Medicine News /medicine Medicine News and Information Wed, 11 Jan 2017 19:47:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How 4chan trolled the CIA, CNN and BuzzFeed with hilarious fantasy that got reported as real news (infographic) /medicine/2017-01-11-how-4chan-trolled-the-cia-cnn-and-buzzfeed-with-hilarious-fantasy-that-got-reported-as-real-news-infographic /medicine/2017-01-11-how-4chan-trolled-the-cia-cnn-and-buzzfeed-with-hilarious-fantasy-that-got-reported-as-real-news-infographic#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 (See INFOGRAPHIC below) From

CNN and BuzzFeed just hit a whole new low as the world’s dirtiest “sleaze journalism” rags after being caught publishing erotic fanfiction fantasies as “CIA intelligence facts” to attack Donald Trump.

The revelations are astonishing and deeply damning to CNN and BuzzFeed, both of which utterly abandoned the most basic journalistic ethics in their rush to publish anything — including completely fabricated “fake news” — that might damage Donald Trump.

The allegations — which included bizarre, twisted fetish fantasies — were so obviously false and unsubstantiated that most news organizations refused to publish them. But CNN and BuzzFeed have abandoned any attachment to journalistic credibility and have demonstrated a shocking willingness to run with any and all news that they think might spread false rumors to damage the reputation of Donald Trump and his administration.

Here’s an infographic that pieces together what we know so far. What’s hilariously emerging from all this is how Arizona Sen. John McCain is such a laughable tool of disinfo and propaganda. Come to think of it, so is the CIA at this point…

Share this infographic widely. As this story is still developing, there may be more added to it over time, so check back:

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Draining the Pharma swamp: Donald Trump announces plan to hammer Big Pharma’s monopoly profits by requiring competitive bidding for government drug purchase contracts /medicine/2017-01-11-donald-trump-announces-plan-to-attack-big-pharma-monopoly-profits-by-requiring-competitive-bidding-government-drug-purchases /medicine/2017-01-11-donald-trump-announces-plan-to-attack-big-pharma-monopoly-profits-by-requiring-competitive-bidding-government-drug-purchases#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 In a welcome announcement during a press conference today, President-elect Donald Trump announced a plan to shatter the monopolistic pricing of Big Pharma that has been draining literally trillions of dollars from the government for the past two decades.

“Pharma has a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power,” said Trump. “There’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest drug buyer in the world, and we’re going to start bidding. We’re going to start saving billions of dollars on drugs.” (RELATED: See more coverage of President Trump at

Trump is referencing the fact that all the former Presidents in recent memory — Clinton, Bush and Obama — have maintained what can only be called a “monopoly pricing drug cartel” in the United States, where the U.S. government pays outrageously high prices for prescription medications purchased via Medicare, federal health coverage plans and VA Hospital operations. The utter lack of competitive pricing has been kept in place by an army of pharma lobbyists “bribing” complicit lawmakers and bureaucrats to keep high prices in place and eliminate competitive bidding for prescription medication purchase contracts. (RELATED: See daily coverage of medicine news at

$324.6 billion a year in overpriced prescription medications to appease Big Pharma lobbyists

As a result, the federal government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on overpriced prescription drugs each year, dolling out a whopping $324.6 billion on prescription drugs in 2015 alone. “Spending on prescription drugs outpaced all other services in 2015,” says a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid report entitled National Health Expenditures: 2015 Highlights.

That same report reveals that U.S. health care spending has now reached $3.2 trillion annually, or nearly $10,000 per person. If this spending isn’t curtailed, it’s going to bankrupt America and will soon hit an astonishing 25% of GDP, meaning 1 out of every 4 dollars generated in the entire U.S. economy will be going to drug companies, cancer treatment centers, hospitals, doctors and medical device manufacturers.

High drug prices weaken U.S. worker competitiveness in global marketplace

Obviously, that rate of expenditure is unsustainable. It also makes U.S. workers far more expensive than workers in overseas regions, harming the economic competitiveness of U.S. companies. In order for U.S. workers to remain competitive, U.S. health care costs need to be drastically reduced… and that means finally forcing drug companies to compete on pricing rather than receiving “full retail” monopoly-priced reimbursements from the federal government.

