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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:33 am 
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Stress-Eaters Don’t Get Pleasure from Stress-Eating, So You May Want To Re-Think That King-Sized Kit Kat Bar

I am a stress-eater; if I have a long paper, a looming deadline, or a large decision in front of me, then nine times out of 10 I will reach for junk food to make me feel a bit better. However, according to new research from the University of Geneva, eating under duress actually isn’t that gratifying; in fact, stress-eaters don’t get pleasure from stress-eating.

A new study published by the American Psychological Association examines the link between stress-induced desire for reward, and the gratification that comes from that reward, which in this case was the classic stress food chocolate. For the experiment, researchers chose 36 subjects who all said that they love chocolate. These subjects were then divided into two groups. To induce stress, one group was asked to keep a hand immersed in ice-cold water while being observed and video taped, while the other group was asked to keep a hand in lukewarm water. Exactly 10 minutes before and 30 minutes after the assignment, researchers took saliva samples from each participant to measure their levels of cortisol, a hormone involved in stress response.

After the “stress conditioning,” all participants were asked to squeeze a handgrip when they say a certain symbol in order to smell chocolate. The researcher asked the subjects how pleasant they found the cocoa odor, and measured how much effort each participant exerted to get a whiff. Overall, they found that while stress made some subjects use three times as much effort to smell the chocolate, those subjects got the same amount of enjoyment from the smell as their non-stressed counter parts. Lead author of the study Eva Pool observed, “While stress increases our desire to indulge in rewards, it does not necessarily increase the enjoyment we experience.” So even though stress increases our desire and perhaps need for a delicious reward, the reward won’t be more enjoyable simply because we worked hard for it.

Does this mean that I will stop stress eating anytime soon? Probably not…chocolate is delicious whether or not you’re stressed out. But it’s good to know what is and isn’t an effective method for dealing with stressful situations. So next time you’re on a deadline and reach for a bag of Cheetos, know that they might not be as gratifying as you expect.

http://www.bustle.com/articles/56162-st ... ed-kit-kat


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:20 pm 
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Concerns raised over post-holiday mental health issues

Neil Jeyasingam, a psychiatrist and lecturer at the University of Sydney, relayed a post-Christmas professional experience on the first day of the new year—one of his patients attempted suicide after arriving home from a Christmas dinner with their children.

According to the mental health professional:

"... a recent informal survey by the American Psychiatric Association found as many as 60 per cent of psychiatrists believed that the Christmas period was associated with an increase in depression and suicides".

However, Mr Jeyasingam clarifies what he believes is a misconception about the "holiday blues". He explains that the actual Christmas and New Year period is associated with lower rates of self-harm and suicide, referring to 2005 and 2011 studies—the former examined the details of 140,000 suicides, and found that a lower number of male suicides occurred during the Christmas holidays.

Mr Jeyasingam states that the social connectivity, with both family and friends, of the season is "often underplayed". But, the clarification also reveals that it is the period after the holidays that represents an increased mental health risk. The 2011 study found a "worrying" increase in the number of mental health presentations during this time, while suicide attempts rose by 40 per cent in the first two weeks after January 1, according to a 1999 Danish study.

The Guardian's Zach Stafford then presented relationship-specific data on Friday, which shows that, in January, divorce filings rise by 10 per cent and divorce inquiries increase by a significant 25 per cent. Mr Stafford ponders the influence of procrastination in this context, instead of a holiday season-specific cause.

In terms of management, Mr Jeyasingam invites readers to "spare a thought about the loved one or colleague who was surprisingly quiet at the last get-together." For Lisa Keith, who wrote a piece for the PsychCentral blog at the end of September, faith, self-forgiveness, community reintegration, fresh air and getting organised are her personal tools for overcoming post-holiday difficulties.

http://www.christiantoday.com.au/articl ... /19057.htm


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:00 pm 
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Smoking mothers spark up push for change

CANCER Council has raised concern over new figures showing 35% of teenage mothers and 15% of all mothers in Queensland smoke at some point during their pregnancy.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare issued Australia's Mothers and Babies 2012 report revealed 12.5% of women nationally smoked while pregnant in 2012.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the figures were concerning, and highlighted the need for joint action to address smoking in the community.

"We urgently need to continue with progressive reforms - like smoke free spaces - to guarantee fresh air and healthy childhoods for our next generation," Ms Clift said.

Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848), or join the QUEST to quit at http://www.quest.org.au.

http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/smo ... e/2501352/


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:38 am 
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How to stop tattoos fading in the sun

It's like one of those dreams where your teeth start crumbling, or you're back at school, only naked.

You've dropped big bucks on a great tattoo. It's your pride and joy. It means something important to you. But you're at the beach this summer and beneath the sun's harsh glare, the ink starts to fade away. Before long, it's all but gone.

More grooming tips from Man Scape's Richard Hughes

When it's fresh you think it will last forever, but body art fades and our hot Aussie sun can speed up the disappearing act.

Of course, you'll be wearing some sunscreen, because you're not a mug. But did you know there's such a product as sunscreen that purports to protect your precious ink?

It's pretty obvious as you glance around at your fellow man that the Aussie tattoo industry is booming. Everybody, it seems, has one, wants one, or wants more. A recent report from industry monitor IBISWorld found that "technological advances" (ie. quicker and less painful application) and a rise in social acceptance will see the sector grow by 4 per cent each year to 2020.

In the 18-to-25 age group, more than one in three Australians have at least one tattoo, IBISWorld found. That figure rises to about 40 per cent for the 26-to-40 age bracket. Over the past five years, the market has grown by 20 per cent.

Tat for tatts

With so much interest, and money, around tattoos it was only a matter of time before the beauty industry started selling products targeting the well-inked.

First cab off the rank is the iconic underarm warrior Brut, which has come up with a range of products under the Brut Tattoo range that promise to "offer the right protection and care to Aussie men and their ink".

Brut's Tattoo Guard is a factor 50 sunscreen with added aloe vera and Vitamin E. Brut claims it will help keep the skin hydrated to ensure "tattoos look fresh and bright" and prevent "fading and blurring from the sun".

Sydney tattoo artist Joe Kintz designed the packaging and thinks it's a great idea. "Tattoos are an investment," he says. "To maintain colour, vibrancy and details, they need to be looked after from the moment they are created."

Does it work? I spoke to dermal clinician Sally Risby, who explained that the sun acts in much the same way as the latest tattoo-removal systems.

"Tattoo ink particles stay in the skin because they are too big for the lymphatic system to engulf," says Risby, who works at Melbourne's Flawless Rejuvenation Skin Clinic.

"Lasers remove tattoos by going in and smashing the ink particles down so that they are small enough for the immune cells in the skin to deal with."

The sun can act in a similar way: "It's like plastic toys that are left out in the yard too long – the ink in your skin will react in the same way and will fade after prolonged sun exposure," Risby says.

Good side effects

She thinks special tattoo-targeted sunscreens are "a bit of a marketing thing", but agrees they might have some good side effects – getting young men in particular thinking about protecting their skin from the sun.

"They won't wear sunscreen for ageing reasons, and they seem deaf to the skin cancer message," she says.

"The best sun protection is long-sleeved clothing, but if you've got a 'sleeve' tattoo, you're unlikely to want to cover it up at the beach.

"But if you've spent money on a tattoo and don't want it to fade then using some sunscreen, where otherwise you might not, is a good thing."

So a cautious thumbs-up from the experts. Risby also mentioned that heavy tattooing can make skin lesions harder to spot. So be warned. And be careful.

The best advice with tattoos and our hot sun is still the tried-and-true slip, slop, slap. It can help prolong your ink's life - and yours, too.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/executi ... 2fr2l.html


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:02 am 
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Study Finds More Reasons to Get and Stay Married

A new economics paper has some old-fashioned advice for people navigating the stresses of life: Find a spouse who is also your best friend.

Social scientists have long known that married people tend to be happier, but they debate whether that is because marriage causes happiness or simply because happier people are more likely to get married. The new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, controlled for pre-marriage happiness levels.

It concluded that being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single – particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises.

Even as fewer people are marrying, the disadvantages of remaining single have broad implications. It’s important because marriage is increasingly a force behind inequality. Stable marriages are more common among educated, high-income people, and increasingly out of reach for those who are not. That divide appears to affect not just people’s income and family stability, but also their happiness and stress levels.

A quarter of today’s young adults will have never married by 2030, which would be the highest share in modern history, according to the Pew Research Center. Yet both remaining unmarried and divorcing are more common among less-educated, lower-income people. Educated, high-income people still marry at high rates and are less likely to divorce.

