What’s New?

Amazon.com reached an agreement with the State of California legislature, so the Silver Buzz Cafe Store is back. :-)


“Green” Blogging


We believe in protecting our environment, so the Silver Buzz Cafe web site is hosted on a server in a "green", energy conserving data center. 100% of the power for the datacenter is bought from suppliers that use renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectric, windmill and solar plants.


Fake Drug Scams Proliferate Online

When we wrote an article on “The Best Ways to Save Money On Prescription Medicine” last October, we pointed out the dangers that counterfeit drugs pose. A study of the rapidly growing problem of counterfeit drugs being sold over the Internet shows the scale of the problem. Counterfeit drug sales have almost doubled in the last five years, and will hit $75 billion in 2010, according to one estimate. A new study examines the scale of the problem and the dangers involved. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 9 - Diagnostic Equipment

In this series we’ve looked at the basic equipment that every physician or clinic will have, ranging from the clinical thermometer to stethoscopes. We’ve also looked at medical monitors, such as the electrocardiograph and laboratory equipment used for blood and other tests. Today we’re going to start looking at the very sophisticated diagnostic equipment that can take still or moving images of your body and brain. [...]

High Blood Pressure Linked To Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect about one in eight people aged 65 or older. While age appears to be the most important factor, scientists have noted that some of the same triggers for heart diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, also seem to increase the risk of dementia. The prevalent view was that the link was with “vascular dementia,” the memory problems usually linked to small strokes, and not with classic Alzheimer’s disease. Specialists now realize that a large proportion of patients have a mix of the two dementias. Hypertension (blood pressure readings of 140 over 90 or higher) weakens arteries and it also seems to spur Alzheimer’s disease-like processes. The evidence linking high blood pressure to dementia is now strong enough to persuade the National Institutes of Health to conduct a major study to see if aggressive treatment, which would push patients’ blood pressure lower than currently recommended, better protects not just their hearts but their brains. [...]

Patients Who Delay Treatment Pay More

Researchers at Brown University and Providence (Rhode Island) VA Medical Center conducted a study between 2001 and 2006 that looked at the effect of increased Medicare copayments. It involved nearly 900,000 Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in 36 Medicare managed-care plans. In half of the plans, mean copayments for ambulatory care were almost doubled for both primary and specialty care. In the other half, copayments didn’t change over the study period. The findings are worrying, but there are ways for seniors to minimize their health costs. [...]

Virtual Colonoscopy May Be A Good Solution For Some Seniors

A study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has found that individuals in the 65-79 year old age range who are at average risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC) are good candidates for screening using Computed Tomographic Colonography (CTC), also known as virtual colonoscopy. CRC is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States, claiming nearly 50,000 people each year. [...]

Resistance Training May Be Good For Your Brain

A study conducted by the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the University of British Columbia (UBC) found that weight-bearing (resistance) exercises may help minimize both cognitive decline and impaired mobility in seniors. That, in turn, may help people live better and longer. [...]

Tylenol Maker Forgets Its Own Lesson

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) the maker of Tylenol, Motrin, Rolaids, Benadryl and St. Joseph’s brand aspirin, announced a recall of some batches of these and other of its products on January 15, citing complaints of an “unusual moldy, musty or mildew-like” odor. The cause of the problem is known and it is not believed to pose a major hazard. The company’s tardiness prompted the FDA to issue a warning letter, saying the company has 15 days to report back on its efforts to address the problem and prevent future violations. Hasn’t the company learned anything from its history? [...]

New Rules For HMOs in California

California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued several new regulations on January 5 that affect Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). About three in five Californians receive their health care via HMOs. The rules range from new time standards for services to the provision of medically necessary prescription drugs. The rules were authorized by a 2002 state law but have been delayed by years of bureaucratic wrangling. Silver Buzz Cafe summarizes the new rules for you. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 8 - More Laboratory Equipment

So far in this series we’ve looked at the equipment that you could expect to find in your physician’s bag and office and the medical monitors that you’re most likely to encounter in clinics and hospitals. Some of them are simply measuring instruments, adapted to work safely in a clinical environment. Others are complex, often computer driven, pieces of electromechanical machinery. In the previous article we started looking at what happens after you hand over those samples for analysis, or have blood drawn. We covered blood tests and the equipment, such as clinical chemical, electrolyte and blood gas analyzers, used to perform the analysis. Today we’ll look at the tests that are performed on bodily wastes (urine and solids) and the equipment involved. [...]

Rep. Alan Grayson Starts a Fight Against Corpocracy

Having anticipated Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling that now allows corporations to spend as much of their funds as they wish on direct political campaigning, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fl) introduced five bills on Wednesday to try to limit what he calls “Corpocracy”. Grayson is worried that our democracy will be usurped by corporations, which can [...]

Supreme Court Removes Controls on Corporate Funding of Political Campaigns

One of the most obvious themes throughout the debate on health reform has been the effect of special interest funding on the voting behavior of our elected officials. Time and time again we’ve seen that our so-called representatives are actually working for the health sector, especially the health insurers and Big Pharma, rather than the people who voted them into office. The right wing majority in the Supreme Court made the situation worse yesterday by rolling back the twenty year old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for their own campaign ads. [...]

Now You See It, Now You Don't!

Democrats woke up this morning to a harsh new reality. Senator Edward Kennedy’s replacement is a Republican who ran a campaign saying that he’d oppose health care reform. We can leave aside the fact that Massachusetts has a very good, though not perfect, health insurance plan for everyone, making them leery of paying extra taxes to support people in other states. Some people have said that its’a reaction against President Obama’s policies, but there’s little or no evidence to support that. The plain fact is that people voted for change and when they didn’t get it they reacted negatively. This article looks at the way ahead and tells you how to contact your elected representatives. [...]

Everyone’s Guide to Medical Equipment – Part 7 – Laboratory Equipment

In articles 1 through 6 of this series we looked at the equipment that you could expect to find in your physician’s bag and office and the medical monitors that you’re most likely to encounter in clinics and hospitals. Have you ever wondered what happens after you hand over those samples for analysis, or have blood drawn? Find out in this article on medical laboratory equipment. [...]

What If - Senators Votes Were Related To Special Interest Contributions?

We like to play “What If” now and again. We’re on the eve of an extremely important vote for a US Senator for Massachusetts to replace Senator Edward Kennedy, a champion of health care reforms throughout his political career. If the seat goes to the Republicans the Democrats will lose their 60:40 majority, putting the outcome of the health reform debate in jeopardy. Even if it stays with the Democratic Party, the outcome is still by no means certain, as we saw before Christmas. However, what if we changed the rules, allocating each Senator a number of votes that is inversely proportional to the amount of money they’ve received? [...]

Where Are We On Health Care Reform?

The Wall Street Journal recently published a comparison of the features of the House and Senate health reform bills and President Obama’s stated position on each one. The House bill is stronger than the Senate bill in most respects, but both of them are a very long way from perfect. Thankfully, a lot of the irrelevant diversions, such as the death panel fiasco, seem to be behind us, but it’s not over yet. The public debate will resume on Tuesday, when congress re-opens after the holidays. There are reforms, for sure, but there are some very notable omissions, which is what this article is mainly about. [...]

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