Health Newsbrief
August 22, 2001
Vol. 2, No. 29
ISSN 1530-3616
______________________________________________________


Bruce Maxwell, Editor - bmax@silverhammerpub.com
Silver Hammer Publishing - http://silverhammerpub.com

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The News
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WHEN A 'GOOD DEATH' ISN'T FOR EVERYONE
The lead story in this excellent package from the Los Angeles
Times examines how cultural differences affect decisions about
end-of-life care. The sidebars look at the importance of
preparing advance directives, the common desire to die at home,
problems in controlling pain at the end of life, the types of
medications used to control pain, sources both online and off for
information about pain management, and recent books about the end
of life.
Source: Los Angeles Times - Aug. 20, 2001
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/
la-000067464aug20.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dhealth

Sidebar (advance directives): http://www.latimes.com/features/
health/la-000067462aug20.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dhealth

Sidebar (dying at home): http://www.latimes.com/features/health/
la-000067482aug20.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dhealth

Sidebar (managing pain): http://www.latimes.com/features/health/
la-000067466aug20.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dhealth

Sidebar (pain drugs): http://www.latimes.com/features/health/
la-000067484aug20.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dhealth

Sidebar (pain help): http://www.latimes.com/features/health/
la-000067483aug20.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dhealth

Sidebar (books): http://www.latimes.com/features/health/
la-000067470aug20.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dhealth



NEW WARNINGS ON CHOLESTEROL DRUGS SOUGHT
In the wake of Bayer AG's withdrawal of its cholesterol-lowering
drug Baycol from the market (see Health Newsbrief Aug. 15 2001,
http://silverhammerpub.com/hn/hn8_15_2001.html), a consumer
advocacy group has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to
require tougher warnings on drugs in the same class. Public
Citizen's Health Research Group said statins other than Baycol
have been linked to 81 deaths. Meanwhile, the New York Times
reports that the Baycol case represents another example of the
ongoing difficulty in getting doctors to heed warnings about
possible drug complications. And Reuters Health reports that the
makers of other cholesterol-lowering drugs are actively wooing
people who had been taking Baycol.
Sources: Washington Post - Aug. 21, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/A38181-2001Aug20.html
New York Times - Aug. 21, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/21/health/policy/21DRUG.html
Reuters Health - Aug. 15, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010815/hl/baycol_3.html


JAMA EDITORS SAY THEY WERE DUPED
Much has been made about the alleged poor quality of health
information on the Internet. But in yet another example that
other sources aren't necessarily better, the esteemed Journal of
the American Medical Association got duped into publishing a
supposedly factual essay that turned out to be fiction.
Source: Associated Press - Aug. 21, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010821/hl/
snookered_journal_2.html



STUDY: HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE UNTREATED
Millions of Americans go untreated for high blood pressure even
though treatment could lower their risk for heart disease and
stroke, according to a study published in the New England Journal
of Medicine. The authors said at least part of the blame rests
with doctors who aren't aggressive enough in treating high blood
pressure. In a separate study published in the medical journal
The Lancet, Swedish researchers reported that people who take
drugs to treat high blood pressure are not at increased risk for
cancer, as some previous studies had suggested.
Sources: Associated Press - Aug. 15, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010815/hl/
blood_pressure_1.html

Reuters Health - Aug. 17, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010817/hl/
bloodpressure_1.html



GUIDELINES URGE MORE AGGRESSIVE
DIABETES CARE
People at high risk for diabetes should be tested starting at age
30 instead of age 45, according to new guidelines developed by a
pair of physician organizations. The guidelines also lower the
target levels for two diabetes tests.
Source: Reuters Health - Aug. 21, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010821/hl/care_1.html


ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE GOES MAINSTREAM IN U.S.
Alternative and complementary medical therapies are becoming
increasingly popular across all segments of the American
population, according to a study by Harvard University
researchers. The separate article in The Lancet profiles the
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which
was established at the National Institutes of Health in 1992.
Sources: Reuters Health - Aug. 21, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010821/hl/us_1.html
The Lancet - Aug. 18, 2001
http://www.thelancet.com/journal/vol358/Iss9281/full/
llan.358.9281.news.17357.1



NUTRITION A KEY TO BETTER HEALTH FOR ELDERLY
Many people age 65 and over could improve their cognitive
functioning by eating better and taking daily nutritional
supplements, according to this article by New York Times
columnist Jane Brody. Better nutrition also may improve
resistance to infection in older people.
Source: New York Times - Aug. 21, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/21/health/aging/21BROD.html


VACCINE MAY BLOCK PARALYSIS
IN SPINAL CORD INJURY
Israeli researchers have developed a vaccine that they say can
reduce the amount of damage caused by severe spinal cord
injuries. Damage from such injuries spreads from the initial
injury site over days and weeks, potentially giving doctors a
wide window to block further damage with a vaccine.
Source: Reuters - Aug. 17, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010817/hl/paralysis_1.html


LIFETIME ACTIVITY CUTS
BREAST CANCER RISK: STUDY
Women who remain physically active throughout their lives may
have a lower risk for breast cancer than those who are sedentary,
according to a study published in the American Journal of
Epidemiology. The study suggests that basic household and
occupational activities provide more protection that exercise or
sports.
Source: Reuters Health - Aug. 17, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010817/hl/cancer_1.html


VACCINE VERITY:
NEW STUDIES WEIGH BENEFITS AND RISKS
Childhood vaccinations have eliminated many major diseases and
made others very rare. Yet some parents refuse to have their
children vaccinated, fearing dangerous side effects from the
vaccines. Doctors blame inaccurate information available on the
Internet for causing increased worries about vaccine safety.
Source: Science News - Aug. 18, 2001
http://www.sciencenews.org/20010818/bob17.asp


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