Health, Medicine & Nutrition
March is Kidney Cancer Awareness Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Linda Cox   
Monday, 27 February 2012 14:15

The Governor of Illinois has proclaimed March is Kidney Cancer Awareness Month.  The Kidney Cancer Association has also proclaimed March Kidney Cancer Awareness Month INTERNATIONALLY. 

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012 64,770 new cases of kidney cancer (40,250 men and 24,520 women) would occur and about 13,570 people (8,650 men and 4,920 women) would die from this disease.

The nation/world needs to be educated regarding this disease. PLEASE consider writing an article in the month of March listing the symptoms of kidney cancer.

  • Signs and Symptoms Associated with Kidney Cancer:
  • Blood in urine.
  • Pain in the back just below the ribs.
  • A mass that can be felt.
  • Unexplained weight loss which can sometimes be rapid.                                           
  • Intermittent fevers or night sweats.
  • Fatigue and lethargy.
  • Fever that is not associated with a cold or the flu.
  • Pain in other parts of the body if the cancer has spread.


While kidney cancer normally affects men over 55, more young people are being diagnosed.  Kidney cancer is the sixth most common cancer and the tenth most common cause of cancer death for men.  It is the eight most common cause of cancer for women. The five-year relative survival rate (percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) of people with kidney cancer is about 69%.

 
Accountable Care Organizations and Collective Farms PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Alieta Eck, MD   
Friday, 24 February 2012 09:38

http://www.aapsonline.org/

Proponents of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) claim that doctors in the US spend four times more, interacting with the many health plans, than Canadian physicians spend interacting with the government.

In 2009, physicians in Ontario spent $22,205 on administrative costs per physician per year, while US physicians spent a staggering $82,975 each trying to get insurance companies to pay them. U.S. nursing staff, including medical assistants, spent 20.6 hours per physician, per week, interacting with health plans, nearly 10 times that of their Ontario counterparts. Many health policy makers conclude that a centralized system would be more efficient. But would that be better for patients?

Section 1104 of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to figure out ways to simplify interactions between providers and health plans. Instead of private practices, the reform bill supports new groupings of physicians in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

In a bureaucrat’s heaven, ObamaCare will centralize payments to ACOs where care would be controlled and physicians compensated according to strict government guidelines, including dollars saved by giving less care. Patients would be expected to do what they’re told.

If physicians were farmers and patients were livestock, this might be feasible, but setting up an efficient assembly line system is not the way to provide compassionate, individualized high quality medical care.

As a matter of fact, even farmers and livestock did not do well with central planning of the collective farms that existed in the early 20th century in the Soviet Union. These were farms or groups of farms organized as a unit and managed and worked cooperatively by a group of laborers under State supervision. Private ownership of farms was no longer allowed and they were confiscated by the State.

The State promised to collect the meat and produce and distribute it fairly. But this did not happen and peasants, those who worked the hardest, lamented that they were not getting their fair share. When they revolted, their non-compliance was met with harsh retaliation, and life was reduced to stark subsistence.

People were forced into hard labor by cruel taskmasters as the supervisors were held accountable for the results. Lives were micro-managed by the central planners and freedom disappeared. The punishments became harsher when productivity declined. Eventually, it has been said that the people pretended to work and the State pretended to pay them. The Soviet Union fell under its own weight as the economy ground to a halt.

So do we need more centralized control in medical care? Or would decentralizing care and minimizing the middle man be even better?

American physicians and patients value independence, wanting to keep their interactions at a personal one-on-one level. Why not allow every patient to choose his own primary care doctor, keeping his phone number on speed-dial. When the patient wakes up with abdominal pain or blood in his urine, he should be able to pick up the phone, hear a familiar voice and make an appointment for the same day. At the end of the visit, he would pull out his check book or credit card, and pay a reasonable fee-- about the cost of an oil change plus new windshield wiper blades. In 90% of medical visits there should be no third party and NO administrative costs.

