Month: September 1999

Rotavirus vaccine may be linked to more cases of bowel disorder

BETHESDA, MD,(Reuters Health) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of 99 cases of intussusception that may be related to RotaShield rotavirus vaccine, an FDA medical officer said Tuesday.
Intussusception, where part of the bowel telescopes into an adjacent part, most commonly occurs in infants and young children. The disorder causes bowel obstruction, and often requires surgery.
Two of the 99 children experiencing the bowel obstruction died, said FDA’s Kathryn Carbone, one of the initial reviewers of the RotaShield data. All had been given at least one dose of RotaShield, an oral vaccine meant to inhibit infection with the diarrhea-causing rotavirus.
RotaShield, approved in August 1998, was hailed as a life-saver.
On July 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged physicians and parents to hold off on rotavirus vaccination until investigators could determine whether RotaShield was causing intussusception.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons urged Congress on September 2 to start an inquiry into the FDA’s vaccine approval process, claiming that the RotaShield approval may indicate deeper problems with the system.
Click here for entire article @ 18:05 | Article ID: 937436724

Cloned sheep not genetically identical

NEW YORK, Sep 13 – Dolly, the sheep cloned by Scottish scientists in 1997 — arguably the most famous farm animal in the world – is not identical to the ewe from which she was cloned, new research confirms.

Reporting in the September issue of Nature Genetics, Wilmut and colleagues at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, explain that Dolly has different genetic material in a portion of her cells than does the original ewe.

Comment: It looks as though innate is on the job again. @ 00:15 | Article ID: 937372503

Hospital Patients Worry They’ll Get Wrong Drug

Patients are more concerned about receiving the wrong medication in the hospital than about pain or cost of treatment, according to a new study. The telephone survey of 1,008 adults was conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), a professional organization that mainly represents pharmacists who are employed in hospitals.
Some 61 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” about being given the wrong medication. Patients were also “very concerned” about being given two or more medications that interact, and cost of treatment, which were tied at 58 percent each.
Other areas that patients surveyed indicated they were “very concerned” about included: complications from the medical procedure, 56 percent; having enough information about the medications they receive, 53 percent; and getting an infection during their stay, 50 percent. These were followed by: medication side effects, pain and receiving too much medicine each of which received 49 percent; and cost of filling prescriptions once discharged, 41 percent.
Source: Medical Tribune News Service
Click here for entire article @ 15:22 | Article ID: 937340574

One in 10 California HMO practices are predicted to fail in 1999 news

Sacramento – One in 10 California physician groups that capitate directly with HMOs are expected to close this year, according to a report from the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers. At least 16 already have closed, part of the more than 100 physician groups in California that have closed or gone bankrupt in the past three years, according to the report released at a meeting on physician group failures hosted by the California Medical Assn.’s CMA Foundation.

Speakers at the meeting blamed the problems on low capitation rates, assumption of money-losing insurance risk and some poor business decisions. Listening were doctors, legislators, HMO representatives and media from across the state. “It’s time to push the control-alt-delete button and start over again,” said Executive Vice President Jack Lewin, MD.

Part of the problem, some speakers said, is that many physicians don’t care to get into the details of practice management.

Source: AMNews
Click here for complete article @ 10:46 | Article ID: 937237610

Seniors face Medicare HMO cutbacks

Senior citizens who left traditional Medicare and joined an HMO to save money and gain benefits are in for a shock: Premiums, doctor visits and even hospital stays will cost more next year. The changes are the first round of significant benefit cutbacks by Medicare HMO insurers, many of whom say they were forced to make the cuts because of inadequate government payments. The cutbacks come after two years of retrenchment by Medicare HMOs, some of which have dropped service in parts of the country, affecting more than 10% of the program’s 6 million patients.
Source: USA Today
Click here for complete article @ 10:16 | Article ID: 937235761