Making America Great Again, in other words, means stopping the federal government from being ripped off by Big Pharma.

Notably, Hillary Clinton’s campaign accepted millions of dollars from Big Pharma sources, and there’s little question that Clinton, if she had won the election, would have maintained the status quo of monopoly prices. See “Hillary Clinton will not challenge FDA Monopoly” and “If you support Hillary Clinton, you support big pharma and mandatory vaccinations.” (RELATED: Find more news on Hillary Clinton at

In contrast, Donald Trump is genuinely “draining the swamp” by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse across many sectors of the federal government. Big Pharma just got served: The era of easy profits and a compliant federal government writing unlimited fat checks is now coming to an end.

Every American fed up with unaffordable drug prices, outrageous health insurance premiums and the corruption and influence of lobbyists in Washington D.C. should applaud this announcement by Trump.

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The spicy, active ingredient in chilies found to kill off cancer cells /medicine/2017-01-11-the-spicy-active-ingredient-in-chilies-found-to-kill-off-cancer-cells /medicine/2017-01-11-the-spicy-active-ingredient-in-chilies-found-to-kill-off-cancer-cells#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 A burning, hot sensation in your mouth isn’t the only trick chili peppers have up their sleeve. Rather than spicing up your food, German researchers found that capsaicin, or the active, hot compound in chili peppers, could stop breast cancer in its tracks.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, affecting about one in eight American women. Scientists have classified breast cancer according to the presence or absence of three receptors that are known to promote breast cancer proliferation. The receptors are estrogen, progesterone, and the epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

While breast cancers that test positive for HER2 typically respond well to available treatments, others that test negative for all three receptors (also called triple-negative breast cancer) are harder to treat, with damaging chemotherapy being the only available treatment option.

The German research team led by Ruhr-University Bochum’s Dr. Habil Hanns Hatt and Dr. Lea Weber, however, found that capsaicin may offer new hope in the treatment of this particularly aggressive cancer type. (RELATED: Learn more about health-enhancing foods at

Spicy molecule causing cancer cells to self-destruct

For their study, the team analyzed the effect of capsaicin on SUM149PT cell cultures, which are a model system for the aggressive triple-negative breast cancer type. Previous research suggested that several transient receptor potential (TRP) channels influence cancer cell growth. These TRP channels are membranes that control how much calcium and sodium goes in and out the cancer cell.

Olfactory receptor TRPV1 is one of these channels that received a great deal of attention from researchers around the world. For their study, the German researchers aimed to investigate the role TRPV1 plays in breast cancer growth and development. They hope their findings may lead to better understanding how TRPV1 could be used in breast cancer therapy.

“To our knowledge, no studies have yet conducted a large-scale comparative study of the TRP channels expression profiles in breast cancer cell lines,” said Dr. Lea Weber.

When Dr. Weber and colleagues added capsaicin and helional, a chemical compound which creates the scent of a fresh sea breeze, to breast cancer cell cultures for several hours or days, the spicy ingredient attached itself to the edge of the cancer cell, known as the cell membrane, and activated TRPV1.

When TRVP1 was switched on by capsaicin, calcium and sodium distribution spun out of control and cancer cells began to divide more slowly and self-destruct, which halted the tumor in its growth while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

What’s more, surviving cancer cells were no longer able to move as quickly as before, implying that their ability to form metastases in the body was significantly reduced. (RELATED: Many common food ingredients kill cancer cells. Stay informed at

Exciting breakthrough in the treatment of cancer

While it is too soon to make any conclusion, these findings are an exciting breakthrough in the fight against cancer. However, the researchers noted that the effect cannot be achieved by consuming chili peppers or inhaling the capsaicin compound. They said that that capsaicin is most effective when taken in pill form and attached to another drug that effectively targets cancer cells.

“If we could switch on the TRPV1 receptor with specific drugs, this might constitute a new treatment approach for this type of cancer [triple-negative breast cancer],” says Hanns Hatt.