Those whose lives are most difficult could benefit most from marriage, according to the economists who wrote the new paper, John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics and Shawn Grover of the Canadian Department of Finance. “Marriage may be most important when there is that stress in life and when things are going wrong,” Mr. Grover said.

They analyzed data about well-being from two national surveys in the United Kingdom and the Gallup World Poll. In all but a few parts of the world, even when controlling for people’s life satisfaction before marriage, being married made them happier. This conclusion, however, did not hold true in Latin America, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Intriguingly, marital happiness long outlasted the honeymoon period. Though some social scientists have argued that happiness levels are innate, so people return to their natural level of well-being after joyful or upsetting events, the researchers found that the benefits of marriage persist.

One reason for that might be the role of friendship within marriage. Those who consider their spouse or partner to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as others, the study found.

The effect of friendship seems to be the result of living with a romantic partner, rather than the legal status of being married, because it was as strong for people who lived together but weren’t married. Women benefit more from being married to their best friend than men do, though women are less likely to regard their spouse as their best friend.

“What immediately intrigued me about the results was to rethink marriage as a whole,” Mr. Helliwell said. “Maybe what is really important is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life.”

Marriage has undergone a drastic shift in the last half century. In the past, as the Nobel-winning economist Gary Becker described, marriage was utilitarian: Women looked for a husband to make money and men looked for a woman to manage the household.

But in recent decades, the roles of men and women have become more similar. As a result, spouses have taken on roles as companions and confidants, particularly those who are financially stable, as the economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have discussed.

The benefits of marital friendship are most vivid during middle age, when people tend to experience a dip in life satisfaction, largely because career and family demands apply the most stress then. Those who are married, the new paper found, have much shallower dips – even in regions where marriage does not have an overall positive effect.

“The biggest benefits come in high-stress environments, and people who are married can handle midlife stress better than those who aren’t because they have a shared load and shared friendship,” Mr. Helliwell said.

Overall, the research comes to a largely optimistic conclusion. People have the capacity to increase their happiness levels and avoid falling deep into midlife crisis by finding support in long-term relationships. Yet those relationships seem to be less achievable for the least advantaged members of society.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/upsho ... 0002&abg=1


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:21 pm 
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Coroner calls for urgent drug overdose action

A coroner has linked a sixth Victorian drug overdose to the need for an electronic prescription monitor and pleaded for Labor to introduce the system – which had been a Coalition election promise – "as a matter of urgency".

Drug overdose statistics also reveal that 2014 is likely to have set a record for prescription drug-related deaths, with 16 overdoses in six months linked to one particular drug alone.

Coroner Jacinta Heffey called for a prescription system in the inquest findings for Paul Kanis, who died after being prescribed methadone by one doctor, and benzodiazepines – tranquillisers commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia – by another.

Ms Heffey found it was the fifth time in less than nine months that a coroner had recommended the system, which would allow doctors access to an electronic record of all prescribed drugs being taken by their patients.

Coroners have found the system would reduce the chance of patients being prescribed dangerous cocktails of drugs, as in the case of Mr Kanis, and curtail "doctor shopping", in which prescription drug abusers target multiple GPs to get their fix.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy is receiving advice on the issue, a spokeswoman said, but did not commit to the system.

Mr Kanis's mother, Suzie Kanis, said she feared more families would suffer the heartache of needlessly losing loved ones before a monitor was introduced.

Mr Kanis, 38, died of pneumonia after taking methadone and benzodiazepines but had not abused the drugs. Ms Heffey found Mr Kanis's asthma may have also contributed to his death.

Mr Kanis was found dead in a Traralgon park with his puppy, Max, on January 30, 2012.

"We were calling him, going around to his place, doing everything to try and find him, and the whole time he was laying dead in Victory Park," Ms Kanis said.

"He died a horrible death, it was a really muggy day and then rained all night, and his pup sat with him the whole time."

Ms Heffey, in her findings published last month, says the Department of Health must implement a real-time prescription monitoring system.

"I take this opportunity to draw the new Minister for Health's attention to the ongoing issue of pharmaceutical drug overdose in Victoria and the vital – and universally acknowledged – need for an RTPM system to reduce the harms and deaths associated with pharmaceutical drugs."

Coroners Court data presented at the Asia Pacific Coroners Society Conference in November, and released to Fairfax Media, shows that Victoria was on track for a record number of pharmaceutical-related overdoses last year.

