Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Q&A on Payments from Drug Companies and Medical Device Makers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 13:29

with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley


Q:        When will the public have access to information about payments made by drug and device makers to doctors?

A:        The public is a step closer to learning just how much money and travel expenses pharmaceutical company and medical device makers give to doctors.  This month, a federal agency finally put out proposed guidance for the companies that will have to disclose the payments under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which I co-authored and saw through to enactment last year.  If implemented as designed, the sunshine law will require a drug company to disclose whether it pays a doctor to attend a conference in Hawaii.  A medical device maker will have to list whether it keeps a doctor on paid retainer for medical advice.  Fees paid for consulting, speeches and expert advice will be reported.  In 2013, the public will have access to this information through a user friendly website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  This fall, the federal agency responsible for launching the program missed a key deadline for putting out the Sunshine Act guidance.  Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and I pressed the agency to explain the delay and encouraged it to move forward.  The day before an agency witness was supposed to testify on the issue at a Senate hearing, the agency issued the guidance.  So riding herd worked.


Q:        Why did you push for a disclosure requirement?

A:        For a number of years, I’ve been digging into pharmaceutical and medical device industry payments to continuing medical education, taxpayer-funded medical research, medical schools, medical journals, and advocacy organizations.  Among research doctors, my oversight work found a number of cases where highly influential research doctors were receiving payments vastly greater than what had been reported by them or understood by their prestigious universities.  Discrepancies ran as high as millions and tens of millions of dollars.  In direct response to this exposure, the National Institutes of Health, which distributes $32 billion a year in federal research dollars, proposed new disclosure guidelines for federal grant recipients.  I’m still working to see this agency act more aggressively in this area as a steward of tax dollars.  Separately, a number of drug companies began disclosing financial relationships voluntarily.  More than 40 universities nationwide took up revisions of their disclosure policies.  My oversight work also built the case for enactment last year of the reform bill – the Sunshine Act -- that Senator Kohl and I had been promoting since 2007.


Q:        What do you hope to accomplish?

A:        The well-regarded Institute of Medicine issued a report in 2009 endorsing transparency and stating that protections against conflicts can be established without inhibiting productive relationships between medicine and industry to improve medical knowledge and care.  My argument has been that the transparency of these financial relationships is appropriate so that patients and their doctors can be informed and because taxpayers pay billions of dollars each year for prescription drugs and medical devices under Medicare and Medicaid.  The goal is to let the sun shine in and make information available to foster accountability.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Surviving Holiday Gatherings PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:25

For those of us from families built on Debbie Downer DNA, there’s only one direction a mood can go during holiday get-togethers and that’s down.

Sure, the running negative commentary, bubble-bursting barbs and rampant self-pity were funny coming from comedian Rachel Dratch on “Saturday Night Live’s” Debbie Downer sketches. But few of us can foresee our own Negative Nancys giving us a good belly laugh.

Whether you’re the smiley face among frowners, or a bit of a Depressing Dan yourself, there are tricks you can use to keep the table talk from getting lethal, says Paula Renaye, a professional life coach and author of The Hardline Self Help Handbook, (

“You can take control simply by thinking about what you choose to say – or not say,” Renaye says. “If you hear yourself criticizing, judging or complaining, you’re part of the problem. Happy, self-respecting people don’t find it necessary to dump on others to make themselves feel good.

“If someone else is the problem, simply don’t give them the ammunition they need,” she says. Instead try these tactics:

• Do not say anything negative. Period. And no one-downing! One-downing is the opposite of one-upping. It’s the art of coming up with something worse when someone else talks about their problem. No matter what negative thing anyone says, or how much you agree with it or don't, resist the urge to respond with a negative. Instead ….

