Posts Tagged ‘health’

Who should MDs let die in a pandemic?

May 6, 2008

From Cape Cod Online Tuesday, May 06, 2008 Associated Press Wire   May 5, 9:47 AM EDT By LINDSEY TANNER AP Medical Writer>>read more.     CHICAGO (AP) — Doctors know some patients needing lifesaving care won’t get it in a flu pandemic or other disaster. The gut-wrenching dilemma will be deciding who to let die.     Now, an influential group of physicians has drafted a grimly specific list of recommendations for which patients wouldn’t be treated. They include the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with severe dementia.     The suggested list was compiled by a task force whose members come from prestigious universities, medical groups, the military and government agencies. They include the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.     The proposed guidelines are designed to be a blueprint for hospitals “so that everybody will be thinking in the same way” when pandemic flu or another widespread health care disaster hits, said Dr. Asha Devereaux. She is a critical care specialist in San Diego and lead writer of the task force report.     The idea is to try to make sure that scarce resources – including ventilators, medicine and doctors and nurses – are used in a uniform, objective way, task force members said.     Their recommendations appear in a report appearing Monday in the May edition of Chest, the medical journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.     “If a mass casualty critical care event were to occur tomorrow, many people with clinical conditions that are survivable under usual health care system conditions may have to forgo life-sustaining interventions owing to deficiencies in supply or staffing,” the report states.      To prepare, hospitals should designate a triage team with the Godlike task of deciding who will and who won’t get lifesaving care, the task force wrote. Those out of luck are the people at high risk of death and a slim chance of long-term survival. But the recommendations get much more specific, and include:
-People older than 85.
-Those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings.
-Severely burned patients older than 60.
-Those with severe mental impairment, which could include advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
-Those with a severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.
Dr. Kevin Yeskey, director of the preparedness and emergency operations office at the Department of Health and Human Services, was on the task force. He said the report would be among many the agency reviews as part of preparedness efforts.     Public health law expert Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University called the report an important initiative but also “a political minefield and a legal minefield.”     The recommendations would probably violate federal laws against age discrimination and disability discrimination, said Gostin, who was not on the task force.     If followed to a tee, such rules could exclude care for the poorest, most disadvantaged citizens who suffer disproportionately from chronic disease and disability, he said. While health care rationing will be necessary in a mass disaster, “there are some real ethical concerns here.”     James Bentley, a senior vice president at American Hospital Association, said the report will give guidance to hospitals in shaping their own preparedness plans even if they don’t follow all the suggestions.     He said the proposals resemble a battlefield approach in which limited health care resources are reserved for those most likely to survive.     Bentley said it’s not the first time this type of approach has been recommended for a catastrophic pandemic, but that “this is the most detailed one I have seen from a professional group.”     While the notion of rationing health care is unpleasant, the report could help the public understand that it will be necessary, Bentley said.     Devereaux said compiling the list “was emotionally difficult for everyone.”     That’s partly because members believe it’s just a matter of time before such a health care disaster hits, she said.     “You never know,” Devereaux said. “SARS took a lot of folks by surprise. We didn’t even know it existed.”