In the first six months of 2014, there were 130 deaths linked to three popular prescription drugs. The benzodiazepines, which include drugs commonly referred to as xanax and valium, were present in a record 228 deaths in 2013, but the half-yearly figures show that record was likely to fall.

The third drug, clonazepam, should be prescribed only for epilepsy but doctors are giving scripts "off label" to patients who suffer anxiety, Ms Heffey found.

There were 16 deaths related to clonazepam in the first six months of last year, with the Coroner Prevention Unit forecasting a total of 30 deaths – more than four times the amount recorded in 2009.

The court data shows that benzodiazepines contributed to 919 – or 50 per cent – of pharmaceutical-drug overdose deaths from 2009 to 2013.

The Coroners Court could not confirm the final number of drug-related deaths in 2014.

In November, days from the state election, then health minister David Davis pledged $7 million during five years for the monitoring system, saying misuse of prescription medication ended "sadly all too often with tragic consequences for the patients and their families and loved ones".

The scheme would have recorded all prescriptions for schedule 8 drugs – particularly opioids and benzodiazepines – in a central database, creating alerts for cases of potential misuse.

A spokeswoman for Ms Hennessy said the scheme would need extensive consideration and planning, with aspects that might require national co-ordination.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/coroner- ... 2lz8a.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:44 am 
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Six new ovarian cancer risk genes found

A team of international scientists, including Queensland researchers, have discovered six new ovarian cancer risk genes.

The discovery could help researchers find new ways to treat and even prevent the disease.

The findings by Queensland's Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the University of Cambridge takes the number of ovarian cancer risk regions from 12 to 18.

An Australian woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about one in 100.

The cancer has been referred to as a silent killer because many times it is not detected until it's at an advanced stage.

"The problem is that the most lethal form seems to be the most difficult to detect," says the head of the institute's cancer program Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench.

"It seems to rise very quickly and give you a very narrow window of opportunity to make the diagnosis before it spreads."

A woman's lifetime risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2.

The six new variants or "typos" identified have a more subtle impact than the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, says Prof Chenevix-Trench.

"Individually, each of these typos increases the risk of cancer by a very small amount.

"However, if a woman carries a large number of these typos her risk of developing ovarian cancer may be as high as that conferred by mutations in BRCA1 or 2."

Actress Angelina Jolie has had a double mastectomy because she carries the faulty gene BRCA1.

"This finding would be particularly relevant to people like Angelina Jolie because in time we should be able to give much more precise estimates of what their ovarian cancer is and that should help them decide when they want to have prophylactic surgery, if at all."

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25986943/si ... nes-found/


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:33 am 
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Cancer often due to bad luck, not genes

Cancer is often caused by the "bad luck" of random mutations that arise when cells divide, not family history or environmental causes, US researchers say.

The study in the January 2 edition of the journal Science was led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and based on a statistical model that includes many types of cancer in a range of human tissues.

However it did not include breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in women, or prostate cancer, which is the second most common cancer in men after skin cancer.

In the adult cancers they did measure, about two-thirds could be explained by random mutation in genes that encourage tumours to grow, while the remaining one third was due to environmental factors and inherited genes.

"This study shows that you can add to your risk of getting cancers by smoking or other poor lifestyle factors," said study author Bert Vogelstein, a professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"However, many forms of cancer are due largely to the bad luck of acquiring a mutation in a cancer driver gene regardless of lifestyle and heredity factors."

He added that people who live a long time without getting cancer, despite being long-time smokers or being exposed heavily to the Sun, do not have "good genes."

"The truth is that most of them simply had good luck," he added.

The team sought to look at cancer in a new light, by searching the scientific literature for information on how many times stem cells divided over the course of an average person's lifespan.

This process of self-renewal occurs naturally in the body and helps repopulate cells that die off in a specific organ.

Researchers have long understood that cancer can arise when stem cells make random mistakes, known as mutations.

But the study represents the first attempt at comparing how many cancers arise from this process, compared to family history or environmental factors.

Some 22 cancer types arising in 31 tissues studied could be traced back to random mutations, the study found.

The other nine "had incidences higher than predicted by 'bad luck' and were presumably due to a combination of bad luck plus environmental or inherited factors," the university said.

