Carcinogen: Environmental Exposures From Modern Life Styles And Medical Sources

“Though overall cancer incidence and mortality have continued to decline in recent years, the disease continues to devastate the lives of far too many Americans. In 2009 alone, approximately 1.5 million American Men, Women and children were diagnosed with cancer, and 562,000 died from the disease. With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action” Excerpt from a letter to President Barack Obama by the President’s Panel on cancer.

Cancer continues to shatter and steal the lives of Americans. Approximately 41percent of Americans will be diagnosed of cancer sometime in their lives and about 21percent will possibly die from cancer.

Actually we seem to be losing the war against cancer because we have refused to address to a large extent the environmental causes of cancer. We have stubbornly refused to look at cancer from the angle of modern lifestyles and hazards from medical sources, not to talk of what we garbage in, in the name of food.

Convenience of modern life, from our toiletries, make up, automobile, generators, dry cleaning, airplane travel, potable tap water, cellular communication and electricity which was made to make life easy for all, has considerable impacted our environment and human health and some other unconfirmed effects on our health.

It might interest you to know that mobile source, air emission for trucks, cars, ships and other passenger vehicles and equipments contribute approximately 30 percent of cancer resulting from air pollution, and disinfection of public water supplies with intention of reducing water borne diseases may indirectly be affecting our health and research indicates that long term exposure to disinfection by- products may increase cancer risk.

Do you know that even chemicals used for household pest control can turn to a component of carpet dust leading to health risk for children playing on the floor?

The use of cell phone does not help matters either as this device are used regularly by older and younger ones alike. Though there’s no evidence between the use of cell phone and cancer, however research on cancer and other diseases among long term and heavy users of wireless device is very limited.

Over the past two decades technology like imaging, nuclear medicine examinations including new pharmaceuticals interventions has all made possible diagnosis and treatment of human disease, cancer inclusive,but they also carry some health risks. It is on record that Americans get half of their total radiation exposure from medical imaging and other medical sources, actually medical radiation has nearly doubled over the years.

It might interest you to know that computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine tests alone contribute 36 percent of total radiation exposure and 75percent of the medical exposure of the US population.

The worst of it all is medical imaging of children since they have more years of life during which malignancy initiated by medical radiation can set in, and worrisome aspect of it is that many referring physicians, radiologists and the general public are unaware of radiation doses associated with various test.

“Even those who receive multiple scans or other tests that requires radiation may assimilate doses equal to or exceeding that of HIROSHIMA atomic bomb survivors.”

It is widely believed that a single large dose of ionizing radiation and numerous low doses is equal to the body over time.

How doses one feel discovering that pharmaceuticals contribute a considerable source of environmental contamination, drugs of all types find its way into sources of water supply when they are improperly disposed.

Did I hear you ask the health impact of long term exposure to varying mixtures of these compounds. Your guess is as good as mine.

To combat and win the war on cancer, one need considerable and significant lifestyle changes, watch your environment and be careful of all those habits you indulge in and above all watch that thing you garbage in, in the name of food.

Breakthroughs in Medication Management – Automatic Pill Dispensers and Medication Compliance

In 2007, Americans spent $227.5 billion to fill over 3.3 billion prescriptions (Rx). Over 50 million people take three or more prescriptions concurrently, however the average “compliance” with taking medications as prescribed is only 50% nationwide. Disturbingly the non-compliance rates for medications used to treat serious disorders are not much better than the average compliance rate for all prescriptions.

Overall Prescription Drug compliance for selected diagnosis

Average: 50%
Acute Asthma: 43%
Mental Disorders: 25%-75%
High Blood Pressure: 51%
Epilepsy: 30% to 50%
Diabetes: 40% to 50%
Clinical Trials: 43%-78%

Average compliance rates do not tell the whole story as the compliance persistence curve slopes steeply downwards. Research shows that the longer a person is on a prescription drug, the less likely they are to take it in compliance as prescribed. A recent study conducted on the compliance rates of 4 different prescription drugs (Cozar, Fosamax, Zocor and AI) showed that compliance rates fell off rapidly for all 4 medications. And after one year, compliance is reduced by 50%. After five years, it is as low as 29-33%, with the greatest decline in medication adherence in the first six months.

As the data suggests, the aging trend of the USA will dictate that more people will be taking more medications, for longer periods, and sometimes for the rest for their increasingly long lives. This represents a healthcare crisis, given the current rates of non-compliance in the taking of prescription medications.

