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Showing posts from April, 2016

Health Care Reform in the United States

T.R. Reid, the author of "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care" recently wrote about the five myths that are fueling the debate for Health Care Reform in the United States, but the most persistent myth of all, he says is that "America has the finest health care in the world". Perhaps this is why there is such a strong reaction to the current debate that is going on in Congress and in the country. Americans like to be the best and questioning or examining the present health care system magnifies the problems within it which seems to bring a sense of fear and vulnerability to many Americans. What is Vulnerability? According to the website, one definition of vulnerability fits well in regards to the health care struggles for change: Vulnerability is the fear of being trapped or imprisoned in a situation where feelings and rights are ignored. It seems that Americans are fearful that if changes are

Heart Disease and Cancer Top Killer-Disease List

The two diseases are cited in 54.7 percent of U.S. deaths in1997, the last year for which totals are available from the Center For Disease Control (CDC), according to a newly-released report. The Center confirms how greatly things changed in the century between the end of the 19th century and today. As the 20th century began, the nation was mostly rural. In the 20th Century, infectious diseases were the most feared of killers. The Center reports, "Infectious diseases ran rampart in the United States and worldwide and topped the leading causes of death." Today, the report concludes, infectious diseases are less a threat now. "Chronic diseases top the threat list." Heart disease accounts for 31.4 percent of all deaths, followed by cancer, accounting for 23.3 percent of deaths each year. Strokes, at 6.9 percent, finished a distant third. While health care in America is better than ever, and - because of affordable health insurance plans - medical treatm

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing previously available only through doctors' offices is now available directly to consumers. These tests are identified as Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Tests (DTC) or At-Home Genetic Tests. AT-Home Genetic Testing There are approximately 2,000 DTC or At-Home Genetic Tests currently available and consumers now have the option to conduct their own tests for a variety of genetic issues, ranging from ancestry to paternity to early detection of genetic disease and the potential future vulnerability to genetic disease. Prices vary depending on the complexity of the test, ranging from $100 to over a thousand dollars. Consumers can access these tests primarily through print ads and the Internet. DTC marketing claims stress the privacy issue, stating that consumers have greater control over their test results when a doctor's office is not involved. The consumer takes the sample, usually by passing a cotton swab along the inside of the cheek, and sends it back to

Drug Approval in the United States

It is important for medical consumers to understand the drug approval process and how to gain access to clinical trials that may cure their illnesses. Drug approval is a complex process but a simple overview and two United States government website can help consumers to understand how drugs are approved. In several developed countries, a uniform procedure exists for determining if new drugs are safe and effective for use in humans. The International Conference on Harmonization created a common format for reporting the results of clinical studies that test new and investigational drugs in patients. The universal document is called the “Common Technical Document” and is accepted in various formats by the European Union, Japan and the United States. The FDA is Responsible for Drug Safety in the United States. In the United States of America, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, abbreviated FDA , is charged (Code of Federal Regulations 21 CFR 314.50) with maintaining the safety of

Does Your Family Know Your Advance Directives?

Adults generally do not spend a lot of time worrying about dying. Most people do not spend time thinking about what might happen to them if they were to get into a sudden accident and be placed on life support. Many times it takes a sudden death that is featured in the news to get adults to consider a key question, "Will your family know your final wishes in a time of crisis?" Sudden death of someone before their time is a stark reminder of just how short life is and how quickly life can change and be over--in an instant. The sudden deaths of Michael Jackson, Steve Irwin, John F. Kennedy Jr., Princess Diana, Heath Ledger, John Ritter, John Lennon and Natasha Richardson to name just a few are heartbreaking reminders of how quickly life can suddenly end. Actress Natasha Richardson's sudden, unexpected accident and death in March 2009 left her family needing to make difficult choices. Her family was faced with decisions of what to do about life support and once it was

Does Laser Treatment for Acne Work?

For individuals with acne that seems to be unresponsive to prescription medication , over-the-counter creams and alternative treatments – there is another option. Doctors are now using laser treatments to clear up light, moderate and severe cases of acne in patients. Performed typically under anesthesia as an outpatient procedure, the laser treatment is over quickly and may clear acne quite nicely. How Do Laser Treatments Work? There are a few different types of laser treatments physicians use to clear up acne . However, they work in the same ways. The lasers kill the bacteria that cause acne, while also shrinking the sebaceous glands that produce too much oil. This oil is often the main cause of whiteheads and blackheads on the skin. Studies have shown that laser treatment can be more effective at clearing acne and keeping it away than any over the counter cream available. Are Laser Treatments Safe? There is no evidence to suggest that laser treatments are unsafe , and

Effects of Environmental Noise Pollution

Noise is an environmental contaminant along with radiation, and organic and inorganic chemicals such as heavy metals and pesticides. Defined as a source that emits noise high enough to impact a significant number of people, environment noise (or sound) is a non-ionized form of acousitcal radiation. Ionized radiation is emitted by radioactive substances, while non-ionized radiation comes from radio waves, microwaves, and low frequency electromagnetic waves (Health Canada, p. 75). Sources of Environmental Noise Pollution The main sources of environmental noise pollution are air conditioners and industrial equipment; noise from industry, construction, and demolition; noise generated by human activity such as lawn mowers or leaf blowers, loud music, barking dogs, children playing, and outdoor events such as concerts or festivals. Another significant source of environmental noise pollution is transportation related: buses, trains, cars, motorcycles, trucks, and emergency vehicle

Antidiuretic Hormone

Antidiuretic hormone (ADH), also known as vasopressin, is an endocrine hormone that helps maintain water balance in the body. Triggered by dehydration, ADH is produced by the posterior portion of the pituitary gland and stimulates the kidneys to reabsorb water from the collecting ducts. This hormone also constricts the blood vessels to prevent the blood pressure from getting too low. In some cases, an individual may have a dysfunction with ADH . This involves one of two conditions, both of which are described below. Diabetes Insipidus Diabetes insipidus (DI) refers to the inadequate function of ADH. This may occur due to lowered production of ADH by the pituitary gland (central DI) or lack of response to ADH by the kidneys (nephrogenic DI). A variety of pathological processes in the pituitary gland can cause central DI, most commonly tumors in the brain or pituitary gland, surgery of the brain or pituitary gland, or head trauma. In contrast, nephrogenic DI is often the resu