These nine types included lung cancer and skin cancer -- which are influenced by exposure to smoke and sunshine -- as well as some cancers known to be hereditary.

The findings mean that an even greater emphasis should be placed on early detection of cancer and research that could detect these harmful random acts before they lead to widespread cancer.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015 ... -not-genes


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:39 am 
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Poor sleep 'early warning sign' for drink and drug issues

US scientists found adolescents with bad sleep habits were more likely to engage in risky behaviour in the years to come than those who slept soundly.

They say parents should pay closer attention to teens' sleep schedules.

Other research suggests a good night's sleep is key to making good judgements.

Sleep protection
Writing in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, scientists analysed data from more than 6,500 adolescents in the United States.

They tracked sleep patterns, alcohol and drug use through a large nationwide survey conducted in three waves between 1994 and 2002.

People who slept badly when first questioned were most likely to have alcohol and drug problems at that time.

But researchers also wanted to tease out whether poor or insufficient sleep were independently linked to the development of such problems in later life.

Teenagers who reported trouble going to sleep at least once a week were more likely to binge drink, engage in sexual behaviour that they later regretted when drunk or take illicit drugs in the years to come.

And the worse the sleep problem, the stronger the link seemed to be. Those who found it difficult falling sleep almost every day were 33% more likely to experience these issues than teenagers who found it easy to drift-off.

Researchers found the fewer the hours of sleep adolescents reported on average, the greater the odds they would subsequently experience a host of problems, including relationship issues triggered by alcohol misuse.

But an extra hour of sleep seemed to offer some protection - each additional hour was linked to a decrease in the odds of binge drinking.

Complex decisions
Prof Maria Wong from Idaho State University, who led the project, told the BBC: "Most of the time we don't think sleep is important. But our results show sleep is a good marker of some serious later problems.

"A lot of parents don't monitor their adolescents' sleep schedules and let them make their own decisions about when to go to bed.

"But parents need to start talking to their teenagers, not just about grades and extra-curricular activities but about sleep too. And they must get help if needed."

Independent sleep researcher Dr Neil Stanley, said: "Even without a medical condition such as insomnia, many teenagers get less sleep than they need each night just because life - computers etc - getting in the way.

"But this study builds on previous research that shows a lack of sleep can seriously impair judgement.

"And this is particularly important for adolescents who are more prone to risk taking and willing to experiments with alcohol and drugs."

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30846703


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:55 pm 
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Obesity More Expensive to Treat Than Smoking

MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Annual health care expenses are substantially higher for smokers and the obese, compared with nonsmokers and people of healthy weight, according to a report published online Dec. 24 in Public Health. In fact, obesity is actually more expensive to treat than smoking on an annual basis, the report author concludes.

To understand the financial impact of obesity and smoking, Ruopeng An, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, analyzed data from 125,955 participants in the 1996 to 2010 National Health Interview Surveys. The participants also took part in a subsequent survey on health-related expenses. The study focused solely on health-care expenditures: hospital inpatient and outpatient care, emergency department treatment, physicians' office visits, out-of-pocket expenses, and prescription drug costs.

Between 1998 and 2011, estimated health-care expenses associated with obesity and smoking increased by 25 and 30 percent, respectively, according to An's findings. The rising cost of prescription drugs appeared to fuel the increase in health-care expenses related to obesity and smoking, An found. Pharmaceutical expenses associated with obesity and smoking were 62 and 70 percent higher, respectively, in 2011 than in 1998. Obese people run up an average $1,360 in additional health-care expenses each year compared with the non-obese. The individual obese patient is responsible for $143 in extra out-of-pocket expenses. By comparison, smokers require an average $1,046 in additional health-care expenses compared with nonsmokers, and pay an extra $70 annually in out-of-pocket expenses.

An told HealthDay that his results show obesity prevention and anti-smoking campaigns could go a long way toward reigning in rising medical expenses. "In order to contain increasing health-care costs, we need to think more about how to prevent obesity rather than treating obesity, because treatment of obesity is much more expensive than prevention," he said.

http://www.doctorslounge.com/index.php/news/pb/52423


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:47 am 
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Investigation finds pharmacies failed to ask questions critical to patient safety

A CBC Marketplace hidden-camera investigation found several pharmacies in Edmonton failed to screen for potentially dangerous drug interactions.