Starbucks Profits Drop 28%

May 4, 2008

Starbucks CoffeeFrom AdAge By Emily Bryson York Published: May 01, 2008>>read more.     see related post      Retailer, Amid Back-to-Roots Plan, to Roll Out Array of Non-Coffee Beverages     CHICAGO ( — Amid disappointing earnings yesterday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sought to quell fears about the company’s future by offering guidance on earnings and store openings through 2011. He also announced an array of new beverage platforms, which some experts say are at odds with Starbucks recent back-to-roots theme.     “While we are not going to use the economy as an excuse, it is important to keep in mind that our second-quarter results do reflect the sharp weakening U.S. consumer environment,” Mr. Schultz said. “Like most other retailers and restaurants, we are experiencing a downturn in customer traffic demonstrated in reduced frequency of customer visits that we believe tie to a real reduction in consumers’ discretionary spending habits.”     Emphasis on economy     Second-quarter net income plummeted 28% compared the year-ago quarter, and same-store sales suffered what the company described as a “mid-single digit” decline. Starbucks warned of lower-than-expected earnings last week. Mr. Schultz repeatedly emphasized that there were “no immediate signs” of an economic recovery.     Not everyone agrees with his economic thesis on the company’s woes.     David Palmer, an analyst with UBS, wrote, “We believe that Starbucks is the worst under-earning company in our coverage. Mismanagement & macroeconomics have led to declining [same store sales]. The questions now are: will the company be able to drive meaningful innovation, and create cost savings?”      Starbucks is hoping that a raft of new offerings will help drive traffic. Starbucks DoubleShot is an energy-drink platform that will be offered in stores as well as bottled and sold through the company’s partnership with Pepsi.     “Entering this category offers us a significant opportunity for us to complement our customers lifestyles and engage in important and relatively untapped demographic for Starbucks,” Mr. Schultz said, citing other energy drinks that have included caffeine.      Fruit smoothies     Starbucks will also begin making fruit smoothies at its locations nationwide this summer. Mr. Schultz called the “protein and fruit-blended beverage” Starbucks’ first meaningful step into the health-and-wellness category. At launch, the beverages will come in two flavors, have no artificial sweeteners, contain 15 grams of protein and no more than 270 calories. He added that Starbucks has been discreetly testing the drinks in certain stores, and received responses that surpassed expectations.      “In our research, more than 60% of customers surveyed said they would come to Starbucks to buy healthy, nutritious beverages, and we are confident we have found the perfect answer to their needs,” he said.     Finally, Starbucks will introduce an Italian beverage platform that Mr. Schultz heralded as his company’s next Frappuccino. “We searched the world over and over and have found something finally that took us back to our heritage.”     The new, low-calorie beverage, which will launch in parts of California this summer but won’t be available nationwide until 2009, will have a “smooth, frozen texture,” and offer a range of options including fruit, dairy and yogurt.     John Moore, a former Starbucks marketer who blogs at, said the slate of launches reads like a TV network with a show in the pipeline that they’re being forced to air.      In the pipeline for months     “Keep in mind these beverages have been in the pipeline for months,” he said, indicating that R&D likely preceded Mr. Schultz’ return as CEO. “And it wasn’t until the end of January is when we became knowledgeable the about the company was getting back to its roots.”

Beijing bans smoking in public places

May 2, 2008

How Do You Explain Mommy’s Nose Job?

April 27, 2008

Dr. Michael Alexander Salzhauer says My Beautiful Mommy is intended specifically for women who have already decided to undergo a nose job or tummy tuck. From 'My Beautiful Mommy' Illustrated by Victor Guiza

From NPR Day to Day, April 25, 2008 click to read more or to listen.

What are children to think when their mother’s nose suddenly gets smaller, her breasts bigger, or her belly flatter? How should parents explain the changes?     Some prefer fantasy — “it was a mysterious gift from Santa Claus” — or lies — “Mommy needed a smaller nose in order to breathe better, Honey.”     But Dr. Michael Alexander Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon from Florida, is a fan of honesty. He has written a children’s book, My Beautiful Mommy, that bluntly explains it all.     “You can deny it or … face the issue head-on,” he tells Madeleine Brand of his 21-page illustrated story of a mom who gets a tummy tuck and a nose job.     His tale is narrated by a red-haired girl, about as tall as her mother’s tiny waist is high. On the way to visit a doctor with the build of a superhero, Mommy tells the girl, “My nose may look a little different after the operation.”     “Why are you going to look different?” the girl asks.     “Not just different, my dear — prettier!” Mommy responds. Salzhauer says he agonized over that bit of verbage.     “I could have said ‘straighter,’ but I figured an astute 7-year-old child or 6-year-old child would say, ‘Why do you need your nose straighter?’ And that would inevitably lead to the question of ‘prettier.’ ”     Salzhauer, who had a nose job himself when one of his daughters was just 4, says he saw a need for such a book in his own practice. Many of his female patients bring their children to post-operative visits, causing confusion for the youngsters.     “They typically associate a visit to the doctor’s office with sickness and death — and when you don’t give them information, they fill in the gaps with their imagination,” he says.     He also wants to help children understand why their mothers are covered in bandages and unable to move much after the procedure.     “These operations are not simple surgery in the morning and lunch with the girls at noon,” he explains. “These operations require a lot of down time — two or three weeks, typically — and they turn your household upside-down.”I understand it, not sure what I think about it.

