Health Problems

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and Takeda Launch Diabetes Navigator Website

Newswise JACKSONVILLE, Fla. and DEERFIELD, Ill., September 27, 2011 –The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc. (Takeda) have partnered to launch the Diabetes Navigator (), a compendium capturing a selection of useful and reliable type 2 diabetes information available online for patients and caregivers. This new compendium, reviewed and authored by leading clinical endocrinologists, was created to help health care professionals (HCPs) provide guidance for navigating through the abundance of online diabetes information.

“It is important for patients and caregivers to access educational resources they can trust; unfortunately, not all diabetes information online is useful or reliable,” said George Grunberger, M.D., AACE board member and founder and chairman at the Grunberger Diabetes Institute, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. “The

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Workplace stress boosts healthcare costs

Job-related stress is catching up with workers and increasing healthcare costs, researchers in Canada say.

The study, published in BMC Public Health, found the number of visits to healthcare professionals is as much as 26 percent for workers in high-stress jobs.

First author Sunday Azagba, a Ph.D. candidate in the Concordia University, and colleagues analyzed nationally representative data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey for people ages 18-65.

The results show people in medium- to high-stress jobs visit family doctors and specialists more often than workers with low job stress, Azagba says.

“We believe an increasing number of workers are using medical services to cope with job stress,” study co-author Mesbah Sharaf says in a statement.

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What Is a Pollen Count?

Pollen counts measure the amount of pollen allergens in the air. Pollen counts are stated as grains of pollen per cubic meter of air.

Weeds

  • 1 to 9 is a low pollen count.
  • 10 to 49 is a moderate pollen count.
  • 50 to 499 is a high pollen count.
  • 500 or higher is a very high pollen count.

Grasses

  • 1 to 4 is a low pollen count.
  • 5 to 19 is a moderate pollen count.
  • 20 to 199 is a high pollen count.
  • 200 or higher is a very high pollen count.

Trees

  • 1 to 14 is a low pollen count.
  • 15 to 89 is a moderate pollen count.
  • 90 to 1,499 is a high pollen count.
  • 1,500 or higher is a very high pollen count.

Molds

Mold produces spores that move, like pollen, in outdoor air during warmer months.

  • 1 to 6,499 is a low spore count.
  • 6,500 to 12,999 is a moderate spore count.
  • 13,000 to 49,999 is a high spore count.
  • 50,000 or higher is a very high spore count.

During the allergy season, local TV stations, newspapers, or medical centers may report pollen counts.

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USAID Releases New Issue Of Frontlines

The June/July issue of USAID’s Frontlines focuses on climate change, including an article on how Kenyan farmers are adapting to environmental changes. The issue also includes articles on how the search for an HIV vaccine has boosted African research and on the introduction of the GeneXpert tuberculosis test in Central Asia (7/25).


