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Thursday, April 30, 2009
Now that over $12 trillion have been pledged towards our financial crisis, more people than ever are concerned about where their money is going, and if it's accomplishing anything.
But in the face of an ever-worsening recession, the Federal Reserve refuses to furnish Congress and the American people with records of how the Bank is allotting and spending trillions of bailout dollars. Shrouded in secrecy, the Federal Reserve is a danger to our political process: No one knows where our money is going or what it is doing, and Chairman Bernanke has said that efforts to disclose such information are "counterproductive."
But that's my money they're using, Representative Spratt! $12 trillion! And without any record of how the Federal Reserve is managing and distributing these trillions of taxpayer dollars, there is no way to know if our present course is sustainable or not.
We must know what is happening with our money, and the Federal Reserve must come clean with the American people.
Please co-sponsor HR 1207, The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, and do everything in your power to see this bill through to a passing vote.
JP Saleeby, MD
Thymoquinone, the major constituent of the oil extract from a Middle Eastern
herbal seed called Nigella sativa, exhibited anti-inflammatory properties that
reduced the release of inflammatory mediators in pancreatic cancer cells.
Nigella sativa seeds and oil are used in traditional medicine by many Middle
Eastern and Asian countries. Previous studies have also shown it to have
anti-cancer effects on prostate and colon cancers.
Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, nigella sativa helps treat a broad array of diseases, including some immune and inflammatory disorders.
Based upon their previously published findings that thymoquinone inhibits
histone deacetylases (HDACs), Dr. Arafat and her colleagues compared the
anti-inflammatory properties of thymoquinone and trichostatin A, an HDAC
inhibitor that has previously shown to ameliorate inflammation-associated
The herb also inhibited the activation and synthesis of NF-kappaB, a
transcription factor that has been implicated in inflammation-associated cancer.
Activation of NF-kappaB has been observed in pancreatic cancer and may be a
factor in pancreatic cancer's resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. When animal
models of pancreatic cancer were treated with thymoquinone, 67 percent of the
tumors were significantly shrunken, and the levels of proinflammatory cytokines
in the tumors were significantly reduced.
Inflammation has been implicated in the development of several solid tumor
malignancies. Chronic pancreatitis, both hereditary and sporadic, is associated
with the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United
States, with approximately 32,000 deaths a year. Only five percent of
individuals with pancreatic cancer live for at least one year after diagnosis.
source: firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail newsletter
Monday, April 27, 2009
Bennettsville, SC 29512
April 27, 2009
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
I have written several times via e-mail, but find it necessary to write you and your secretary of health & human services in a more formal way due to the importance of my message and concerns.
I am no ivory tower academician. I am no triple boarded physician in a leadership position so removed from clinical medicine to be objective or even useful. What I am is an American trained physician in general practice. I am a clinician foremost and in the front lines of emergency medicine. I do have ideas I would love to share with you and Ms. Sebelius. With 17 years of practicing medicine under my belt in a few arenas within healthcare, I feel I cannot stand by silently and watch an institution I hold in extreme regard and cherish fail to perform its primary function in an efficient and cost conscience manner.
I have some rather radical, non-conventional ideas on reforming medical education, residency training and the certification process. As it is now, it is unappealing to those seeking a career in medicine; the system is infected with bias and in cases harboring monopolies in specialty fields by self serving medical societies and lobbying groups.
I have rather strong feelings regarding the place and power exerted on the field of medicine by self proclaimed watchdog groups such as JCAHO and others. They place oftentimes unnecessary requirements on the healthcare delivery system that drives cost skyward. They benefit no one but their own pockets and agenda.
I believe the administration deserves to hear other voices that are forward thinking, unconventional and that would result in real change. I humbly offer myself in any way I can to help you and this nation achieve a better system of healthcare. I am the grunt in the field seeking an audience with my general to paint a true picture of the battlefield and seek to find viable and realistic solutions to win this war.
