Archive for March, 2009

Press Association Profiles British HIV/AIDS Advocates Who Plan To Build Clinics In Africa

The Press Association on Thursday profiled two British HIV/AIDS advocates who plan to drive from London to South Africa to help build HIV clinics and raise money for the One to One Children’s Fund. Jon Beswick, a London architect, and Charlie Curtis, a strategy consultant for the firm Capgemini, said they plan to build waiting rooms for the fund’s clinics in an effort to curb the spread of tuberculosis among HIV-positive children. The fund works with more than 100 health clinics in 21 African countries, the Press Association reports. Beswick and Curtis will travel in a specially modified Land Rover and plan to sell advertising space on the outside of the vehicle to raise money for building materials and wages for local people to build the shelters, with any extra funding donated to One to One. They hope to raise about 10,000 British pounds — or about $14,272 — and plan to travel through 40 African countries for about six to nine months, according to the Press Association.

Beswick said that he is “really excited by this challenge” and that he hopes to “make a real difference to children affected by HIV.” He added that he and Curtis “will have to take on every role in the construction project,” which will be “a massive learning curve.” Curtis said that he is “really keen to do something to help children affected by HIV in Africa” and that he “want[s] to make a direct impact on the places I’m visiting, not just donate money” (Monk, Press Association, 2/26).

Reprinted with kind permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

© 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



March 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Providence Journal Examines Pre-Term Birth Rate Among Black Women

The Providence Journal on Sunday examined possible reasons for a high pre-term birth rate among black women.

According to the Journal, socioeconomic factors were thought to be the main cause of higher pre-term birth rates among black women, many of whom have low incomes, little education and fewer sources of support. However, research has shown that black women with higher socioeconomic status also have high pre-term birth rates. Other research has investigated the link between genes and high pre-term birth rates. Recently, researchers have looked into whether “day-to-day encounters with discrimination” play a role in the high pre-term birth rates.

In addition, an ongoing study found that infant mortality dropped 70% over five years among blacks in Dane County, Wis., because there were fewer extremely premature infants and premature infants were recovering better than in the past.

In focus groups, researchers found that the “weight of discrimination and racism seemed to be fairly heavy in the older group of women,” while younger women “seem to feel very positive about how they’re accepted into the community,” Thomas Schlenker, public health director of Dane County, said.

Schlenker added, “What I hope (the research) shows it that living in an inclusive and supportive community is good for you. And if we can demonstrate how that actually makes a difference in how babies survive or not … we will really have something to share with other cities in Wisconsin and elsewhere” (Freyer [1], Providence Journal, 3/1).

The Journal on Sunday also profiled Yvonne Freeman who experienced pre-term birth first-hand and later became an obstetric nurse. Freeman is studying how social conditions can affect pregnancy and also teaches teenage girls about sex, sexually transmitted infections and birth control (Freyer [2], Providence Journal, 3/1).

In addition, the Journal featured a group prenatal care program, Centering Pregnancy (Freyer [3], Providence Journal, 3/1).

Reprinted with kind permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

© 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


March 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Research Highlights From The March ‘Ophthalmology’

Studies published in the March issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provide new warnings on risks for melanoma of the eye as well as reassurance on infection risks following cataract surgery.

Skin Moles May Indicate Higher Eye Melanoma Risk

It is well known that people with light skin and numerous moles and freckles—which develop when skin is over-exposed to UV light–are at higher risk for skin cancer (cutaneous melanoma). But the evidence was less clear on whether moles and freckles also indicate a higher risk of uveal melanoma, cancer of the eye’s iris, ciliary body, or choroid. The iris is the colored area in the front of the eye, and the ciliary body and choroid supply blood flow and perform other vital functions deep within the eye. Some earlier studies found a relationship between moles/freckles and higher uveal melanoma rates, but others did not.