A CBC reporter bought behind-the-counter drugs at six randomly chosen Edmonton pharmacies. Staff at none of the pharmacies asked any questions necessary to determine if the drugs might lessen the efficacy of other drugs or even cause harm.

Alberta College of Pharmacists registrar Greg Eberhart acknowledged there is a problem with those pharmacies, but he doesn’t believe the results are necessarily indicative of a widespread failure to catch potentially dangerous drug interactions.

“It clearly identifies a need,” Eberhart said. “It clearly identifies that the appropriate questions were not asked. And certainly as a regulator that is of such interest that we will look into it.”

The Edmonton test was part of a Canada-wide investigation, the largest of its kind, to determine whether pharmacy staff at various types of drugstores — independents, big-box chains, and grocery stores — are following provincial guidelines around the sale of Schedule 2 drugs.

Schedule 2 drugs are medications stored behind the counter which require a conversation with a pharmacy employee before purchase, according to the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists in the province. If a patient has not taken the drug before, a pharmacist should inform the patient about the drug and its possible side effects.

The pharmacist should also ask if the patient is taking any other drugs to ensure medications don’t interact in negative ways.

Hidden camera

In Edmonton, a reporter, equipped with a hidden camera, visited five pharmacies and asked to purchase the iron supplement Palafer. Staff at four of the five locations properly counselled the reporter about the drug and its potential side effects.

But no one asked the reporter if she was taking any other medications. Had they asked, the reporter was to say she was taking the antibiotic Cipro. Palafer reduces the effectiveness of Cipro, so the drugs should not be taken together.

In the second part of the test, the reporter visited other pharmacies and attempted to purchase Tylenol No. I, which contains the narcotic codeine. Like other Schedule 2 drugs, its purchase should not be allowed without a conversation between the patient and a pharmacy employee.

Alberta is one of three provinces which more strictly regulates the sale of Tylenol No. I. In order to purchase it, a customer must present his or her health card to a pharmacy employee, who then logs the sale of the drug. Customers can only purchase one bottle of the drug each month.

If a patient has not taken Tylenol No. 1 before, the customer must speak with the pharmacist directly.

An employee at the first pharmacy did not properly counsel the reporter about the drug, and sold it without getting the store’s pharmacist to speak with the reporter.

The employee did, however, ask for the reporter’s health card and recorded the sale.

Because only one bottle of Tylenol No. 1 can be purchased each month, the test ended at the second pharmacy when a staff member again asked for the reporter’s health card.

Pharmacist Basel Alsaadi said many factors could have led to the pharmacies’ failure to ask those crucial questions. But he said pharmacy resources are a key issue.

“We have had some huge cutbacks, governmental cutbacks on pharmacy profit that have affected our work flow, our staffing, and our ability to provide care to patients,” he said.

Alsaadi said patients should take at least some of the responsibility for their own safety, and he said they can do that by developing a professional relationship with a pharmacist.
“The pharmacist and the patient need to know each other,” he said. “The pharmacist needs to understand what medical conditions you have, what medications you take, and know you on that level.”

Proper Counselling

Of the nine cities tested, Edmonton was the most thorough in counselling customers about the potential effects of the behind-the-counter drugs.

Less than half of the 50 pharmacies visited across Canada gave advice about the drugs being purchased. In Edmonton, four of five pharmacies did.

But Edmonton pharmacies were among the 50 across Canada which failed to properly screen for potential negative drug interactions.

Alberta College of Pharmacists registrar Greg Eberhart said many factors may have contributed to this problem.

But he said more education is clearly needed so that both pharmacists and the public understand the importance of identifying any potential risks.

“I think what is really important here is that it creates an opportunity for awareness, an awareness for patients, an awareness for consumers, an awareness for pharmacists, an awareness for us as regulators that there is work to be done.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/ ... -1.2921050


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:18 am 
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Cancer drugs driving PBS cost blowout

SUBSIDIES for high-cost cancer drugs are growing faster than for other medicines, an analysis shows.

Chemotherapy costs rose from $84 million in 2009-10 to $586 million last financial year, a parliamentary paper shows.

An annual 63 per cent growth in the cost far exceeded that of other medicines, including for complex HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

The analysis found spending on drugs to combat high-blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and depression was slowing.

The subsidy program cost $9.1 billion last financial year, with an average annual rise of 5 per cent for a decade.

The Grattan Institute’s Stephen Duckett said the rise was the result of a trend to niche medicines.

