• Weird DHHS Projects as Non-Performers on ExpectMore.gov

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    Amazing, an actual website produced by the federal government that exposes those federally funded agencies’ programs that are at the extremes of the spectrum…either strong performers or huge disappointments.

    The agency that ranks these programs is the U.S. OMB (Office of Management and Budget).

    Net findings by the OMB? –> “20% of Federal programs are Not Performing.” see ExpectMore.gov

    OMB

    Our solution –> let’s shut down these programs immediately and create accountable programs that effectively fund education, infrastructure development, healthcare efficiency programs and comparative effectiveness research.

    A few of our favorite poor performers:

    1) Health Information Technology Research (AHRQ) -> Read more…

    2) Office on Women’s Health -> Read more…

    3) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology -> Read more…

    …and these are just three out of 30 major poor performing programs managed by the Dept of Health & Human Service.

    No wonder our U.S. healthcare system is bloated and ineffective. Where is the accountability?

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  • Nothing Weird about it – Welcome Home for Good, Discovery!

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    We’re sad to see your missions end…

    

    Welcome Home for Good, Discovery!

    America will miss your amazing adventures

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  • Weird, Smells Go beyond Ergodynamics

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    Can we really be moving into a new era where what the patient experiences – feels, touches and even smells – really matters?

    Can our medical device industry be moving in the direction of consumer marketing where patient-based consumer-type-products are becoming reality?

    “There’s something called value-based purchasing in [health-care reform] that actually measures patient satisfaction,” according to Bob Schwartz, general manager of global design for GE Healthcare, “— and hospitals are reimbursed, in part at least, on what those patient satisfaction scores say.”

    Bob Schwartz, general manager of global design for GE Healthcare

    It actually appears that the patient’s feedback and opinions are starting to matter as much as those of our medical professionals. Especially now that U.S. healthcare reform driven by the balance of better procedural outcomes, patient satisfaction through provider rating systems, and cost containment is creating a perfect storm.

    Read more about this “Proctor & Gamble” marketing approach…it’s not the science of technology but the science of consumer behavior!

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  • Weird Taxpayer-Funded Museum of Medical Oddities

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    Now this is a good use of our federal tax dollars…

    In the northwestern reaches of Washington (D.C. that is) sits a museum that is a “must see” if you like the slightly off-taste, arcane, twisted and in some cases, down-right gross medical oddities. Visit the bricks and mortar “Roadside America of American medicine,” the National Museum of Health and Medicine, America’s oldest taxpayer-funded Cabinet of Curiosities near Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

    A row of little skeletons.

    At the National Museum of Health and Medicine you can see precariously displayed and disturbingly barely described:

    • hanging display of a complete brain and spine, suspended in liquid in an eerily lit glass cylinder
    • girl’s head preserved in arsenic
    • well-preserved hairball from the stomach of a 12-year old girl who compulsively ate her own hair
    • skull with a huge civil war bullet buried in its frontal lobe
    • and the list goes on…

    To visit…virtually go to the RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Reporters or National Museum of Health and Medicine, or in real life visit:

    6900 Georgia Avenue, Washington, DC

    Hours:     M-F 10 am – 5:30 pm, Sa, Su, Hol call ahead

    No kidding. This is for real – so when you go to the NMHM in D.C., tell them you want your tax dollars’ worth!

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  • Weird – Good MedTech News…in THIS Economy?

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    February 24, 2010 /  Our Weird Medical Industry, Weird Trends

    Apparently…even in this economy…medtech use is still way up!

    According to Cole Petrochko, Staff Writer at MedPage Today, and a report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) – the definition of medical technology – more succinctly “medtech” – is broadly interpreted beyond just medtech but clearly its usage trend is up…way up.

    Mr. Petrochko and the NCHS go on to say, “Increases among those technologies from 1996 to 2007 included the following:

    • Total knee and hip replacements for patients 45 and older increased by 70% and 60% respectively, as measured by hospital discharges. Although joint replacements were more common in those 65 and older, they increased at a faster rate among younger patients.
    • The number of kidney transplants increased 31% (43.7 per million in 1997 versus 57.2 per million in 2006); liver transplants were up 42% in the same time span (15.6 million in 1997 versus 22.2 per million in 2006).
    • Heart transplants declined 20% from 1997 to 2004, but rose slightly from 2004 to 2006. The 2,147 heart transplants in 2006 accounted for 8% of solid organ transplants, the third most common solid organ transplant, behind kidney at 16,646, and liver at 6,136.
    • Outpatient colonoscopy rates tripled in adults over age 19 but increased in all age groups. The biggest gains were posted among those 45 to 64, although the procedure is most common in those 65 to 74. Similar gains were noted for upper endoscopy procedures.

    Image of Health, United States, 2009 book cover

    Clearly medtech, as well as biotech and pharmaceutical drugs, usage is way up – so let’s challenge ourselves, to ask:

    “Why aren’t the U.S. medical industry service providers thriving and why are industry jobs becoming scarce?”