• Dodge, distract and detour. Turn things around with a question -- a positive one. If you need to, make a “happy list” of questions before you go, so you’ll have some at the ready. And remember, there's no law that says you have to answer a question just because someone asked it. With negative people, it’s best if you …

• Do not talk about yourself. The only reason negative people care about what you’re up to is because they want something to ridicule, brag or gossip about to make themselves look or feel good. Don’t go there. Whether you just filed bankruptcy or won a Nobel Prize, keep it to yourself. No good can come of it. None. And why do you need to chatter like a chipmunk about yourself anyway? Might want to think on that one, too. Better to find some praise for someone else than to expect someone to praise you.

• Do not share your woes. Even if you’re in a tough place and could really use a shoulder to cry on, don’t start laying your woes on a Negative Nell. Even in a weak moment, when you’ve had a terrible day, talking about it with a negative person is a bad idea. You might get a microsecond of sympathy, but that’s only so they can launch into telling you how much worse they have it. So, no talking about yourself unless you want to be the talk of the party, the family and the town.

• Do your homework and become like Teflon. Think of the times people said things that made you feel bad or made you feel the need to defend or explain yourself. If you want to avoid going down that trail again, start hacking away at the jungle of your own emotions. Get over needing anyone's approval or blessing. If you are still waiting for negative relatives to validate you, you’re in for a long wait. Don't set yourself up to be miserable. Get over it and go prepared.

About Paula Renaye

Former eggshell-walker, emotionally-bankrupt wreck and utter failure at keeping her world from falling apart, Paula Renaye uses her journey out of despair into joy as a breadcrumb trail for others.  She has been a consultant for 18 years, holds a degree in financial planning with a background in journalism and psychology, and is a member of the International Association of Coaches.  Paula is the multi-award-winning author of The Hardline Self Help Handbook.

Statement From Governor Quinn on Settlement to Benefit Elders and Illinoisans With Disabilities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Andrew Mason   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:12

CHICAGO – December 20, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today released the following statement regarding the settlement of the last of the Olmstead class action lawsuits.

“I have made community care a priority of my administration, and our long-term goal is to rebalance Illinois’ approach towards older adults and persons with disabilities by expanding choices for those who want to live in the community.

“An important step in this process was settling the three Olmstead class action lawsuits, which had been pending for many years. I committed to resolving these lawsuits when I took office, and today’s decree allows Illinois to move forward and increase opportunities and independence for our state’s elders and residents with disabilities.

“With these settlements and our other rebalancing initiatives underway, Illinois is well on its way to assuring older adults and people with disabilities care and treatment in the most community-integrated settings appropriate for their conditions. We are moving in the right direction on community and home-based care, and I look forward to continuing this effort.”


Need to Lose Weight? Skip Calorie Counting & Burn Fat Instead PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:07
Weight Loss Expert Offers Slimming Tips to Last a Lifetime

Losing weight has become a matter of life or death and counting calories, Weight Watcher points and fat grams hasn’t lessened the numbers of people affected. In 2010, more than 25 percent of Americans had pre-diabetes and another 1.9 million got a diabetes diagnosis, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The single most effective way for people to avoid the disease? Losing weight.

"The current obesity epidemic proves that the typical low-fat diet recommendations and low-calorie diets have not worked," says Don Ochs, inventor of Mobanu Integrated Weight Loss Solution (, a physician-recommended system that tailors diet and exercise to an individual’s fat-burning chemistry. "America is eating less fat per capita than we did 30 years ago, yet obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all up."

To drop the weight and keep it off, people need to get rid of their stored fat by eating fewer processed carbohydrates and the correct amount of protein, and by doing both high and low- intensity exercises, Ochs says.

Here are some of his suggestions for getting started:

  • Eat what your ancestors ate – if it wasn’t available 10,000 years ago, you don’t need it now. Our bodies haven’t had time to adapt to the huge increase in processed carbohydrates over the past 100 years. These refined carbs kick up our blood sugar levels, which triggers insulin production, which results in fat storage. Avoid the regular no-no’s such as candy and soft drinks, but also stay away from sneaky, sugary condiments like ketchup; dried fruits, which have more concentrated sugar than their hydrated counterparts, and anything with high fructose corn syrup.

