HHS Dept Commissioned Study Says Regular Mammograms Only Needed After 50

mammogramSweeping new U.S. breast cancer screening guidelines are calling for an end to routine mammograms for women in their 40s and for women 50 to 74 they suggest a mammogram every other year.  This controversial new guideline was handed down by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF),  a group of nongovernmental experts convened by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review published literature and develop recommendations for the use of clinical preventive services.   Coming on the heels of the controversial Stupak Amendment limiting coverage for abortions that was inserted into the House healthcare bill in the eleventh hour at the behest of Catholic Cardinals, this new guideline seems to many to be a part of a broader campaign to hack away at hard won womens’ rights. Continue reading…

Students Open Thread

whisperThis is your opportunity to steer the conversation here.  It is a free discussion page or “open thread” for  the regular readers of the Allen School Online Blog.  Sound off in the comments about anything you may have on your mind whether its about learning, career, pop culture, movies, recipes or anything you’d like to bring to the community.  Ask your fellow bloggers for their advice about things.  You can learn from and help this community of folks, each of whom is involved in the same educational and career pursuits as you are.  Or, share with me, your humble blogmaster, some ideas of what you’d like to see here on front page posts.

Follow the Money Redux

goldman_sachs_logo_0411A while back I posted several pieces here and here about how an observer could gauge the relative chances of significant healthcare being passed by Congress, simply by looking at the share prices of publicly traded health insurance companies like Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana, United Healthcare and others. Well, if anyone doubted that Wall Street was actually in a position to influence these things, follow me over the fold for iron clad proof that Wall Street wants reform to fail. Continue reading…

House Passes HCR Bill – Women’s Reproductive Rights Take Hit

us-houseThis past Saturday night, the  US House of Representatives worked all day and into the evening (it felt good to watch these people work on a weekend for once) and narrowly passed a bill aimed at reforming the broken healthcare system.  In the process though, they were forced to insert an amendment (the Stupak amendment) which disallows women who would be enrolled in the public option plan from getting abortions.  I am fed up with people inserting their religious preferences into legislation that effects all Americans, religious or otherwise. Continue reading…

McCarthy & Maher – If it Quacks Like a Duck

snake-oil-salesmenThere’s an old expression used to convey the idea that what appears obvious is frequently the truth.  The expression goes, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck”.  Well, this bit of folk wisdom is not to be trusted.  Especially when it comes to the claims of, well, quacks!  That is, purveyors of bogus medical items.  From phony H1N1 “swine flu” cures online, to aisles upon aisles of homeopathic “remedies”, unregulated by the FDA on shelves in pharmacies across the country, people are frequently taken in by sales pitches that seem completely plausible. Continue reading…

One “Flu” Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

syringeI don’t know about you, but I have never been a proponent of the annual flu vaccine. I have always felt that it was really only necessary for the very young and the very old/infirm. But I also know that influenza became pandemic on a faily predictable schedule about once every 30 years or so. And since it has been nearly 40 years since the last pandemic of “Hong Kong” Flu killed 1 million people in 1968-69, I am thinking this year, I ought to at least get my 4 year old innoculated. So I called my pediatrician and they said, “No we don’t have any H1N1 vaccine and no we don’t have any info on when any will be available”. Shocking! Continue reading…

WATCH: Absolutely Amazing Video

As students and people engaged in utilizing cutting edge technologies to learn about rapidly advancing medical science, you will all likely be as astounded by this five minute video presentation.  The perspective it provides on education and employment in the near term is mind-blowing.  The presentation ends with a question:  “What does it all mean?”  Leave your impressions on what it all means in the comments.

Latest Neat-o Advance from the Field of Medicine

vscan-stethoscopeI have always been amazed by how far medical science and technology has advanced in the space of the last decades and wrote a piece back in August illustrating how far medical technologies have progressed since the turn of the last century.  Training for a career serving the healthcare field is really exciting because it is a field that will definitely be home to continuing innovation and technological breakthroughs.   Take for instance the latest device dreamed up by the engineers at General Electric. Continue reading…

Following the Money Part Deux

follow-the-moneyBack in July, before the screaming town hall silliness of Congress’s August recess and before the slow as molasses delivery of Max Baucus’s Senate Finance Committee health care bill, I wrote a piece about how to gauge the progress of health insurance reform legislation.  I pointed out that insiders on Wall Street, who have paid for unfair access to our legislators, would know ahead of the curve which way the reform would go.  This way they could nearly guarantee that they would not lose money from their investments into the healthcare sector whether reform passed or was defeated.  If it looked like reform was imminent, Wall Street would sell their holdings in healthcare companies driving stock prices of insurers down.  If the “Street” figured reform would go down in defeat, they’d buy more of the insurers’ stocks as it would be a safe bet that the gravy train would continue for the highly profitable insurance companies.  Back in July, the prices of insurance company stocks were surging.  The bankers on Wall Street seemed convinced that the public option – the only serious reform device being considered – was all but dead.  What does the insurance sector look like today three months later and weeks from the bill’s eventual passage?  Follow me over the jump to see. Continue reading…