Health Newsbrief
May 10, 2000
Vol. 1, No. 4
ISSN pending
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Bruce Maxwell, Editor <bmax@silverhammerpub.com>
Silver Hammer Publishing <http://silverhammerpub.com>

Instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing are provided at
the end of this newsletter.


The News
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U.S. TELLS DOCTORS TO CHANGE FOCUS ON HYPERTENSION
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is urging doctors
to reverse their emphasis in blood pressure readings to protect
their patients from heart disease and stroke. Doctors have long
focused on the diastolic blood pressure, or the lower number, but
the systolic pressure - the higher number - is a better indicator
of risk, the institute said. As part of its campaign, the NHLBI
also launched a Web site about high blood pressure that has
sections for doctors and consumers.
Source: Washington Post - May 5, 2000
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7317-2000May4.html
NHLBI press release:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/new/press/may04-00.htm
NHLBI high blood pressure Web site:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/index.html


PHYSICIANS URGED TO MAKE CONCRETE CHANGES ON SAFETY
After last year's Institute of Medicine report that nearly
100,000 Americans die annually from medical mistakes, a number of
changes are being suggested. These range from having individual
physicians develop error-reduction strategies in their practices
to creating a federal medical safety center.
Source: American Medical News - May 15, 2000
http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_00/prsa0515.htm


STUDY: POWER PLANTS, DEATHS LINKED
A report by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health
says air pollution from two coal-burning power plants in
Massachusetts is linked to 159 premature deaths and more than
43,000 asthma attacks annually. The report said that up to 32
million people in New England, New York, and New Jersey may be
exposed to pollution from the plants.
Source: Associated Press - May 5, 2000
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000505/
aponline041526_000.htm


ART OF PROGNOSIS BECOMING AN INCREASINGLY VALUED SKILL
When a dying patient asks, "How long do I have to live?," few
doctors can provide an accurate estimate. And more often than
not, their estimates are vastly too optimistic.
Source: American Medical News - May 15, 2000
http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_00/hlsb0515.htm


NO LABELS FOR GM FOODS - YET
New rules for genetically engineered foods announced by the
Clinton administration are drawing strong criticism from food
safety advocates. Under the rules, biotechnology companies will
have to notify the U.S. Food and Drug Administration four months
before launching a new genetically modified food, but no
independent testing or special labeling will be required.
Source: Reuters - May 4, 2000
http://www.wired.com/news/technology
/0,1282,36118,00.html?tw=wn20000505



RESEARCHERS SPLIT ON SOCCER RISKS
Does "heading" a soccer ball cause brain damage in young players?
The evidence is mixed, and the answer is particularly hard to
nail down because the damage may be subtle and only result in
impairment years after the injury.
Source: Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000507/
aponline120153_000.htm



A GIANT HELPING OF CHUTZPAH
Authors of books such as "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution,"
"Sugar Busters!," and "The Carbohydrate Addict's LifeSpan
Program" have made millions with their dietary claims. Now
they've signed a letter asking the National Institutes of Health
to spend taxpayer dollars on research to back up their claims.
Source: Washington Post - May 9, 2000
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28920-2000May8.html


SCIENTISTS MAP CHROMOSOME 21
Chromosome 21, which is associated with Down syndrome, epilepsy,
Lou Gehrig's disease, and Alzheimer's disease, has been mapped by
scientists. They hope that by deciphering the chromosome's DNA,
they'll be able to develop treatments for the illnesses to which
the chromosome is linked.
Source: Associated Press - May 8, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000508/hl/
chromosome_mapped_4.html



THE PERILOUS STATE OF ACADEMIC MEDICINE
In this opinion article, a doctor at New York-Presbyterian
Hospital stresses the importance of teaching hospitals and
medical schools in keeping the United States the world leader in
medical science. He says the institutions are threatened by
federal government budget cutbacks, the growth of managed care,
and other factors.
Source: JAMA - May 10, 2000
http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v283n18/full/jco00039.html


HOME BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING
This review article examines the history of home blood pressure
monitoring, the differences in the types of monitors, and
questions about the accuracy of home testing.
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine - May 8, 2000
http://archinte.ama-assn.org/issues/v160n9/full/ira90023.html


EATING GERMS
In the second part of a two-part series, Susan McCarthy discusses
the "hygiene hypothesis," which suggests that our world is so
clean today that our immune systems are going soft. Supporters of
the theory say it could account for the rapid increases in the
number of people suffering from allergies, asthma, and
inflammatory bowel disease.
Source: Salon - May 4, 2000
http://www.salon.com/health/feature/2000/05/04/germ_warfare_two


A Quick Plug
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Congressional Quarterly has just published my book, "How to Track
Politics on the Internet," which describes more than 600 of the
best political Web sites, newsgroups, and mailing lists. The book
costs $29.95, and can be ordered from CQ (800-638-1710) or any
online bookstore. The table of contents and introduction are
available at http://bmaxwell.home.mindspring.com
______________________________________________________

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Bruce Maxwell
Silver Hammer Publishing
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bmax@silverhammerpub.com


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