Many US physicians have allowed themselves to be swallowed up by a system that is extraordinarily complicated and costly. But others are beginning to see that the answer is to pull away from all third party payers and contract with individual patients. Each doctor saving $83,000 per year would result in lower fees for the patients. Physicians would experience the great satisfaction of having an ongoing relationship with their patients, providing quick, efficient, and competent care. After all, that is why we went to medical school.

The Accountable Care Organizations will be the medical version of Soviet collective farms. The Affordable Care Act must be repealed before it has a chance to ruin the best medical care in the world.

###

 
Iowa Legislative Update: Funnel Deadline Next Week PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Peggy Huppert   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:48
A comprehensive radon bill – SSB 3169 – was introduced yesterday in the Iowa Senate and assigned to the State Government Committee with a subcommittee of Jeff Danielson (chair), D-Cedar Falls, Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, and Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg.

We need you to contact members of the State Government Committee today and ask them to support this bill. If you know one of the members of the subcommittee it is particularly important that they hear from you.

Time is of the essence because the first “funnel” deadline is rapidly approaching. All bills except ones dealing with taxing and spending must pass out of committee by next Friday, Feb. 24th. For this bill to remain alive it must pass out of committee next week.

Here are some points to make with your senator:

  • Iowa has the highest incidence of radon in homes in the nation.
  • Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.  It kills about 400 Iowans a year – more than are killed in traffic accidents.
  • We know how to detect radon and how to get rid of it. All we need is the will to make it happen.

SSB 3169 includes important strategies for protecting Iowans from radon, requiring:

  • Radon testing and disclosure for all real estate transactions
  • Radon Resistant New Construction (RRNC) in all new residential construction
  • A state income tax credit of up to $500 for home radon mitigation
  • Testing and disclosure for all rental housing and K-12 school buildings

Tobacco control advocates were proud of testimony given to the Health & Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee this week by Cathy Callaway of Des Moines and Christopher Squier of Iowa City, members of the Iowa Tobacco Commission.

The subcommittee requested information about how the substantial cuts to tobacco control funding last year have affected critical state programs. Cathy told subcommittee members that although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that Iowa spend $36.7 million, we are currently spending only 9 percent of that amount ($2.8 million). Both Cathy and Chris spoke about the aggressive marketing being done by tobacco companies in Iowa, spending more than $100 million per year. They predicted that if Iowa does not increase its investment soon, smoking and smokeless tobacco usage will start to increase.

Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, co-chair of the subcommittee, announced at the conclusion of the meeting that he intends to recommend increasing funding for tobacco control by $2.5 million for the next fiscal year for a total of $5.3 million.

 
Increased Stress Puts More Teens at Risk, Doctor Warns PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:42
Spot Early Signs Your Teen is Struggling – Before It Gets Bad

Adolescence is difficult in the best of times. It’s doubly stressful for kids today; they’re experiencing the same worries and insecurities as adults in this troubled economy, and with far fewer coping skills. From families struggling with joblessness and foreclosure to increasing competition for college admissions to the normal fears associated with impending adulthood, they’re particularly vulnerable.

“Teens who are overwhelmed by stress often are unable or unwilling to ask for help,” says noted psychologist Dr. Gregory L. Jantz, (www.drgregoryjantz.com), author of When Your Teenager Becomes…The Stranger in Your House.

“But the longer they continue to flail and struggle emotionally, the greater the chance they’ll develop more serious problems like clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, dependence on alcohol or drugs and, sadly, suicidal tendencies,” Jantz says. “It’s up to parents and other adults to recognize when a teen is struggling and intervene.”

So how do you know when typical teen characteristics, such as moodiness, have moved beyond “normal?” Jantz offers these tips:

• Arguing is normal; constant anger is not. Sometimes teens argue just to argue. It allows them to let off steam, express their displeasure about life in general and test boundaries. The occasional dramatic meltdown is to be expected. But it’s not normal for a teen to be angry and hostile all the time, constantly fighting and yelling.