Furthermore, capsaicin has also been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and induce cell death in several other types of cancer, including colon and pancreatic cancer.

The study was a collaboration between Dr. Hanns Hatt and Dr. Lea Weber, and several institutions in Germany, including the Augusta clinics in Bochum, the hospital Herz-Jesu-Krankenhaus in Dernbach, and the Centre for Genomics in Cologne. The findings were recently published in the journal Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy.

See more news about cancer prevention at


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What’s killing Americans? Top 10 prescribed medications of 2016 give us a troublesome answer /medicine/2017-01-11-whats-killing-americans-top-10-prescribed-medications-of-2016-give-us-a-troublesome-answer /medicine/2017-01-11-whats-killing-americans-top-10-prescribed-medications-of-2016-give-us-a-troublesome-answer#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 ‘Let food be thy medicine’ is a saying attributed to Hippocrates, who is known as the Father of Modern Medicine. We would be well off to heed his advice, but by and large, we do not, for it is the Standard American Diet that is making us sick. A look at the most often prescribed medications reveals the most common health conditions we are being treated for. And these conditions reveal a problem with our diet, because our poor health is closely correlated with our poor food choices.

Our food supply has been adulterated by heavy processing, it’s laden with chemical additives and pesticides, and it lacks the all-important mineral content, due to poor quality soil, after years of high-intensity agricultural practices. Is it any wonder that we are one of the sickest nations in the developed world?

You are what you eat

This truism is all too true, for if we eat healthy foods, we will be healthy. But if we eat unhealthy foods, we will be unhealthy. Here is a list of the top ten prescriptions in America in 2016 (from, along with the associated health condition, the dietary culprit, and a healthier dietary approach.

1. Atorvastatin Calcium is prescribed for high cholesterol. The most recent research bucks conventional wisdom and attributes high cholesterol to refined carbohydrates, not fats. Substituting high quality fats and oils for the empty carbs is the solution.

2. Levothyroxine is used to treat hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. Fluoride in our food and water is absorbed by the body in place of iodine. Iodine is woefully deficient in most people and is essential for healthy hormone production by the thyroid gland. Try to avoid ubiquitous fluoride and supplement iodine.

3. Lisinopril is used for high blood pressure, which is associated with heart attacks. Too much salt is blamed for high blood pressure, but low magnesium is most often overlooked.

4. Omeprazole treats reflux symptoms, which medical orthodoxy says is caused by too much stomach acid, whereas it is likely caused by too little production of hydrochloric acid. Make sure you get enough sodium chloride, or table salt in your diet.

5. Metformin is used to lower blood sugar for diabetes patients. Many physicians now blame a diet rich in refined carbohydrates for the onset of type 2 diabetes, and believe that it can be controlled solely through diet.

6. Amlodipine is used to treat hypertension.

7. Simvastatin treats high cholesterol.

8. Hydrocodone/Acetamenophen treats pain; not necessarily related to diet.

9. Metoprolol ER is prescribed for hypertension.

10. Losartan is prescribed for hypertension.

The low fat fallacy

Obesity is linked as a causative factor to diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, all major contributors to mortality. Regarding our dietary habits, the standard advice in favor of a low fat diet is probably what is killing us. Dr. Atkins puts it this way:

“In recent years, research has indicated that we may have been doing it all wrong. To verify that, just ask yourself: If low-fat diets work, why are we so fat? Sure, you could blame some of it on people with weak willpower, or metabolic problems, or whatever. But when nearly two-thirds of the nation is overweight, those excuses just don’t hold water.

“There is now an enormous body of research that proves that the conventional wisdom about the role fats play in the human diet is, quite simply, wrong, and in fact, it’s a high-carb, high-fat diet that results in weight problems and all the diseases that go along with being overweight. Culprits include the USDA Food Triangle, which guides school lunch programs across the country–it’s top-heavy on refined grains, including pasta and other starches while limiting foods containing fats. And many foods that are thought of as healthy–such as bran muffins, fruit juices and most brands of diet shakes and nutrition bars–are loaded with empty calories and high carbohydrate counts.”

