February 12th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Not exactly what you want to hear about our healthcare system. But it’s true. Backrooms and basements of hospitals are piling up with tubes, pellets and capsules of used radioactive material that could get misplaced, lost or, even worse, stolen by terrorists and turned into dirty bombs.
Low-level nuclear waste, like materials used to treat cancer patients, was once shipped to a landfill in South Carolina, but recently the state clamped down on regulations, leaving 36 states with no place to dump their nukes, so more and more of it is being stored onsite.
Meaning hazardous materials are ferreted away throughout major cities all over the United States. Government officials say it being properly contained and monitored, but admit it’s difficult to track and is only being inspected once every 5 years. Outside groups and watchdogs suspect smaller radioactive items have already been lost.
Fortunately, much of the radioactive waste only needs to be securely stored for up to 3 years and then can be safely discarded with regular medical garbage. But one radiation control expert said materials like cobalt-60 pellets, used to focus radioactive beams during brain scans, could even end up at flea markets, recycling plants or on Ebay. Eek!
During the past 10 years, 4,363 radioactive sources have been lost, stolen or abandoned. None are considered extremely dangerous, but more than half of the radioactive items were ever recovered; the Associated Press reports.
Read More:U.S. Hospitals Messy with Nuclear Waste…
January 2nd, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
If you’re a parent, here’s another reason to shop for freshly grown organic food: Children and teens who are obese or overweight visit physicians more often—and incur higher healthcare costs—than their healthy-weight peers, according to a report in this month’s edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Sarah E. Hampl, MD, and her colleagues at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine analyzed data from 8,404 patients ages 5 to 18, using body mass index (BMI) to determine weight status. They measured healthcare utilization, including number of physician visits and blood tests that occurred within a year from each patient’s initial appointment. Healthcare expenditures were obtained from medical bills.
Dr. Hampl found that 17.8% of the children and adolescents in the study group were overweight; 21.9% were obese.
“When obesity was present, being female, older and insured by Medicaid were associated with a higher probability of having diagnosed obesity,” the authors write. These children had a significantly higher rate of lab tests, most likely due to physician compliance with guidelines for evaluating overweight and obese kids.
“This trend of increased healthcare utilization, observed even in children younger than 10 years, is similar to the trends seen in adult patients,” the authors conclude. “Efforts to continue to educate primary-care providers regarding the diagnosis of obesity and early interventions to address obesity in children are warranted.”
Read More:Obese Children Face Higher Healthcare Costs
March 27th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Just a reminder that The New Medicine airs on Wednesday evening (check your local PBS listings). Hosted by the late Dana Reeve, it’s of particular interest to those who embrace organic living, holistic healthcare and alternative therapies.
“When Bill Moyers’ series, Healing and the Mind, premiered on PBS more than 10 years ago, the emerging field of ‘mind-body medicine’ and a range of alternative therapies from acupuncture to meditation still lay on the fringes of the U.S. healthcare system,” says Catherine Allan of Twin Cities Public Television, the show’s executive producer. “Today, the field is exploding, driven by a growing body of hard research data, as well as consumer demand, and led by pioneering doctors who understand the significance of the mind-body connection.”
The New Medicine reveals that medical education is changing. The show takes us to Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, one of a growing number of medical schools where there’s renewed emphasis on teaching some of the skills of pre-modern medicine: the importance of listening, comforting and encouraging the body’s own healing abilities. The traditional doctor-patient relationship is undergoing a shift from paternalism to partnership, as practitioners and consumers have begun to promote a more holistic form of healthcare called integrative medicine, which seeks to heal the whole person, rather than simply cure a disease.
“We as a healthcare system have kind of lost our way a little bit over the last two decades by becoming so enamored of technology and specialization that we’ve lost sight of the individual as an individual, a very complex entity,” says Dr. Ralph Snyderman, chairman emeritus of Duke University. “We ought to understand that we are engaged in healing, and healing involves caring. And caring is at the root of the practice of medicine and at the root of the physician-patient relationship.”
