Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Powerful message to healthcare providers & patients

"Of the patients you see, one-third will not improve no matter what you do, one-third can improve with your help and one-third would improve without you. Your responsibility is to help the middle third improve as much as possible without harming the third that would improve without you."

Quoted from a retiring chairman of a prestigious teaching university hospital, this message was given at grand rounds to the class of incoming cardiology residents. Counseling Today October 2008, p. 50

Though this is a broad generalization, I am caught by the focus on not harming the third of patients who will get better on their own! How does that happen? As a patient, is it the lack of understanding of how the human body is designed to heal itself? Is it the overwhelming Big Pharma media budget convincing us we are sick with a multitude of "syndromes" and need drugs to survive? Are we driven by such fear of illness and death that we are willing to be experimented on? Are healthcare providers so stressed and pressured by bottom-line administrators that they are taking shortcuts to our health, sometimes with tragic results? Or, have we lost contact with our inner voices of healing, to connect with nature, to believe in a power greater than ourselves....?

I could also extrapolate that only one-third of the time will I benefit from healthcare... perhaps the first question a receptionist should ask is, which third are you today? jcd
What do we live for;
if it is not to make life
less difficult for each other?
~ George Eliot

Friday, October 17, 2008

Who Cares for the Caregivers?

October 14, 2008, 9:30 am
By Jane Gross

excerpt quote:
“In policy and in practice, the U.S. long-term care system fails to recognize, respect, assess and address the needs of family caregivers,” wrote Lynn Friss Feinberg, deputy director of the National Caregiver Alliance in San Francisco, one of the symposium participants. “Practitioners must consider not only how the caregiver can help the care recipient, but also how the service provider must help the family. Are family members seen as ‘resources’ to the care recipient, or are they viewed as individuals with needs and rights of their own?”

Ms. Feinberg’s comments are included in a supplement to the September issue of the American Journal of Nursing, which has published the results of that symposium, including 17 essays by conference participants as well as accompanying research. The essays are designed so that professionals can use them to earn continuing education credits, but they are also accessible to the non-professional and a source of information, inspiration and hope for family caregivers who stand to benefit the most from this ambitious project.

The complete supplement is available, chapter by chapter, at this section of the journal’s Web site. http://www.nursingcenter.com/library/static.asp?pageid=809507

Browse the table of contents; cherry-pick what interests you, or read it all. It will be time well spent.

Women’s Heart Symptoms Blamed on Stress

Women’s Heart Symptoms Often Blamed on Stress
Tara Parker-Pope on Health
October 13, 2008, 12:23 pm

Signs of heart disease are more likely to be blamed on stress when the patient is a woman, new research shows.

In two studies, 230 family doctors and internists were shown sample cases of a 47-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman. The ages of the patients reflect an equal risk for heart disease. Half the vignettes included sentences indicating the patient had recently experienced a stressful life event or appeared anxious. The doctors read the case and offered a diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

When the case study involved standard heart symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath and irregular heart beat, there was no difference in the doctor’s advice for the man or the woman. However, when stress was included as a symptom, gender differences emerged. The presence of stress changed the way doctors interpreted a woman’s symptoms, prompting them to suggest psychological factors rather than physical causes. But the presence of stress didn’t change the way men were assessed.

When stress was listed as a symptom, only 15 percent of the doctors diagnosed heart disease in women, compared to 56 percent for men. Only 30 percent of the doctors referred the women to a cardiologist, compared to 62 percent for men, and 13 percent suggested medication for women, compared to 47 percent for men.

The findings, presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics scientific symposium, could help explain why there is often a delay in the assessment of women with heart disease, said Dr. Alexandra J. Lansky, a cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

MRI's vary by machine & technician

MRI didn't pick up your problem? Better get a 2nd opinion, according to this piece from the New York Times.

The Scan That Didn’t Scan
Published: October 13, 2008 NYTimes.com

This is a story about M.R.I.’s, those amazing scans that can show tissue injury and bone damage, inflammation and fluid accumulation. Except when they can’t and you think they can.

Magnetic resonance machines, though, vary enormously, and not just in the strength of their magnets. Even more important, radiologists say, is the quality of the imaging coils they put around the body part being scanned and the computer programs they use to control the imaging and to analyze the images. And there is a huge variability in skill among the technicians doing the scans.

Dr. Forman said that at the very least, patients should go to radiology centers accredited by the American College of Radiology. But he added that accreditation does not tell you whether your scan will be done with a machine that is several generations removed from the best available today; whether the scanning is programmed to pick up your particular problem; or whether the receiving coil that picks up signals from the magnet is sufficiently sensitive.

Complete article here:

14 things that reduce breast cancer

Fourteen Simple Things You Can Do To Reduce
Your Risk for Breast Cancer

By John Mericle M.D.

Cancer Recovery Foundation

1. Increase your consumption of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
2. Avoid using any pesticides or chemical sprays in your home. Try to avoid new carpet.
3. Avoid drinking tap water.
4. Decrease alcohol consumption.
5. Start an exercise program.
6. Increase consumption of organic whole grains and fiber.
7. Decrease meat, poultry and fish consumption.
8. Stop smoking.
9. Increase consumption of phytoestrogens from organic sources.
10. Decrease or stop consumption of processed foods.
11. Avoid trans-fatty acids found in margarine and some vegetable shortenings.
12. Take two capsules of organic flaxseed oil daily or just add a teaspoon of flaxseed oil to your daily organic salad.
13. If you are pregnant definitely breast feed.
14. Gets lots of sunshine as breast cancer is less prevalent in areas where there is ample sunlight unobscured by fog or smog.