Access to Care Declines across the Board for U.S. Adults: Report

Access to medical care for U.S. adults, particularly among the uninsured, decreased between 2000 and 2010 according to a new report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The state-by-state report analyzed access to health care among non-elderly adults age 19-64 using three measures of access -- unmet needs due to cost, receipt of a routine medical checkup and receipt of a routine dental checkup -- and found that all three measures decreased in nearly every state during the time period … [Read more...]

AHCJ 2012 Recap

As a writer new to health reporting -- and I mean Reporting with a J-school capital 'R' -- I learned a lot at Health Journalism 2012, the annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Here are my impressions and random takeaways from the conference. Befriend a biostatistician. From the Evaluating medical evidence for journalists session by Gary Schwitzer of Health News Review and Ivan Oransky of Reuters Health. You know all that numbers crap you see in drug advertisements … [Read more...]

Alzheimer’s Association recruits volunteers for clinical trials

Conquering any disease requires medical research, and plenty of it. A tool offered by the Alzheimer's Association makes it easier to recruit participants and physicians for clinical trials in hopes of finding a clear cause and, ultimately, a cure for this disease that takes so much from so many. TrialMatch is a continuously updated database of over 130 Alzheimer's clinical trials being conducted across the U.S. Volunteers simply access the portal, register an account, and provide some brief … [Read more...]

PPI use possibly associated with C. diff diarrhea

The FDA issued a drug safety communication today advising that the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be associated with Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). Proton pump inhibitors are medications designed to decrease stomach acid production and are often used to treat heartburn, gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD), and ulcers of the intestines. PPIs are available over-the-counter, with names usually ending in 'azole'. These products all are included in the drug safety … [Read more...]

High triglyceride levels? Hie thee to a doctor, woman!

Older women worried about stroke should check their triglyceride levels, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and NYU School of Medicine. The study examined the roles of individual lipid biomarkers (HDL and LDL cholesterol, along with triglycerides) and found that total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels had little to no impact on stroke risk in older women. Elevated triglycerides, however, represent "the strongest … [Read more...]

Don’t know what questions to ask the doctor? Start here.

Patients may want to take more responsibility for their health but have difficulty knowing what questions to ask their doctor during a visit. Or they may have some questions in mind but forget to ask them. To address this problem, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has rolled out an interactive tool that helps patients develop a list of questions for their physician. Called simply "Question Builder," the tool starts by narrowing down the type of patient visit to "talk about a … [Read more...]

When it comes to health screenings, be proactive

Don't rely on your doctor to suggest all the recommended health screenings you may need. That's the conclusion of a new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University. The study found less than half of the 20% of adults who attended periodic health examinations each year received counseling or recommendations from their doctors to complete health screenings that were due. The study showed physicians were most likely to recommend the major screenings for men and women, such as … [Read more...]

Should you ditch the small-plate theory of calorie reduction?

I'm not sure what to make of this study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Some background: using a smaller plate has been a traditional recommendation for those wishing to reduce calorie intake. The rationale behind this advice is multi-fold. First, a small plate theoretically holds fewer calories than a large plate. Also, it's believed feelings of satiety partially derive from visual stimuli; thus, if you see a smaller amount of food in front of you, your brain will … [Read more...]

New chemical probe shows promise for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease

A newly developed chemical agent shows promise for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease through imaging scans, according to a study published in ACS Medicinal Letters. Previously, the only definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer's was through postmortem histological examination of brain tissues to identify the tau protein tangles that typically identify this disease. A team of researchers at Kyoto University synthesized a chemical probe that binds to senile brain plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. … [Read more...]