Health Newsbrief
May 2, 2001
Vol. 2, No. 16
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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PUSH TO IMPROVE PATIENT SAFETY SLOW-GOING
Patient safety became a hot issue in 1999 when the Institute of
Medicine released a report estimating that up to 98,000 Americans
die in hospitals each year because of medical errors. Some
efforts are being made to implement the IOM's recommendations for
improving safety, but at least so far progress has been slow.
Source: American Medical News - May 7, 2001
http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_01/prl20507.htm


AMERICA'S ERs: IN CRITICAL CONDITION
The next time you rush to a hospital and need to be admitted
after emergency room treatment, don't be surprised if your gurney
is lined up in the ER hallway for a day or two before you
actually reach a room. The huge number of ER "boarders" at
hospitals across the country is only one symptom of a health care
system that has reached gridlock, posing a grave threat to the
quality of patient care.
Source: Washington Post - May 1, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/A22680-2001Apr30.html


STUDIES IN CONFUSION
Some medical studies seem to promise miracle cures, and others
conflict with one another. This article explains what you should
look for when judging a study's quality. The best advice: Take
everything you read with a big grain of salt.
Source: Los Angeles Times - April 30, 2001
http://www.latimes.com/health/20010430/t000036373.html


BREAST CANCER STUDY BASED ON BOGUS RESEARCH
A widely heralded 1995 breast cancer study cited in hundreds of
scientific papers has been retracted by the Journal of Clinical
Oncology, where it was published. Official audits of the South
African research found that the study used fraudulent data. The
study claimed to show that in women with advanced breast cancer,
high-dose chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant was a
better treatment than regular chemotherapy followed by a bone
marrow transplant.
Source: ABCNEWS.com - April 26, 2001
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/living/DailyNews/
breastcancer010426.html



HERBS AND SURGERY: A RISKY MIX
If you're scheduled for surgery, be sure to tell your doctor
ahead of time about any vitamins, herbs, or other supplements
that you take. Most doctors will advise you to stop taking
supplements for two weeks before surgery because some can cause
bleeding problems in the operating room.
Source: HealthScout - April 26, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/hsn/20010426/hl/
herbs_and_surgery_a_risky_mix_1.html



STUDY LINKS BREAST IMPLANTS TO LUNG AND
BRAIN CANCERS
A major study conducted by researchers at the National Cancer
Institute has found that women with breast implants have higher
rates of lung and brain cancer than do other women. The
researchers cautioned that they did not prove a cause-and-effect
relationship between the implants and increased cancer risk. They
also noted that they found no link between implants and cancers
other than lung and brain cancer.
Source: New York Times - April 26, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/26/health/26BREA.html


SEX DIFFERENCES CALLED KEY IN MEDICAL STUDIES
Medical researchers must carefully consider the differences
between men and women when designing and analyzing their studies,
according to a report by the National Academy of Sciences. The
cells of males and females have many differences, the report
said, and the two sexes respond differently to various diseases
and treatments.
Source: New York Times - April 25, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/25/health/25HEAL.html
Full text of NAS report: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10028.html


TRAINING DOCTORS WANT LIMITED HOURS
Medical residents and health advocates have filed a petition with
the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration seeking a
limit on the hours per week that doctors in training can work.
The residents say they commonly work 95 hours per week and can
work as many as 136 hours. They want the work week limited to 80
hours, single shifts limited to 24 consecutive hours, a minimum
of 10 hours off between shifts, and other restrictions on their
working hours.
Source: Associated Press - April 30, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010430/pl/
medical_residents_5.html



FDA TO DECIDE IF ALLERGY DRUGS SHOULD BE OTC
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking at whether three
popular prescription drugs for allergies - Claritin, Allegra, and
Zyrtec - should be available over-the-counter instead.
Manufacturers of the three drugs oppose any change, and it's
unclear whether the FDA has the legal authority to force the move
over their objections.
Source: Reuters - April 30, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010430/hl/fda_allergy_1.html


COLONOSCOPY HAS TENSE MOMENTS, PAINLESS ENDING
If a colonoscopy is in your future, this first-person article
about the test may provide some comfort. The author reports that
the test itself is a breeze - it's the prep the day before that's
a tad nasty.
Source: Washington Post - May 1, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/A22318-2001Apr30.html


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