Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why do you have to take pills if you feel good? Feeling being pushed?

James Le Fanu accuses pharmaceutical companies of fuelling the demand for 'lifestyle’ drugs .

The therapeutic revolution of the post-war years ranks amongst the most impressive of all human achievements. So dramatically successful has been the assault on disease that it is almost impossible to imagine what life was like back in 1945, when there were no drugs for tuberculosis or schizophrenia or rheumatoid arthritis, or indeed for virtually any illness that a doctor encountered; a time before open heart surgery, transplantation and cures for cancer. These and a multitude of similar developments have been of immeasurable benefit in freeing people from the fear of illness and untimely death.

Yet, as Professor Joan Busfield from Exeter University argues – in a paper, “A Pill for Every Ill”, in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine this month – there is something very peculiar going on to account for why, over the past two decades, the Health Service’s drugs bill should have exploded, with little evidence of any measurable improvement in the nation’s heath.

From £4billion a year in the early 1990s, the cost of NHS prescriptions had topped £10billion by 2006, is now in the region of £18billion, and is expected to soar to £24billion by the middle of this decade. During this time, Professor Busfield points out, the average number of prescriptions issued per head of population has doubled to 16 per year. Millions of the healthy young and middle aged seldom see a doctor, so this can only mean that many, especially in the older age group, must currently be taking a fistful of drugs every day.

Read the rest at Telegraph's

Food Revolution: Jamie Oliver's presentation on child obesity and diet-related health problems

He's not just a good-looking guy sometimes appearing naked in kitchen, he's just a great guy who's terrified by the same things as I do.

Most people whom I met in US were puzzled why would I cook at home. Sometimes they would every try to turn me into a total 'call-this-guy-he-brings-you-food' person. No, hell no. I don't mind food delivery, but I'm very picky.

But most of all I love my Mom's cooking.

I wish him all the best in his efforts and here in my blog I'm going to post updates about his activity from time to time.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Can't help spreading this presentation around - Social Media Is Dead

I've seen a lot of slideshows and presentations on social media and this particular one is really good. Crystal clear.
I do feel enjoyment and gratitude when I realize people saved my time by doing such a great job.

Author: David Armano

Friday, March 26, 2010


Another Friday and it's very hard not to mention #hcsmeu - a highly educative source for people involved in social media for health care or wanting to be involved.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

#39 Y in Periodic Table of Science Bloggers

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome #39 in Periodic Table of Science Bloggers of David Bradley - Your Daily Pill blog!


Raising the bar for the content quality, I believe!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

World TB Day

Heard it's World TB Day today... Few years ago my very close relative went for a regular chest scan at the hospital and doctor "didn't look thoroughly at the scan" and told her in a very rude manner that she has TB.

Thank G-d she didn't have TB, but she could have had heart attack that moment.

It's a pity there's no point on suing anyone in Ukraine. In any other country I would make that doctor think 10 times before saying things like that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

the Nestle 'situation'

Social media in healthcare or any other sphere is supposed to be aimed at making things better - companies extract important info from the buzz about their products and then make corresponding changes. Companies listen to their customers, to experts expressing their opinions, etc. They don't ignore them and certainly don't do childish or foolish mistakes.

This is how I see it working in the ideal world.

What happens in reality is quite a dilemma and I've been thinking for a while about the way it could possibly be solved. Companies can listen to the critics, can be polite and look thoughtful to satisfy social media activists/participants for some period of time, but when it gets down to business... well. I suppose, not much will be done. There's a need for a fundamental change in everything for these companies, like for Nestle to deal with forest issues and palm oil. They need to change everything, because they've been doing things they do for a very long time. And doing them in other way is scary and not attractive at all. Smells like losing profits and cheap company cars (if any).

But there's no way out of this dilemma other than facing it, and good idea here is, to my view, for companies to turn to HCSM specialists for help. Or HCSM specialists should address companies on this issue. Cooperation is the key!
If healthcare bill could get passed, I believe now even stronger that this can be solved too!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Prospective scientists, cardiologists, firefighters, writers and cosmonauts are getting heavier?

"Overweight kids are getting even heavier" - what? Seriously, is this some kind of joke? Our future is getting heavier? Prospective scientists, cardiologists, firefighters, writers and cosmonauts are getting heavier?

Bloomberg reports, that "Extreme obesity affects about 6.4 percent of children, according to a Kaiser Permanente study that suggests overweight kids are getting even heavier. More children are graduating from “obese” to “extremely obese,” according to the study, the first to evaluate kids using U.S. guidelines published last year that distinguish among degrees of obesity". You can read the full article here.