“Some people might feel like, ‘Well, this is kind of the touchy-feely, soft side of medicine. Why pay attention when you know what’s important in getting the x-ray and giving the antibiotic?’ ” adds Dr. Arthur Kleinman of Harvard. But this attitude is dangerously shortsighted in his view. If you’re a doctor who fails to take the time to understand an individual’s personality, history, habits and fears, “you’re practicing veterinary medicine,” he says.
Be sure to check out The New Medicine: Companion Book to the Public Television Series, with a forward by Dana Reeve. It includes in-depth interviews with physicians and research scientists featured in the program, as well as tips on how to choose the best doctor and how to get the most out of your visit.
Read More:Old Concepts, New Medicine
June 1st, 2005 - Laura Klein
This year I attended the Natural Product Expo West trade show in Anaheim, California. This massive trade show exhibits every kind of natural and organic product imaginable from food, supplements, personal care, healthcare and pet products.
What I like about this trade show is that their educational seminars are free. When I thumbed through my Natural Product Expo Guide and saw a seminar for Safe Ingredients for Natural Personal Care I new it was a must attend. One of the emerging controversies in the organic and natural product world are the chemicals found in personal care products. Studies are now finding that the chemicals found in everyday products like shampoo, makeup, creams and nail polish can possibly be linked to breast cancer and other human diseases.
The speakers on this seminar’s panel were: Jane Houilhan, Vice President of Research Environmental Working Group, Jeanne Rizzo, RN, Executive Director, The Breast Cancer Fund, Mark Rossi, Health Care Without Harm, Morris Shriftman, Senior VP Marketing, Avalon Natural Products.
A heated discussion amongst the audience and the panelists arose surrounding the replacement for parabens in personal products. If you are not familiar with parabens, they are a synthetic chemical that cosmetic and food companies use to preserve the shelf life of their products. Recently parabens have been linked to breast cancer. New studies are demonstrating that whole parabens can be found intact in breast tissue and are an endocrine disruptor, which is a scary thought. Synthetic chemicals such as parabens like fat and collect in fatty tissue, i.e. breast tissue, which the body can not eliminate. Studies have not shown that parabens cause breast cancer, but there is a link between the two.
One could conclude that the Natural Product Expo West organizers made a mistake when they chose to have one retail company as panelist member amongst three non-profit groups. Yes Avalon Natural Products have replaced parabens with another preservative in their products, but what is it? The answer to this question is exactly what enraged audience members when Avalon wouldn’t immediately divulge the information.
The audience members consisted of many cosmetic company business owners and executives. When Avalon did not fess up to the answer to the above question, the audience did not take too well to this. Many interpreted Avalon’s presentation a clear plug for the company. After numerous tough questions were thrown at Avalon’s representative a man from Avalon Natural Products stood up and identified himself as the company’s President (when I checked their website, they list Stacey Kelly-Egide as the company’s President. For obvious reasons this can not be the same person because of gender. Maybe it was Stacy’s husband Mark Egide who is the co-founder with Stacey?). He finally revealed the replacement they are using and where to get it. However, because of the noise and disruption of the audience members I did not catch the name of the new ingredient. Another audience member then stood up and revealed his knowledge about the replacement ingredient and said it was another chemical and that it didn’t work to keep a product emulsified and stated, “Avalon Organic’s products are sitting on the shelf separating.”
So this leads me to question: What has Avalon Organics replaced parabens with in their products? Is it so bad that Avalon Organics wanted to keep their competitive advantage over their competitors and not reveal the ingredient or the source? Are they such a bad company if they are truly leading the way in an overhaul of the cosmetic industry as a whole by raising consciousness in cosmetics? Maybe they aren’t so bad, but let’s find out what they’re using as a preservative in their products.
Look for the follow up on our investigation as to what Avalon Organics has replaced parabens with in their products.
Read More:My Search for the Paraben Replacement