Health Newsbrief
May 31, 2000
Vol. 1, No. 7
ISSN 1530-3616
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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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AMERICANS NEED BETTER DIET, NEW
HEALTH STUDY SHOWS
Although Americans have made progress in improving their diets,
nine out of 10 people need to do more, according to the latest
dietary guidelines issued by the federal government. The
guidelines are updated every five years, and this time the big
battle was over what to say about sugar. Surprise, surprise: The
sugar growers and soft drink manufacturers won.
Source: New York Times - May 28, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/library/politics/052800clinton-radio.html
The Dietary Guidelines: http://www.usda.gov/cnpp/DietGd.pdf
Dietary Guidelines fact sheet:
http://www.usda.gov/events/special/whfactsheet.html


ORAL DISEASES EPIDEMIC AMONG POOR
In a new report, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher said the
country faces a "silent epidemic" of dental and oral diseases
among the poor and minorities. According to the report, 108
million Americans lack dental insurance - more than double the 44
million who don't have medical insurance.
Source: Associated Press - May 25, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000525/hl/oral_health_3.html
Press release and executive summary of the report (the full
report is supposed to be online after June 9, 2000):
http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/sgr/oralhealth.htm


CAMERA CAN RECORD YOUR INSIDES
Anyone who's ever faced a colonoscopy or similar test will
applaud this news: Scientists have developed a miniature camera
that patients would swallow to provide doctors with pictures as
it traveled through the patient's digestive tract. The first
human trials are expected in the United States later this year,
although the camera is probably at least several years away from
hitting the marketplace.
Source: Associated Press - May 25, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000525/hl/
intestinal_voyage_2.html



PSYCH HOSPITAL PROBES ERRATIC
Some psychiatric hospitals in the United States have not
undergone a federal inspection in five years, according to a
report issued by June Gibbs Brown, inspector general at the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. Part of the problem,
according to the report, is a decline in money budgeted for
inspections: only $670,000 in 1998, down from $3 million in 1993.
The 1998 funding paid for only 146 inspections, down from 413 in
1993.
Source: Associated Press - May 23, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000523/hl/
psych_hospitals_2.html

Inspector general report:
http://www.hhs.gov/oig/oei/reports/a455.pdf


CANCER PATIENTS RELUCTANT TO REVEAL ALTERNATIVE
THERAPIES
Many cancer patients are putting themselves at risk by using
alternative therapies and not telling their doctors about them,
according to a University of Pennsylvania researcher who spoke at
a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The study
by Dr. John Metz and his colleagues also found that more cancer
patients are using alternative treatments such as vitamins,
herbs, and shark cartilage than previously believed.
Source: Reuters - May 24, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000524/hl/
alternative_cancer_1.html



PLANNING FOR DEATH
In a superb two-part series, reporter Denise Grady examines why
so many people die in pain and hooked up to tubes in
intensive-care wards. Advance directives are frequently ignored,
but Grady reports that open, compassionate communication between
the doctor and the family of an incapacitated patient often leads
to decisions that all involved can accept.
Source: New York Times - May 29-30, 2000
Part 1: http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/health/
052900living-wills.html

Part 2: http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/health/
053000hth-living-wills.html



FALLING OFF PROZAC
People who stop taking newer antidepressants such as Prozac and
Paxil can experience everything from suicidal impulses to nausea.
These symptoms aren't a sign that an illness such as depression
is returning - they're withdrawal symptoms from stopping the
drug. Lots of patients have problems because their doctors don't
know that you need to gradually reduce an antidepressant's dosage
to minimize withdrawal problems.
Source: ABCNEWS.com - May 24, 2000
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/living/DailyNews/ssri000524.html


OUT OF REACH?
Prices for prescription drugs are rising far faster than the
general rate of inflation. This article examines some of the
causes: research costs, advertising to consumers, and the rise of
managed care.
Source: Los Angeles Times - May 29, 2000
http://www.latimes.com/print/health/20000529/t000050773.html


WHO WILL CARE FOR THE CRAZY?
Once you get past the offensive headline, this article by an
emergency room physician is an excellent look at how the U.S.
health care system has abandoned the mentally ill. It's also the
story of a troubled girl who gets some help - but not enough -
even though she's lucky enough to have the "right" insurance.
Source: Salon - May 25, 2000
http://www.salon.com/health/feature/2000/05/25/psychiatry/
print.html



CALIFORNIA DOCTORS SUE MAJOR HEALTH PLANS FOR
RACKETEERING
The California Medical Association, which represents 30,000
doctors in the state, has filed a lawsuit against California's
three largest health plans. The suit alleges that the three
health plans - Blue Cross of California Inc., PacifiCare Health
Systems Inc., and Foundation Health Systems Inc. - impose unfair
contract terms on doctors and interfere with doctor-patient
relationships for their own financial gain. The suit claims the
health plans' actions violate federal racketeering laws.
Source: Reuters - May 26, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000526/hl/
insurance_scandal_1.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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Falls Church, VA 22042
703-532-6327
bmax@silverhammerpub.com


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