American Council on Science and Health The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) is a consumer education consortium concerned with issues related to food, nutrition, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, lifestyle, the environment and health. ACSH is one of the few fearless voices of reason on these matters.
Christopher Whalen One guy who really understands the financial crisis. Brilliant insights. Links to his other sites.
Coach Is Right Coach Kevin Collins has an impressive resume, and uses all of his talents to demolish the Left. Site includes some guest columnists, as well.
Discussions In Infection Control This blog, designed and written exclusively by Lawrence F Muscarella, PhD, gives you the most comprehensive discussion of healthcare-associated (hospital) infections (or, “HAIs”), infection control, and both instrument and endoscope reprocessing in the world.
Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Provides much-needed balance to the increasingly strident health care lobby that seems intent on scaring everyone about almost everything.
Formaldehyde Facts Your antidote to formaldehyde phobia in the media, from ACC's formaldehyde panel.
Health Care Renewal Expert analysis of what's wrong with American health care. Advocating for accountability, integrity, transparency, honesty, and ethics in leadership and governance of health care.
Health News Digest One of the best and biggest health sites on the web. New content on a daily basis, geared to the professional and informed lay audience.
Interscan Corporation The independent pros in gas detection, known for taking on the tough applications. Site has much technical material, way beyond mere product touts.
Jewish World Review One of the original news/opinion aggregate sites. Founder/Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Binyamin L. Jolkovsky calls it "The intersection of faith, culture and politics." Loaded with content tending toward politically conservative. An oasis for energetic Judaism.
JunkScience.com Steven Milloy and company do a great job in exposing junk science, which he defines as: Faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas. Lots of good content.
Lifehacker Tips and downloads for getting things done
Overlawyered Chronicling the high cost of our legal system. Water Olson and company explore an American legal system that too often turns litigation into a weapon against guilty and innocent alike, erodes individual responsibility, rewards sharp practice, enriches its participants at the public’s expense, and resists even modest efforts at reform and accountability.
Paradigms and Demographics Ohio-based "bug guy" Rich Kozlovich dishes on junk science, junk politics, and many other matters. Rich is also on the prowl 24/7 for supplemental content written by Others. And he still has time to kill pests!
Selwyn Duke Hard-hitting and well-written conservative commentary, from a modern day renaissance man. The Duke is not afraid to ruffle some feathers, or invoke his Catholic faith, either.
SenSoft International Expert assistance on GSA, VA, DOD, and other federal contracts. Yes, there really can be great customer service in such an esoteric space.
Small Dead Animals An artist from Saskatchewan posts a lot of common sense. And the commenters are actually intelligent. Who knew?
The BPA file Prolific blogger Alan Caruba puts another notch in his gun with excellent coverage of this era's most senselessly demonized chemical.
The Excel Addict Most of us use Excel. Some of us use it a lot, and are constantly looking for easier ways to do things. Francis Hayes--the Excel Addict--offers plenty of free tips, a regular newsletter, and an inexpensive book to download.
The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics Everything you know about cholesterol causing heart disease is wrong, and this website is run by eminent doctors who are trying to set the record straight. But, with billions of dollars in drug sales at stake, it won't be easy.
The Nutrition Experts The name says it all. Jo-Ann Heslin and Karen Nolan have sold millions of books, and have re-launched their information-packed website. What's more, they encourage website visitors to submit questions.
Warning Signs Alan Caruba's blog is a daily look at events, personalities, and issues from an independent point of view.
Weasel Zippers Conservative commentary from all over the Web. Updated constantly.
This HND piece is really a three-part health care story. It starts with a brief history of how health insurance experienced outrageous mission creep in the wake of Medicare, and then segues into the saga of how some entrepreneurs saved a bankrupt Bayonne Medical Center from closing for good, only to have to fight the insurance companies on reimbursements.
This HND piece shines the spotlight—again—on outrageous junk science, having to do with artificial sweeteners. Frankly, there are so many things wrong with this study that attempting to explain them in an abbreviated fashion suitable for this blog posting would just not be appropriate.