A research team led by Ezekiel Weis, MD, MPH, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alberta, Canada, performed a meta-analysis that adjusted for factors that might have skewed results of earlier studies. His team’s analysis showed associations between atypical moles (which appear different in shape or color from common moles), common moles, freckles, moles on the iris, and risk of uveal melanoma. For example, people with atypical moles are 2.8 times more likely to develop uveal melanoma than people with no such moles. This study suggests that doctors need to be extra vigilant when patients have numerous moles or freckles and that further research into the role of UV light in susceptible populations is required exposure.

Uveal cancer occurs in 6 persons per million annually and is the most common non-skin melanoma in the United States. It most often strikes people 70 or older who have light skin and eye color and a tendency to sunburn; these risk factors were identified by Dr. Weis and colleagues in earlier research. Caucasians are most susceptible, and risk levels decline as skin pigmentation increases across ethnic groups. Uveal melanoma may also result when melanoma from another site metastasizes. In the early stages the disease usually has no symptoms. Although treatment is available, the mortality rate remains high, especially when the ciliary body or choroid is involved.

“We want to confirm risk factors that people will be able to modify, so we’ll have a better chance of preventing uveal cancer, and we want to know which patients are most susceptible so we can begin treatment, when needed, as early as possible,” said Dr. Weis. “Our study points to an interaction of genetic susceptibility and an environmental insult in the form of UV exposure.”

Infection Rates Low with New Cataract Surgery Techniques

A large study by Canadian researchers has found that endophthalmitis, a serious infection of the inner eye, continues to be rare following cataract surgery. Because surgical techniques and patient selection criteria have evolved rapidly in the past several years, the researchers wanted to learn whether infection risks were changing as a result. The largest previous study, completed in 2001 using records of half-million United States Medicare cataract patients, had documented very low infection rates.

Chaim M. Bell, MD, PhD, and Wendy Hatch OD, MSc, University of Toronto, Canada, and their colleagues reviewed records for more than 440,000 consecutive cataract surgeries performed in surgical facilities in Ontario, Canada, between April 2002 and March 2006. Facilities where more than 50 cataract surgeries were performed annually were included. To estimate infection rates, the study tracked post-operative procedures to treat suspected infections that occurred within 14 days of cataract surgery.

The overall rate of suspected acute endophthalmitis was very low: 1.4 per 1,000 surgeries. Patients who required procedures to correct ruptures of their lens capsule, the structure that contains the eye’s lens, during their cataract surgery were about 10 times more likely to develop suspected infection, but fewer than 1 in 200 sustained such a rupture. The highest rate of suspected endophthalmitis occurred in patients over age 85 (2.18 per 1,000). Men were at somewhat higher risk than women (1.7 vs. 1.19 per 1,000). No differences in rates were found between patients living in rural vs. non-rural settings, nor were differences noted among socioeconomic groups. No upward or downward trend in suspected endophthalmitis related to cataract surgery was evident during the study period.


About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

AAO is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons – Eye M.D.s – with more than 27,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three “O’s” – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy’s Web site at

Source: John Gallagher

American Academy of Ophthalmology


March 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Align Technology Announces International Availability Of Invisalign Teen(TM)

Align Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALGN) announced the international
availability of Invisalign Teen(TM) for non-adult, comprehensive orthodontic
treatment. Invisalign Teen is based on the innovative technology and
demonstrated effectiveness of the Invisalign(R) system, with new features to
address patient compliance, natural eruption of permanent teeth, and
root-movement control – issues that are common in treatment of younger
patients. Invisalign Teen was launched in the U.S. and Canada in July 2008.

“We are pleased to offer Invisalign Teen to our customers in key markets
around the world,” said Gil Laks, Align Technology vice president,
international. “The addition of Invisalign Teen to our product portfolio will
allow doctors to extend the benefits of Invisalign treatment to more of their
patients and offer a more comprehensive solution that meets the needs,
activities and lifestyle of today’s teenagers.”

