions."

Although not determined in the study, Dr. Capeding also emphasized the benefits of breastfeeding pointing to the immunity that breast milk provides.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Playing Tetris Could Help Reduce Flashbacks, Study Says

Photo Courtesy - Nintendo(OXFORD, England) -- Playing Tetris after traumatic events could help reduce painful flashbacks similar to those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a study by scientists at Oxford University.

Tetris, the classic computer puzzle game developed in the mid-1980s, challenges players to evenly stack blocks of different shapes and sizes as they move slowly down the computer screen.  Emily Holmes, the study's lead researcher at Oxford University's Department of Psychiatry, said her team thinks that the image-driven nature of the game gives it a kind of anti-flashback property.

"We think it works because it's competing with resources with the same kind of visual memory that would otherwise make a visual flashback, because flashbacks themselves are strong images," she said.

In a previous study involving Tetris, Holmes and her team showed that the game could reduce flashbacks when played by a healthy volunteer after a traumatic event.  But Holmes said that this new study sheds more light on why games like Tetris could help alleviate PTSD symptoms.

In the recent study, published in this week's issue of the journal PLoS ONE, the scientists asked 60 healthy volunteers to watch a video featuring traumatic images, including clips highlighting the dangers of drunk driving.  After waiting 30 minutes, 20 volunteers played Tetris for 10 minutes, 20 volunteers played the word-based game Pub Quiz Machine 2008 for the same amount of time and 20 volunteers did nothing.

The researchers found that those who played Tetris after the video experienced fewer flashbacks than those who did nothing, while those who played Pub Quiz Machine experienced more flashbacks than participants who didn't do anything.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Diagnosed ADHD Cases in US Rise Dramatically

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Cases of U.S. youngsters diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder skyrocketed over a four-year period, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate of new cases went up 22 percent from 2003 to 2007 and lead author Susanna Visser said Wednesday that “there are probably more children out there who have not received a diagnosis and we can't determine how many more children there are based on these data.”

All told, 5.4 million children between the ages of four and 17 are afflicted with ADHD, a condition that makes it difficult for many youngsters to concentrate and can adversely affect grades in school.

Currently, the CDC says that 2.7 million kids take medication to ease the symptoms of ADHD.

Interestingly, the incidence of ADHD being diagnosed in older teens has risen 42 percent over the four-year span studied by the government.  It’s a condition that can persist into adulthood if not treated.

Still, some health experts can’t tell if more children are actually ADHD patients, or if a greater awareness of the disease has caused the spike in the number of cases diagnosed.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov102010

Doctor Admits to Botched Surgery in Medical Journal

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images(BOSTON) – In a bold move, a surgeon has admitted to botching a surgery in one of the country’s most prominent medical journals, reports MSNBC.

Dr. David C. Ring, a hand and arm surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, said he wrote about operating on the wrong hand of a woman to prevent doctors from making similar mistakes in the future.

Ring disclosed details of the surgery in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. He said it was a series of both personal and system mistakes that led to the botched operation on the hand of an elderly woman.

The woman, who spoke only Spanish, was supposed to have surgery done on her left ring finger. Ring said hectic scheduling, a change in operating rooms and the lack of an interpreter were to blame for the surgery being conducted on the wrong hand.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov102010

Devices to Monitor Health May Increase Likelihood of Weight Loss

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Those who want to lose weight may benefit from wearing a body monitoring device to help track their progress, according to two studies that evaluated mobile health technology.

BodyMedia Inc., which announced the results of the studies, develops body monitoring systems such as the BodyMedia Armband that are meant to monitor energy expenditure when worn.

The first of the two studies, conducted by researchers at Iowa State and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, found that the BodyMedia Armband was over 90 percent more accurate in reporting caloric expenditure than doubly-labeled water, a process that measures metabolic rates.

Another study, conducted at USC, found that participants who used such body monitoring devices in combination with a lifestyle intervention program tripled their weight loss. Such devices allow for the user to track figures like calories burned, heart rate and distance.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov102010

Is Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia the Next Magic Food?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- We all remember the commercials: Cha-cha-cha-Chia! Everyone knew someone who had the Chia puppy, the Chia dinosaur or the Chia Bart Simpson. But what about the seed behind these green, furry novelties?

Chia, a grain that comes from the salvia hispanica plant, has received recent endorsements, with some saying it could become the next power supplement. A number of athletes, doctors and food manufacturers have come forward to encourage people to add some chia to their diet. The Chia Co. website calls chia "nature's complete superfood."

But is it? Some nutritionists have expressed open skepticism about chia's superfood claims.

"The scientific evidence is pretty clear...that there is no one single food that is the answer to our overall health," said Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian and director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. "Chia has a nice nutrient package that I'd put in the category with flax seeds and walnuts. Those plant sources are always going to be a part of the answer, but not the answer."

Chia is a part of the family of mint, which grows around the world at latitudes 15 degrees north or south of the equator. The plant is bitter to the taste, so the seeds are often harvested. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, chia seeds contain high amounts of protein, fiber and ALA omega-3s. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov102010

Stressed to the Max? Nearly Three-Quarters of Americans Say "Yes!"

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a new survey by the American Psychological Association, nearly 75 percent of Americans say they are stressed to the max. And experts say the 2010 Stress in America survey points to a looming national health crisis. Among the respondents' top concerns: money (76 percent), work (70 percent) and the economy (65 percent).

For three years in a row, worries about jobs, mortgages, money and how to pay the bills have been top stress factors for many American families. The stress is so pervasive the APA has concerns about the long term impact it will have on the physical and emotional health of the country.

The APA survey shows that "Americans appear to be caught in a vicious cycle where they manage stress in unhealthy ways and lack of willpower and time constraints impede their ability to make lifestyle or behavioral changes."

The association's CEO, psychologist Norman B. Anderson says, "America is at a crossroads when it comes to stress and our health."

The survey finds that nearly three-in-four respondents say they continue to be stressed to the max, to levels that are unhealthy and which could put them "at risk for developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and depression." The survey also finds that fewer adults, even those who do have jobs, feel satisfied with the balance between work and life outside the office or factory. In other words, the stress they may feel at work about job security or cutbacks goes home with them. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio