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Category Archives: Medicine

Report: Boosting Energy Efficiency Would Bring Vast Health Benefits

Environmental Working Group: “A new report estimated the sweeping public health benefits that a 15 percent reduction in energy demand would yield in one year. The February report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, or PSR, found that the savings from modestly cutting energy demand in the electric sector, and thus reducing air pollution, would be the equivalent of the annual insurance premiums for nearly 3.6 million families. The health harms from air pollution reviewed in the report include premature deaths, respiratory-related visits to the hospital, heart attacks, lost work days and cases of acute bronchitis. According to the report, this single year reduction in energy demand in the power sector would result in:

  • More than six lives saved per day from premature death
  • Up to $20 billion in avoided health harms
  • Nearly 30,000 fewer asthma episodes

Energy efficiency investments reduce the need to generate electricity from polluting power plants, reducing air emissions and reducing health harms. The ACEEE and PSR estimated the following substantial reductions in lung-damaging air emissions:

  • Particulate emissions: more than 20,000 tons, or 11 percent
  • Nitrogen oxide emissions: about 192,000 tons, or 18 percent
  • Sulfur dioxide emissions: about 276,000 tons, or 23 percent..”

‘Gag Clauses’ and Prescription Drug Prices – Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports – “When you fill a prescription at your local drugstore, you probably assume that using your insurance is the best—maybe even the only—way to pay. So you might be surprised to learn that you can sometimes pay less if you don’t use your insurance. And there’s a good reason that counterintuitive cost-saving strategy… Continue Reading

Research – Humans produce new brain cells throughout their lives

Findings could help hunt for treatment for degenerative conditions such as Alzheimers, and psychiatric problems: “Humans continue to produce new neurons in a part of their brain involved in learning, memory and emotion throughout adulthood, scientists have revealed, countering previous theories that production stopped after adolescence. The findings could help in developing treatments for neurological… Continue Reading

Research and data support dispensary-based marijuana for pain rather than opiods

Statnews: “As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, doctors may be replacing opioid prescriptions with suggestions to visit a local marijuana dispensary. Two papers published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzing more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data found that after states legalized weed, the number of opioid prescriptions… Continue Reading

Without Context Or Cushion, Do Online Medical Results Make Sense?

Kaiser Health News: “…The push for [patient] portals has been fueled by several factors: the widespread embrace of technology, incentive payments to medical practices and hospitals that were part of 2009 federal legislation to encourage “meaningful use” of electronic records, and a 2014 federal rule giving patients direct access to their results. Policymakers have long… Continue Reading

Government Databases of Adverse Drug Events

Russ Kick – The Memory Hole 2: “The governments of several countries (plus the European Union and the United Nations) have programs for medical practitioners, members of the public, and pharmaceutical companies to report “adverse events” regarding prescription and over-the-counter drugs (as well as medical devices, personal care products, and occasionally other things). As defined… Continue Reading

ClinicalTrials.gov: Further Enhancements to Functionality

“On December 18, 2017, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) released a new set of updates to ClinicalTrials.gov as part of its ongoing effort to enhance the usability of the database (see ClinicalTrials.gov: First in a Series of Changes to Improve Usability for Stakeholders). Most of the features provided in the current release were previously… Continue Reading

Google Genomics – big data collection, genomic patient info and privacy

“Google Genomics helps the life science community organize the world’s genomic information and make it accessible and useful. Big genomic data is here today, with petabytes rapidly growing toward exabytes. Through our extensions to Google Cloud Platform, you can apply the same technologies that power Google Search and Maps to securely store, process, explore, and… Continue Reading

Report from President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis

Dated November 1, 2017 this report is clearly watermarked on every page with the word DRAFT, but the White House announced today that this is the commission’s final report: “The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has submitted its final report, recommending how the Federal Government can address the drug addiction… Continue Reading

Intellectual Property for the Twenty-First-Century Economy

Intellectual Property for the Twenty-First-Century Economy, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Dean Baker, Arjun Jayadev. October 17, 2017. “Developing countries are increasingly pushing back against the intellectual property regime foisted on them by the advanced economies over the last 30 years. They are right to do so, because what matters is not only the production of knowledge,… Continue Reading

TIME – Firsts – Women Who Are Changing the World

TIME – “What a jagged image we use for women who achieve greatly, defining accomplishment in terms of the barrier rather than the triumph. There she is up where the air is thin, where men still outnumber women, but where the altitude is awesome. Our goal with Firsts is for every woman and girl to… Continue Reading

Drug Prosecutions Drop To Historic Lows In Last 6 Months

“Despite widespread concern about an epidemic of opioid abuse, and announcements by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others of stepped up efforts by the Trump administration to address it, federal criminal prosecutions for drug offenses have dropped to historic lows. The latest data, current through June 2017, show that fewer drug offenders were federally prosecuted… Continue Reading