Cell therapy shows promise as treatment for spinal cord injury

Source: Nando Health/Science – Spinal cord injuries are responsible for one of the human body’s most frustrating phenomena – they simply do not heal, leaving victims permanently paralyzed and medical doctors helpless.
It was long a truism in the medical profession that the spinal cord could never recover from injuries, with or without the help of drugs.
Some 11,000 people in the United States alone injure their spinal cords annually. In the worst cases victims lose virtually all bodily functions from the neck down.
“It’s really the Holy Grail to achieve spinal cord regeneration in mammals,” said Harry Rappaport, head of neurosurgery at Israel’s Rabin Medical Center.
“In the central nervous system, structure is very important for function,” said Adrian Harel. “The connection between the nerves is very delicate; once it’s disturbed, its function is, too.”
Comment: This article was published to Planet Chiropractic for information purposes only and for doctors to see the quote mentioned above.
Click here for entire article @ 15:12 | Article ID: 937167121

Removing tonsils rarely worth the risks news

Taking out a child’s tonsils and adenoids, or the adenoids alone, to treat chronic middle-ear trouble offers only short-term and limited relief, says a study out Wednesday.

Medical Doctors should resort to adenoid surgery only after vaccines, antibiotics and insertion of a drainage tube fail, says the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Given that we found both operations to have limited effectiveness – and in view of their not inconsiderable risks, (complications) and costs – we believe that neither operation should be considered initially,” say Jack Paradise of Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and his colleagues.

Source: USA TODAY @ 07:45 | Article ID: 936794702

New superbug renews antibiotic worries news

An emerging strain of community-acquired MRSA underscores the complexity of the public health challenges associated with antibiotic resistance.

Washington — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — MRSA for short, is commonplace in hospitals and nursing homes, where each year it’s the diagnosis for a third of all infections acquired within those facilities.
These superbugs are now raising the eyebrows of infectious disease specialists because a new strain has emerged in the general population.

Case studies in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aug. 20 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report detailed the first four instances in which community-acquired MRSA infections resulted in death.

“We very strongly believe that these [infections] are a byproduct of excessive and otherwise inappropriate use of antibiotics,” said Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH, a CDC medical epidemiologist with the Minnesota Deptartment of Health.

Source: AMNews @ 08:14 | Article ID: 936710040

Study says ADHD May Be Over-Diagnosed in Children chiropractic news

Norfolk, Va. – Doctors may be over-diagnosing some groups of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and over prescribing drugs to treat the condition, according to a new study published Wednesday.

ADHD has been estimated to affect 3% to 5% of school-age children nationwide, with less than 3% actually receiving medication, said Gretchen LeFever, a pediatric psychologist and lead author of the study.

By comparison, her research found that 8% to 10% of children in second through fifth grades routinely took ADHD medication in school during the 1995-96 school year.

“It’s hard to believe this many children have the specific brain-related problem called ADHD,” said LeFever.

The use of the medication increased as children aged. By the fifth grade, 19% to 20% of boys received ADHD drugs. @ 16:31 | Article ID: 936394303

Doctor Groups in State Face Crisis chiropractic news

California faces “epidemic” of bankruptcies, medical association official says. Dozens of groups expect to go out of business by end of the year, according to figures to be released today by the California Medical Assn.

2 Dozen Doctor Groups in State Near Failure
The physician groups that form the backbone of managed care in California are in crisis, some hemorrhaging as much as $500,000 per month, and at least two dozen are expected to go out of business between now and the end of the year, according to figures to be released today by the California Medical Assn.

Already, 15 such organizations, including one last week in Ventura County, have gone under this year, bringing the total since 1996 to 115. Two of the largest, MedPartners Provider Network and FPA Medical Management, represented 1.5 million patients between them.

“We face an epidemic of physician organization bankruptcies unless we fix a very broken system,” said CMA executive vice president Jack Lewin.

The plight of California doctor groups has national implications, as physicians across the country weigh whether to set up similar structures. In Texas, where physician groups have been an increasing presence during the last several years, several are under financial strain or have gone bankrupt. And in New York, doctors are experimenting with setting up physician groups as a way to wrest control of patient care away from the health plans.

Source: L.A. Times @ 08:35 | Article ID: 936279357