“They might target a particular genome, and the cost of developing a drug is often as high. You are spreading the development cost over a smaller number of drugs,” he said.

Professor Duckett said the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme was designed to share the cost of drugs across the population and “not make the poor people with cancer pay for them”.

But he said there should be greater effort to ensure high-cost drugs were prescribed carefully.

“Often there are a huge claims about a drug and doctors apply it to people who may benefit. We’ve got to be tight about how we use them,” he said.

The analysis comes as a Senate committee prepares to examine access to new cancer drugs, amid warnings some patients can’t receive the best treatments due to delays having them PBS listed.

Many new cancer drugs are on the way and some oncologists say the subsidy system is too slow and inflexible to cope.

Oncologist John Zalcberg said Australians were missing out on new treatments due to delays in having them listed.

http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/2837 ... t-blowout/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:26 pm 
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NSW hospital vaccine inquiry under way

Almost 600 mothers and nine babies could be at risk after a major Sydney hospital found a fault in a refrigerator containing vaccines.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner described the error at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as 'disappointing' and has ordered an investigation.

The hospital is trying to contact 570 women who were admitted to one of its postnatal wards between August 2013 and January this year, along with the parents of nine babies born to hepatitis B-positive mothers.

A Sydney Local Health District spokesman said the babies would have received follow-up injections, so would be at low risk of contracting the disease.

A free clinic has been set up to readminister the vaccinations to the affected women and babies.

The two vaccines given to mothers are the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, plus Boostrix, which prevents diphtheria, tetanus, polio and whooping cough.

RPA's general manager, Deborah Willcox, said the vaccines may have been exposed to temperatures just outside optimal levels, but stressed there was no risk associated with the lower storage temperature.

'We are taking an extremely cautious approach - as you can understand our mums and our babies are really important to us,' Ms Willcox told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

She said vaccines are usually kept refrigerated at between 2C and 8C, but there had been some variation in this, which may have left the vaccines 'partially ineffective'.

Only women who gave birth in RPA's 8 East ward are potentially at risk.

'The failures that have occurred at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital are disappointing,' Ms Skinner said in a statement on Tuesday.

'A full investigation is under way to guarantee all public hospitals are compliant with medication storage protocols.

'I'm advised measures will be introduced at RPA to ensure this incident does not happen again.'

The free clinic has been set up at Croydon Health Centre in Sydney's inner west.

It will operate until the end of the month, but RPA is offering to cover costs if women prefer to see their own GP.

A hotline has been set up for those worried they might be affected: 1800 300 243.

http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stor ... r-way.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:17 pm 
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LePage administration, advocates butt heads on cut to anti-smoking program

AUGUSTA — A battle is brewing between the LePage administration and public health advocates over the administration’s plan to cut $20 million over two years from a public health fund that pays for anti-smoking programs.

The administration says the funding reduction will allow the state to maintain reimbursement rates for primary care doctors who work with MaineCare patients and for other health initiatives. Public health advocates, however, say the move could decimate the Fund for a Healthy Maine, a program that allocates money from the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement to smoking prevention and cessation.

The proposal is embedded in Gov. Paul LePage’s $6.3 billion budget, a two-year spending plan that contains a broad set of policy initiatives. LePage has previously made a number of cuts to the Fund for a Healthy Maine, which has received high marks from anti-smoking advocates because it specifically directs a portion of Maine’s annual share of tobacco settlement funds toward prevention and cessation.

On Monday, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services issued a detailed explanation of the proposal, arguing that Maine’s investment in the Fund for a Healthy Maine duplicated federal initiatives and that the $215 million the state has spent on prevention and cessation since 1993 has not produced a corresponding reduction in smoking rates.

The DHHS policy brief also argued that diverting $20 million into other health programs would produce better outcomes because the money would be used to maintain reimbursement rates for primary care doctors and another initiative that connects MaineCare recipients with doctors. MaineCare is the state’s version of the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income residents.

DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew told lawmakers last week that the tobacco settlement funds must be evaluated. She said the governor’s proposal is designed to invest in primary care, which studies have shown is an effective deterrent in convincing people to quit smoking.

Ed Miller, public policy director at the American Lung Association for the Northeast, said health advocates completely supported the administration’s goal of funding primary care doctors, but pitting smoking cessation programs against funding for prevention is a “false choice.”

