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Helpful information on the world of beauty and aesthetics supplies.
Cutting salt cuts heart disease risk
Reducing dietary salt intake by as little as half a teaspoon a day could significantly cut cardiovascular disease risks and health care costs, according to a study published Jan. 20 online in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers used the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model to quantify the benefits of reducing dietary salt intake by as much as 3 g per day. The population-based model is a computer simulation of heart disease in adults ages 35 and older in the United States. The data projected that cutting salt by 3 g each day would lower the annual number of new coronary heart disease cases by approximately 60,000, stroke by 32,000 and myocardial infarction by 54,000. Financially, researchers estimate that the nation would save $10 billion to $24 billion each year in health care costs (content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/NEJMoa0907355v1/). "All those things together suggest it's a good idea to [advance] the efforts currently under way [to reduce dietary salt intake [Read more]
Darker skin not immune to melanoma
The authors of a new study are urging physicians to counsel dark- and light-skinned patients on the need for protection from the sun and to perform skin checks on all patients. Although blacks and Hispanics are less likely than whites to be diagnosed with melanoma, it is not unheard of, according to a study in the December 2009 Archives of Dermatology (archderm.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/145/12/1369/). And the diagnosis frequently is made at a more advanced -- and less curable -- stage among minority patients than it is for whites, said senior author Robert Kirsner, MD, PhD, professor and vice chair of dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. "We looked at three different 5-year periods, and while whites' diagnoses improved, blacks' and Hispanics' did not," Dr. Kirsner said. Melanoma is among the top 10 new cancer diagnoses for men and women in the nation, the researchers said. Melanoma incidence has increased 2.4% annually in the las [Read more]
New system warns health professionals of medication errors
With the December 2009 launch of a new national e-mail alert system for medication errors, health care professionals nationwide will get quick notice when a deadly or potentially deadly error has occurred. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists teamed up and developed the National Alert Network for Serious Medication Errors. Initially, alerts will go to the 35,000 pharmacists and other health care professionals in the ASHP network and ISMP's newsletter network, which reaches representatives in every U.S. hospital. But the goal is to extend the effort with the help of more national organizations, said Mike Cohen, CEO of ISMP. The alerts will include a description of the error and recommendations to prevent the same type of mistake. They will be sent only for the most dangerous types of medication errors, possibly fewer than 10 times a year, Cohen said. ISMP officials will determine whether to send an alert. He gave a [Read more]
H1N1 added to new immunization schedules
The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has released new immunization schedules for adults, adolescents and children, recommending a new human papillomavirus vaccine for females and the hepatitis A vaccine for people in close contact with international adoptees. The schedules also note CDC recommendations about vaccines for influenza A(H1N1). The new vaccine schedule for adults was published in the Jan. 5 Annals of Internal Medicine (www.annals.org/content/152/1/36.short). The schedule for children and adolescents appeared in the January Pediatrics (pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/short/125/1/195/). The annual revisions come as health experts work to bolster vaccine rates among adults and encourage physicians to continue immunizing patients for H1N1, even with cases of the virus declining nationwide. Experts say vaccination will help prevent a third wave of the epidemic, following waves in the spring and the fall. [Read more]
Arkansas doctor charged in bombing that injured another physician
Federal prosecutors on Jan. 6 indicted Arkansas internist Randeep Mann, MD, in the 2009 bombing attack of Trent Pierce, MD, chair of the state medical board. Dr. Pierce, who lost his left eye in the bombing, has returned to work at his family practice and is chairing medical board meetings, said radiologist Scott Ferguson, MD, a longtime friend who serves as the family's spokesman. "He is seeing patients and doing remarkably well," Dr. Ferguson said in an interview. However, he added, "It will never be the same. You're changed forever when something like this happens." The indictment, announced by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, charged Dr. Mann, 51, with using a "weapon of mass destruction" against Dr. Pierce and damaging or destroying his car with an explosive Feb. 4, 2009. The indictment states that Dr. Mann did not act alone, but it does not name other suspects. The Associated Press reported that the state medical board had twice stripped Dr. Man [Read more]
Most claims for power wheelchairs don't meet Medicare criteria
An oversight report by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, released in December 2009, concludes that the federal government and Medicare beneficiaries are footing the bill for millions of dollars in improper payments made to suppliers of power wheelchairs. The OIG selected a random sample of 375 claims for both standard and complex rehabilitation power wheelchairs supplied in the first half of 2007. Three out of five claims for the equipment did not meet Medicare documentation requirements, resulting in $112 million in improper Medicare payments. Beneficiaries were responsible for paying $22 million of this amount, according to the report. Standard power wheelchairs accounted for nearly three-quarters of Medicare's power wheelchair claims in the first half of 2007. To receive a complex rehabilitation wheelchair, a beneficiary's limitation must be deemed to result from a neurological condition, muscle disease or skeletal deformity. These chairs acco [Read more]
Health IT financing options expand
One technology company recently launched an electronic medical records financing program, while another program expanded in the expectation that physicians are looking for more affordable ways to adopt technology. And more offers are on the way. IBM announced in December 2009 that its lending arm, IBM Global Financing, has entered into financing agreements with four major health information technology companies -- Siemens Healthcare, Lavender and Wyatt Systems Inc., Healthcare Management Systems Inc. and SCC Soft Computer -- to provide loans to hospitals, labs and physician practices adopting health IT systems. Richard Dicks, general manager for IBM Global Financing in North America, said IBM's move is an attempt to help physicians adopt technology today while they wait for government funding. Incentives of up to $44,000 per physician under the federal stimulus package don't offer help with upfront costs. To qualify, physicians must already have the technology and be able to demo [Read more]
Phishing schemes are becoming sneakier in targeting doctors
A faculty physician at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center received an e-mail last fall appearing to be from the hospital's information technology staff. The e-mail requested the doctor's login information in order to perform routine security upgrades to the system. Because it seemed like an ordinary request, the physician sent the information. But that e-mail wasn't from his hospital's IT administrators. It was from a scammer, and by responding, the physician had unwittingly exposed the personal information of more than 600 of his patients. This type of scam has become so common it's earned its own nickname: "spearphishing." Like phishing, this scam is carried out via a fictitious e-mail that looks legitimate. But unlike phishing, in which missives are sent to as many e-mail accounts as possible, spearphishing targets a specific population by posing as someone with whom the e-mail recipient routinely conducts business and exchanges information. Scamm [Read more]
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