Tag Archives: Medicine

Socialized Medicine Saved Me

Posted by: Betsm

When Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks was diagnosed with cancer overseas, she didn’t hightail it back home, to “the best health care in the world”—she stayed in Australia, home to a humane, rational system.

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Written by Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks

Pulitzer-Prize winner Geraldine Brooks

In 2004, I’d just finished a novel and by way of celebration had taken my family for an extended visit to Australia, where I was born and raised.

I didn’t expect that trip to save my life. But I’m convinced it did, because of Australia’s “socialized” medicine.

I retreat to my garret when I write a novel, especially toward the end. I stop going anyplace, wear sweat pants all day, neglect personal grooming. Back in the Sydney neighborhood where I’d lived for many years, I was re-entering the civilized world, and was on the way to a salon for an overdue haircut when I passed the BreastScreen van, parked in the main street.

This mobile service offers free mammograms, no appointment necessary. It wasn’t until I saw that van that I realized a mammogram was one of the things I’d forgotten to do. I was a year overdue, according to the guidelines for women my age, so I stepped into the van, got squished and zapped by a pleasantly efficient technician, who told me a radiologists’ report would be mailed out in a week or so.

Two weeks later, I was in a Sydney hospital, discussing treatment options for my invasive stage II cancer. According to testimony by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) at last Thursday’s health-care summit, I should have been heading for the airport at that point. Like his unnamed Canadian state premier with the heart condition, I should have been hightailing it to the U.S., to avail myself of “the best health care in the world.”

No thanks, Senator. I elected to stay in Australia. We had ample U.S. insurance; cost wasn’t an issue. I simply wanted to remain in a humane, rational system where doctors treat a person as a patient, not a potential plaintiff, and where the procedures ordered for me were the ones shown by hard science to produce the best outcome for the most people.

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President Obama’s Newsweek Haiti Essay: ‘Why Haiti Matters’

Posted by: Audiegrl

In the tragic aftermath of Haiti’s 7.0 earthquake, images of the disaster break our hearts and remind us of the fragility of life. What America must do now—and why

By President Barack Obama in
In the last week, we have been deeply moved by the heartbreaking images of the devastation in Haiti: parents searching through rubble for sons and daughters; children, frightened and alone, looking for their mothers and fathers. At this moment, entire parts of Port-au-Prince are in ruins, as families seek shelter in makeshift camps. It is a horrific scene of shattered lives in a poor nation that has already suffered so much.

In response, I have ordered a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives in Haiti. We have launched one of the largest relief efforts in recent history. I have instructed the leaders of all agencies to make our response a top priority across the federal government. We are mobilizing every element of our national capacity: the resources of development agencies, the strength of our armed forces, and most important, the compassion of the American people. And we are working closely with the Haitian government, the United Nations, and the many international partners who are also aiding in this extraordinary effort.

We act for the sake of the thousands of American citizens who are in Haiti, and for their families back home; for the sake of the Haitian people who have been stricken with a tragic history, even as they have shown great resilience; and we act because of the close ties that we have with a neighbor that is only a few hundred miles to the south.

But above all, we act for a very simple reason: in times of tragedy, the United States of America steps forward and helps. That is who we are. That is what we do. For decades, America’s leadership has been founded in part on the fact that we do not use our power to subjugate others, we use it to lift them up—whether it was rebuilding our former adversaries after World War II, dropping food and water to the people of Berlin, or helping the people of Bosnia and Kosovo rebuild their lives and their nations.

At no time is that more true than in moments of great peril and human suffering. It is why we have acted to help people combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Africa, or to recover from a catastrophic tsunami in Asia. When we show not just our power, but also our compassion, the world looks to us with a mixture of awe and admiration. That advances our leadership. That shows the character of our country. And it is why every American can look at this relief effort with the pride of knowing that America is acting on behalf of our common humanity.

Right now, our search-and-rescue teams are on the ground, pulling people from the rubble. Americans from Virginia and California and Florida have worked round the clock to save people whom they’ve never met. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen quickly deployed to the scene. Hand in hand with our civilians, they’re laboring day and night to facilitate a massive logistical enterprise; to deliver and distribute food, water, and medicine to save lives; and to prevent an even larger humanitarian catastrophe.

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23 years of silence: Belgian man breaks through “coma” and communicates

“I screamed, but there was nothing to hear”: Man trapped in 23-year ‘coma’ reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious

Conscious but unable to communicate for 23 years after a car accident that was thought to have put him into a deep coma, a quadriplegic Belgian

Rom said he wants to enjoy life again - now that his friends and family know he is not in a coma after all

man has described how medical science finally put an end to his agonizing years of silence.

Now able to make himself understood via a computer and specially built keyboard, the man, Rom Houben, said in the Monday issue of the German magazine Der Spiegel that when doctors made the correct diagnosis, it was like starting a second life.

“I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me — it was my second birth,” Mr. Houben, now 46, was quoted as saying.

Mr. Houben, who was an engineering student at the time of the accident, lives in a care home near Brussels. He was assumed to be in a persistent vegetative state until three years ago, when the breakthrough was made.

In the interview he recalled the aftermath of the car accident that paralyzed him and the realization that no one understood that he was fully conscious.

“I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,” he said. He added that he then became a witness to his own suffering as doctors and nurses tried to speak with him until they gave up all hope.

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Researchers Identify Genes Affecting Alzheimer’s Risk

Alzheimer's Stamp

Alzheimer's Stamp

By David Brown, Washington Post Staff Writer—Two European research teams have identified three genes that affect a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.

The new genes appear to have at least as big a role as four others discovered in the last 15 years that are known to play a role in Alzheimer’s.

“The message here is that genes are important in Alzheimer’s disease . . . and there may be multiple ways of reducing the risk that the genes produce,” said Julie Williams, a neuroscientist at Cardiff University in Wales who helped lead one of the teams.

All so-called “Alzheimer genes” have normal roles in brain physiology; they don’t exist solely to cause dementia. Instead, small variations in their DNA alter their function and, through processes only now being uncovered, increase or reduce a person’s risk of developing the disease.

Two of the genes described in the new research may be involved in determining the brain’s capacity to clear itself of toxic “amyloid” proteins that collect outside neurons, eventually poisoning them.

The most important previously known Alzheimer gene promoted overproduction of amyloid. The new findings suggest that at least two processes — production of amyloid and its removal — are involved in the disease.

At least 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. By one estimate, one in seven people aged 72 and older have dementia, with Alzheimer’s the most common form.

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NOW THEY TELL US

Posted by GeoT
Appendix’s benefits revealed
The pesky organ long thought to be useless may serve a vital function, new research shows

Now researchers suggest the appendix is a lot more than a useless remnant. Not only was it recently proposed to actually possess a critical function, but scientists now find it appears in nature a lot more often than before thought. And it’s possible some of this organ’s ancient uses could be recruited by physicians to help the human body fight disease more effectively.

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