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.
The Coach's Team 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.
Loren Feldman Feldman does videos, marketing, commentary and...puppets. He also understands tech and art.
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!
Quiet Music Nick Francis is a superb music programmer. Of course, it helps that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of music. Stream, subscribe, enjoy.
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.
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.
Weasel Zippers Conservative commentary from all over the Web. Updated constantly.
Zero Hedge Works to...
Widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public; provide analysis uninhibited by political constraint; liberate oppressed knowledge
This HND piece gets you up to speed on Ebola virus disease, the latest health scare. For a disease discovered in 1976, it is astonishing how clueless the authorities seem to be about such basic items as mode of transmission. Since this is all about infection control, our old friend and noted infection control guru Lawrence Muscarella PhD weighs in with a few choice comments.
We also consider what can happen when public health becomes politicized.
The takeaway in this HND piece is: Thank God for medical rebels. We discuss two of the most important in history: Andreas Vesalius, founder of the modern science of anatomy, and Ignaz Semmelweis, the brave and shunned Hungarian physician who battled the idiotic establishment regarding infection control.
Even if things aren't quite as primitive as they were in Semmelweis' day, we still have the medical establishment, still doing its level best to avoid thinking outside the box. Thankfully, we also have our medical rebels.
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.”
This HND piece starts off by defining "iatrogenic," and then moves into the sorry business of healthcare-acquired infections. While most of the attention to HAIs is directed at acute hospital care, people are starting to realize that dental offices are far from immune.
Indeed, with upwards of 500 million dental visits annually, and almost all of these involving blood, saliva, or tissue, infection control in this setting should be a much bigger deal than it currently is.
We give a shout-out to Support Clean Dentistry, and tell the sad story of a woman who lost an eye--needlessly--because of an infection acquired in a dental office.
This HND piece examines two very scary pathogens. CRE has a mortality rate of about 50%, and TRSV jumped species, from a plant virus to the likely cause of bee colony collapse disorder.
Supposedly, CRE occurs mostly in health care facilities, and seems to strike already sick patients, who are undergoing some sort of invasive procedure--usually endoscopy. But, it can also affect patients with cathethers. CRE stands for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacae. Since the carbapenem antibiotics are considered the last line of defense, this is truly bad news.
This HND piece deals with the quite scary matter of infections from the bad bug Vibrio vulnificus. While such infections are nothing new, there has been a rash of fatal ones recently. We give some background on this pathogen, and relate the tragic case of a Florida man who succumbed to it in 28 hours. No antibiotics could even touch it.
This HND piece examines the ongoing, ever ongoing problem of highly preventable infection control breaches. As I point out: Obamacare is driven by the "quite absurd notion that lack of universal insurance coverage is the biggest problem facing American health care."
Hardly. The biggest problem facing American health care is that we are paying drastically more than any other country in the world for our care, but our outcomes on average are markedly inferior. The single most important reason for this pathetic state of affairs is that our system hugely favors procedural and acute medicine over cognitive and preventive medicine.
Not surprisingly, infection control is a stepchild, even though there are at least 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections each year in the US, causing 99,000 deaths. Nearly all of these are preventable. This piece discusses two current cases.
A hospital in Lévis, Quebec, Canada is asking 1,000 patients who had colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures done—from June 14, 2005, until May 1, 2013—to submit to HIV and hepatitis B and C screening after finding out that equipment used in those procedures had not been adequately sterilized.
That's right. A particular scope was not properly disinfected for nearly eight years!
This HND piece revisits the always important issue of healthcare-associated infections--formerly known as nosocimial infections. Strangely, authorities still use the 2002 figures of 1.7 million infections with 98,000 deaths, even though there is much more recent data available.
Some authorities, including Betsy McCaughey, believe that the 1.7 million number is vastly understated, given the prevalence of superbugs such as MRSA, Clostridium difficile, VRE, and CRE. Infection control guru Lawrence Muscarella also has big questions about the accuracy of the data, since most of it is strictly unvalidated self-reports.
We also comment on infections derived from hospital textiles--an area that deserves more attention.
My latest HND piece explores how the clueless Greenies and their fear entrepreneur brethren are bringing out the long knives against...triclosan. Yes, triclosan, a wonderful antibacterial that has been proven safe for more than 40 years. In fact, best-selling author Paul Alexander has just published a book entitled Pandemic: The Story of People vs. Germs, exploring this very issue.
It is truly amazing how the nonsensical pronouncements of idiot Greenies have persisted all these years, especially if you look at the legacy of St. Rachel Carson and exactly what the banning of DDT accomplished. Perhaps millions of dead Africans is what they really meant by improving the environment. After all, the early environmental movement was certainly not shy when complaining about how many (poor) people there are in this world.
I also cite a more recent example involving what happens when you decide to stop chlorinating water. And, surprise, surprise, they spun that tragedy away from their miserable selves, just like they did the massive malaria outbreaks caused by the banning of DDT.