Where do we go from here?

Many natural and non-toxic alternatives are available in the form of foods, supplements, and herbs for the above listed maladies. All prescription medications are toxic to an extent, some with serious health consequences. Most medical doctors have very little nutritional training, if any. Many doctors will straight up tell you that nutrition does not affect disease conditions. Are the insane running the asylum?


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Three year study finds Mediterranean diet could prevent loss of brain volume as you age /medicine/2017-01-10-three-year-study-found-the-mediterranean-diet-could-prevent-loss-of-brain-volume-as-your-age /medicine/2017-01-10-three-year-study-found-the-mediterranean-diet-could-prevent-loss-of-brain-volume-as-your-age#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 A new study has provided evidence that the so-called “Mediterranean diet” can help prevent the loss of brain volume in older people.

The three-year study, published January 4 in the journal Neurology, found that a diet heavy on olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, with moderate amounts of fish, wine and dairy, and small amounts of red meat and poultry, helped those around the age of 70 to retain more brain volume compared to those who did not strictly adhere to the Mediterranean diet.

Lead author Michelle Luciano, PhD, of the University of Edinburgh, said:

“As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory. This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health.”

Mediterranean diet provides ‘long-term protection to the brain’

The findings reflect earlier studies showing a link between the Mediterranean diet and brain health, but this study is unique, according to the authors, in that it followed the subjects over a period of time, rather than taking one-time measurements.

“In our study, eating habits were measured before brain volume was, which suggests that the diet may be able to provide long-term protection to the brain,” said Luciano.

The study involved more than 950 Scottish seniors around the age of 70 who did not suffer from dementia.

From Medical Xpress:

“Of those people, 562 had an MRI brain scan around age 73 to measure overall brain volume, gray matter volume and thickness of the cortex, which is the outer layer of the brain. From that group, 401 people then returned for a second MRI at age 76. These measurements were compared to how closely participants followed the Mediterranean diet. …

“People who didn’t follow as closely to the Mediterranean diet were more likely to have a higher loss of total brain volume over the three years than people who followed the diet more closely.”

The researchers found that those who followed the diet lost only half the amount of brain volume compared to the effects of normal aging.

No changes in cortical thickness or gray matter volume were found.

Interestingly, the researchers found – contrary to the results of other studies – that consuming more fish and less meat did not appear to have an effect, leading Luciano to suggest that other components of the Mediterranean diet may be responsible for its brain-boosting benefits, or that perhaps it’s due to “all of the components in combination.”

What exactly constitutes a Mediterranean diet?

It should be noted that the Mediterranean diet is not one particular group of dishes or ingredients – it is rather a general regional trend that includes many variations. These cuisines, which include Greek, Italian, Spanish and others, tend to contain common elements such as seafood, red wine and olive oil – all of which are produced in the Mediterranean region.

So, even though there is not one convenient definition of what constitutes the Mediterranean diet, the overall emphasis is on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, legumes and grains, and olive oil rather than butter.

Such a diet is not only good for the brain, but also for managing a healthy weight and preventing heart disease and diabetes. Studies have also found the diet to be effective in preventing strokes, reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of depression.

Another important difference between the Mediterranean diet and that which many Americans practice is that it includes few processed foods. Added sugar, preservatives, artificial flavorings and other questionable ingredients are a big contributor to health problems and obesity in the United States.

Any diet that includes fresh, unprocessed (preferably organic) ingredients will always be healthier than the junk that passes for food many Americans consume on a daily basis.

So, if you’d like to live to a ripe old age while keeping your mental faculties in sharp working condition, the Mediterranean diet may be right for you!


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Water crisis: Obama’s EPA to approve dramatic increase in limits on radiation exposure allowable in public drinking water /medicine/2017-01-10-water-crisis-on-obamas-final-day-epa-plans-for-huge-spike-in-radiation-exposure-allowed-in-public-drinking-water /medicine/2017-01-10-water-crisis-on-obamas-final-day-epa-plans-for-huge-spike-in-radiation-exposure-allowed-in-public-drinking-water#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 As one of its closing acts before leaving the stage, the Obama administration plans to relax EPA guidelines regarding maximum allowable radiation levels in the nation’s drinking water, increasing them to levels thousands of times above current legal limits.