HEALTH: Money Needed for ART Funding

Due to be held in early June and atted by international policy makers and heads of state, this meeting will shape the direction of the global response to HIV and AIDS for the next decade and beyond The 2006 Special Session of the General Assembly UNGASS and subsequent creation of the Global Fund grant distribution body were instrumental in mobilising funding for the expansion of antiretroviral treatment ART programmes, which now reach roughly five million people But campaigners stress that this momentum must be maintained to avoid undermining progress made so far in the fight against the disease and funding shortfalls need to be addressed Anton Kerr, head of policy at International HIV/AIDS Alliance, said: “We are at a pivotal moment in terms of deciding what the commitment will be going forward “HIV has been slipping off the political aga and youve also had the financial crisis, so its crucial that UNGASS secures that high level political will that will unlock money and commitment in the years to come “Without political commitment, there is no obligation for governments and donors to act and there will be serious long-term impacts from these decisions” In a bid to secure funding and political commitment, groups like International HIV/AIDS Alliance want to underline the benefits of ART as not just a treatment method but also as a tool to reduce transmission An United States National Institutes of Health reports revealed in May that if an HIV-positive person adheres to an effective antiretroviral therapy regimen, the risk of transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual partner can be reduced by 96 percent This backs up a similar study published in the United Kingdoms health journal The Lancet in late 2010 and UNAIDS has suggested that scaling up joint treatment and prevention strategies could cut new infections by half “Increased access to ART has not only saved millions of lives, it has also cut the transmission rate,” explained Mara Kardas-Nelson, an access and innovation officer with Médecins Sans Frontières MSF She added: “If people get onto ART early it has a community-wide impact, its not just an individual gain “People on ART are also living healthier lifestyles so the associated healthcare costs are reduced in terms of hospital time and other medicines, and they are living longer and are able to be more economically active” Kardas-Nelson said it was understandable that there had been a drop in support for international causes following the global financial crisis and increased domestic sping pressures But she urged donors to look at ART funding as an investment that would pay off in the longer term “ART is proven to reduce new infections so this will reduce treatment needs in the long term,” she said “Money that is invested now will save money in the longer term” Finding that money though may not be so easy Following unfilled pledges from its donors the Global Fund susped grant allocations during 2011 and applicants who were refused money in 2010 could have to wait until 2013 to receive any cash The impact of a lack funding for ART programmes was one topic discussed in the MSF report “Getting Ahead of the Wave” published in May Looking at 16 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America that account for 52 percent of the global AIDS burden, MSF evaluated the impact ART had in those countries and other developments in HIV and AIDS responses It found that greater access to ART had reduced HIV-related deaths, lowered infection and deaths of tuberculosis and greatly lowered healthcare costs as people were sping less time in hospital and needed fewer supplementary medicines In the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha, where an estimated 16 percent of the adult population of 500,000 is HIV-positive, ART was first provided in 2001 and the study notes that as ART provision increased, so new infections fell The study warned, however, that while 12 of the 16 countries evaluated had changed treatment protocols to get people onto ART earlier and 14 had adopted better-tolerated medicines, several, including Malawi and Zimbabwe were struggling under financial constraints It also noted that in most of the countries it studied still only around half of people in need of ART drugs were getting them MSF concluded that progress in the fight against HIV/ AIDS while positive in many aspects still remained “volatile” if ART strategies could not be sustained in the long term UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called for a target of at least 13 million people to be receiving treatment by 2015, others, including the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, want 15 million, which they say will still offer 80 percent coverage Kerr stressed that all targets must also be accompanied by clear measurement indicators to allow detailed tracking and progress analysis He added that more effort was needed to create more innovative financing models, and build on existing schemes such as patent pools, which were working to reduce the cost of medicines The MSF study did note that there had been great strides in the past decade in terms of reducing drug bills and widening access It reports that competition from generic manufacturers has driven the price of the most-commonly- used antiretroviral combination down from more than 10,000 dollars per patient per year to 67 dollars today a decrease of 99 percent Another important step forward has been the introduction of simpler diagnostic tests which can be used in remote areas without electricity and by minimally-trained health workers MSFs Kardas-Nelson said medical innovation was crucial to continuing to reduce costs and increasing accessibility “We need innovative diagnostic tools, innovative ways to getting treatment to people and innovative new medicines,” she explained “Innovation goes hand-in-hand with increasing access to treatment,” she added Despite the advances noted by the MSF report over the last decade, some 10 million people still need ART treatment Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of MSFs Access Campaign, said it was crucial that Junes UNGASS delivered He said: “With the right policies in place, we could triple the number of people on treatment without tripling the costs “But if key donor governments dont support a treatment target, they are sing a clear message that they do not int to ever come to grips with this pandemic” The UN General Assembly Special Session, which some believe may be the last of its kind to be held, takes place in New York June 8 10


Nature Special Issue Focuses On Vaccines

The May 26 issue of Nature explores vaccines, which the journal says “are responsible for some of the world’s greatest public health triumphs.” Though new vaccines for deadly diseases have been developed in the past 10 years, and more are in development, “funding is tight, and unfounded doubts about the safety of vaccines persist.” The issue features stories on polio, measles, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as issues surrounding vaccine rejection and hysteria about risk (5/26).

In related news, BMJ reports in an article summarizing statements made last week during the World Health Assembly last week in Geneva that ”[f]irmer commitments are needed from governments, manufacturers, and donors to reduce prices of new lifesaving vaccines more quickly and to expand vaccination rates in poor countries, say international officials and experts.” The article includes quotes from WHO Director-General Margaret Chan; Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Daniel Spiegel, a former U.S.

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