The Critical Ingredient to the Success of Vaccination Programs

By William B. Miller, Jr, M.D.

Only a few weeks into a new administration and with it comes unwelcome medical news. The age-old debate about the safety and appropriateness of vaccination has been renewed and a vocal stage has been delivered to a small group of anti-vaccination zealots.

Reports have circulated that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, a highly visible critic of vaccination, has been invited to chair a commission on vaccination safety by the new administration. If it comes to pass, one result can be accurately predicted. It will become a confused platform of ideological rhetoric that will diminish trust in those scientific bodies charged with making sound judgments for the public welfare. This inevitable outcome is particularly unfortunate since there has never been any advance in medical history that has had a more positive impact on our lives than vaccination.          

Humanity has been in eternal conflict with infectious disease throughout history. Perhaps no disease better illustrates the vast range of impacts of epidemic disease than smallpox, which resulted in the deaths of more than 7 million people. Similar horrific mortality was experienced with smallpox. In 18th Century Europe, at least 400,000 people died annually from smallpox. One-third of the survivors went blind. Mortality rates were as high as 60% in some communities. Infant mortality was even more frightening, approaching 80%.      

The ultimate success of smallpox vaccination is credited to Sir Edward Jenner in England. In 1796, he successfully introduced the technique of cowpox vaccination demonstrating its subsequent protective effect against smallpox. Today, due to the effectiveness of worldwide smallpox vaccination programs, that disease has been effectively eradicated from the planet. [Read more…]

Partners in Self-Health

Headshot 1_dr_fabrizio_mancini_01_LoResEnlist Your Doctor, Your Family and Yourself for Wellness

By Dr. Fabrizio Mancini

In our society, we are bombarded with messages that healing comes from sources outside ourselves. Patients are told that taking these drugs or having these medical procedures will make them well. As a result, many people have turned over responsibility for their health, to a large extent, to medical professionals.

Fortunately, a growing number of people are taking responsibility for their health, acknowledging that true healthcare begins with each person. This does not mean turning away from healthcare providers, but making them partners, along with ourselves and our families, as we unlock our bodies’ natural healing powers.

A new study from the University of Oregon shows that patients who take an active role in their health have lower medical costs. Researchers found that the average health care costs of those with the highest levels of motivation, knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own healthcare were 8 percent to 21 percent lower than those with the lowest levels.
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More Than 400 Innovative Medicines in Development For Top Chronic Diseases Affecting Older Americans

John J. Castellani

John J. Castellani

Two Reports Show Progress in Treatment Options for Chronic Disease

America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 465 new medicines that target the 10 leading chronic conditions affecting seniors, according to a new report and overview released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

With the population of Americans over 65 on the rise and life expectancy climbing, chronic diseases remain a principal threat to the health and productivity of older Americans, as well as to rising health care costs. Innovative medicines have led to major advances against many chronic diseases – and the robust discovery pipeline of new medicines portends continued progress for seniors and our health care system.

“Our ability to prevent, manage and treat chronic diseases has progressed dramatically in recent years, due in large part to the discovery and availability of new innovative medicines,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. “But we can’t rest on our laurels. The more than 400 medicines in the pipeline for diseases prevalent among older Americans have tremendous potential to improve and extend the lives of seniors, and reduce costly emergency room visits, hospitalizations and surgical procedures.”

[Read more…]

Fear of Speaking Up in the Doctor’s Office Costs Lives, and Money

Evan Falchuk, Best DoctorsBy Evan Falchuk, Vice Chairman, Best Doctors

“Shy” isn’t a word you associate with Americans, but when it comes to talking with our doctors, it seems like it’s the best word for what we are.  A 2012 study in Health Affairs found that patients were afraid to ask questions – and often regretted not being more assertive with their doctors about their concerns.

Now, we could dismiss this finding as an odd quirk of American culture, or maybe an example of how doctors sometimes are seen as intimidating.  But this isn’t what really matters. Published studies show that anywhere from 15-28% of patients in developed countries end up misdiagnosed in that office visit – causing needless suffering and wasted dollars.  Importantly, this same research shows that asking questions – the thing patients seem most reluctant to do – can have some of the greatest impact on getting a diagnosis right in the first place.

You can understand the dilemma facing a patient and his or her doctor.  Our healthcare system is designed in a way where doctors often see a hundred or more patients a week, and are able to spend just a few minutes with each.  Studies – and common sense – tell us in many cases that this isn’t enough time.  The sad irony is that doctors today are the best trained and educated that they have ever been, and yet our system values their insights so little they are unable to practice the medicine they were trained to do.

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Consider the Conversation: A Documentary About Unintended Consequences

Consider the Conversation, a documentary about unintended consequences, takes a hard look at how we treat people at the end of life.

Inspired by the Wisconsin Medical Society, the producers of Consider the Conversation, a documentary on a taboo subject, zero in on the doctor patient relationship.

The film will focus on the tension between patients wanting their doctor to inspire them to believe that they can beat the odds while also wanting their doctor to be honest that this may be the end and that they should consider thinking about how they want to live at the end of their life.

Watch the video below.

Are You At Risk for Heart Disease?

Watch MDTV Medical News Now to learn if you are at risk of Heart Disease. What can you do to detect and treat Heart Disease?

Diabetes – The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

By P., Piero D.D.S.

Diabetes affects about 24 million Americans or about 8% of the population. It is a disease that is characterized by high levels of blood sugar caused by malfunctioning insulin production. An insulin resistant individual becomes diabetic when the pancreas can no longer put out sufficient insulin to lower the blood sugar and the organ becomes exhausted.

The pancreas is controlled by hormonal feedback mechanisms. Acute and chronic infections create hormonal chaos in the body. Periodontal disease is the most widespread infectious disease on the planet, consequently provokes a great deal of chaos.

The sugars found in the mouth aid in gum disease. The constant introduction and presence of sugar in the mouth (like a sippy cup with juice), feed the bacteria that leads to periodontal disease.

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6 Parenting Lessons Learned from Cancer

Listen as these amazing moms with cancer talk about how the disease changed the way they parent. Click on the image below.

Uncover the Many Benefits of a Healthy Nurse and Patient Relationship

By Melanie Bowen

When nurses work well together with their patients, a positive relationship is cultivated and this benefits both the nurse and the patient.  It can be very trying for each party to be open and trusting towards one another because nurses are under a lot of stress and patients have their own worries and concerns.  Developing a positive and healthy nurse/patient relationship will be the best approach for the patient in recovering more efficiently and may help the nurse to do his or her job better.

Nurse and patient relationships can be highly therapeutic for the patient if the relationship is one that is built on care, honesty and trust.  Honesty may seem like an unusual term to use in regards to a nurse/patient relationship; however, this is one of the single most important aspects of this type of association.  If a nurse is not honest with a patient when a patient asks a question regarding his or her health care or treatment, the patient will lose trust and respect for the nurse.  In turn, the patient may not be honest about problems or concerns the patient is having.

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