A federal lawsuit filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) led to the release of documents confirming details of the planned “Protective Action Guides” (PAGs) to be implemented, which include the new radically higher maximum allowable radiation levels.

PEER has accused the EPA of jeopardizing public health in favor of public relations.

From a PEER press release dated December 22, 2016:

“Following Japan’s Fukushima meltdown in 2011, EPA’s claims that no radioactivity could reach the U.S. at levels of concern were contradicted by its own rainwater measurements showing contamination from Fukushima throughout the U.S. well above Safe Drinking Water Act limits. In reaction, EPA prepared new limits 1000s of times higher than even the Fukushima rainwater because ‘EPA experienced major difficulties conveying to the public that the detected levels…were not of immediate concern for public health.’”

EPA kept details of new guidelines a secret

Although the EPA released its proposed PAGs for public comment, it conveniently neglected to include “all but four of the 110 radionuclides covered, and refused to reveal how much they were above Safe Drinking Water Act limits.”

Only after the PEER lawsuit forced the EPA to release the pertinent documents did it become clear how much the levels were to be increased. Even so, more than 60,000 people had already left comments in opposition of the proposed guidelines on the agency’s website.

Current drinking water radiation limits are defined under the Safe Drinking Water Act, established in the 1970s.

The documents obtained by PEER revealed that the EPA plans to raise maximum allowable limits of iodine-131, cobalt-60 and calcium-45 to more than 10,000 times the levels allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Others would be hundreds or thousands of times higher under the new guidelines.

The agency’s justification for withholding the new proposed limits from the public until after the proposal had been adopted was that it wanted to “avoid confusion.”

The EPA deliberately hid the details not only from the public, but also from some of its own staff, according to PEER:

“The documents also reveal that EPA’s radiation division even hid the new concentrations from other divisions of EPA that were critical of the proposal, requiring repeated efforts to get them to even be disclosed internally.”

Even the George W. Bush administration’s attempt to introduce higher limits – a plan that was ultimately withdrawn – was modest in comparison to the levels proposed under the Obama EPA.

On December 1, outgoing EPA administrator Gina McCarthy gave final approval to all of the proposed PAGs – except for the drinking water standards. It’s unclear at this point whether she will actually approve the water section before leaving office, or whether she will leave the issue to the next administration to deal with.

Voice your opposition (before it’s too late)

There appears to be a good chance McCarthy will approve the rest of the PAGs before the changing of the guard, and there is still time to make your opposition to the proposals known.

It’s important to understand that higher allowable radiation limits will take pressure off the nuclear and fracking industries as well, which may be the real motivation for the establishment of the new guidelines – with Fukushima merely serving as an excuse to do so.

“The Dr. Strangelove wing of EPA does not want this information shared with many of its own experts, let alone the public,” said PEER executive director Jeff Ruch. “This is a matter of public health that should be promulgated in broad daylight rather than slimed through in the witching hours of a departing administration.”

If you would like to voice your opposition to the EPA plan, click here.


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Processed fries with the Gospel? McDonald’s now stationed in the Vatican /medicine/2017-01-10-processed-fries-with-the-gospel-mcdonalds-is-now-stationed-in-the-vatican /medicine/2017-01-10-processed-fries-with-the-gospel-mcdonalds-is-now-stationed-in-the-vatican#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 In what some are already calling an unholy alliance, McDonald’s has just opened a new restaurant located – of all places – in the Vatican.

Yes, the golden arches have popped up next to St. Peter’s Basilica, and many people are unhappy about the fact, arguing that the fast food giant has no place in such a spiritually significant and historic setting.

Critics of the Vatican’s agreement to lease the property – located about 100 yards from the Vatican State – include high-ranking members of the clergy.

