November 17, 2010

Prescription Abandonment

1 Non-Compliant Patients Undermine Medical Care

An editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine highlights prescription abandonment, its affect on medical treatment, potentially devastating outcomes for the patient and increased health care costs. While researchers remain uncertain as to the scope of the problem, they call for further study to evaluate potential solutions. The study indicates that the cost of prescription drugs is one of the main reasons for prescription abandonment. “The complexity of drug reimbursement in the United States is a particular challenge for physicians, pharmacists and patients alike. Explicitly taking into account both cost and the patient's ability to pay when considering treatment options is important and it's an area where pharmacists can assist physicians," says researcher Dr. Jeff Harrison.

More at Eurekalert.org | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: Most Medicated State Is West Virginia

Tags: Annals of Internal Medicine, Prescription Non-Compliance, Doctors' Orders, Dr. Jeff Harrison

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (54%) / No! (46%)

Yes, Says a New Study

2 Are Statins Overprescribed?

A Johns Hopkins study finds that statin therapy to ward off cardiovascular disease may not benefit everyone. The six-year study found that nearly 95 percent of all heart attacks and strokes occurred in participants who had a measurable buildup of calcium in their blood vessels, while 47 % of participants had no detectable levels of calcium buildup and experienced about five percent of cardiovascular events during the study period. "Our results tell us that only those with calcium buildup in their arteries have a clear benefit from statin therapy, and those who are otherwise healthy and have no significant calcification should with their physician focus on aggressive lifestyle improvements instead of early initiation of statin medications," says investigator Dr. Michael Blaha.

More at ScienceDaily.com | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Tags: Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Attack, Johns Hopkins University, Statins, Stroke, Dr. Michael Blaha, Calcium Buildup

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (47%) / No! (53%)

But It’s Not Without Problems

3 New Lupus Drug Awaits FDA Approval

An FDA advisory panel voted to approve Benlysta, the first drug introduced in fifty years to help ease the symptoms of Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the body to attack its own tissue and organs. The FDA usually follows the advice of its advisory panels and has set December 9 as the date to make its final decision. The drug is not without detractors, however, who say its benefits are “marginal” while its side effects include “increased risk of death, infection and psychiatric effects.” It is also quite costly. Lupus affects about 1.5 million Americans, most of them women. Symptoms are treated with steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as immunosuppressive drugs in extreme cases. At present, there is no cure.

More at LATimes.com | Hat tip to CBSNew.com | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: Weight Loss Drug Denied FDA Approval

Tags: Autoimmune Disease, FDA Approval, Lupus, Benlysta

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (43%) / No! (57%)

Most Do Better or Worse

4 IQ Doesn't Predict Academic Scores for Autistic

Around 90 percent of high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders did better or worse on their academic achievement tests than predicted by their IQ scores, say researchers from the University of Washington. Annette Estes, research assistant professor at the UW's Autism Center says that 27 of the 30 children tested did better or worse on their reading, spelling and math tests than would have been predicted by their IQ test scores. She calls the finding "astounding." Research showed that 18 of the 30 kids tested did better than predicted on at least one of the academic tests, especially in spelling and word reading. The same number of children children scored lower than their IQs predicted on three academic tests, which suggests a learning disability.

More at EureakAlert | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Battle over Autism Service Dog in Class

Tags: Annette Estes, Autism Center, Learning Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorders, IQ Not Predicting Academic Achievement, Autism and IQ Tests

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (47%) / No! (53%)

Preschool Girls Pick Thin

5 Even Girls Three Years Old Want to Be Thin

Girls as young as three are concerned with being thin, suggests new research from Pepperdine University. Since the pressure to be skinny is linked with increased depression and eating disorders, lead researcher Jennifer Harriger finds the study results troubling, reports MSNBC. The small study on preschoolers revealed that some kids will even avoid touching game pieces that depict a fat person. That avoidance was also troubling since a negative view of overweight people could lead to teasing. The preschoolers also used more negative words to describe fat figures, and they were more likely to pick thin body types to be a best friend.

