Health Newsbrief
March 28/April 4, 2001
Vol. 2, No. 12
ISSN 1530-3616
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Bruce Maxwell, Editor - bmax@silverhammerpub.com
Silver Hammer Publishing - http://silverhammerpub.com

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Editor's Note
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Health Newsbrief did not publish last week because a nasty cold
felled your editor. To make up for the publication lapse, this
week's edition is a double issue.


The News
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ANESTHESIA DRUG IS REMOVED AFTER DEATHS OF
5 PATIENTS
In another example of patients playing guinea pig for new drugs,
the maker of the anesthesia drug Raplon has voluntarily withdrawn
it from the market after the drug was linked to the deaths of
five people, including two children. Raplon is a muscle relaxant
that doctors used along with general anesthesia when placing
breathing tubes into patients' throats.
Source: New York Times - March 31, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/31/health/31DRUG.html


F.D.A. FINDS FAULTY LISTINGS OF POSSIBLE
FOOD ALLERGENS
If you suffer from food allergies and check a food's label to
make sure it's safe, there's disturbing news from the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration. An FDA investigation found that up to 25
percent of food manufacturers failed to list common ingredients
that can cause fatal allergic reactions.
Source: New York Times - April 3, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/03/business/03FOOD.html


INVESTIGATING SOURCE OF WOMEN'S HEART DISEASE
Doctors have long thought that heart disease occurred similarly
in men and women. But now they're finding that the disease occurs
very differently in the two sexes, and that heart disease has
gone unrecognized in many women because diagnostic tests and
treatments were designed for men.
Source: Los Angeles Times - April 2, 2001
http://www.latimes.com/health/20010402/t000028160.html


SEPARATING REMEDIES FROM SNAKE OIL
This article offers a fascinating interview with Dr. Stephen E.
Straus, director of the National Center for Complementary and
Alternative Medicine. The center, which is part of the National
Institutes of Health, is trying to determine which alternative
treatments such as acupuncture and food supplements actually
work.
Source: New York Times - April 3, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/03/health/03CONV.html


NUMBER OF WOMEN SMOKERS INCREASES
Women account for 39 percent of smoking deaths in the United
States, according to a new report about women and smoking
released by U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher. Satcher also
reports that the tobacco industry has intensified its marketing
efforts, threatening to reverse progress made in reducing
smoking.
Source: Associated Press - March 27, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010327/hl/
women_s_smoking_3.html

Surgeon General's report:
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr_forwomen.htm


EARLIER TEST FOR ALZHEIMER'S ON THE HORIZON
Swedish scientists report that a new test that examines the fluid
surrounding the brain and spinal cord is very accurate in
diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. Their study involved elderly
people with memory impairments, but they hope that eventually the
test will be able to diagnose people who show few or no symptoms.
Source: Reuters Health - March 27, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010323/hl/alzheimers_1.html


LIMITED EXPERIENCE, HIGH EXPECTATIONS
If you're a patient in a teaching hospital, watch out. The doctor
who's treating your heart attack or stitching up your colon may
be an intern or resident who's been on duty 30 hours straight or
even more. The sidebar examines a 36-hour day in the life of one
resident, and the editor's column calls for an end to the
"sweatshop conditions" under which interns and residents work.
Source: Washington Post - March 27, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/A48834-2001Mar23.html
Sidebar:
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/A48811-2001Mar23.html
Editor's column:
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/A48273-2001Mar23.html


THE RISKS ON THE TABLE
More than half of the processed foods in American supermarkets
contain genetically modified ingredients. This article takes a
balanced look at the risks and benefits of genetically modified
food.
Source: Scientific American - April 2001
http://www.sciam.com/2001/0401issue/0401hopkin.html


BREAST CANCER DRUG HAS LIMITS
Five years is the optimum amount of time for women to take the
drug Tamoxifen after breast cancer surgery, according to a study
published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The
study found that patients receive no additional benefits from
taking Tamoxifen for more than five years, and that doing so
slightly increases the risk for some other cancers.
Source: HealthScout - March 22, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/hsn/20010322/hl/
breast_cancer_drug_has_limits_1.html



STUDY: CHELATION FAILS TO AID HEART
The first major test of chelation therapy, a widely used form of
alternative medicine, has found that it does not relieve heart
disease. The therapy is designed to relieve chest pain.
Source: Associated Press - March 21, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010321/hl/
heart_chelation_1.html



U.S.: AMERICANS ABSORBING CHEMICAL
The U.S. government has released the first nationwide study that
measures levels of 24 environmental toxins in humans. This story
is an interesting example of the different spins that various
media outlets put on an article. The Associated Press headline
says "U.S.: Americans Absorbing Chemical," while the New York
Times headlines the story "Study of Chemicals in Americans Shows
Encouraging Trends."
Sources: Associated Press - March 21, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010321/hl/
chemical_exposure_3.html

New York Times - March 22, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/22/health/22TOXI.html
CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/dls/report


CANCER SCREENING GUIDELINES
This very useful article compares screening guidelines for a
variety of cancers from numerous medical organizations. What
stands out is that in many cases, there's no consensus among the
various organizations.
Source: American Family Physician - March 15, 2001
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010315/1101.html
Editorial (scroll down in the document to read it):
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010315/editorials.html


STEM CELLS YIELD PROMISING RESULTS
In three different animal studies, scientists have succeeded in
repairing damaged heart tissue with stem cells extracted from
bone marrow. If further research validates the technique, it
could revolutionize the treatment of heart attack patients.
Source: New York Times - March 31, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/31/health/31CELL.html


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