Health Updates 21 October 2011

  • One more time: researchers say your cell phone is safe: “The biggest study ever to examine the possible connection between cellphones and cancer found no evidence of any link, suggesting that billions of people who are rarely more than a few inches from their phones have no special health concerns.  The Danish study of more than 350,00 people concluded there was no difference in cancer rates between people who had used a cellphone for about a decade and those who did not.” (Associated Press)
  •  Gel reduces women’s risk of herpes, study finds: “A vaginal gel that sharply reduced a woman’s risk of infection with the AIDS virus is even more effective against genital herpes, a much more common risk for young American women, a new study has found.  ‘This could be incredibly helpful,’ said Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, a herpes expert from the University of Washington’s medical school.  ‘Protection that a woman can control is the holy grail in this field.  It’s hard for me to believe that something that protects against both HIV and herpes wouldn’t be appealing to a lot of young American women’.” (NY Times)
  • Federal officials ease regulations on Accountable Care Organizations: “The new rules will reward healthcare providers who form partnerships to reduce the cost of caring for Americans on Medicare while also boosting quality, two goals of the sweeping overhaul the president signed last year.  The partnerships – known as Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs – have been touted by many experts as one of the most promising remedies for the poor outcomes and high costs that bedevil the American healthcare system.  Proponents believe the partnerships could ultimately save taxpayers billions of dollars by better coordinating patients’ care and replacing the current fragmented system in which patients often bounce between doctors and hospitals with little communication.” (LA Times)
  • Antidepressant nation: use tops one in ten: “Eleven percent of Americans ages 12 or older use antidepressants – usually for at least two years but 14% have been taking antidepressants for a decade or longer, according to a CDC analysis of data culled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2008.  Moreover, women appear to be hardest hit by depression, as almost one in four (23%) of middle-aged women are using antidepressants and overall women are about 2.5 times more likely than men to take antidepressants.” (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)

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