“We totally agree with the administration that we need to do more in primary care,” Miller said. “It’s on the front lines of treating disease and helping prevent it. In many cases, the physician is a prime motivator to help somebody quit smoking and to refer them to where they can get treatment.”

However, he said, helping people quit is only half the battle against smoking.

“We need to have a strong public health structure within this state to prevent chronic diseases, including tobacco-related diseases – not just treat them after they occur,” Miller said. “We need to have a system out there that’s discovering them early.”

HIGH RANK IN CESSATION SPENDING

Advocates say that’s the benefit of the Fund for a Healthy Maine. The program was created to ensure that some settlement fund money was funneled into anti-smoking programs and treatment. The 1998 tobacco settlement gave states complete discretion over the funds received. Maine has been a national leader in putting the money into prevention programs.

Maine will spend $8.2 million in settlement and tobacco taxes on cessation programs during the current fiscal year, according to an annual report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The allocation is only 51 percent of the level recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet Maine ranks seventh in the country in overall spending on cessation. Only North Dakota and Alaska met the CDC funding recommendations in 2014. Many other states are plowing settlement dollars into other initiatives or to balance state budgets.

In 2014, states budgeted $490.4 million in tobacco-use prevention, 14.8 percent of the $3.3 billion recommended by the CDC, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids report.

Miller said that diverting money from the Fund for a Healthy Maine and its Healthy Maine Partnerships – which organize tobacco prevention programs at the school and community level – is shortsighted. He said the Fund for a Healthy Maine had reduced cigarette smoking rates among high school students by 67 percent since 1997.

CALL TO RAISE CIGARETTE EXCISE TAX

The administration could maintain reimbursement rates for physicians while protecting the Fund for a Healthy Maine by raising the state excise tax on cigarettes, Miller said. Research has shown that the prevalence of youth smoking decreases with the price of a pack of cigarettes.

Maine currently assesses a $2 tax on a pack of cigarettes, tying it with four other states for the 11th-highest rate in the country. The state has the second-lowest cigarette excise tax in New England. It last raised its excise tax in 2005.

The governor has proposed an array of tax changes and increases in his budget, but the cigarette excise tax is not among them.

“We were once the leaders in excise taxes, now we’re right down there with New Hampshire with one of the lowest rates in the Northeast,” Miller said.

The administration countered Monday that by maintaining MaineCare reimbursement rates, its plan will bolster programs designed to link recipients with doctors. It cited state data showing that MaineCare recipients are twice as likely to smoke as the general population. MaineCare spending on smoking cessation is $1.9 million, including $734,533 in state money.

Additionally, the administration said Maine doesn’t need to duplicate federal anti-smoking campaigns. According to the DHHS policy brief, the federal CDC distributes about $1 million to the state for cessation and prevention activity.

http://www.pressherald.com/2015/01/27/l ... g-program/


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:43 am 
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Extra doctors called to staff ED

Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital has asked doctors to work extra shifts in the emergency department this weekend, amid concerns it could not cope with an expected influx of patients.

A leaked email from the hospital's human resources office blamed the doctor shortage on the relocation of services and patients from Fremantle Hospital to Fiona Stanley Hospital, which starts tomorrow.

It said the hospital was likely to experience a much higher volume of patient admissions.

"We are quite concerned there will not be enough doctors rostered on the weekend to deal with the influx of patients and additional workload," the email said.

Almost 200 patients are due to be transferred from Fremantle and Royal Perth hospitals tomorrow and next Saturday, and Fremantle's emergency department will close permanently on Tuesday to coincide with the opening of a new casualty department at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

The Australian Medical Association said despite WA Health Department assurances this week that the moves had been meticulously planned for almost two years, it appeared someone forgot to tell SCGH.

WA president Michael Gannon said it was disappointing staffing at one of Perth's busiest hospitals seemed to have been forgotten.

"While the scale of the hospital reconfiguration project should not be underestimated, sending out emails to staff a handful of days before, in another part of the hospital system, does smack of not being well-prepared," he said.

A North Metropolitan Health Service spokeswoman said there would be enough staff.

"To assist with the transition of clinical services from Fremantle Hospital to Fiona Stanley Hospital, SCGH is expecting a higher volume of patient admissions," she said.

"Hospital management invited junior doctors to volunteer for additional shifts in the unlikely event any of the rostered staff were unable to work."

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/261 ... -staff-ed/


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