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Category Archives: Medicine

Immunologist argues that the world is making us sick

The chemicals in our everyday lives are, argues immunologist Claudia Miller, by Jill Neimark

Claudia Miller has spent 30 years hammering out a theory to explain the contemporary surge in perplexing, multi-symptom illnesses—from autism to Gulf War Syndrome—which represent a Kuhnian shift in medicine. She calls her theory “TILT,” short for Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance. TILT posits that a surprising range of today’s most common chronic conditions are linked to daily exposure to very low doses of synthetic chemicals that have been in mass production since World War II. These include organophosphate pesticides, flame-retardants, formaldehyde, benzene, and tens of thousands of other chemicals. TILT, says Miller, is a two-step process. Genetically susceptible individuals get sick after a toxic exposure or series of exposures. Instead of recovering, their neurological and immune systems become “tilted.” Then, they lose tolerance to a wide range of chemicals commonly found at low doses in everyday life and develop ongoing illnesses. Along with Nicholas Ashford, professor of policy and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Miller co-authored Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes. In 2012, Miller and her colleagues published a study in the family practice journal Annals of Family Medicine. They reported that 20.3 percent of individuals with chronic health issues suffer from some degree of chemical intolerance. That’s one in five—and, says Miller, they become vulnerable to TILT if they endure too much toxic exposure.”

Johnson & Johnson Announces Clinical Trial Data Sharing Agreement With Yale School of Medicine

News release: “Johnson & Johnson today announced that its subsidiary, Janssen Research and Development, LLC, has entered into a novel agreement with Yale School of Medicine’s Open Data Access (YODA) Project that will extend its commitment to sharing clinical trials data to enhance public health and advance science and medicine.  Under the agreement, YODA willContinue Reading

Rising Cost of Living Longer” Details Medicare Spending by Age

“A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation takes a detailed look at per person Medicare spending by age and by service among the nearly 30 million people covered by traditional Medicare in 2011. This analysis examines the relationship between Medicare per person spending and advancing age, providing new data to inform ongoing federal budgetContinue Reading

Open Payments Explorer – How Much Industry Money Goes to Doctors and Teaching Hospitals

Lena Groeger, Ryann Grochowski Jones, Charles Ornstein and Mike Tigas, ProPublica, Jan. 7, 2015 “Beginning in 2014, the federal government mandated that pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers publicly report payments made to doctors and teaching hospitals. The first report covered the last five months of 2013. Use this tool to search for a company, drugContinue Reading

CBO Report on HR 30 Save Workers Act of 2015

As introduced in the House of Representatives on January 6, 2015 – “H.R. 30 would change how penalties are imposed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on employers that do not offer insurance (or offer insurance that does not meet certain criteria) and that have at least one full-time employee receiving a subsidy through aContinue Reading

Arrival of the Fukushima radioactivity plume in North American continental waters

John N. Smith, Robin M. Brown, William J. Williams, Marie Robert, Richard Nelson, and S. Bradley Moran.  Arrival of the Fukushima radioactivity plume in North American continental waters. PNAS 2014 : 1412814112v1-201412814. “The large discharge of radioactivity into the northwest Pacific Ocean from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor accident has generated considerable concern about the spread ofContinue Reading

Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases 2014

“It is alarming that many of the most basic infection disease controls failed when tested. After more than a decade of focus on preparing for public health emergencies in the wake of the September 11 and anthrax tragedies, there have been troubling errors, lapses and scrambles to recreate practices and policies that were supposed to have been long considered and well established. The country spentContinue Reading

721 Hospitals Penalized For Patient Safety

Jordan Rau – Kaiser Health News: “Medicare is penalizing 721 hospitals with high rates of potentially avoidable mistakes that can harm patients, known as “hospital-acquired conditions.” Penalized hospitals will have their Medicare payments reduced by 1 percent over the fiscal year that runs from October 2014 through September 2015. To determine penalties, Medicare evaluated three typesContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Airport Privatization, Anthrax, Dodd Frank Regulations, Education, Emergency Preparedness, Ground Radar

Airport Privatization: Limited Interest despite FAA’s Pilot Program, GAO-15-42: Published: Nov 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 2014. Anthrax: Agency Approaches to Validation and Statistical Analyses Could Be Improved, GAO-15-80: Published: Dec 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 2014. Dodd-Frank Regulations: Regulators’ Analytical and Coordination Efforts [Reissued on December 18, 2014, GAO-15-81: Published: Dec 18, 2014. Publicly Released:Continue Reading

Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Physician and Other Supplier

“As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to make our healthcare system more transparent, affordable, and accountable, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has prepared a public data set, the Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Physician and Other Supplier Public Use File (Physician and Other Supplier PUF), with information on services andContinue Reading

CFPB Spotlights Concerns with Medical Debt Collection and Reporting

“…the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report that found medical debt has a significant impact on consumer credit, as 43 million Americans have overdue medical debt on their credit reports. The CFPB is concerned that the systems for incurring, collecting, and reporting medical debt can create difficult challenges for consumers. To better addressContinue Reading

Patients Prescribed Narcotic Painkillers Use More of Them for Longer, Study Finds

New York Times: “While a major public health campaign has had some success in reducing the number of people who take potentially addictive narcotic painkillers, those patients who are prescribed the drugs are getting more of them for a longer time, according to a new study. Nearly half the people who took the painkillers for overContinue Reading