Invisalign providers like Dr. Werner Schupp, an Invisalign Platinum Elite
doctor practicing in Europe, see Invisalign Teen as a 21st century treatment
option for an increasingly discerning patient group: “Invisalign Teen is a
great way for me to offer a clinical and aesthetic alternative treatment to
my teenage patients. As today’s teenagers become increasingly more demanding,
better informed, and more empowered to make their own decisions, I am finding
more and more that Invisalign is the treatment they want.”

With Invisalign Teen, teenagers get clear, removable aligners that meet
their desire for aesthetic treatment and their need for appliances that fit
their busy schedules of sports, music and other activities. Invisalign
doctors see additional benefits to Invisalign Teen’s removable aligners.
“Invisalign Teen meets the needs of this patient group effectively and can
also greatly reduce the issues we see with traditional fixed appliances such
as broken wires and brackets and poor oral hygiene,” said Dr. Schupp. “With
Invisalign Teen, patients can brush and floss more effectively, thus helping
reduce the risk of decalcification and increase the level of their overall
oral health.”

Invisalign Teen is available through Invisalign-trained doctors
world-wide, with the exception of Japan.

For more information on Invisalign Teen, please see Align’s press release
titled, “Align Technology Targets Mainstream Orthodontics Market with
Invisalign Teen” or visit

About Align Technology, Inc.

Align Technology designs, manufactures and markets Invisalign, a
proprietary method for treating malocclusion, or the misalignment of teeth.
Invisalign corrects malocclusion using a series of clear, nearly invisible,
removable appliances that gently move teeth to a desired final position.
Because it does not rely on the use of metal or ceramic brackets and wires,
Invisalign significantly reduces the aesthetic and other limitations
associated with braces. Invisalign is appropriate for treating adults and
teens. Align Technology was founded in March 1997 and received FDA clearance
to market Invisalign in 1998. Today, the Invisalign product family includes
Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, Invisalign Assist(TM), Invisalign Express(TM),
and Vivera(TM) retainers.

To learn more about Invisalign or to find an Invisalign-trained doctor in
your area, please visit or call 1-800-INVISIBLE.

Align Technology, Inc


March 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

ECRI Institute Guidebook Confronts Convergence Of Medical Devices And IT

IT professionals in healthcare now confront a new challenge: the convergence of information technology and medical devices. As rapid advances in technology blur the boundary between medical devices and computers, IT professionals must deal not only with mission-critical IT systems but also with life-critical medical devices. And, as the saying goes, failure is not an option. Infusion pumps include microchips that store critical patient data that must then be transmitted accurately across hospital networks, for example, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices now threaten to interfere with the proper functioning of medical equipment. And the list of IT-intensive medical devices grows by the day.

To help healthcare IT professionals understand IT-intensive medical equipment, ECRI Institute® (, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, has released a new reference book, Medical Technology for the IT Professional: An Essential Guide for Working in Today’s Healthcare Setting.

With over $19 billion appropriated for healthcare IT in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, jobs in this sector are expected to grow significantly over the next several years. ECRI Institute’s new guide will provide those interested in changing careers from other IT professions to healthcare IT with the extra edge they will need to enter this exciting-yet very competitive-profession.

James P. Keller, Jr., MS, Vice President, Health Technology Evaluation and Safety, ECRI Institute, explains, “Because more and more medical devices are computer based, hospital IT departments are increasingly being drawn into medical device issues. In some cases, IT departments have assumed full responsibility for procurement and support of IT-based medical devices. These new responsibilities require IT professionals to have a fundamental understanding of these medical devices. Our guidebook provides that fundamental knowledge.”

ECRI Institute’s new comprehensive resource covers medical technologies that are heavily IT-based or highly integrated into IT infrastructures. It examines medical-device-related security and patient safety concerns to allow IT professionals to effectively contribute to their hospitals’ efforts to support, acquire, and implement IT-based medical technologies.

