Health Newsbrief
August 16, 2000
Vol. 1, No. 17
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
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Editor's Note
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Health Newsbrief is taking a temporary hiatus so your editor can
catch his breath and enjoy the last few days of summer. Normal
weekly publication will resume September 13.


The News
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EVIDENCE SAID NEEDED FOR HERBAL MEDICINE
BENEFITS
Little is known about the safety and effectiveness of many herbal
supplements, according to an editorial in the British Medical
Journal. However, the editorial says some herbal supplements have
proven effective, and that doctors need to change their often
negative attitudes towards them.
Source: Reuters - Aug. 10, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000810/sc/
health_herbal_dc_1.html

British Medical Journal editorial:
http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7258/395


WORRYING ABOUT WIRELESS
Recent research about whether cell phones cause health problems
has been inconclusive. As more tests are being conducted, many
scientists are advising people to be cautious about how long they
spend on their cell phones.
Source: Scientific American - September 2000
http://www.sciam.com/2000/0900issue/0900scicit3.html


NEW PSYCHOTROPICS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
Some 103 drugs are now in development for the treatment of mental
illnesses ranging from depression to eating disorders. That's a
record number, and more than double the number of psychotrophic
drugs that were being developed in 1994.
Source: American Medical News - Aug. 21, 2000
http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_00/hlsb0821.htm


THE HERBAL HYPE OF DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS
The elderly are taking dietary and nutritional supplements such
as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs in record numbers.
Lots of doctors are skeptical about the safety and effectiveness
of supplements, but this article recommends keeping an open mind
and provides advice about what doctors should tell their patients
regarding supplements.
Source: American Medical News - Aug. 21, 2000
http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_00/hlsa0821.htm


NEW LAWS LET DOCTORS SAY 'I'M SORRY' FOR
MEDICAL MISTAKES
When physicians make mistakes that harm patients they rarely
apologize, largely out of fear that any statement would be used
against them in a malpractice case. Some states are trying to
change that by passing laws that bar physician apologies from
being admitted into evidence in malpractice cases. The result may
be fewer lawsuits, since patients who receive prompt and sincere
apologies are less likely to sue than those who think a physician
is trying to cover up an error.
Source: American Medical News - Aug. 21, 2000
http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_00/prsa0821.htm


IS THE THERAPEUTIC NATURE OF THE PATIENT-PHYSICIAN
RELATIONSHIP BEING UNDERMINED?
What roles does a primary care physician fulfill in treating a
patient? And how has managed care undermined some of those roles,
especially the therapeutic role of the patient-physician
relationship? A general practitioner examines these questions in
the context of his own practice and studies from the medical
literature.
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine - August 14/28, 2000
http://archinte.ama-assn.org/issues/v160n15/full/icm00001.html


SEEING PESSIMISM'S PLACE IN A SMILEY-FACED WORLD
Don't you just hate people who say you must keep a positive
outlook even when your life goes in the dumper? Now there's
evidence that being relentlessly cheerful may have its hazards,
and that being pessimistic - at least in moderation - may not be
all bad.
Source: New York Times - Aug. 15, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/health/
081500hth-behavior-negativity.html



GUIDELINES CHANGED FOR GIVING CPR
Following an 18-month study, the American Heart Association has
changed its guidelines for providing CPR to heart attack victims.
The biggest change: laypersons are no longer required to take the
victim's pulse before beginning CPR.
Source: Associated Press - August 15, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000815/hl/
cpr_guidelines_2.html

American Heart Association Emergency Cardiac Care site:
http://www.cpr-ecc.americanheart.org


CAFFEINE IN SODAS AIMS TO ADDICT, STUDY SUGGESTS
Why do lots of sodas contain high levels of caffeine? Soft drink
manufacturers claim caffeine enhances the flavor. But new
research from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
suggests the real reason is to turn consumers into addicts. The
researchers said there are many parallels between caffeine in
sodas and nicotine in cigarettes.
Source: MSNBC.com - Aug. 14, 2000
http://www.msnbc.com/news/446035.asp
Archives of Family Medicine study:
http://archfami.ama-assn.org/issues/current/full/foc0025.html


OLDER, HEALTHIER AND WEALTHIER
A study prepared by nine federal agencies reports that older
Americans are enjoying an unprecedented quality of life when
factors ranging from health to wealth are measured. However, the
study also says that minorities are not sharing in all the gains.
Source: Washington Post - Aug. 10, 2000
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A579-2000Aug9.html
Full report: http://www.agingstats.gov/chartbook2000/default.htm


RESEARCHERS TRANSFORM BONE MARROW FROM ADULTS
Researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
Jersey report they have successfully transformed adult bone
marrow cells into nerve cells. However, other scientists said
there isn't enough data to prove the transformation actually
occurred. If such a transformation is possible, it could lead to
significant advances in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease,
Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injuries.
Source: Washington Post - Aug. 15, 2000
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25168-2000Aug14.html


DRUG BLUNDERS COMMON IN NURSING HOMES
A study of Massachusetts nursing homes funded by the National
Institute on Aging has found that residents are frequent victims
of medication errors. In the study, physician mistakes in
ordering drugs accounted for nearly half the errors, and most of
the others resulted from nursing home staff failing to adequately
monitor residents.
Source: HealthSCOUT - Aug. 10, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/hsn/20000811/hl/
drug_blunders_common_in_nursing_homes_1.html

National Institute on Aging press release:
http://www.nih.gov/nia/news/pr/2000/0809.htm


U.S. WEIGHS CHANGES IN RULES ON DRUG RESEARCH
CONFLICTS
Conflicts of interest are rampant in biomedical research,
according to speakers at a conference convened by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. The speakers said
frequent close financial ties between medical companies and
researchers are raising questions about the integrity of data
reported by the researchers.
Source: New York Times - Aug. 16, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/health/
081600hth-research-ethics.html



LISTENING TO GENERICS
A generic version of the popular antidepressant Prozac could hit
pharmacy shelves by next summer, resulting in big savings for
consumers. Prozac's manufacturer, Eli Lilly, tried to block the
generic with a patent claim, but lost in a ruling by a federal
appeals court.
Source: U.S. News & World Report - Aug. 21, 2000
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/000821/prozac.htm


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