From Vice:

“When plans for the McDonald’s, known as the McVatican, were announced in October, Cardinal Elio Sgreccia told La Repubblica that the restaurant was a ‘disgrace’ that served ‘food that I would never eat.’ He added that the money spent on renting the real estate, for which McDonald’s is shelling out roughly $31,000 per month, should be used to help the poor instead.”

‘McVatican’ offends cultural, culinary purists

Placing a McDonald’s in such a location seems incongruous on so many levels. It does reek of blasphemy to open such a modernist monstrosity next to some of the world’s most revered architectural marvels, and to even consider serving Big Macs and McNuggets in the culinary paradise that is Rome should be classified as a punishable offense.

“It’s a business decision that ignores the culinary tradition of Roman cuisine,” said the cardinal.

Others echoed Cardinal Sgreccia’s sentiments, including a citizens group which is protesting the McDonald’s opening over its potentially negative impact on the cultural ambiance of the area.

From The Guardian:

“The Committee for the Protection of Borgo was the first group to raise the alarm over the proposed restaurant. It said the fast food chain would distort the area and inflict a ‘decisive blow on an already wounded animal’ given the abundance of mini-markets and stands selling religious trinkets in the area.”

In fact, the area around the Vatican is already home to several fast food outlets. There’s a McDonald’s near the Vatican Library and another one 200 yards away from that one (with a Burger King located in-between).

What makes this McDonald’s unique is that it is located on Vatican-owned property – which, incidentally, formerly housed a religious bookstore. Critics say the property should be leased to an entity more in line with the Catholic Church’s mission, or at least one that reflects the neighborhood’s cultural heritage.

Co-branding scheme in the works?

But in many ways, it’s a perfect marriage; McDonald’s and the Catholic Church have a lot in common. Both are found in every corner of the globe, and both generate staggering amounts of money – mostly collected from poor people.

It’s not hard to imagine a co-branding scheme – perhaps priests could begin offering a supersized option for the wafers and wine distributed during communion? Maybe the Mickey D sign could list how many souls are being saved along with the number of hamburgers being served?

And maybe a little product placement in the Bible wouldn’t hurt, either – how about a miracle of the loaves and McFishes?

Seriously, it shouldn’t be such a surprise that the two entities are now connected – they both operate at a global level and their goals truly aren’t so disparate. Both make it their mission to reach as many people as possible, and both depend on income primarily gleaned from the lower economic strata of the population.

It may not be long before one can obtain physical and spiritual sustenance under one roof – or arch, as the case may be – in every major city in the world. This may mark the beginning of a long and prosperous partnership between two financial powerhouses.

Imagine how many billions could be served and saved at the same time …


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Hospital overcrowding causing nurses to lose sleep over fear of mistakes at work /medicine/2017-01-10-hospital-overcrowding-causing-nurses-to-lose-sleep-over-fear-of-mistakes-at-work /medicine/2017-01-10-hospital-overcrowding-causing-nurses-to-lose-sleep-over-fear-of-mistakes-at-work#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 In the best of conditions, nursing is a difficult and often thankless job. But when hospitals become overcrowded and understaffed, the pressure begins to really take its toll.

Nurses in Irish hospitals are reporting that they are losing sleep over fear of making mistakes due to hospital overcrowding and the extra responsibility and stress that comes with it.

One Irish nurse told her story to the Independent – the following is an excerpt from her account:

“In the last number of years we’ve seen our numbers increase and the number of people on trolleys increase year and year.

“But when we ask for help we are told there is no help. There are no more nurses to come down to help us out. …

“Every nurse goes into work with serious concerns that we’ll make a mistake, that we’ll forget to do something or we’ll omit something important because we are juggling so many jobs at once.”

The nurse, whose name was not published, went on to describe the difficult decisions she has to make on a daily basis and how they affect her sleep:

“If you run out of trolleys you are left with the decision to make as to who gets a trolley and who doesn’t,” she said, adding: “At night you are losing sleep because you’re thinking about everything you did or didn’t get to do.”

According to the nurse, morale is low among her colleagues. Even patients notice and ask on a daily basis: “How do you work here?” she reported.