Eight of the book’s 10 chapters examine specific medical technologies, such as physiologic monitors, clinical laboratory analyzers, and imaging systems, and then dive deeper into the challenges they present to IT. Illustrations and clear-cut language allow the reader to more fully understand components and functions behind technologies like infusion pumps and RFID.

“There is great value in having clear, current, and relevant information that breaks down the gray areas into useful, easy-to-understand information,” says Bruce A. Marcolongo, ASRT (R) (MR) MCP, Assistant Director Information Services, Universal Health Service, Inc. “ECRI Institute’s Medical Technology for the IT Professional is a wonderful and timely primer for the healthcare, healthcare IT, and informatics professional looking to understand the ‘integration’ and impact of the technologies in today’s healthcare setting. It’s a must read for those entering the profession today.”

To order, or for more information about, Medical Technology for the IT Professional: An Essential Guide for Working in Today’s Healthcare Setting, visit, contact, or contact ECRI Institute by telephone at +1 (610) 825-6000, ext. 5891; by fax at +1 (610) 834-1275; or by mail at 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462.

About ECRI Institute

ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes are best to improve patient care. As pioneers in this science for 40 years, ECRI Institute marries experience and independence with the objectivity of evidence-based research. ECRI Institute is designated a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization and an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO is designated a Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Agency for Health and Human Services under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005.

ECRI Institute


March 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Doctors Call For Change In How Non-active TB In Immigrant Children Treated

New guidelines proposed in the March 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics by researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children may have a major impact on how pediatricians and family physicians treat non-active tuberculosis (TB) in children who are immigrants, internationally adopted or refugees. The researchers say the strategy should improve the health of this growing number of children and save healthcare dollars.

An estimated one-third of the world’s men, women and children have TB. Most cases are non-active ones (also called latent) in which individuals have the TB bacteria in their body but their immune system keeps it in check. While they are not actively sick they are at risk of developing active TB and spreading the disease.

Young children under age 5 with non-active TB have a higher rate of developing the active disease than adults. Estimates indicate that between 10 percent and 20 percent of these children will go on to develop active TB. To prevent this from happening, children with latent TB are treated with medication.

“As a pediatrician in the International Adoption Clinic at Riley Hospital, I see patients with non-active TB on a daily basis. These children come from around the world, many from Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, China and Vietnam. The children have often lived in crowded conditions in orphanages — the type of setting where TB is especially common. These are also among the countries where many TB cases have become resistant to the drug isoniazid. Yet standard U.S. treatment guidelines call for us to use this drug for all latent TB infections in children,” said Maria Finnell, M.D., first author of the study.

Using sophisticated computer modeling, Dr. Finnell, who is a pediatrics fellow, and her Riley Hospital co-authors John C. Christenson, M.D., IU School of Medicine professor of clinical pediatrics and an infectious disease specialist, and Stephen M. Downs, M.D., IU School of Medicine associate professor of pediatrics and a Regenstrief Institute affiliated scientist, determined that treatment guidelines need to be changed so that children with non-active TB who come to the U.S. from countries with high rates of isoniazid resistance are treated with another drug called rifampin. Rifampin currently is used only in children exposed to known cases of isoniazid resistant TB.

“As we can’t find the actual bacteria in patients with non-active TB, we have no way of knowing which children have the isoniazid-resistant strain. Our analysis shows that for those with latent TB who come from countries with isoniazid-resistant rates above 11 percent, treatment with rifampin would be cost-effective. Even though rifampin is a more expensive drug than isoniazid, we would lower total costs because using rifampin would prevent more cases of active TB. As an added benefit, the course of rifampin is six months rather than the nine months of therapy required for isoniazid, which may improve adherence. In parts of the world, more than 40 percent of the active TB cases are now isoniazid resistant. We need to consider where a child came from, what the rate of resistance is in that country, and tailor the medication to that,” said Dr. Finnell.

According to Dr. Finnell, there has been no previous analysis of this type for pediatric non-active TB patients, although similar analyses have been done for adults. And she notes that the benefits of treating non-active TB far exceed the minimal risk of side effect in children.

