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Dec 15

Key part of healthcare reform rejected

Posted by nat_bez in Virginia District Judge , Supreme Court , Obamacare , Henry Hudson , Healthcare


Health care reformA Virginia judge rejected a crucial part of Obama’s healthcare reform bill.  District Judge Henry Hudson ruled yesterday that the “purchase mandate” is unconstitutional and goes against the Commerce Clause. He reasons that the government has no right to force individuals to purchase anything from a private provider. Hudson says that “An individual's personal decision to purchase -- or decline purchase -- (of) health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution." He says that his mandate is an “unbridled exercise of federal police powers." Virginia’s Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, who supports Hudson, says that “this lawsuit is not about healthcare. It’s about liberty.”  Interestingly enough, even back in October several other judges had ruled in favor of the bill including a Michigan judge and another Virginia judge, even though Virginia is one of the few states with a distinct law that says that its citizens can’t be forced to buy insurance. The U.S. Department of Justice will appeal the ruling, and ultimately, the decision will reach the Supreme Court, although this won’t happen at least for a year.

While House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that he was not surprised by Hudson’s decision (who was appointed as District Judge by George Bush back in 2002), but feels that in the end the law will be upheld. The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was signed by Obama in March of this year. Some changes have already gone into effect, while the purchase mandate in question is not due to be implemented until 2014. The main goal of the act was to provide insurance to 45 million uninsured Americans, however, critics who have dubbed the initiative “Obamacare”, are worried about this turning into socialized medicine and a fear that this would bring about increased taxes and decreased quality of health care. Republicans have vowed to repeal the whole act, although that is unlikely to happen given that the Democrats still control the Senate.

Dec 14

Why E-Cigarettes May Not Be Safe Either

Posted by jay11284 in nicotine , e-cigs , e-cigarettes , Cancer


If you have been to the mall recently shopping for the holidays you have probably seen a stand selling smoke-free electronic cigarettes. At first, this seems like a good, less obtrusive way to smoke compared to the original option; some studies suggest that it may not be the safest device to put to your lips. 


Dec 14

Stem cells turned into pancreatic and intestinal cells

Posted by Smthng2Say98 in stem cells , spermatogonial stem cells , pluripotent stem cells , organoids , 


Stem cells really have had an amazing year so far. Researchers have made great strides with what stem cells can do. The other day two more new experiments were reported.

In the first experiment a team from Georgetown University, used spermatogonial stem cells and turned them into pancreatic cells; the spermatogonial stem cells are ones that become sperm in men. The resulting pancreatic cells would not be exclusive to just men, however, because the technology can be used in female oocytes as well.

In the experiment, Ian Gallicano (head of the team), used “germ-derived pluripotent stem cells” (cells that have the ability to become any cells in the body) and in a lab used compounds that helped these cells turn into pancreatic beta cells. When transferred into diabetic mice the cells did indeed produce insulin and acted like the beta cells that the body destroys in patients with Type-1 diabetes. Currently there is no cure for the disease and those suffering from it must take insulin for life. A few people may be eligible for the “Edmonton Protocol” where the pancreatic cells are taken from cadavers, but obviously there are some problems with that method such as compatibility as well as a shortage of cadavers. This new method would certainly be a breakthrough and a life changer.

Dec 09

FDA may approve Contrave, first weight loss drug

Posted by xdragonflyx1984 in Qnexa , Public Citizens health group , Orexigen , obesity drug , Obesity , 


Orexigen, maker of Contrave (image from website) The FDA expert panel has finally voted to approve a weight loss drug, the first in a long list of competitors. The drug is called Contrave and is made by Orexigen Therapeutics Inc, based in La Jolla, California. While the panel of 20 experts voted 13 to 7 in favor of approving the new drug, the panel also voted 11 to 8 (one abstained) for follow up studies to be conducted in order to gauge the drug’s effects on heart health. Although the FDA does not have to follow its experts’ advice, it usually does. A final decision will be announced by Jan. 31.

This decision is interesting because just in October the FDA rejected two other weight loss drugs – Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s lorcaserin and Vivus Inc.’s Qnexa because of possible complications in regards to the heart, oddly enough the same concerns that Contrave is facing as well! Lorcaserin was rejected because of possibly causing cancerous tumors in lab rats, while Qnexa wasn’t approved because of potential heart problems and birth defects. Why then was one drug voted to be approved, yet the other two rejected is a bit peculiar.

Dec 09

Hemroids Symptoms: Are you suffering from one?

Posted by in symptoms of hemroids , hemroids treatments , hemroids symptoms , hemroids , hemroid


Though a lot of people hesitate to accept having hemroids, but the fact is that hemroids are among the most common diseases and as many as 40% of all people who are above 50 years of age have hemroids.  You may have had hemroids yourself so mildly that you weren’t even aware of its symptoms, but on the other hand, you may well be suffering much pain and anxiety from hemroids.