The problem isn’t unique to Ireland, and of course, it’s not just nurses and medical staff who are suffering. Imagine patients waiting many hours or even days for a bed assignment after arriving at the hospital. It happens all the time, and things aren’t getting better.

Hospital overcrowding in the U.S.

In the United States, for example, the number of ER visits grows yearly, while the number of available ERs continues to decrease. As a result, overcrowding and long waiting times have become the rule rather than the exception.

So, how did we get to this point? Historically, emergency rooms were places where mostly traumatic injuries, such as those sustained in an automobile accident, were treated. By the 1980s, however, ERs had become the “backbone of our national healthcare safety net,” according to Referral MD.

In 1986, in response to cases of “patient dumping” by hospitals, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA), which required ERs to examine and treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

This legislation led to the demise of many ERs throughout the U.S. after patient visits increased and ERs became the “primary care physicians of the uninsured and underinsured.”

As a result, ER wait times increased 25 percent from 2003 to 2009. From 1995 to 2010, ER visits increased 34 percent while the number of available ERs decreased 11 percent.

The Affordable Care Act has further complicated matters, as has the fact that the baby boomer generation is now at the age where its members need more healthcare.

ER overcrowding linked to higher death rates

Hospital overcrowding has even contributed to higher death rates. Patients at overcrowded ERs were 5 percent more likely to die compared with patients treated at those which were less crowded, according to a 2012 study.

All of these factors are making life difficult for nurses, the unsung heroes of our healthcare system who do most of the work and for a lot less pay than surgeons and specialists.

Universal healthcare is arguably a basic right, but someone has to pay for it. Our new president and Congress have vowed to restructure our healthcare system. Let’s hope they can figure out a way to provide the affordable healthcare Americans deserve without breaking the bank and driving all of our nurses into seeking other professions.


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FDA admits cybersecurity vulnerabilities in pacemakers, insulin pumps and MRI systems /medicine/2017-01-09-fda-admits-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities-in-pacemakers-insulin-pumps-and-mri-systems /medicine/2017-01-09-fda-admits-cybersecurity-vulnerabilities-in-pacemakers-insulin-pumps-and-mri-systems#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 People who use various medical devices, such as pacemakers, insulin pumps and MRI systems, already have enough to be concerned with just in terms of dealing with their medical conditions. But on top of that, now they also need to deal with the issue of cybersecurity vulnerabilities that affect these devices and that have been admitted by the FDA.

FDA acknowledges that medical devices are at risk

Not just the computer systems of large corporations, governments and financial organizations are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. The FDA is now admitting that medical devices, and in turn the patients who use them, could be victims of hacking. “Cybersecurity threats are real, ever-present and continuously changing,” admitted Suzanne Schwartz, a senior Food and Drug Administration official. “And as hackers become more sophisticated, these cybersecurity risks will evolve.” Unlike hacks that involve other computers and are mere inconveniences in the big picture, threats that involve medical devices are potentially life-threatening, such as in the case of certain heart devices. This is certainly not what any patient who uses a device like this or their loved ones wants to hear.

How the FDA has attempted to address the risks

In light of these security risks, it is clear that the FDA needs to develop rules and policies that will help to identify these vulnerabilities and then address them, with the goal of reducing the threats to these devices that many patients rely on. The FDA has taken some actions in recent years to try to do that:

  • It published a 30-day document providing guidance on cybersecurity issues.
  • In 2014, it published a document explaining how medical device manufacturers need to deal with cybersecurity threats when they are developing various new products. This did not address products that were already being sold at the time the document was published.
  • In 2015, it told hospitals to stop using a particular infusion pump made by Hospira Inc. because a security risk could open the door for hackers to control the device from a distance

The FDA will need to stay on top of this issue and do as much as possible, because there has been mounting evidence in recent years that these threats and bugs in medical devices are real. In addition, the issues of cybersecurity risks and hacking seem to worsen over time.