Rice Shortage: What the Fuck are we doing to ourselves!?

April 26, 2008

Vickie Wong of San Francisco buys rice at the South San Francisco Costco, which is limiting purchases. Chronicle photo by Kurt Rogers From San Francisco Chronicle by George Raine, Chronicle Staff Writer Friday, April 25, 2008 click to read more.     Global rice squeeze hitting U.S. consumers     The climbing global price of rice and other staples shows no sign of leveling off, given caps placed on exports and various supply-side squeezes. As a result, food experts predict hunger and poverty in poor nations along with a restricted supply of grains coupled with rising prices in this country.     The worldwide rice crisis lapped over into the United States this week when Costco Wholesale and Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club, the two biggest warehouse retail chains, limited the amount of bulk imported rice customers can buy. Sam’s Club said the restriction is due to “recent supply and demand trends.”     The shortage reflects restrictions on exports by major rice producers, notably India, Vietnam and Egypt, followed on Wednesday by Brazil, causing imbalance in world markets. These nations acted to ensure adequate domestic supplies amid rising world prices for preferable varieties of long-grain rice. Drought has contributed to the shortage, as has hoarding, experts say.     By comparison, there is an abundance of medium- and short-grain rice planted in California, the nation’s second-largest rice-producing state after Arkansas. California growers will harvest approximately 4 billion pounds this year, with 40 percent of the crop to be exported, the majority to Japan. California’s product, consistently among the state’s top 20 crops, is known as sticky rice and is used in sushi, paella, risotto, sake, beer, baby food, rice milk and pet food.     Globally, the rice shortage occurring amid sharply rising food prices across the board is having enormous consequences, as rice provides more than one-fifth of all calories humans consume. The shortage has led to food riots around the world, including deaths in Cameroon. Protesters chanting “We’re hungry!” caused Haiti to remove its prime minister.     “You are seeing the return of the food riot, one of the oldest forms of collective action,” said Raj Patel, a food policy specialist and visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. He noted that the Roman statesman Cicero was once chased from his house because he had food and the intruders didn’t.     “And that happens because people do not have access to food at prices they can afford,” Patel said. “That is why they take to the streets.”     In London this week, the executive director of the World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, warned that more than 100 million people will be pushed into poverty by a “silent tsunami” of sharply rising food prices.     “This is the new face of hunger – the millions of people who were not in the urgent hunger category six months ago but now are,” Sheeran said. “The world’s misery index is rising.”     In this country, the big retailers seem to be the first to curtail rice sales. Costco Wholesale said Tuesday that it is limiting quantities sold to consumers at some stores, including locations in the Bay Area. On Wednesday, Sam’s Club said it is limiting the sale of Jasmine rice from Thailand and Basmati rice from India and other imported long-grain rice to four bags per member visit.     “We are working with our suppliers to address this matter to ensure we are in stock, and we are asking for our members’ cooperation and patience,” said Kristy Reed, a Sam’s Club spokeswoman.     She said purchases of flour and oil are not restricted. The limitations on rice are on bags that are 20 pounds or larger.     Impact on restaurants     Restaurateurs are among those who buy rice at big-box retailers.

