Category: Medical Technology


Prostate cancer tests underestimate aggressiveness of disease, says study

 

A surgeon sitting in front of screens of a Focal One device performs a prostate tumorectomy.

A surgeon sitting in front of screens of a Focal One device performs a robot-assisted prostate tumorectomy. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images

Men with prostate cancer are being given false hope by tests that underestimate the aggressiveness of their disease, according to a study.

Researchers found that more than half of a group of men whose cancers were initially classified as slow-growing and confined later turned out to have more dangerous tumours.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, call into question the ability of experts to grade and stage prostate cancers on the basis of biopsy samples.

It also casts doubt on the “active surveillance” strategy of avoiding unnecessary radical treatment for patients with slow-growing prostate cancer.

Instead, these patients are closely monitored but left alone until tests suggest their condition has worsened.

Urological surgeon Greg Shaw, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, said: “Our results show that the severity of up to half of men’s prostate cancers may be underestimated when relying on tests before they have surgery.”

Slow-growing prostate cancers, known as “pussycats”, are very different from the more aggressive “tiger” variety.

In some cases, especially when he is older when diagnosed, a patient can live to the end of his normal life span before a “pussycat” cancer becomes a threat.

An aggressive “tiger”, on the other hand, may quickly spread if it is not surgically removed or destroyed.

Biopsy samples examined under a microscope are used to rate prostate tumour aggressiveness with a score ranging from two to 10. A score of between two and six is a low-grade “pussycat”. A score of seven is intermediate, while scores of eight to 10 are high-grade “tigers”.

Tumours are also staged according to how far they have spread. A T2 tumour is contained completely inside the prostate gland, while a T3 tumour has started to break out, and one classified T4 has spread to other organs or sites in the pelvic cavity.

The Cambridge scientists compared the staging and grading of more than 800 men’s cancers before and after they had surgery to remove their prostate.

They found that of 415 patients whose cancer was classified as slow-growing and confined to the prostate, just over half (209) were found to have a more aggressive disease than originally thought when assessed after surgery.

 

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young sick Americans Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America

 

Health Impact News Editor Comments

When I read an article in The Atlantic recently with the title: Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America - Chronic illness is the new first-world problem – it caught my attention. This is the kind of topic we cover on a regular basis here at Health Impact News, but seldom do you read about it in the mainstream media.

There are 3 things that are rather astonishing about the sad state of health in America today:

1. We’re sicker than previous generations, and most of us know it.

2. We don’t seem to care about it too much. It is not headline news.

3. There doesn’t seem to be much motivation to change this fact: it seems to have been accepted as the new “norm.”

Last year, we reported about a study funded by the government and your tax dollars which clearly showed that the United States ranks #1 on healthcare spending, but last in life expectancy among wealthy nations (See: U.S. Ranks First in Healthcare Spending – Last in Life Expectancy). The mainstream media barely even covered this story, and even here at Health Impact News it was probably not even in the top 100 stories read from everything we published last year.

The sad fact seems to be that most Americans have adopted an attitude that the current health situation in the U.S. cannot be changed.

For those few of you who have not drunk the Kool Aid, and still believe you do have control over your health and have choices you can make to live a healthier life, then this article by John Thomas identifying the problems and solutions is for you.

Please understand that if enough Americans understand that the healthcare system (which is not really a “healthcare” system at all but a MEDICAL system) is the primary problem and take measures to avoid it, that it would absolutely destroy our economy, since so much of it is dependent on sick people. But maybe our economy is heading for destruction anyway, so don’t let that threat stop you from making healthy choices today.

Is it Normal to be Sick?

by John P. Thomas

Is it normal to be sick? Many people think so, but it hasn’t always been this way. What was life like before we became dependent on modern pharmaceutical drugs, major medical centers, and health insurance? If we turn back the clock a hundred and fifty years, we will hardly find anything that looks like the modern medical system. Did previous generations live in the dark ages of medicine, or is the modern age of chronic degenerative illness and modern pharmaceutical drugs actually a dark age of medicine?

I remember overhearing a conversation while waiting for a table in a restaurant some 25 years ago. A grandmother was talking to her 10 year old grandson. She must not have seen him for a while, so she began by asking one of those general types of questions to get the conversation started. “How are you feeling?” Without hesitation, her grandson started discussing his various health problems, which included allergies, asthma, fatigue, etc. In a grandmotherly voice filled with sympathy and concern, she gave a reply that sticks in my mind to this day.  She said, “I understand — we all have something wrong with us.” She went on to tell him that we are all sick and we have to learn to live with it. I don’t know if her words were entirely true then, but they are most certainly true today! We are sick and getting sicker, and we are all being taught to live with it.

Here we are 25 years later and despite all the medical and pharmaceutical advances that have taken place in the United States, we are sicker than ever. How many people do you know who are not taking one or more prescription medications? How many people do you know who do not have a medical diagnosis for some chronic illness? How many people do you know who are not being treated for some condition that requires periodic trips to the doctor to monitor disease progression and to adjust medications? How many people do you know who struggle with paying for medications? If I count the people I know, who do not fall into the groups I just mentioned, I can count them on the fingers of one hand. How about the people you know?

The purpose of this article is to examine how we respond to our illnesses and to questions whether our pharmaceutical drugs and system of healthcare is making us sicker than we need to be.

Does the Healthcare System in the United States Lead the World?

We certainly lead the world in the amount of dollars spent on healthcare. We spend 2.5 times more per person per year than is spent in any other country on Earth for healthcare.1

Does the Money we Spend for Healthcare Make Us the Healthiest people in the World?