  • Eat the right kind of fat – it’s good for you! Bad fats include trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils. Look for these on labels. Trim excess fat from meats and stick with mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. Use olive oil for cooking, as salad dressing or on vegetables. Eat avocados, whole olives, nuts and seeds, and don’t be afraid to jazz up meals with a little butter or cheese.

  • Eat the proper amount of lean protein to maintain muscle mass and increase your metabolism. Eggs, beef, chicken, pork, seafood and dairy in the right amounts are good protein sources. Remember, most of these contain fat, so it shouldn’t be necessary to add more. Use the minimum amount needed to satisfy your taste buds. Also, anyone trying to lose weight should limit non-animal proteins, such as legumes, because they contribute to higher blood sugar levels and increased fat storage.

  • Vary your workouts to speed up fat loss. Both high-intensity and low-intensity exercises play a role in maximum fat loss. Low-intensity exercise, like walking, is effective for reducing insulin resistance so you store less fat. Alternate walking with high-intensity interval training to build lean muscle mass and increase your metabolism. Interval training can be cardio blasts such as running up stairs on some days and lifting weights on others. This type of exercise forces your body to burn up its glycogen – a readily accessible fuel for your muscles – faster than an equivalent amount of cardio exercise. When you’re done, your body will replenish that fuel by converting stored fat back into glycogen and you’ll lose weight.

"Healthy weight loss isn't about picking a popular diet and trying to stick to it," Ochs says. "It's about discovering the right diet for your unique body. For each person, the optimal amount of carbohydrates, proteins and exercise to burn the most stored body fat will be different. And that’s why one-size-fits-all diets just don’t work."

About Donald Ochs

Donald Ochs is a Colorado entrepreneur, the president and CEO of Ochs Development Co. and M4 Group, an inventor and sports enthusiast. He developed the Mobanu weight loss system based on research conducted at The Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health. The program is endorsed by physicians, nutritionists and exercise experts.

Upcoming American Red Cross blood drives January 1 - 15 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Karen Stecher   
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 14:52

Red Cross Celebrates National Blood Donor Month

The need is constant:    Every day in our country, approximately 44,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims.

January is National Blood Donor Month and the American Red Cross thanks its committed blood donors for dedicating their time to give hope to patients in need. Throughout the month of January, the American Red Cross is celebrating the contributions of millions of blood donors who give patients hope.


Since 1970, National Blood Donor Month has been celebrated in an effort to educate Americans about the importance of regular blood donation and the impact it can have on patients in need. Help maintain a stable blood supply by becoming a dedicated donor and encouraging others to give for the first time. Make an appointment today and join the nearly 4 million Red Cross blood donors across the country dedicated to changing lives, one donation at a time.

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.


Blood Donation Opportunities



1/13/2012, 8:30 am- 2:30 pm, Milledgeville High School, PO Box 609 Hwy 40, Milledgeville



1/8/2012, 8:00 am-12:00 pm, National Guard, 1200 13th Avenue North, Clinton



1/5/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm, First United Methodist Church S Campus Bldg, 224 N. State, Geneseo


1/7/2012, 10:00 am- 1:00 pm, YMCA, 315 West 1st St., Kewanee


1/10/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1001 9th Street, Orion


1/11/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St., Kewanee


1/12/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, St John's Vianney Church, 313 S West Street, Cambridge



1/12/2012, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm, Quad City International Airport, 2200 69th Ave., Moline



1/6/2012, 3:00 pm- 7:00 pm, Anytime Fitness, 5260 NW Boulevard, Davenport



1/3/2012, 8:00 am-11:00 am, Old Fulton Fire Station, 912 4th Street, Fulton


1/4/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St., Rock Falls


1/10/2012, 1:00 pm- 5:15 pm, Old Fulton Fire Station, 912 4th Street, Fulton


1/11/2012, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St., Rock Falls


1/12/2012, 3:00 pm- 8:00 pm, Tampico Fire Department, 103 North Main Street, Tampico




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