What manufacturers need to do

Manufacturers of medical devices that could potentially be affected by cybersecurity threats should be extremely vigilant as well. They need to determine which products that are already on the market are at risk for threats and then determine a way to remedy the situation. If threats are severe enough to require such severe action, they need to remove products from the market that have risks so severe that they cannot be remedied. They also need to develop new products with cybersecurity threats at the forefront of their minds by designing products to be more insulated from cybersecurity threats. With all their products, they need to have ways for security experts to quickly and efficiently report potential cybersecurity threats. Finally, they need to openly communicate with medical organizations, patients and the FDA regarding any information about cybersecurity threats.

Technology can lead to many medical advances but often also brings down sides such as cybersecurity threats. Patients who use medical devices that could be affected by cybersecurity threats should stay well informed and educated about what to do. Find out if the devices you use are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Discuss the issue of cybersecurity threats with the doctor who prescribed the device, and ask them for advice.


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Yoga can alter DNA in humans /medicine/2017-01-09-yoga-can-alter-dna-in-humans /medicine/2017-01-09-yoga-can-alter-dna-in-humans#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Yoga is renowned for its positive effects on human health. It’s a great stress-reliever, and there are tons of options for how you want to do your yoga. It can be done at home on your own time, in your own space — or you take classes just about anywhere.

Yoga is more than just a trend, though. It provides real-life benefits to your body, and in a variety of ways that continue to be uncovered. For example, a 2011 study led by researchers from York University found that yoga helps to reduce stress hormones and helps to relieve the physical and psychological symptoms of chronic pain in women with fibromyalgia.

More recent research has revealed that yoga’s body benefits may reach even further than that. A study from Harvard University found that practicing yoga can impart a positive change on metabolic function at a cellular level. This in turn can improve things like nutrient absorption, and may assist in the prevention of chronic diseases. The results showed that overall, practicing yoga promoted better cell function across the board.

For the study, researchers utilized two groups of participants: one group that practiced yoga and mindfulness exercises, and a group that did not partake in either activity. After an eight week trial period, the scientists took blood samples from both groups. They then discovered that the yoga group exhibited changes to 2,209 genes, suggesting quite a profound effect. Of these, 1,275 were changes that led to genes being up-regulated (meaning activity increased), and 934 instances in which the changes resulted in genes that were down-regulated (meaningactivity decreased).

Writing for Fox News, Chris Kilham notes that in addition to cell metabolism, many of the changes that took place in the DNA resulted in an increased resistance to oxidative stress. Kilham writes, “Oxidative stress is associated with numerous degenerative disorders, including cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and more. Improved resistance to oxidative stress translates into better health overall, with reduced risk of chronic disease.”

Another study, led by researchers from the University of Calgary, found that yoga can also be a very helpful tool when it comes to cancer recovery. For the study, researchers had a group of breast cancer survivors participate in weekly yoga and mediation classes, and the participants also practiced these techniques at home. A control group that did not partake in these events was also featured in the study. Blood samples from both groups were taken at baseline and again when the study period ended, after twelve weeks.

The scientists found that the study participants who practiced the yoga and meditation exercises showcased longer telomere lengths than those seen in the control group. Longer telomere length is often associated with better post-cancer survival rates, according to many cancer specialists. This suggests that yoga can play a valuable role in cancer recovery.

In addition to providing new insights on the health effects of yoga, these studies also seem to support the widely repeated claim that yoga can improve your health and extend your lifespan.

Yoga has many other health benefits

There are many other documented health benefits to be had, if you choose to practice yoga. For example, yoga can provide a number of cardiac benefits. In addition to reducing stress, it has also been found to help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Some studies have also found that just doing yoga can help to improve your blood lipid profiles, in both healthy people and people with known coronary artery disease. Yoga has also been shown to help lower high blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Practicing yoga can also help bolster weight loss and weight maintenance efforts. Besides the obvious benefits of exercise, some studies indicate that people who practice yoga tend to be more mindful eaters. Researchers found that practicing yoga just once a week for 30 minutes for at least four years gained less weight in middle-adulthood. They also found that people who were overweight actually lost weight. The research team attributed these benefits to mindfulness, which can help improve your relationship with your body, weight and food.

And of course, like any exercise, yoga too can help to increase your overall physical fitness, including strength, endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory capacity.


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