UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.
By Sam Stein
WASHINGTON — If the government shuts down in the absence of a budget agreement, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be unable to support its seasonal influenza program that monitors the spread of flu, the Obama administration has announced.
The program is part of a series of initiatives that the CDC undertakes to spot and ultimately limit the spread of disease. Vaccine manufacturers have produced 135 million to 139 million doses of flu vaccine for this season. And while vaccine planning is a critical CDC function at risk of being stalled by a shutdown, it is far from the only one.
The CDC also would be unable to provide “technical assistance, analysis, and support to state and local partners for infectious disease and surveillance,” according to a Department of Health and Human Services memo about the effects of a possible government shutdown. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration would be “unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities,” including some basic compliance and enforcement functions.
Today is truly significant!
By Michelle Castillo
The Syracuse Post-Standard reported that the New York State Health Department found St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center negligent in the case, and admonished the hospital for not adequately looking into how this mistake was made.
Patient Colleen S. Burns was reportedly admitted into St. Joseph’s emergency department in 2009 after overdosing on Xanax, Benadryl and a muscle relaxant. Hospital notes obtained by the Post-Standard revealed that the doctors thought she had undergone “cardiac death.” After doctors consulted with the family, they agreed to withdraw life support and donate her organs.
What actually happened was that Burns was in a deep coma from her overdose, and did not have irreversible brain damage.
The Health Department discovered that the staff did not perform a recommended treatment to stop the drugs from being absorbed into her stomach and intestines, did not test to see if she was free of all drugs and did not complete enough brain scans. They also did not wait long enough before recommending the patient was taken off life support.
Video: A new decision by the American Medical Association to classify obesity as a disease could change the way doctors and insurance companies treat and cover obese patients. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman discusses what it could mean for people who struggle with their weight.
The American Medical Association officially designated obesity as a disease on Tuesday – a disease that requires medical treatment and prevention.
The organization doesn’t have any kind of official say in the matter, but it’s influential nonetheless, and the vote of the AMA’s policy-making House of Delegates is one more step in the evolution of social attitudes towards obesity.
“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” AMA board member Dr. Patrice Harris said in a statement.
One third of Americans are obese – and that’s on top of the one-third who are overweight. Obesity is more than just a matter of carrying around too much fat, says Dr. Michael Joyner, an exercise physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“The fat cells themselves we thought of for a long time as just warehouses for energy,” Joyner said in a telephone interview. But they also secrete chemicals, including chemicals that can cause inflammation, raise blood pressure and that down the road help harden the arteries.
“More widespread recognition of obesity as a disease could result in greater investments by government and the private sector to develop and reimburse obesity treatments,” the AMA said in one statement on the issue.
“Employers may be required to cover obesity treatments for their employees and may be less able to discriminate on the basis of body weight.”
The downside, the AMA says, is that people may expect that should be able to take a pill and “cure” obesity.
That clearly isn’t going to happen, Joyner says. Pharmaceutical companies have tried and tried, but just a very few drugs are approved for weight loss and even they don’t produce spectacular results.
“It is very, very difficult, once people get fat, to lose fat and keep it off,” Joyner says. “We live in a low-physical-activity, high-calorie, high-food-variety environment,” he added. “We are bombarded with images of food.”
But designating obesity as a disease could make it easier for policymakers to make changes. This has happened before with public health – once with smoking, and again with driving safety.
Each day brings Jenn McNary another dose of hope and heartache as she watches one son get healthier while the other becomes sicker.
Austin was too sick to be included in the clinical trials for a promising new drug called Eteplirsen. “He can’t get into a chair, out of his wheelchair, into his bed and onto the toilet,” McNary told NBC’s Janet Shamlian.
Max, however, was exactly what researchers were looking for. He was put on Eteplirsen, and now he’s back to running around, climbing stairs and even playing soccer.
“It’s a miracle,” McNary said. “It really is a miracle drug. This is something that nobody ever expected and he looks like an almost normal 11-year-old.”
Eteplirsen is designed to partially repair one of the common genetic mutations that causes DMD. Even a partial repair may enough to improve life for boys struck by the condition, which results from a defect in the dystrophin gene.