Cost of health care from non-compliance

According to the Center for Disease Control and other sources, the impacts or costs for health care from non-compliance with medication management are significant. Some highlights include:

10% of all hospital admissions
30% of all hospital admissions for elderly
22-40% all Skilled Nursing Facility admissions
125,000 deaths annually
$100,000,000,000 (B): annual cost of total unnecessary admissions
$150B – $300+B Total annual cost/waste due to medication management alone

The cost of noncompliance is not static. The same forces that are driving up healthcare costs are also exacerbating the costs of non-compliance. The most significant drivers are:

The aging population demographic of the USA
The increased use of prescription medications
The growing shortage of traditional health care resources to meet the increasing needs of the aging population

Longer life spans and relatively low birth rates have combined to raise the nation’s average age over the years. Simply put, the United States is getting older, and the older one gets, the more medications a person typically requires. As the number of prescriptions increase so too does the amount of non-compliance. As a result, the cost to the health care system due to non-compliance is rising significantly.

Health Care Shortage today and the future

Another critical factor in “fueling” the need for the use of technology in the delivery of health care outside of traditional methods is the documented current and increasing shortage of health care workers, services and facilities in the USA. As one example, according to the AHA, hospitals nationwide report vacancy rates of 21 percent for pharmacists, 18 percent for radiology technicians and 12 percent for laboratory technologists. The Health and Human Services Administration reports that 21% more facilities are required as well.

What can be done

This points to a looming crisis in health care, and to the solution that telemedicine represents. In short, combined with more demand for services (due to the aging demographic) and the real issue of reduced overall health care delivery capacity, the need for a significant change is real. Telehealth is the solution to make the existing capacity more effective by increasing the throughput of the existing workers and infrastructure, while allowing people to receive care in the best place possible for them, the home.

Compliance can be significantly improved through better education, home monitoring of the patient, and organizing dosages through the use of pill boxes and other devices, reminders to take pills and alerts to care givers when dosages are not taken. Telehealth based medication management devices can significantly improve compliance rates by utilizing all of these strategies. The DAP from HealthOneMed is a telehealth product that provides automated dispensing of pill based medications for specified doses, notification of the time to take each dose, alerts to caregivers and health care professionals when doses are not taken, instructions, indications (what the medication is for) and warnings. It is the only home health care product on the market capable of all of these functions.

The Importance of Clinical Trials for Medical Research and Drug Development

The advancement of medicine in the United States and around the world would be a far cry from what it is today without the use of clinical trials. Testing is perhaps the most important process for medication; it needs to be tested to make sure it’s safe.

There are other reasons in addition to medication testing where clinical trials are useful. They can be conducted to test new or updated equipment, techniques, etc. Medical researchers are interested in the minute details and use clinical trials as a way of gathering information.

Some studies will let just about anyone in perfect health to join. Others require you to have a certain medical condition in order to enroll. This is known as inclusion criteria. There are often several of these eligibility requirements that need to be met before starting.

Additionally, there are often disqualifying conditions known as exclusion criteria. These inclusion and exclusion requirements are put in place for not only to insure integrity of the study, but more importantly to not impose additional or known health risk to the subject.

Women who are pregnant are almost always excluded from clinical trials of drugs for safety reasons. This may even extend to all women of childbearing age or even men who may impregnate a women.

The trial coordinator will make sure you are genuinely eligible before allowing you to enroll. They will also inform you of potential risks and other details specific to the study you are interested in.

Subjects are required to undertake a medical screening to be considered for a medical research trial. Tests vary from trial to trial.

Many clinical trials offer compensation while you are a subject in a research study. This is especially true in Phase I drug trials where the subject is exposed to health risks while not necessarily seeking improvement of a specific condition.

Other trials, usually those regarding specific health problems, don’t pay as much or will only pay a small amount for travel compensation. The reason for this is to make sure that trial seekers are interested in improving whatever problem they have and maintain the integrity of the trial.

Don’t be afraid to ask your the trial coordinator any questions you may have. Also don’t be afraid to express any concern you may have. It’s also a good idea to let your doctors know about any clinical trials you’re thinking about taking part in.

Non-Human Primates in Medical Research

Animals continue to be extensively used as research specimen in almost every major medical breakthrough. Utility of animals in medical research has been widely acknowledged. A wide variety of animal species are used for research that range from fruit flies to non-human primates. Research using non-human primates is required for testing drugs, clinical trials, neurology studies, evolution, genetics, behavioral aspects, reproductive biology, cognitive science and even in Xenotransplantation. An estimated 65,000 non-human primates are used annually for research purpose in UK and USA alone.

Use of non-human primates is significant as their brains share structural and functional similarity with the human brain. Most commonly used non-human primates for research purpose include apes, gorilla, chimpanzee, macaques, marmosets, baboons and orangutans. However, the use of non-human primates has always been controversial as it is related with ethical issues.

As per the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human interests are protected by the law as they are considered legal persons. Non-human primates do not enjoy any such privilege. However, this status has always been a continuous topic of debate. Considering research on primates as unethical, various countries including Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and Netherlands have prohibited doing any kind of experimental using great apes, a biological family that comprises of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and humans. Considering the fact that animals do have a similar sense of pain and trauma as like humans, several organizations, animal rights groups, philanthropists, animal lovers, researchers, philosophers and primatologists are advocating for a world wide prohibition over the use of primates in research.