The Riley International Adoption Clinic offers support for newly formed families from throughout Indiana and neighboring states. Although some children are seen immediately upon their arrival in the U.S., typically international adoptees are seen a few weeks after arrival in the U.S. to allow time to bond without the stress of medical appointments and lab tests. As part of its comprehensive medical evaluation, the clinic administers TB tests to all children they see. The children are also screened for other infections, including HIV, hepatitis B and C. Children also receive nutritional and developmental evaluations to determine if they need assistance.

The study was funded by the IU School of Medicine.

IU School of Medicine


March 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

U.S. Adults With Diabetes Take Control Of Care Through Innovative Use Of Digital Resources

More than ever, type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients are turning to online channels to research treatment and product information, to seek advice and support from others, and to manage their condition. According to pharmaceutical and healthcare market research company Manhattan Research’s Cybercitizen Health™ study, nine out of ten online diabetes patients use the Internet to research health information, and two-thirds use the Internet to access pharmaceutical product information.

More so than other therapeutic categories, diabetes patients have an extremely active blog community. Celebrity diabetes patients have also gotten involved in the online mix – singer Nick Jonas teamed up with Bayer Healthcare to launch, a diabetes awareness site featuring a blog, online videos, and links to songs from The Jonas Brothers.

A few diabetes product websites have been particularly successful in serving the needs of consumers online over the past year. According to Manhattan Research’s ePharma Consumer® study, Sanofi-Aventis’ is the highest-rated site in terms of visitor satisfaction, out of a pool of more than 200 product websites. Consumers applaud the site’s “very informative, interactive instruction guides” and appreciate that “all medical information is thoroughly disclosed.” Consumers also rated Merck’s as one of the top pharmaceutical product brand sites for visitor satisfaction.

Request a Complimentary Overview of Online Diabetes Market

Manhattan Research offers a complimentary overview of how diabetes patients use the Internet and other technology for healthcare. This one-page snapshot is a preview of the Diabetes Segmentation Module, which is a comprehensive analysis of the diabetes patient market based on Cybercitizen Health™ and ePharma Consumer®.

Consumer and Physician Segmentation Modules

Manhattan Research provides comprehensive analyses of over 125+ consumer therapeutic and physician specialist groups. Each Segmentation Module is an in-depth view of a particular market’s adoption and use of the Internet and other technology for healthcare, treatment, and product decisions and focuses heavily on tactical execution. The segmentation modules provide clients with the necessary market data and insights to make better informed decisions during brand planning and to connect with a particular disease class or specialist group through digital strategies.

Consumer therapeutic module topics include media consumption across traditional and alternative resource channels, website usage metrics, connectivity and interaction with physicians, health site engagement, use of branded and unbranded product sites, Web 2.0, interest in online health services and tools, DTC advertising, actions taken offline after health info seeking, and drivers to requesting a prescription drug.

Physician specialist module topics include interactive detailing, Web 2.0, pharmaceutical customer service portals, tech-enabled sales reps, search engines, online and offline professional information sources, email use and opportunity, patient interaction and education, digital health infrastructure, and mobile technology profile.

For a list of available consumer therapeutic segmentation modules and topics, please visit

About Manhattan Research

Manhattan Research, a Decision Resources, Inc. company, is a global pharmaceutical and healthcare market research and strategic advisory firm. We conduct annual research studies covering eHealth trends among physicians and consumers, including Taking the Pulse®, Taking the Pulse® Europe, Taking the Pulse® Asia, Cybercitizen Health™, Cybercitizen Health™ Europe, ePharma Consumer®, and ePharma Physician®. Broad consumer and physician research is complemented by targeted analysis among more than 100 consumer therapeutic segments and 25 physician specialist segments. For information, please contact, call 1.888.680.0800, or visit

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at

Decision Resources, Inc.


March 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

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