• Withdrawal from parents is normal; pulling away from family and friends is not. Expect your teen to start pulling away from you – unless she wants something – and occasionally from their friends, as well. Sometimes, they just need to pull back for a few days, even from friends. But when they appear to isolate themselves for weeks, spending weekend after weekend alone in their room, they may be struggling with depression. Socializing with friends is one of the first things to go as depression sucks the joy out of life.

• Anxiety is normal; feeling constantly overwhelmed is not. Teens have a lot to be anxious about – the prospect of independence is both exhilarating and terrifying, so some worrying is to be expected. But a teen who seems to be, or says he is, struggling daily with stress needs help. Two types of kids are especially vulnerable to developing generalized anxiety disorder, a heightened, constant state of anxiety: The worker bee perfectionist who crams his schedule with activities, responsibilities and tasks, and the kids who worry so much over anything, they can’t get anything done.

• Being upset for days after a bad experience is normal; more than two weeks is not. Teenagers tend to react dramatically when things go wrong – their boss chews them out, they fail a test, they get in an argument with their sweetheart. Adults know from experience that these things aren’t the end of the world and all will be well again, but teens lack that perspective. It’s normal for them to be in a bad mood about it for a few days, but to dwell on the problem for more than two weeks indicates they’re struggling.

The most recent data available, which is about 3 years old, puts suicide as the third-leading cause of death for teens after unintentional injuries (such as car accidents) and homicide, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. More than 2 million teens attempt suicide each year.

“I suspect new data will put suicide as the second and possibly even the leading cause of death for that age group, because depression is the biggest risk factor,” Jantz says. “We’re seeing more teenagers suffering from depression in recent years because of the economy and overstimulation by technology.”

Visit www.aplaceofhope.com for an online survey to see if you or your teen is showing signs of depression (click “Depression” and then “Depression Survey” in the drop-down menu).”

About Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D.

Gregory Jantz has more than 25 years experience in mental health counseling and is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, near Seattle, Wash. The Center, “a place for hope,” provides comprehensive, coordinated care from a treatment team that addresses medical, physical, psychological, emotional, nutritional, fitness and spiritual factors involved in recovery. He is the best-selling author of more than 20 books on topics from depression to eating disorders.

 
UI Heart and Vascular Center first in Iowa to provide new heart valve treatment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Hawkeye Caucus   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:31

Leaders of University of Iowa Heart and Vascular Center have reported that their heart valve team has treated half a dozen patients with a new, cutting-edge treatment for seriously ill patients affected by severe heart valve problems.

The new technology uses a catheter inserted through a small incision in a patient’s thigh that travels through blood vessels and can be used to replace a person’s failing heart valve in the aortic artery.

The technology is reserved for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are considered too high risk for traditional forms of heart valve replacement surgery, or were previously considered inoperable.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the treatment, called the SAPIEN percutaneous heart valve replacement, manufactured by Edwards LifeSciences.

DID YOU KNOW?
In October 2011, the UI Heart and Vascular Center became the first program in the nation to receive certification for its cardiac valve program from The Joint Commission, the accreditation agency for health care organizations in the United States.

FYI
In addition to the new transcatheter procedure, the center’s heart valve clinic, established more than three years ago, offers minimally invasive surgery for heart valve repair and replacement. For more information, call 319-384-6245 or visit online at www.uihealthcare.org/heart.

Helping Iowa entrepreneurs get a leg up

Lots of people come up with ideas for new businesses.  Finding the money to get them off the ground is the tough part.

To help those would-be Iowa entrepreneurs, the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) offers workshops and contests to assist students, faculty and staff hone their elevator pitch and business plan writing skills. These abilities are vital in successfully securing start-up money from financiers and venture capitalists.

Each year, JPEC sponsors or co-sponsors six competitions that provide training and practice. They could obtain seed money, too, as competition winners can receive anywhere from $500 to $25,000 in start-up capital.

For more information on JPEC’s contests, visit: http://www.iowajpec.org/business/competitions.cfm

DID YOU KNOW?
JPEC’s Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory is an on-campus incubator for new businesses that provides office space and learning opportunities for 29 start-ups owned by University of Iowa students.

 
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