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.


British Medical Association Concerned About Ethical Trading

The British Medical Association ( BMA) has launched a campaign to put pressure on the United Kingdom’s National Health Service ( NHS) to investigate where its medical equipment comes from. The campaign, called Fair Medical Trade, is aimed to make NHS staff aware of ethical issues and to push for a change in buying policy to ensure that workers in developing countries receive fairer pay and better working conditions. The BMA claims that at least a fifth of surgical instruments are made in northern Pakistan, where workers produce goods in dangerous sweatshop conditions and child labour is common. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 13 - Basic Surgical Instruments

Every doctor’s bag has a few basic surgical instruments in it, but today we’ll look at the mainstays of any operating theater. We’ll cover more advanced equipment in a second episode. We’ll start by looking back at some of the earliest known surgical instruments. [...]

Minority Rule

When is a majority not a majority? That’s simple, of course. It’s when you’re talking about the way that the US Senate works. Forty one of the one hundred Senators can block the wishes of the majority under filibuster rules. We did some math on the topic of the reconciliation process in the Senate. We’ve taken a look at the number of voters that would be represented by 51 Democratic Senators. [...]

Study Finds That Many People Don't Have Advance Medical Directives

A report by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management covers the findings of a telephone survey that asked people questions about advance medical directives. An advance directive is an end-of-life planning tool that provides instructions for types of medical treatment that are desired and/or who can make decisions about medical care should someone be unable to do so for him or herself. [...]

The Public Option Fiasco

Polls show that voters are overwhelmingly (2:1) in favor of a public option in the health care reform bill. Yet our elected politicians in Washington seem incapable of giving us one. We examine the facts and the current situation and come to a worrying conclusion. [...]

Long-Term Care Hospitals Are Poorly Regulated

Long-term acute care hospitals now treat about 200,000 patients a year, including 130,000 Medicare patients — at a projected cost of $4.8 billion to the government this year, up from $400 million in 1993. However, a spate of lawsuits, negative inspection reports and analysis of federal statistics have raised concerns about the level of care they provide, particularly when they are run for profit. It’s particularly troubling to find that Medicare has never closely examined the quality of care they provide and that they are not penalized financially if they fail to submit quality data. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 12 - More Diagnostic Equipment

In this series of articles we’ve looked at: the simple and advanced instruments that you would expect your physician or clinic to have on hand; medical monitors, such as electrocardiograms; and laboratory equipment. Tomography (combining sectional images to produce 2d or 3D images) is used in MRI and PET scanners. It’s also applied in a wide range of other instruments that use light, sound, heat, electricity, or combinations of them, to generate the individual images. [...]

Controversy Rages Over Safety Of Diabetes Drug Avandia

Last week we reported that some popular cholesterol-lowering drugs slightly increase the risk of diabetes, particularly in older patients. Now, in an almost inverse situation, there are serious concerns about the risk that a controversial diabetes-battling drug may cause heart problems. However, the public hasn’t been informed of the risk because of battles within the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and pressure on whistle blowers from the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (”Glaxo”), the company that withdrew an unrelated product from the US market just last week. Unfortunately, the FDA has not seen fit to instruct the manufacturer to withdraw the drug. [...]

Alphadaughters May Help Resolve the Looming Senior Care Problem

Politicians in most developed countries are wrestling with the problems of escalating health care costs, exacerbated by a rapidly aging population as the baby boomers retire and age. It is estimated that there are over 30 million people in the US who care for elderly parents and this number is projected to grow rapidly during the next two decades. A report published in the United Kingdom suggests that more of the government’s focus should be on family carers, rather than the elderly themselves. [...]

Glaxo To Stop Making Denture Creams Containing Zinc

Pharmaceutical and health product manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (“Glaxo”), based in London, England, will stop making and marketing Super Poligrip Original, Ultra Fresh and Extra Care denture cream products in the United States. The company will reformulate the creams to use an alternative to zinc. [...]

New Report Ranks Health of Every County

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released a report billed as “the first annual checkup for every county in the nation.” The results are available online, so everyone can now find out how the county they live in ranks in terms of health outcomes. It allows residents to know how healthy their county is and how it compares with neighboring counties. [...]

Cholesterol Lowering Drugs May Slightly Increase Risk of Diabetes

One of the great breakthroughs in lowering the risks of cardiovascular diseases was linking high cholesterol levels to them and the subsequent development of drugs, particularly statins, to lower cholesterol levels. However, these benefits also come with some previously unrecognized risks. A new review, by researchers from the University of Glasgow, in Scotland, UK, looked at 13 studies involving more than 91,000 patients taking statins and found that they were at an increased risk of developing diabetes. [...]

Health Insurers In Three More States Raise Rates

Anthem Blue Cross is trying to raise premiums by as much as 39% for its California customers. Their parent company, Wellpoint Inc., earned profits of $2.7 billion in the last quarter of 2009, an increase of 26% over the corresponding quarter the previous year. Questions are beign asked in congress. Now insurers in three other states are trying to raise premiums by 10 to 30 percent. [...]

Diabetes Drug Raises Bone Fracture Risk In Older Women

Researchers at the Center for Health Services Research (CHSR) and Department of Internal Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital looked at the medical records of over 19,000 patients and found a disturbing correlation between the use of Type 2 diabetes druf thiazolidinedione (TZD) and an increased risk of bone fractures in women aged over sixty five. The study does, however, have some good news for African-Americans and men with the condition. [...]

Everyone's Guide to Medical Equipment - Part 11 - PET Scans

We started this series by looking at the equipment you’d expect to find a doctor’s bag or a typical clinic. Then we looked at medical monitors, such as electrocardiograms, and laboratory equipment before starting to look at modern diagnostic equipment. In Part 10 we looked at the technique that many imaging devices use – tomography, where images of slices of the body are combined into 2D or 3D visualizations. Today we’ll continue our look at another advanced imaging technique, Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Even the name sounds exotic, as well it might, because it involves the stuff that science fiction writers love… anti-matter! [...]

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