Health Newsbrief
October 10, 2001
Vol. 2, No. 36
ISSN 1530-3616
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Bruce Maxwell, Editor - bmax@silverhammerpub.com
Silver Hammer Publishing - http://silverhammerpub.com

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The News
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U.S. ACTS TO MAKE VACCINES AND DRUGS
AGAINST SMALLPOX
Although the media have focused much of their attention on the
danger posed by a terrorist attack using anthrax, most health
experts worry more about an attack using smallpox. They say the
risk of a smallpox attack is very low, but that a successful
attack could have catastrophic results around the world. The
second story reports that dozens of laboratories with federal
contracts to develop a variety of bioterrorism defenses have
stepped up their efforts since Sept. 11. Meanwhile, columnist
Jane Brody urges readers to focus on the very real health risks
that exist in our daily lives - none of which involve biological
weapons and all of which we can control.
Sources: New York Times - Oct. 9, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/09/health/anatomy/09SMAL.html
New York Times - Oct. 9, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/09/health/anatomy/09BIOT.html
New York Times - Oct. 9, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/09/health/psychology/09BROD.html


AIDS VACCINE SEEN WITHIN REACH IN NEXT DECADE
Although it may not be 100 perfect effective initially, the first
AIDS vaccine should become available within six to 10 years,
according to researchers who spoke at an international AIDS
conference in Australia. The second story reports about the start
of a clinical trial of the first AIDS vaccine developed at the
new Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health.
Sources: Reuters - Oct. 7, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011007/sc/
aids_australia_vaccine_dc_1.html

Washington Post - Oct. 9, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28517-2001Oct8.html


HEART ASSOCIATION SKEWERS ATKINS DIET
High-protein diets such as the Atkins Diet and Sugar Busters have
not been proven to be effective in helping people lose weight and
may pose risks to those with diabetes and heart disease,
according to the American Heart Association. The AHA also noted
that some of the diets allow very high levels of fat, a known
risk factor for heart disease.
Source: Washington Post - Oct. 9, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28046-2001Oct8.html


DRUG GIANT TO INTRODUCE DISCOUNT PLAN
FOR THE ELDERLY
The second-largest pharmaceutical firm in the United States,
GlaxoSmithKline, has unveiled a discount plan aimed at making its
drugs more affordable for elderly people who don't have
insurance. Some health care advocates said the plan is primarily
a public relations ploy that will have little practical impact.
The second story describes little-known programs operated by
nearly all pharmaceutical firms under which they provide drugs at
no cost to people who don't have health insurance and whose
incomes fall below certain levels.
Sources: New York Times - Oct. 3, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/03/business/03DRUG.html
New York Times - Oct. 7, 2001
http://nytimes.com/2001/10/07/business/yourmoney/07SENI.html


CHALLENGES IN PAIN MANAGEMENT AT THE END OF LIFE
Managing pain in terminally ill patients can be a daunting
challenge, and pain is often untreated or undertreated. This
article for physicians explains the various steps they should
take to properly manage pain.
Source: American Family Physician - Oct. 1, 2001
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20011001/1227.html


MAGAZINE DRUG ADS DEEMED TOO VAGUE
Pharmaceutical firms spent $1.8 billion in 1999 advertising their
products directly to consumers. To no one's surprise, a study
published in The Lancet has found that magazine ads for
prescription drugs typically make vague, emotional appeals
instead of providing evidence that the medications actually work.
The study also dismissed claims by the pharmaceutical industry
that the ads help educate consumers about various illnesses.
Source: Reuters Health - Oct. 5, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011005/hl/drugs_2.html
Study from The Lancet:
http://www.thelancet.com/journal/vol358/iss9288/full/
llan.358.9288.original_research.17864.1



VISION CORRECTION: TAKING A LOOK AT WHAT'S NEW
The article from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration primarily
examines the pros and cons of laser eye surgery, although it also
briefly covers contact lenses and other topics. The second
article explains laser eye surgery to family physicians, and the
accompanying handout provides basic information about the surgery
for patients.
Sources: FDA Consumer - September-October 2001
http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2001/501_eyes.html
American Family Physician - Oct. 1, 2001
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20011001/1183.html
Patient handout: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20011001/1183ph.html


EARLY PREGNANCY TESTS NOT ALWAYS ACCURATE
A woman who takes a home pregnancy test on the first day that she
misses her period may get incorrect results, according to a study
published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The
early test may incorrectly say the woman is not pregnant if the
embryo has not yet become implanted.
Source: Reuters - Oct. 9, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011009/sc/
health_pregnancy_dc_1.html



EU SAYS BIOTECH FOODS MAY BE SAFER
A report by the European Commission, the executive branch of the
European Union, says that foods made from biotech crops may
actually be safer than those made from regular crops. Biotech
foods have attracted strong public opposition across Europe.
Source: Associated Press - Oct. 9, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011009/hl/
eu_biotech_foods_1.html


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