JP Saleeby, MD
CC: Kathleen Sebelius
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Some new studies show the health benefits of Cranberries:
"Light" Cranberry Juice is Good for Type 2 Diabetics
In a crossover design study, researchers at Winona State University assessed the acute metabolic effects on the blood sugar control among type 2 diabetics after drinking four different beverages. The study included 6 men and women with type 2 diabetes. Each drank, on separate occasions, 8 oz. of the following: regular sweetened cranberry juice (130 kcal/8 oz); sweetened fruit beverages control (140 kcal/8 oz); low-calorie cranberry juice (19 kcal/8 oz); and a low-calorie control (19 kcal/8 oz).
The researchers reported that when the subject drank the low calorie cranberry juice beverage, the blood sugar response was not significantly different from baseline, with a peak of only 16 percent above baseline values. Similarly, plasma insulin levels were not considered significantly different than baseline after drinking the low-calorie cranberry juice beverage.
The authors concluded that low-calorie cranberry juice cocktail beverages are an acceptable choice for individuals with type 2 diabetes. These results are promising for individuals with type 2 diabetes because they often have insufficient fruit intake and they are at increased risk for developing urinary tract infections (UTIs). An 8 oz. serving of light cranberry juice counts as two fruit servings and may help prevent UTIs.
Source: Wilson T, Meyers SL, Singh AP, et al. Favorable glycemic responses to low-calorie cranberry juice. J Food Science. 2008; 73(9):241-45.
Cranberry May Provide Oral Health Benefits
The benefits associated with cranberries may begin as soon as you take a sip or bite. According to a study from the Tokyo Dental College, cranberries may protect the teeth from bacteria that can contribute to cavities, or cariogenesis. Cranberry polyphenol fractions, in dose-dependent fashion, decreased oral bacteria’s ability to adhere to the tooth surface, thus decreasing cariogenesis.
By investigating the polyphenolic extracts found in cranberries, researchers from Rutgers University identified an in vitro anti-cancer affect on ovarian cancer cells. The impact of polyphenolic extracts, the main flavonoid class in cranberries called proanthocyanidins (PACs) was analyzed in vitro on human ovarian, neuroblastoma and prostate cancer cells. Treatment with the PACs promoted cell death or apoptosis in the ovarian cancer cells as well as a decrease in proliferation. PACs had a cytotoxic affect on the other cancer cells, suggesting that they decrease the integrity of the neuroblastoma and prostate cancer cells. The results of this study emphasize the potential for PAC-rich cranberries to impact chronic disease risk in addition to their anti-adhesion properties.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Actor Kal Penn, Kumar in 'Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle' and on FOX's 'House,'
Position: Liaison to Asian constituents and arts groups for the Obama Administration
Sunday, April 12, 2009
A Single Mission for Academic Medicine
Mission statements capture and express the heart and soul of an organization. Mission may be defined around function—a statement or declaration of fundamental purpose or strategic direction. A mission statement may offer the organization's definition of vision and values, or it may articulate an inner calling or vocation to pursue an activity or perform a service. In all cases, mission statements ultimately attempt to answer one question: What does an institution or organization seek to achieve?
In 1497, the first known academic chair of medicine in the English-speaking world was established at King's College in Aberdeen, Scotland. Its mission was the "pursuit of health in the service of society."1 Five centuries later, academic medicine has lost sight of this mission. It is critical that academic medicine now return to the original meaning and mission.
Some argue that the mission of academic medicine is to improve human health via the advancement of knowledge.2 More frequently, leaders of academic medicine describe a tripartite mission consisting of education, research, and clinical service.3-4 Although the time allocated to each of these mission components by individual faculty members may be uneven, it is now generally assumed that the contemporary mission (or missions) of an academic health center consist of teaching, research, and clinical practice.3-5 For example, in his 2008 address as president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Kirch reiterated the importance of balance among these 3 missions.6 Similarly, the mission statements of many medical schools and academic health centers list the 3 interrelated missions.1
In the first "modern" mission statement at King's College, the chair of medicine was assigned a single mandate: the pursuit of health for all.1 Although this remains the ultimate raison d’être of all health care professions, adherence to this mission on the part of academic medicine continues to be carried out using the tripartite-mission model: teaching the next generation of physicians, performing research to advance the understanding of human biology and the practice of medicine, and providing direct health care for individual patients and populations. These activities have waxed and waned in relationship to one another in academic settings, with clinical care predominating prior to the Flexnerian era, giving way to a research focus after World War II, and again shifting to clinical care in recent years as public support for academic health centers has declined.3, 7 Education has maintained a constant, if sometimes tenuous, role in the academic health center.
