Health Newsbrief
May 24, 2000
Vol. 1, No. 6
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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LOW-SALT AND HIGH-PRODUCE DIET IS FOUND TO TAME
HYPERTENSION
People who take medicine for high blood pressure can achieve the
same decline in their levels by eating a diet with little salt
and lots of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, according to
a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The study also found that eating the diet helps people without
high blood pressure avoid the disease. The NHLBI said the study
conclusively proves that all Americans should lower their salt
intake.
Source: New York Times - May 18, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/health/
051800hth-nutrition-sodium.html

NHLBI press release:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/new/press/may17-00.htm


PROFIT MOTIVE CREATES CONFLICTS IN DRUG TRIALS
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says
pharmaceutical companies that pay researchers to conduct drug
trials sometimes interfere with reporting of any negative
results. In an accompanying editorial, the journal's editor
wrote: "Academic institutions and their clinical faculty members
must take care not to be open to the charge that they are for
sale."
Source: Reuters - May 18, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000518/hl/profit_drugs_1.html


WITH TV SPOTS, DRUG FIRMS AIM AT PATIENTS' ROLE
In 1999, U.S. pharmaceutical companies spent almost $1.9 billion
on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicine, with
more than half the amount - $1.1 billion - spent on television
advertising. The goal is to have patients ask for drugs by name
when they visit their doctors.
Source: Washington Post - May 22, 2000
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56322-2000May12.html


NATION FACES GERIATRICIAN SHORTAGE
Most older Americans are healthy and can be treated by regular
doctors. But those who are frail or suffer from multiple medical
problems need the specialized treatment of a geriatrician - a
doctor specially trained in the nuances of treating the elderly.
The United States has only 9,500 certified geritricians, about
half the number it needs now and one quarter the number it will
need by 2030 as the nation ages.
Source: Associated Press - May 22, 2000
http://news.excite.com/news/ap/000522/15/doctors-elderly


MDs SAID RELUCTANT TO BREAK BAD NEWS
If you're terminally ill with cancer, don't expect your doctor to
give an honest answer if you ask how long you have to live.
That's the finding of a study presented at the annual meeting of
the American Society for Clinical Oncology. Most doctors either
dodge the question or give an overly optimistic answer, the
researchers found.
Source: Associated Press - May 20, 2000
http://news.excite.com/news/ap/000520/16/death-questions


VINDICATION FOR THE MALIGNED FIBER DIET
Despite recent studies showing that eating a high fiber diet does
not help prevent colon cancer, Jane Brody says it's not time to
give up on fiber just yet.
Source: New York Times - May 23, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/health/
052300hth-brody.html


MANY GETTING MORE EXERCISE AT WORK
Like others before it, a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention found that almost two thirds of working
Americans don't get enough exercise during their time off.
However, the researchers were surprised to find that 44 percent
of the workers engaged in at least one hour of heavy physical
activity a day at their jobs or doing housework.
Source: Associated Press - May 19, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000519/hl/
workers_fitness_2.html

CDC study:
http://www.cdc.gov/epo/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4919a3.htm


OLD, NEW ANTIDEPRESSANTS ABOUT SAME
Despite all the attention received by newer anti-depressants such
as Prozac and Paxil, older anti-depressants work just about as
well. That's according to new guidelines from the American
College of Physicians. The group said the various drugs differ
primarily in their side effects, not in how well they help
relieve depression.
Source: Associated Press - May 21, 2000
http://news.excite.com/news/ap/000521/12/exp-depression-help
ACP guidelines:
http://www.acponline.org/journals/annals/02may00/williams.htm


PROZAC INDIGNATION
In a package of three articles, Salon looks at the popular
anti-depressant Prozac. The first story examines the reaction to
the new book "Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac,
Zoloft, Paxil, and other Antidepressants with Safe, Effective
Alternatives" by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, the second story
discusses some of the sexual problems commonly caused by
anti-depressants, and the third is a personal look at Prozac from
a writer who has taken the drug for 13 years.
Source: Salon - May 17, 2000
http://www.salon.com/health/feature/2000/05/17/backlash
http://www.salon.com/health/sex/urge/2000/05/17/sex_drugs
http://www.salon.com/health/feature/2000/05/17/salvation


MENTAL HEALTH BENEFIT LAWS SKIRTED
A report by the U.S. General Accounting Office, the investigative
arm of Congress, found that 14 percent of employers violate a law
that requires them to provide the same dollar amount of insurance
coverage for mental health as they do for other types of
illnesses. Other employers have technically complied with the law
by placing new restrictions on all types of health insurance
coverage, the GAO found.
Source: Associated Press - May 18, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000518/hl/mental_health_1.html
GAO report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/he00095.pdf
GAO testimony about the report:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/he00113t.pdf


SUICIDAL IDEATION AND SUICIDE ATTEMPTS IN
GENERAL MEDICAL ILLNESSES
Although the vast majority of people who commit suicide suffer
from clinical depression, people between ages 17 and 39 who
suffer from one or more general medical illnesses have an
increased risk of suicidal thoughts, according to a study
published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. However, the
study did not examine whether the people actually carried through
on their thoughts.
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine - May 22, 2000
http://archinte.ama-assn.org/issues/v160n10/full/ioi90513.html


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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