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 Friday, April 21, 2000

The Future of Psychotherapy?
Lots of people are betting that the future of psychotherapy is online. I'd argue that's not the case, at least not in the next 5-10 years. What's far more intriguing and interesting to me is this site, Volunteers in Psychotherapy (VIP), based in West Hartford, CT. People want the privacy that only direct payment can ensure. People are sick of their employers, their health plans, and accountant strangers at the managed care company perusing their records. Innovative services like this are one sensible solution to the problem. Richard Shulman, Ph.D. runs this one and should be commended for it.

(Posted at 11:24:58 AM EDT.)

Study: Medical Errors Higher at For-Profit than Not-for-Profit Hospitals
"According to a study and editorial released April 19, patients at for-profit hospitals are two to four times more likely than patients at not-for-profit hospitals to suffer adverse events such as complications following surgery or delays in diagnosing and treating an ailment."

(Posted at 11:18:01 AM EDT.)

Medical privacy questions abound
"There are some interesting questions buzzing throughout Washington regarding the privacy of your medical records." You probably didn't see this article when it was published on February 6 of this year, so I'm linking to it now. A good backgrounder of upcoming rules which will go into effect shortly about your electronic medical records. Rules are needed, but these may not be the right ones!

(Posted at 11:09:05 AM EDT.)

Psychiatrists fail to ask their patients about violent intentions to others
"Psychiatrists fail to ask their patients about violent intentions to others, and may therefore be putting them and the public at risk, suggests research in this week's BMJ. [...] Almost half said that they had had suicidal thoughts and a quarter of the patients had entertained violent thoughts about specific people. Nearly one in 10 admitted owning a weapon and one in 20 to carrying one, both of which are recognised risk factors for violence. Over half of the patients had a history of violent behaviour. But although the clinical team almost always asked their patients about suicidal thoughts, only 2.5 per cent asked about damage to property and only 13 per cent asked about thoughts of violence towards others." Caring about others in the patient's life should be just as important as caring about the patient themselves. It's a simple followup question to the suicide set of questions... "Have you ever felt like harming yourself or others?"

(Posted at 10:23:11 AM EDT.)

Employers are primary source of health plan information
"Employers are the most common source of information about health plan choices, says a new study of more than 900 workers in Minnesota. The study suggests that, despite conventional wisdom, many workers rely on and trust information such as health-plan performance "report cards" provided by their employers." I'm not sure conventional wisdom was anything different... Did people think that people spent much time researching this stuff? I don't think so.

(Posted at 10:20:28 AM EDT.)

 Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Smoking in later life linked to impaired intellect
"Smoking in later life seems to be linked to intellectual impairment over the age of 65, suggests research in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. Some previous studies have suggested that smoking may protect against of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, both of which are associated with ageing." Just one more of the hundreds of good reasons to quit smoking today.

(Posted at 10:23:21 AM EDT.)

 Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Death by chocolate, it's all in the guilty mind
"Indulging in life's pleasures is good for you - but feeling guilty afterwards can put your health at risk, a British study has found. People who feel bad about activities such as eating chocolate, going shopping or lazing in front of the television are more likely to have a weaker immune system, putting them at greater danger of disease. Those who live a guilt-free existence are better able to fight off infection, according to the study."

(Posted at 11:53:25 AM EDT.)

 Monday, April 17, 2000

Ritalin May Have Led To Boy's Death
"A medical examiner says long-term use of Ritalin, a drug used to treat hyperactive children, may have led to a 14-year-old boy's death. Matthew Smith collapsed at his home on March 21 while playing with a skateboard and was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later. Oakland County Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic concluded that the boy died of a heart attack likely caused by 10 years of taking Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder." This is the downside to the FDA only requiring clinical trials of 6 to 8 weeks before approving a drug's use in children.

(Posted at 11:21:48 AM EDT.)

 Sunday, April 16, 2000

I love Sunday mornings, but they bring back a lot of bittersweet memories for me too. Of happier times. A lot of life seems to be that way sometimes...
(Posted at 12:09:36 PM EDT.)

Stress Slows Healing Of Cuts And Bruises
"Stress can slow the body's healing and recovery process by lowering levels of key immune system chemicals, American researchers said on Thursday. Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a psychologist at Ohio State University of Medicine, told a British Psychological Society conference in Winchester that wounds in stressed people can take as much as 24% longer to heal than those in other patients." You know, I figured as much (watching myself heal, as subject N=1), but it's good to see some proof behind the supposition.

(Posted at 11:54:48 AM EDT.)

 Saturday, April 15, 2000

Check Out
If you haven't heard of this site yet, it's definitely worth checking out -- Lots of good stuff there put together by the people who should know.

(Posted at 09:51:18 PM EDT.)


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