Health Newsbrief
March 7, 2001
Vol. 2, No. 9
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. HEALTH CARE SYSTEM SAID LACKING
The U.S. health care system - from private doctors' offices to
health insurance companies - is in a shambles, according to a
highly critical report by the Institute of Medicine. Last year
the institute, a private organization chartered by Congress,
released a report saying that medical mistakes kill up to 98,000
Americans each year.
Source: Associated Press - March 1, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010301/pl/
health_quality_2.html

Institute of Medicine report:
http://www.nap.edu/books/0309072808/html


DO MARKETERS KNOW YOU'RE SICK?
New federal rules scheduled to take effect in April are supposed
to improve privacy protections for your medical records. But one
key loophole lets health-care providers use confidential records
to market products to you. They can even share your records with
a "business partner" that markets for them. The only good news:
The new rules are no worse than current law, which places no
restrictions on the use of medical information for marketing
purposes.
Source: Wired News - March 2, 2001
http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,42147,00.html


SEVERE ANESTHETIC SHORTAGES STRIKE
U.S. HOSPITALS
Got a bullet sitting around the house? You may need it to bite
down on if you're scheduled for surgery or plan to give birth any
time soon. The reason is that hospitals across the country report
severe shortages of various anesthetics. The second story reports
that the American Society of Anesthesiologists is urging federal
regulators and the pharmaceutical industry to take immediate
steps to end the shortages.
Sources: Reuters Health - March 1, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010301/hl/anesthetic_1.html
Reuters Health - March 2, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010302/hl/
anesthetic_shortage_1.html



ADVERSE EVENTS IN BRITISH HOSPITALS:
PRELIMINARY RETROSPECTIVE RECORD REVIEW
Researchers who examined records at two London hospitals found
that 10.8 percent of patients suffered a medical mistake while
hospitalized. About half of the mistakes could have been
prevented using ordinary standards of care, the researchers said.
The accompanying editorial calls for creating a national system
for recording medical errors.
Source: British Medical Journal - March 3, 2001
http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/322/7285/517
Editorial: http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/322/7285/501


STATE LEGISLATURES TACKLE MEDICAL ERROR
REPORTING
Last year in the United States, eight states passed laws of
various kinds aimed at reducing the number of medical errors.
More bills have been introduced this year as the subject
continues to command public and legislative attention.
Source: American Medical News - March 12, 2001
http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_01/prsb0312.htm


SCIENTISTS GAIN BREAST CANCER FACTS
Scientists have figured out how to block the spread of breast
cancer to other organs in mice. But they and others cautioned
that the same technique may not work in humans.
Source: Associated Press - Feb. 28, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010228/hl/
cancer_s_spread_1.html



USE OF PAINKILLER GROWS QUICKLY, ALONG
WITH WIDESPREAD ABUSE
For people suffering from severe pain, the narcotic painkiller
OxyContin can be a miracle drug. But doctors and law enforcement
officials say that at least partly because of its manufacturer's
aggressive marketing campaign, OxyContin is being widely misused
and abused.
Source: New York Times - March 5, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/05/health/05DRUG.html


LINK BETWEEN INFECTIONS AND
HEART DISEASE BOLSTERED
People who suffer from chronic infections of the sinuses, lungs,
and urinary tract may be at increased risk for heart disease,
according to a study by Italian and Austrian researchers. The
study, which was published in the journal Circulation, reported
that people with recurrent infections were three times more
likely to develop new fatty deposits in a major artery.
Source: Los Angeles Times - March 5, 2001
http://www.latimes.com/health/20010305/t000019439.html


STEER CLEAR OF ALZHEIMER'S - STAY ACTIVE
The best way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease is to stay
mentally and physically active. That's the suggestion from a new
study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences, which found that intellectual activity is particularly
important.
Source: Reuters Health - March 5, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010305/hl/active_1.html


VITAMIN E PILLS MAY NOT BENEFIT THE HEALTHY
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association
reports that if you're healthy and eat a well-balanced diet,
taking vitamin E supplements won't do you any good. The study
examined vitamin E in dosages ranging from 200 to 2,000
international units per day.
Source: Reuters Health - March 6, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010306/hl/vitamin_2.html


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