More at MSNBC | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Depression Risk, Girls Want to Be Thin, Eating Disorder Risk, Preschool Girls Concerned with Weight, Jennifer Harriger, Pepperdine University

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (47%) / No! (53%)

Testing Continues

6 Better Cholesterol Lowering Drug on Horizon

"Instead of prescribing pills why don't we try to change the behavior that led to their bad cholesterol in the first place?"
- Kate in the comments

An experimental drug that dramatically increases good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol has cleared a big safety hurdle. WebMD reports that the drug anacetrapib is renewing hopes of fending off heart disease in a new way. While still years away from the market, anacetrapib may be the next big cholesterol drug. Reseachers observed a 138 percent increase in HDL (good) cholesterol over the placebo and a 40 percent decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol. The drug has cleared a safety hurdle, but must still be tested for years to determine if it lowers the risk of heart attack. However, researchers know that the drug didn't increase the the risk of heart attacks or heart disease deaths.

More at WebMD | Hat tip to MSNBC | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Heart Attack Risk Factors, Heart Disease Risk, Lowering Bad Cholesterol, Increasing Good Cholesterol, Anacetrapib, Risk of Heart Attack, Next Big Cholesterol Drug

Read the Comments (1) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

Not a Big Cause for Concern

7 Florida Woman Has Cholera

A woman in Florida has been diagnosed with cholera, but experts say that the disease is unlikely to spread in the U.S. A lab has confirmed that the cholera affecting the woman in Florida is the same type present in Haiti. The woman, whose name will not be released, visited Haiti recently. In Haiti, cholera has killed more than 1,000 people, but better sanitation in the U.S. means that the disease is unlikely to spread. Florida Department of Health spokesman Rob Hayes told CNN that cholera isn't a major public health concern in the U.S., but they're "on top of it." CNN also reports that the cholera outbreak in Haiti has spread to the Dominican Republic.

More at CNN | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

Tags: Cholera Outbreak, Cholera in Haiti, Cholera in Florida, First Cholera Case in U.S., Cholera Spreading, Rob Hayes, Florida Department of Health, Dominican Republic Cholera

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (52%) / No! (48%)

Don't Get a Breast Exam in a Bar

8 Woman Arrested for Giving Breast Exams

"Maybe she should’ve just done it on the dance floor and said that she was Dr. Love"
- Jason in the comments

A woman in Idaho has been arrested and jailed for giving breast exams in a bar while posing as a doctor, reports CBS News. Kristina B. Ross is charged with practicing medicine without a license. Police were tipped off after prospective patients called a plastic surgeon's office asking for Dr. Berlyn Aussieahshowna, who doesn't practice at the office. Police contacted the women who identified 37-year-old Ross as the person posing as a doctor. It's believed that Ross performed breast exams on at least two women in local bars. The phone number for Ross in Boise has been disconnected.

More at CBS News | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Dr. Berlyn Aussieahshowna, Kristina B. Ross, Breast Exam in Bar, Fake Plastic Surgeon, Woman Poses As plAstic Surgeon, Idaho Woman Giving Breast Exams

Read the Comments (1) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (50%) / No! (50%)

Some Vets in Danger

9 PTSD Damages Blood Vessels

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to hardened arteries and increased risk of dying early. New research about the association between PTSD and damaged blood vessels was presented today at the American Heart Association annual meeting. The 286,000 study participants, ages 45 to 81, were mostly male veterans who served in military conflicts from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Korean War. About 10 percent of the veterans in the study had PTSD, and they had more than double risk of death during the 10-year study, reports CNN. Only eight percent of vets without PTSD died during the study, compared with 29 percent of the vets with PTSD. Even after researchers controlled for other factors like high cholesterol, the association between PTSD and increased death remained.

More at CNN | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: American Heart Association Annual Meeting, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Risks of PTSD, Vets with PTSD, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Korean War, PTSD Damages Blood Vessels, PTSD and Early Death, Hardened Arteries PTSD

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (49%) / No! (51%)

Bottom of 11-Country Survey

10 U.S. Adults Most Likely to Go Without Health Care

Adults in the U.S. are much more likely than people in 10 other industrialized nations to go without health care due to cost or disputes with insurance, finds a new survey from The Commonwealth Fund. The reasons more Americans are not getting health care include problems paying medical bills and finding out that insurance isn't paying as expected. "We spend far more on health care than any of these countries, but this study highlights pervasive gaps in U.S. health insurance that put families' health and budgets at risk," says Cathy Schoen, Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President. Schoen also notes that the U.S. is the only country in the survey where having health insurance doesn't guarantee access to care or financial protection when ill.

More at CNN | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Health Care Bill, Health Care Costs, Health Insurance Reform, The Commonwealth Fund, Cathy Schoen, Health Insurance Problems, Reasons We Forgo Health Care, Americans Not Getting Health Care

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (47%) / No! (53%)

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