Such news blow my mind and make me very angry at many people - firstly, parents who failed to teach their kids to eat properly - it's hard with temptations all around, but no one said raising up a child is easy. But then I remember, that HQ & organic food costs more than junk and I think of how many people struggle today to earn a dime and I calm down a little and start being sympathetic. Just to become mad again passing to the thought that obesity is quite a long-time problem coming from the age of economical boom.

I am typing this right now and my heart is beating very fast - when news get to children I take them very close to my fast-beating heart.
Mostly because I realize that the whole world has to turn upside down to bring change for the environment kids are raised in - cheap crappy snacks every day, drinking liters of sodas, no eating culture, busy parents, ads all around pushing crappy food like drugs - for me, it's hard to resist sometimes, though I'm generally more into fruits and homemade food.
And also - in almost every American restaurant I usually order half portion - half salad, half pasta, etc. not because we're short on food in the city where I come from, but because I'm not used with stuffing my stomach till I can't breathe. 

I would really like to promote healthy eating for kids and banning such pushy advertising for cheap and low-quality snacks.
I watched "Food, Inc" documentary and remembered that they had few links in the end of the movie and Hoorayy - I had no doubt other people also care about this, so:

Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act

Moms Rising

Hungry for change

I'd be very grateful for other links on the subject!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pushing to think your own thoughts

Yesterday I spent wonderful 1h and thirty-something minutes watching a documentary "Food, Inc" and this great piece of art finally released all my remaining fears about food. It's not that I never gave a thought about what I eat - contrary, I think of it quite a lot and read the small font on the packages. Now I will have to read even more attentively.

Being brought up by two scientists (organic chemists) I was being informed about the structure of everything I see from my early childhood and my parents tried to educate me in every aspect of life. I used to like to play with and read an "Encyclopedia of young chemist" and many other books on chemistry in my house, just to become a theoretical economist years later (oops). Imagine the disappointment of my parents!

I'm distracting a little bit from my initial purpose of posting - I was trying to say, I was taught to think and analyze everything all the time and this made me consider myself a quite smart person. And this documentary again proved me how little I know and how little an ordinary citizen can know.

What each and every citizen can do is: THINK, read small letters on the pack and be logical. I am not even speaking about thinking of a healthy diet and ignoring fast foods and etc.

I am so disappointed and frustrated that it's really hard to express.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I can't help posting this - Onion's Alternate Health Care Bills

In response to President Obama's call for compromise, several lawmakers have concocted their own health care reform bills. Here are some provisions of the top contenders:

  • Hoyer-Larson Bill: All 45 million uninsured Americans would be guaranteed medical care, all of it provided by Dr. Tom Janicak of Houston, TX
  • Melancon-Cooper Bill: Would create a low-cost government-administered health insurance plan, but would prohibit anyone from buying into it
  • Griffith-Cantor Bill: Low-income families would be allowed to huddle outside hospital windows in the cold and look at wealthier families receiving care
  • Hutchinson-Snowe Bill: Children insured on a cuteness scale
  • Murray-Menendez Bill: Doctors only allowed to mention giving birth as a viable alternative after providing counseling on the many different ways one can have an abortion.
  • Luetkemeyer-Fortenberry Bill: They just liked the way their names looked together, and this seemed like the most high-profile opportunity to put it out there
  • Grayson Bill: Rep. Alan Grayson will personally punch in the face any insurance executive who turns down a valid claim
  • Blookross-Feiser Bill: Although no one is exactly sure who these two shadowy congressmen are, their bill would mandate a twofold increase in insurance premiums and force patients to buy name-brand drugs



Looks like I haven't been here for a while. I really do not want to merely re-post news and articles and information that I consider important, and my thoughts were really in a mess.
I tried to sit and take them down meticulously, but it never worked because of too many ideas and things to do besides blogging.

What do you do - we live in a crazy world full of information that is pouring on and in my head every day. Sometimes I think of it as a dependent intensive production line - you're responsible for it, you miss one thing and all the rest goes wild, and if well-automated, it can work smoothly without you - and again, you're overboard!

Today I again took part in an amazing initiative in Twitter - Healthcare and Social Media in EU - follow hash-tag #hcsmeu
Comparing to most participants, I am quite new to this and, after being distracted by some other business for 3-4 mins, I get back and see... what... around 50 more tweets. I've been 'out of production line' for such a short period of time and I already have to put in extra effort to catch up with discussion.

But I have to say - it is well worth it. I am looking forward to next Friday and next #hcsmeu - the discussion really works and hopefully it will lead to something important. As amateur I have very little contribution to the process, but I will try to work harder.

Thank you, HCSMEU guys!

General info here: http://twitter.com/hcsmeu