Health Updates 1 June 2011

  • Drug shortages are putting patients in harm’s way: “The problem of scarce supplies or even completely unavailable medications isn’t a new one but it’s getting markedly worse.  The number listed in short supply has tripled over the past five years, to a record 211 medications last year.  While some of those have been resolved, another 89 drug shortages have occurred in the first three months of this year, according to the University of Utah’s Drug Information Service.  It tracks shortages for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists”. (Associated Press)
  • Experts say cell phones are possibly carcinogenic: “The group classified cell phones in category 2B, meaning they are possibly carcinogenic to humans.  Other substances in that category include the pesticide  DDT and gasoline engine exhaust”.  Hard to avoid engine exhaust in this culture…hmmm.  Wish they’d make up their minds on this one.  (Associated Press)
  • Government unveils new food guidelines, replacing the ‘confusing’ pyramid: “The pyramid long has been criticized for not easily conveying dietary-guideline information on which types of food and how much food should be consumed.  US dietary guidelines were updated in January and at the time, federal officials said they would design a next-generation pyramid to convey the new recommendations”. (Dow Jones)
  • HHS proposes new privacy rule on medical records: “Patients could obtain a list of everyone who has accessed their electronic medical record under a rule proposed on Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Healthcare providers must currently keep track of everyone who accesses private medical records, but they do not have to provide that information to patients”. (Reuters)
  • Childbirth: Every week in utero country, study says: “Pregnancies lasting at least 37 weeks are regarded as safely full-term, but new research finds that babies born in the 37th or 38th week of pregnancy have a higher risk of dying before their first birthdays than those born after 39 weeks of gestation.  ‘Women need to know that all ‘term’ pregnancies are not alike’, said Dr. Uma M. Reddy, the study’s lead author and a medical officer with the pregnancy and perinatology branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  ‘If the pregnancy is uncomplicated, babies should not be delivered before 39 weeks’.” (Roni Caryn Rabin, NY Times)

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