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Category Archives: Health Care

Dietary Supplements Are Not All Safe and Not All Food

Sax, Joanna, Dietary Supplements Are Not All Safe and Not All Food: How the Low Cost of Dietary Supplements Preys on the Consumer (September 1, 2015). American Journal of Law and Medicine, Vol. 41, No. 2&3, 2015. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2654494

“Dietary supplements are regulated as food, even though the safety and efficacy of some supplements are unknown. These products are often promoted as ‘natural’. This leads many consumers to fail to question the supplements’ safety, and some consumers even equate ‘natural’ with safe. But, ‘natural’ does not mean safe. For example, many wild berries and mushrooms are dangerous although they are natural. Another example is tobacco — a key ingredient in cigarettes — it is natural, but overwhelming studies have established the harm of cigarette smoke. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires safety and efficacy testing prior to market entry for drugs. In contrast, the FDA only has limited ability to regulate the entry of new dietary supplements into the marketplace because supplements are treated as food.  Two main arguments support the current regulatory structure of dietary supplements: (1) cost and (2) access. Lower cost and increased access to dietary supplements do not necessary have any relationship to safety and efficacy. Manufacturers’ marketing techniques tout the health benefits of their supplements. Meanwhile, consumers are ingesting supplements without scientific studies indicating whether or not they are harmful. The Food Safety and Modernization Act, signed into law on January 4, 2011, did not address the safety concerns regarding dietary supplements. This article discusses the regulatory deficiencies concerning dietary supplements and proposes novel solutions to address this specific sector of the food supply. This article advocates for the use of scientific data to support a multi-tiered classification system to ensure that dietary supplements on the market are safe.”

Google increases health information available via search

Google Inside Search: “In early August, New York City saw an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a very rare and sometimes deadly form of pneumonia. As more outbreaks came to light, Google searches for Legionnaires’ disease spiked over 1,000%. People wanted to know what this disease is, why it’s spreading, and how to prevent it. SoContinue Reading

docInfo Physician Information Made Easy

Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States Inc. – “Where is my physician licensed? Where did my physician go to medical school? Has my physician been disciplined by a licensing board?” This site, docinfo,  allows you to search for a doctor by name and state and retrieve a set of information that includes:Continue Reading

Bicycle Trauma Injuries and Hospital Admissions in the United States, 1998-2013

JAMA. 2015;314(9):947-949. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8295  (fee req’d) “This study uses National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data to describe trends in adult cycling injuries and related hospital admissions in the United States. Cycling is associated with many health benefits, but also with the risk of injury. Trends in bicycle-related injuries are difficult to assess because the majority ofContinue Reading

Most Americans’ hearts are older than their age

“Your heart may be older than you are – and that’s not good. According to a new CDC Vital Signs report, 3 out of 4 U.S. adults have a predicted heart age that is older than their actual age. This means they are at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke. “Heart age” is theContinue Reading

GAO Reports – Federal Low-Income Programs, VA Health Care, Weapon System Acquisitions, Regionally Aligned Forces

Federal Low-Income Programs: Multiple Programs Target Diverse Populations and Needs, GAO-15-516: Published: Jul 30, 2015. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 2015. VA Health Care: Actions Needed to Assess Decrease in Root Cause Analyses of Adverse Events, GAO-15-643: Published: Jul 29, 2015. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 2015 Weapon System Acquisitions: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Department ofContinue Reading

UK Medical Heritage Digital Library has more than 26,000 titles

News release: “Pathology, surgery, therapeutics, anatomy, public health – these are some of the top subjects that are covered by the UK Medical Heritage Library (UK-MHL) digitisation project. In July the UK-MHL project reached the halfway point, with over 26,000 titles digitised, resulting in nearly 8 million images. Our goal is to reach 15 millionContinue Reading

Health Care and Cyber Security: Increasing Threats Require Increased Capabilities

KPMG – “Four-fifths of executives at healthcare providers and payers say their information technology has been compromised by cyber-attacks. At the core of the increased risk to healthcare organizations is the richness and uniqueness of the information that the health plans, doctors, hospitals and other providers handle. Apart from typical financial fraud, there is alsoContinue Reading

National, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19–35 Months United States 2014

CDC  MMWR August 28, 2015 / 64(33);889-896 – “Since 1994, the National Immunization Survey (NIS) has monitored vaccination coverage among U.S. children aged 19–35 months. This report presents national, regional, state, and selected local area vaccination coverage estimates for children born from January 2011 through May 2013, based on data from the 2014 NIS.”

How Many Employers Could be Affected by the Cadillac Plan Tax?

Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief, August 2015: “As fall approaches, we can expect to hear more about how employers are adapting their health plans for 2016 open enrollments. One topic likely to garner a good deal of attention is how the Affordable Care Act’s high-cost plan tax (HCPT), sometimes called the “Cadillac plan” tax, isContinue Reading

Professor Latanya Sweeney Launches New Privacy and Technology Journa

EPIC – “Harvard Professor Dr. Latanya Sweeney has launched Technology Science, a new online journal for “original material dealing primarily with a social, political, personal, or organizational benefit or adverse consequence of technology.” Among other papers, Technology Science currently features research on Facebook Messenger’s geolocation collection and disclosure, medical privacy, and price discrimination in internationalContinue Reading

Study – Estimates of Pain Prevalence and Severity in Adults: United States 2012

Journal of Pain – Richard L. Nahin – National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Published Online: May 28, 2015. Highlights 2012 estimates of pain prevalence and severity are presented for U.S. adults. A simple, 2-item measure for categorizing pain severity is introduced. Pain persistence and bothersomeness designate 5Continue Reading