    We’d like to hear your thoughts.

    Increases among those technologies from 1996 to 2007 included the following:

    • Total knee and hip replacements for patients 45 and older increased by 70% and 60% respectively, as measured by hospital discharges. Although joint replacements were more common in those 65 and older, they increased at a faster rate among younger patients.
    • The number of kidney transplants increased 31% (43.7 per million in 1997 versus 57.2 per million in 2006); liver transplants were up 42% in the same time span (15.6 million in 1997 versus 22.2 per million in 2006).
    • Heart transplants declined 20% from 1997 to 2004, but rose slightly from 2004 to 2006. The 2,147 heart transplants in 2006 accounted for 8% of solid organ transplants, the third most common solid organ transplant, behind kidney at 16,646, and liver at 6,136.
    • Outpatient colonoscopy rates tripled in adults over age 19 but increased in all age groups. The biggest gains were posted among those 45 to 64, although the procedure is most common in those 65 to 74. Similar gains were noted for upper endoscopy procedures.

    The change in stenting practices

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  • Weird Biochemical Links: Silicon -> Beer -> Bones?

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    Who would have thought that avoiding osteoporosis would be such yummy fun?

    We now have new evidence that beer is more of a health food than originally thought. It’s been discovered that silicon found in commercially produced beer promotes strong bone development.

    Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis have proven there is a relationship between commercial beer production methods and producing a final end product rich in silicon essential for greater bone mineral density.

    According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Charles Bamforth, “The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied. We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content and have also studied the impact of raw materials and the brewing process on the quantities of silicon that enter wort and beer.”

    “Beers containing high levels of malted barley and hops are richest in silicon,” Dr. Bamforth concluded.   [See February 2010 issue – Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry.]

    So beer once again is king...and ounce-for-ounce it’s easier on our budgets than wine!

    http://www.sirtified.com/images/product/winestein3.gifpicture courtesy Sirtified’s Blog

    No more wine for our cardiovascular systems…let’s drink a few beers to our skeletal health!

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  • Weird Healthcare Reform – More Taxes

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    November 19, 2009 /  Legislate This

    Watch your pocket books…

    For those considering cosmetic surgeries such as botox or other “enhancements” they may not wish to wait for a 2010 resolution.

    The current US Senate healthcare bill is adding a 5% tax on such operations. This proposed funding source may unfairly target women ages 35-50 who make up 86% of such operations. That said, there is no such tax in the House of Representatives version. If it does make it through it is estimated to generate $5 billion over the next 10 years.

    Cosmetic Surgery Funds Healthcare Reform (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

    Cosmetic Surgery Funds Healthcare Reform (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

    Looks like its time for “Facercize,” ladies!

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  • Weird Cures for Cancer?

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    A new application for an old drug…

    Renewed interest in the 2007 discussion of Dichloroacetic acid (DCA) for cancer treatment, long-used for metabolic disorders, has surfaced based on its few side effects when compared to current cancer treatments. The main proponent of studying DCA for the treatment of cancer is Dr. Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta. He claims that his research has been hindered because the pharmaceutical industry does not want to fund research into a non-patentable compound.

    While some may rush to judge Big Parma, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society offers a more tempered view. Stating “Right now, we simply do not know what is going to occur as DCA moves through the research pipeline…It is way too soon to know whether this is a cancer treatment breakthrough or an urban legend or something in between” in his 2007 blog post < http://www.cancer.org/aspx/blog/Comments.aspx?id=130 > is perhaps the best statement to date on this drug.

    In September 2007 Dr. Michelakis generated enough funding for a small phase II trial in about 50 patients < http://www.cancer.org/aspx/blog/Comments.aspx?id=130 >. For those following this story, results can be expected within the next year (expected by Q4 2010 to as late as Q2 2011), upon completion of the 18 month follow-up.
    (Article Source: http://www.cancer.org/aspx/blog/Comments.aspx?id=130, Image Source: http://www.depmed.ualberta.ca/dca/)

    (Article Source: http://www.cancer.org/aspx/blog/Comments.aspx?id=130, Image Source: http://www.depmed.ualberta.ca/dca/)

    Stay tuned later for more news on this potentially more cost effective treatment.

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  • Unique Library Finds New Uses for the Old…

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    Weird library connections?

    Clofazimine, a drug used more than a 100 years ago to treat leprosy, is now showing effectiveness against autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and psoriasis to toenail fungus. Clofazimine apparently also fights tumors.

    Just one case how The Johns Hopkins University Drug Library with more than 3,000 of the approximately 10,000 known drugs is giving life to old remedies .

    More weird connections may be found but with this find archived drug resurrection may be the booster shot the pharma industry needs…read more…

    Drug Library (Source: The New York Times, With Aid of Drug Library, New Remedies From Old)
    Drug Library (Source: The New York Times, “With Aid of Drug Library, New Remedies From Old”)

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