Health Updates 27 September 2011

  • Coffee linked to warding off depression in women: “Women in the study who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to develop depression over a 10-year period compared to those who drank one cup of coffee or less per week.  The researchers cautioned, however, that the new study only shows an association between coffee consumption and depression risk, and cannot prove that drinking coffee reduces risk of depression in women.” (
  • President Obama and Dems reset the conversation on health care: “Weary of getting pounded over the new health overhaul law, President Barack Obama and his party are changing the subject to Medicare.  Obama signaled last week he’s on board with the shift.  His latest debt plan for Congress omitted an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, a proposal he’d put on the table in earlier discussions with House Speaker John Boehner.  Gone was the consensus-seeking compromiser as Obama threatened to veto Medicare beneficiary cuts unless Congress also raises taxes on the rich.” (Associated Press)
  • No easy fix for drug shortage crisis: “The increasing number of drug shortages has a variety of causes and will require corrective action on a number of fronts, according to panelists at an FDA meeting on drug shortages.  The FDA called the meeting Monday in response to increasing reports of shortages for a variety of drugs, including chemotherapy drugs, drugs used in surgery and sedation, and antibiotics, as well as total parenteral nutrition products.  According to the FDA, there were 178 drug shortages reported last year, and even more so far in 2011….54% of the shortages were due to quality or manufacturing issues; 21% were due to delays and capacity issues; 11% due to discontinuations; 5% due to raw material issues”.  Authorities believe the problem is too complex to solve easily: “A variety of solutions will be needed, including regulatory changes, manufacturing changes, and ways to make sure people aren’t hoarding drugs and diverting them to the ‘gray market’ to sell at much higher prices…”. (Joyce Frieden, MedPage Today)
  • Couples counseling boost sex life after prostate surgery: “The side effects of prostate cancer treatments, including surgery and radiation, can seriously disrupt a couple’s sex life.  But a new study finds that counseling helped married men and women figure out what sorts of treatments for erectile dysfunction worked for them and how to incorporate those methods during sex.  In doing so, they returned some luster to their love lives.” (USA Today)

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