Suffice to say that, among other things, the researchers try to assign interchangeable biological effects to sweeteners as a CLASS of compounds, despite the obvious difficulty that these sweeteners are vastly different chemicals. The fact that they taste sweet to humans is merely a coincidence. Indeed, lead paint tastes sweet also, and that is why there was a serious problem years ago with little kids eating such paint chips, and getting lead poisoning.
Sadly, this nonsensical study was published in the once prestigious journal Nature. How the mighty have fallen.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner, has turned out to be an active policy advocate among the city’s department heads, the outspoken architect of some of the Bloomberg administration’s more controversial policies.
Although Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is more closely associated with a law that bans smoking citywide, the legislation was actually developed by Dr. Frieden, who was also given responsibility for helping to push it through the City Council.
Even Mayor Bloomberg’s partnership with Snapple to sell juice in vending machines in schools has not gone without his notice.
"I would have preferred water,” he admitted, although he added that he liked the money that the agreement will raise.
He is almost certainly the only city agency head who keeps a bowl of condoms in the reception area of his office.
In 2009, Frieden took to the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine to sell the need for a soda tax. “It is difficult to imagine producing behavior change of this magnitude through education alone, even if government devoted massive resources to the task,” Frieden wrote. “Only heftier taxes will significantly reduce consumption.”
In 2010, after Obama tapped Frieden to head up the Centers for Disease Control, Bloomberg announced his support for a soda tax. “The soda tax is a fix that just makes sense,” he said in a March 2010 radio address. “It would save lives. It would cut rising health care costs. And it would keep thousands of teachers and nurses where they belong: in the classrooms and clinics.” Three years earlier, Bloomberg said he was opposed to a soda tax.
This HND piece examines the irrational fear of sunlight, that is being hyped by none other than the Surgeon General. While skin cancer is certainly out there, it hardly seems to be worth the strident tone of a report issued July 29th, in which the SG is using the same forum as its famous 1964 "Smoking and Health" publication.
As I cover in the piece, the science behind UV exposure and skin cancer is far from settled, and prominent dermatologists are not toeing the company line. Moreover, analysis of UV/cancer data takes on a whole new light, once unsupervised home tanning and high-dose medical phototherapy is removed from the mix. Add to the mix that the American Academy of Dermatology gets megabucks from the sunscreen industry, and this whole thing takes on a new, uh, light.
This HND piece starts off with another example of how bad electronic health record (EHR) systems can be. In this particular case, there was no method built into a well-known system to properly document a decrease in a patient's heparin dose. When you consider how many billions of dollars have been put into EHRs by the government, let alone the customers, this sort of thing is pretty appalling.
But, at least this glitch—being an error in code—can be fixed. However, fixing the security of these records is another matter altogether.
We interview a health IT executive who states:
“There are two absolutes in the world today. First, it is impossible to provide 100% network security protection because there are simply too many entry points which a hacker can breach. The second absolute is that all data protection systems are based upon a certified industry encryption algorithm protection standard that can be hacked in as little as two to four hours, therefore providing zero data security protection.”
While the pundits would have you believe that our biggest health care crisis is that millions of people are uninsured, far greater numbers are caught up in a basic lack of trust in conventional health care. That's the subject of this HND piece.
It may surprise you to discover that approximately 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children are using some form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Briefly, this designation would include everything outside the spectrum of typical allopathic medicine—the type that's generally covered by health insurance.
We discuss the reasons for this, and then hear from a branding expert who discusses what the conventional health care industry needs to do, to get back into the good graces of the public.
Why are all the big disease trade associations against e-cigarettes? At best, they are concerned over tenth-order effects, and seem to care little for actual harm reduction. Why do they continue to advocate a high-carb low fat diet, despite mounds of evidence that this stance has single-handedly caused the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic?