The New York Times recently revealed how our healthcare system compares to other countries.

“In the Social Progress Index, the United States excels in access to advanced education but ranks 70th in health, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, 39th in basic education, 34th in access to water and sanitation and 31st in personal safety.”2

The United States is sitting in the 70th position down from the top of the list for the category of health when compared to other countries. Let’s look at the details of how we compare to other wealthy countries.

The Panel on Understanding Cross-National Health Differences Among High-Income Countries, compared the health of people living in the United States with people living in other high income countries, which included Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. They reported:

Over this time period, we uncovered a strikingly consistent and pervasive pattern of higher mortality and inferior health in the United States, beginning at birth: … For many years, Americans have had a shorter life expectancy than people in almost all of the peer countries. For example, as of 2007, U.S. males lived 3.7 fewer years than Swiss males and U.S. females lived 5.2 fewer years than Japanese females.3

We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, which should make us the healthiest people on Earth, but this is not the case.

Why are We so Sick?….

 

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Human-animal hybrids, disasters in the making

Human-animal hybrids, disasters in the making

Scientists worldwide are creating bizarre human-animal hybrids that could wreak havoc on society. In the past ten years alone, unforgettable advances in the field of genetic modifications have left researchers and on-lookers stunned.

Nowadays, it is possible for a couple of university-age students to concoct new life forms in the comfort of their own basement. Regrettably so, laws have not been able to keep up with the pace at which scientists have been toying around with their creations.

In turn, the entities being created are not at all illegal but by all means could pose a risk to society by and large. There is no telling what may happen if these life forms are allowed to mate. Still, eagerness can be seen in the eyes and minds of scientists on a global level just waiting to unleash their next creation to the world, that all seemed liked fantasy just a short time ago.

To give a concrete example, scientists have made mice with an artificial human chromosome “in every cell of their bodies”. Such an act is being praised as a “breakthrough” which may lead to different cures for a wide scope of disease. As reported by Lifenews.com, University of Wisconsin researchers have had much success by transferring cells from human embryos into the brains of mice. These very cells began to grow, and in time made the mice more intelligent.

The mice showed that they were able to solve a simple maze and learn conditioning signals at a more enhanced level than if compared to before their transformation. Critics are quick to question whether a practice of injecting parts of humans in animals carries more benefits than risks.

 

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NHK Documentary: “Origins of Disease Episode 3: Depression – Legacy of the Survival Instinct”-

MissingSky101 MissingSky101

 

Published on Nov 17, 2013

Depression causes people to feel sad or down for a long period of time. More than 350 million people suffer from this disease worldwide. Depression was once considered an illness of the mind. But doctors have found physical abnormalities in the brains of people being treated for depression. Now scientists are coming up with a range of treatments, including one that directly controls brain function. How can we overcome depression? We’ll look into the origins of this all-too-common disease.

I apologize for the poor quality of the video. The problem is a broadcast issue.

Thank you to the special person who requested this upload :)

 

 

 

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NHK Documentary: The Origins of Disease Episode 4: Heart Disease

MissingSky101 MissingSky101

 

Published on Nov 24, 2013

Pitfalls of State-of-the-Art Pump -
Every year, over 7 million people die from heart disease worldwide. It’s the number-one cause of death for human beings. Human ancestors gained a high-performance heart. But as they evolved, they put a bigger burden on the organ, forcing themselves to live with a higher risk of disease. Heart disease is an evolutionary fate for humans. We’ll look at its origins and recent research that aims to find a cure.

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File:Salle de vasculaire.jpg

Image Source  :  Wikimedia . Org

By  Raziel

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Oct. 2, 2013Technology, not uninsured patients, likely explains the steep rise in the cost of hospital care in Texas in recent years, according to Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, a professor of economics at Rice and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Her findings were reported in an article appearing in the Oct. 1 online edition of the journal Healthcare Management, Practice and Innovation.

Ho emphasized her findings contradict a public perception that the rising numbers of uninsured persons explains the increase in prices that hospitals charge for treating privately insured patients. “This misconception has distracted policymakers and workers in the health care sector from identifying effective strategies for cost control,” she said. But while Ho said her study can explain more than half of the observed price increase with hospital, patient and market characteristics, a sizable portion remains unexplained.

In the study, Ho used data on revenues by payer type to identify the factors for rising hospital costs in Texas between 2000 and 2007. The study comes against the backdrop of a substantial rise in health care expenditures in the United States that has been accompanied by rapid increases in fees that hospitals receive for treating privately-insured patients.

“We discovered that approximately two-thirds of the increase in prices can be explained by increases in the costs of care, which may reflect the growth and use of more advanced technology,” Ho said. “Part of this cost increase could also be attributable to sicker patient populations, as patients with less severe conditions are increasingly treated in freestanding facilities. We found no firm evidence that hospitals are raising prices in response to lower reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid or uninsured and self-pay patients.”

She said the results of this study suggest more attention should be paid to understanding the cost drivers of hospital care. “If technology growth is behind the cost increases, then greater efforts should be devoted to determining which technologies are cost-effective,” Ho said. “Greater thought could also be devoted to designing reimbursement mechanisms that discourage inefficient use of new technologies.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ho, Vivian,dugan, Jerome and Ku-goto, Meei-hsiang. WH Y ARE HOSPITAL PRICES RISING? Health Management, Policy and Innovation, October 2013
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