Health Updates 23 May 2011

  • Poll shows most Americans don’t believe cuts to Medicare are necessary: “That helps explain why the republican Medicare privatization plan flopped, and why President Barak Obama’s Medicare cuts to finance his health care law contributed to Democrats losing control of the House in last year’s elections.  Medicare seems to be turning into the new third rail of politics”. (Associated Press)
  • FDA warns against giving SimplyThick to premature infants: “The product may cause necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a life-threatening condition.  The FDA first learned of adverse events possibly linked to the product on May 13, 2011.  To date, the agency is aware of 15 cases of NEC, including two deaths, involving premature infants who were fed SimplyThick for varying amounts of time.  The product is mixed with mothers’ breast milk or infant formula products”. (FDA)
  • Pediatric hypertension takes center stage: “At this year’s meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, one of the areas of focus will be high blood pressure in children and adolescents, according to the chair of the scientific program committee.  Pediatric hypertension will be joined by hypertension in obese patients and in patients with metabolic disorders to form three areas of increased attention at this year’s meeting”.  According to Dr. William White, chief of the hypertension and clinical pharmacology division at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, ‘it’s not just about blood pressure.  There’s a lot of other diverse interests being discussed’.”  The ASH is focusing on education, research into hypertension and public service work.  (Todd Neale, MedPage Today)
  • Swimmers Ear costs $500 million a year: “Though preventable and generally mild, acute otitis externa (AOE), or swimmer’s ear, costs around $500 million in direct healthcare costs and 600,000 clinician hours annually, researchers found.  Rates of diagnosis were highest in patients aged five to nine.” To reduce the incidence of swimmer’s ear, patients should reduce water exposure and keep their ears as dry as possible.  It is most common in the southern US and more common in men than women.  The peak season for the inflammation, when 44% of cases are reported, is from June to August.  (MedPage Today)
  • 4 ways to manage chronic fatigue: A healthy diet can help the body’s efforts to heal itself.  To reduce the effects of chronic fatigue, including debilitating fatigue, sore throat, muscle or joint pain, headaches and other symptoms, the following might help: 1). decrease protein intake to 10% of your daily calories; 2). eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables; 3). eat garlic regularly for its antiviral effects; and 4). incorporate immune-enhancing mushrooms into meals, including shiitake, oyster, enokidake and maitake mushrooms. (

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