These 3 activities are connected and interdependent in fundamental ways that are, at their core, independent of finances. Medical students learn the foundations of basic science from researchers; medical students and residents learn their clinical skills under the tutelage of clinicians; research depends on the clinical setting for testing hypotheses and conducting safe experimentation to advance knowledge; clinical care, in turn, evolves and progresses through the knowledge that results from research. Over time, these 3 activities have developed interdependent financial relationships as well.
When these activities are treated as a single 3-part mission or 3 connected missions, they are in danger of becoming ends in themselves rather than activities that support a common purpose. Furthermore, although the demands on faculty imposed by this tripartite model are significant, the expectation has developed that faculty members will excel in all 3 missions. From this expectation, the concept of the triple-threat faculty member has evolved into an accepted standard for academic medicine.
Whether it was ever possible for more than a small number of productive and highly efficient individuals to achieve excellence in all 3 activities, the triple threat has in recent years been seen increasingly as endangered and counter-productive. Petersdorf and Turner8 observed nearly 15 years ago, "It cannot be done." For too long, faculty have been expected to achieve substantial productivity in all 3 realms to advance in their careers. This understanding has led some to conclude that the triple-threat model is inefficient and that an alternative, more efficient model of specialization is required in which each faculty member specializes in 1 or 2 areas.9
There are other risks in the current model as well. Pressures from an inefficient, stressed, and overly demanding health care delivery system are driving trainees from the academic medical center setting.10 Furthermore, the 3 components under the current mission model may shift and vacillate in importance depending on financial imperatives. Shifts in external and internal budgeting priorities can result in intense competition among the 3 missions. A financial climate that favors research, for example, rewards the research mission to the detriment of the other 2, creating divisiveness and factions by pitting faculty member against faculty member, department against department. The danger under these circumstances is an inadvertent creation of the organizational silos that so many management experts warn against. Despite these concerns, risks, dangers, and ramifications, the 3-mission, triple-threat model remains firmly in place as the standard for academic medicine.
It is time for academic medicine to return to its historic roots by focusing on the long-established mission of improving the health of the public. Academic medicine can do this by uniting and integrating its unique strengths—excellence in education, research, and clinical care—within an administrative structure that encourages and facilitates the use of all resources to support the mission of improving health. The administrative structure that best accomplishes this goal is an integrated health system in which the school of medicine, hospital(s), and research enterprise are within a single integrated structure with strategic planning occurring in all 3 activities and with the ultimate goal of improving the health of the public.
In this model, some faculty members may assume all 3 roles as clinicians, teachers, and investigators and can serve as triple threats. Others can and should specialize in 1 or 2 of the 3 roles, and they should be valued and supported for their contributions to the mission. One approach should not be seen as superior to the other. Ultimately, a balance of teaching, research, and professional service is important. That balance should be achieved across the faculty, staff, students, and trainees of the entire academic medical center. Budgetary decisions should be based on the extent to which individual activities contribute to the core mission of improving health.
Academic medicine is the acknowledged leader in today's medicine. It also retains its obligation to facilitate and support a mission of social responsibility. The most fundamental and socially responsible mission for academic medicine is working to improve health for all. If the mission of academic medical centers remains confused with the activities in support of the mission, academic medicine is in danger of perpetuating an inefficient system and ultimately a confusing set of goals. Research cannot and should not be a mission in itself, nor should education or clinical care.
Reclaiming the mission of improving health will be a major step toward recalibrating the 3 activities that support that mission and will refocus faculty—and academic departments—on a common goal. In doing so, the great and historic mission held so dear by medical academicians will be realized. Academic institutions will benefit, and patients will benefit. There is no greater mission than this.
Corresponding Author: Paul G. Ramsey, MD, UW Medicine, University of Washington, Box 356350, Seattle, WA 98195-6350 (email@example.com).
Financial Disclosures: None reported.
1. Lewkonia RM. The mission of medical schools: the pursuit of health in the service of society. BMC Med Educ. 2001;1:4. FULL TEXT | PUBMED
Saturday, April 11, 2009
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