Baby Boomers will need robots

April 26, 2008

University of MassachusettsFrom LiveScience Robot Dials 9-1-1 By Dave Mosher, LiveScience Staff Writer posted: 16 April 2008 ET click to read more.     The U.S. medical system faces an imminent crisis as baby boomers age into retirement, but an army of little helper robots might soften the blow.     Researchers designed a two-wheeled robot, known as uBOT-5, with two arms capable of picking up small objects, using a stethoscope and even dialing 9-1-1. Sensors near its video-screen head can also figure out if someone has fallen.     “For the first time, robots are safe enough and inexpensive enough to do meaningful work in a residential environment,” said Rod Grupen, a computer scientist at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst.     Grupen helped develop uBOT-5 in response to the growing crisis faced by the U.S. medical system as almost 78 million baby boomers begin joining the 65-and-older crowd during the next three decades.

Bionic eye implants make blind ‘see again’

April 22, 2008

Bionic eye implants make blind ‘see again’ in pioneering operation
From the Daily Mail By JENNY HOPE Last updated at 23:52pm on 21st April 2008 click to read more.
Two blind men who thought they would never see their families again have had vision restored by Britain’s first “bionic” eye operations.     Electronic receivers were implanted which take signals from a camera mounted in a pair of glasses.      The technology allows enough vision to find doorways, follow individuals, locate objects across the room and help with eating.     It gives new hope to sufferers of diseases affecting the retina for which there is no cure.    Surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital in central London implanted the artificial retinal devices as part of a Europeanwide clinical trial.

Austin plans: build 100’s of apartments and cut hiring plans

April 22, 2008

About 75 percent of the commercial space in the Triangle is spoken for and some say the new land is ripe for more retail or a hotel.From Austin Business Journal by A.J. Mistretta Staff Writer Friday, April 18, 2008 click to read more.     Land at Triangle up for grabs GLO seeks developer to build out tracts near blossoming Central Austin mixed-use project.     The Texas General Land Office is offering up for lease two remaining parcels within the 33-acre Triangle tract, a move that will likely lead to more retail and residential units and possibly other uses at the Central Austin development.     In particular, Burnham says Simmons Vedder is eyeing the 3.7-acre site that would likely allow for about 250 apartment units and roughly 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail if a vertical mixed use zoning change is approved. He says the earliest his company could begin construction would be spring 2009.      Meanwhile, a nearby Hospitals cuts hiring plans by 400 jobs
From Austin Business Journal by by Kate Harrington ABJ Staff Monday, April 21, 2008 – 5:21 PM CDT click to read more.     The Seton Family of Hospitals has slowed growth plans for fiscal year 2009 — trimming its plan for 800 new jobs to 400, in order to deal with rocky economic times, according to a letter attributed to Seton CEO Charles Barnett.    The letter also says that the entire organization will need to look at cutbacks in growth for the next year. Barnett further mentions that two planned executive positions budgeted in 2009 – vice president of safety and vice president for organizational development – will be eliminated. Barnett writes that the system has also already made some reductions in overtime and premium pay.

HPV-related oral cancers rise among younger men

April 14, 2008

Hopkins doctor credited with linking tumors and sexually transmitted virus posted on Baltimore Sun By Stephanie Desmon | Sun reporter April 14, 2008     The sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer in women has now been linked to an uptick of throat, tonsil and tongue cancers – in a younger and healthier group of patients than doctors have ever seen before.     These head and neck cancers were once the scourge of older men – mostly the result of lifetimes of heavy smoking and drinking. The treatments often left victims disfigured.     But with those cases on the decline, doctors are seeing a new group of victims. They’re men in their 40s, and even 30s, whose cancer is brought on by the increasingly common human papillomavirus (HPV). It’s an infection that more than half of Americans will encounter during their lifetimes. And researchers now believe that the increase in certain oral cancers can be traced to the spread of the virus through oral sex.  Read moreImage information. Read related post.

“Bifidus Regularis” with a Straight Face?

April 4, 2008

There seems to be a lot of interest about Jamie Lee’s digestive issues on this blog, to find out more go to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics:  Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amount confer a health benefit on the host.     Prebiotics are non-digestible (by the host) food ingredients that have a beneficial effect through their selective metabolism in the intestinal tract.  Read related post.