Signs and symptoms of Hemroids

Dec 08

Daily aspirin dose may decrease cancer risks

Posted by prediagnosis in University of Oxford , The Lancet , Peter Rothwell , daily aspirin , 


New research suggests that low doses of aspirin may be beneficial in reducing the risks of certain types of cancers. The new study consisted of 25,570 patients in 8 trials over 20 years and researchers noted that those who took a daily dose of aspirin as low as 75 mg lowered the chance of cancer death by 21%. After 5 years, the risk decreased by 34%. It is believed that aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties are the reason for this occurrence.

The study was led by Professor Peter Rothwell from the University of Oxford and results were published in The Lancet. The biggest change was seen in gastrointestinal cancers with 54% decrease of death over the course of the study and affects were seen after 5 years. Changes in the number of deaths from esophagus and pancreatic cancer (60% decrease) were seen after 5 years while stomach and colorectal cancer changes(40% overall decrease) did not show up until 10 years after taking aspirin. Unfortunately there was no decrease in the number of blood cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma.

Dec 07

Side effects show up years after drug approval

Posted by nat_bez in warning labels , targeted therapy , Side effects , Journal of Clinical


FDA approvalNow here’s a scary thought. A new study has found that most of the serious side effects from cancer drugs don’t show up until years after the drug has been approved and in use. The Canadian study looked at 12 cancer drugs, and found that 5 of them received a “black box warning” years after initial FDA approval.


Dr. Ian F. Tannock from the University of Toronto led the study and said that this is a reminder to make sure that patients are informed. In the study, his team looked at targeted therapies – a new class of drugs that interfere with particular molecules involved in the growth of the tumor. These drugs were believed to be safer than chemo, but these findings suggest otherwise. This comes on the heels of research that says that many experiments cancer drug trials see an increase in “one severe or life threatening side effect.” The FDA bases its approval decision on the results of these trials, but many times they are limited in scope so rare side effects don’t necessarily show up during this time.

Dec 06

Childhood restrictions may affect smoking

Posted by moveforward21 in thrill seeking behavior , smoking , Radboud University Nijmegen , R-rated movies


R rated warning

It’s interesting how the smallest things can have the biggest effects (cue the Butterfly Effect here). A new study suggests that parents who do not allow their children to watch R-rated movies actually cut the chances by about a third that their kids will start smoking. Because smoking is usually positively displayed or even glamorized in such movies, children that watch more of them are likely to emulate the same behavior.


The study was done by Dutch and U.S. researchers and was led by Rebecca N.H. de Leeuw from the Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. In the study that started in the mid 1990’s and spanned two years, 6,500 randomly selected American children between the ages of 10 and 14 years old were questioned on three separate occasions. Questions were about their smoking behaviors, as well as their thrill seeking tendencies and how strict their parents were with the types of movies they were allowed to watch.

Dec 02

New study on pornography is sure to raise controversy

Posted by jessisthebest in University of Hawaii , pornography , Dr. Milton Diamond , Dr. Cindy



The new study led by Dr. Milton Diamond of the University of Hawaii suggests that access to pornography, including child pornography, can help decrease the number of sexual abuse cases of young children. Rightfully so, the new findings have more than a handful of opponents.

In the study, Diamond’s group looked at the crime rates of different types of crime including sexual abuse, murders, assaults and theft in the Czech Republic both before and after the fall of communism in the country. Before the fall of communism in 1989, the country was extremely strict with what was allowed- anything sexually explicit was banned and even nudity was considered pornographic. After 1989, however, when the government was becoming more liberal, a new law allowed pornography, even child pornography. Diamond’s team compared the number of child sexual abuse cases before and after this time. After access to pornography became available, the number of child abuse cases dropped.

Dec 01

Retail health clinics: good or bad idea?

Posted by waterbottle in Walgreens , retail clinics , MinuteClinic , CVS , Convenient Care Association , American


Clinic BrandsBread, milk, eggs and an ear infection check-up? One of these is certainly not like the others, but you can get all of these things at your local CVS, Target or Wal-Mart. While not new anymore, retail health clinics have been growing in popularity. But are they a good idea when your doctor isn’t available or just more dangerous in the long run?

 There are currently 1,200 retail clinics in pharmacies, grocery stores, and big-box retailers. The major players are CVS’ MinuteClinic and Walgreens’ Take Care Health System that make up 77% of all clinics. Walgreens says that 40% of its clinic patients say that if not for the clinics, they would end up going to the emergency room or just not get any treatment at all. Industry leaders say that these clinics are indeed a good idea – they can provide a medical resource that is less expensive for when your physician is not immediately available as well as cut down on unnecessary ER visits. While they are not meant to replace your primary care physician (PCP), the clinics do usually have nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants that can provide screenings and vaccinations. If something is beyond their abilities, they will generally refer you to a physician.