Why do they insist on pursuing a low-salt diet when there is NO evidence that this is healthy, and plenty of studies showing that it promotes a variety of diseases?
Rack your brain all you want, but all roads lead to only one conclusion: The powers that be want us sick, poor, and dependent on them. And, in the case of banning e-cigs, want that cig tax revenue.
Where is a public health policy, when you really need one?
As we near the start of flu season, beware: Many of the city’s top hospitals pose a serious hazard to your health, because many of their nurses and other care personnel aren’t vaccinated — and don’t have to be.
To protect both workers and patients, at least 90 percent of health-care personnel should be vaccinated.
At Mount Sinai, it’s just 58 percent; at Maimonides Medical Center, 55 percent; at New York Hospital-Queens, 60 percent.
Hospital-worker vaccinations are vital, because patients’ own immune systems are so often impaired by the illnesses that landed them in the hospital.
It’s outrageous for the city’s health-care system to so needlessly put the sick and vulnerable at further risk.
Seasonal influenza is highly communicable and potentially lethal. Vaccinating health-care personnel against it to protect both patients and workers should be a no-brainer.
But the Health and Hospitals Corp., or HHC, doesn’t require it — despite the clear benefit to all parties, versus the immeasurably small risk.
Health workers in direct contact with patients are the chief source of infectious outbreaks in health-care facilities. Why won’t HHC require vaccination?
Two years ago, the public-health nonprofit where I work, The American Council on Science and Health, sent HHC a petition signed by 35 nationally renowned experts in infectious disease, demanding it implement a mandatory vaccination policy.
We got nowhere.
We then appealed to the state Department of Health, which said it had such a policy under consideration. But, sigh, DOH caved to union resistance, and merely adopted an optional “vaccinate or mask” policy.
The Centers for Disease Control report that there is no evidence that “mask use by either infectious patients or health-care personnel prevents influenza transmission.”
In other words, the Department of Health is promoting a flu-prevention policy that doesn’t prevent the spread of flu.
And some of those deaths are preventable — people who caught the flu while hospitalized for something else. Hospital patients are among the most vulnerable to the severe (even lethal) complications of influenza.
Widespread immunization campaigns can reduce this frightful toll. Seasonal flu vaccines can reduce morbidity by 60 to 90 percent; they’re easily the most effective method to prevent transmission of the virus.
Prevents the virus from spreading to patients, including those with weakened immune systems.
Promotes “herd immunity,” making it less likely that the virus can spread to those who can’t be vaccinated or for whom the vaccine doesn’t “take.”
Ensures that the health-care workforce remains functional even in the event of a massive flu outbreak.
In short, this is a core safety practice for public health. It’s obscene that HHC refuses to mandate annual flu vaccination as a condition of initial and continued employment and/or professional privileges. (The only permitted exemptions should be for documented medical conditions.)
Yet the unions for nurses and other hospital workers resist, citing reasons from “freedom of choice” to religious objections to fear of side-effects.
No religion gives you the right to put the sick at added risk of disease.
Freedom of choice means the freedom to find other work if you won’t be vaccinated to protect yourself and others — not the freedom to threaten others’ health.
If you can’t see that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the tiny risk of side-effects, you don’t belong working in a hospital.
Union opposition is potent.
It took vaccine expert (and ACSH trustee) Dr. Paul Offit and his team a full six years to finally implement the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s “Get vaccinated or get out” policy, ultimately firing only nine out of 9,300 CHOP employees.
But it can be done, and must be done.
Physicians and other health-care providers are bound by three key ethical duties: “To do good or to do no harm,” “To put patient interests first” and “To protect the vulnerable.”
To avoid or ignore these clear duties is unprofessional and worse, is detrimental to public health.
Yes, a mandatory-vaccination is coercive. So what? Voluntary approaches don’t work, and protecting the public health justifies such coercion.
Every hospital should tell its workers: “You may choose not to be vaccinated — or to work in this hospital with sick patients. Not both.”