Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Sorry this is late again. I can't seem to get any sense of normalcy when my house is about 50 degrees inside with only freezing cold water. But here's the news:

The National Council on Disabilities released its annual progress report today. It says the economic downturn is hurting people with disabilities greatly. I think I already knew that.

The supercommittee appears to be talking about Social Security. This makes no sense -- Social Security does not contribute to the deficit because it comes out of its own fund. But Speaker Boehner says fixing entitlement programs -- meaning privatizing them -- would do a lot to calm the markets. Unfortunately, it will not do much to calm the American people. Medicare also is on the chopping block. Meanwhile, if the supercommittee fails to come up with a deal by Thanksgiving, its members can expect to take a hit. Some Committee members are working on their own proposal.

Can health reform help to cure the racial and ethnic disparities that cause minorities to suffer worse health? Some say no -- to do that, we would have to cure poverty, bad schools, and so on. But health reform has us focusing on the issue, and that's a good thing.

President Obama has issued an executive order aimed at curbing prescription drug shortages. Manufacturers will have to report low supplies and work with the Justice Department to prevent price gouging. Most hard to find drugs are injectibles. The main reason for the shortages is production delays, getting the raw materials needed to manufacture the drugs.

A government panel has now recommended that boys get the human papillomavirus vaccine. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cancer. Since most of the cancers it's tied to strike women, only girls and women have been given the vaccine up to now.

Some members of Congress have decided to try to eat on only $4.50 per day to demonstrate the harm in cutting Food Stamps -- a cut that is on the horizon.

A health expert is urging states to slow down in moving people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid into managed care. Medicare, rather than private insurers, should take the lead in caring for the sickest and most expensive piece of the health care population. I could not agree more. While we need to coordinate care for these folks, that can be done through medical homes and other care delivery innovations.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has denied a request from two taxi companies to add more wheelchair accessible taxis. This is indefensible and outrageous.

Drinking alcohol regularly increases the risk of many types of cancer. Yet another reason to stop drinking.

Happy people might live up to 35% longer. Now, if only there was a happy pill!

Major psychological trauma and stress may cause irritable bowel syndrome. I'm not sure this is entirely new news, but I can tell you that I felt a whole lot better after some time at the beach, confirming my and my doctor's suspicion that I have IBS on top of my Crohn's.

Would a pat or a hug help doctor/patient communication? I think so.

The Obama Administration faces a deep divide with the Catholic church, which opposes health reform, abortion, and contraception. The church has been helping victims of human trafficking, but will not refer those victims for birth control or abortions. HHS has now halted their funding.

I was sick a lot as a kid and was on antibiotics all the time. Now, researchers are wondering whether antibiotics contribute to inflammatory bowel disease (like my Crohn's), obesity, etc. Now, if only we could turn the clock back.

Sensitive teeth can be exacerbated by dry mouth and acidic food. I know this because, when I was at my sickest and was not producing enough saliva, one of the things that went on me were my teeth, costing thousands of dollars to repair. Staying hydrated is not only for your blood pressure and electrolytes, but also for your teeth.

Reinventing the nursing home, making it smaller and more like home. Can it be economical? I hope this works.

Fecal transplants may help cure a bacterial infection known as clostridium difficile, or c-diff.

And finally, just so you can be at ease, President Obama's doctors say he's healthy and tobacco free. Of course, he also has the best health care money can buy.

And that's today's news. Have a great day. Jennifer

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