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What are your rights regarding medical files?

The department of Health & Human Services provides information about your civil rights regarding your medical files. Available topics include: Introduction General Overview Incidental Uses and Disclosures Minimum Necessary Personal Representatives Business Associates Uses and Disclosures for Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations Marketing Public Health Research Workers’ Compensation Laws (PDF) Notice Government Access (PDF)… Read more

California disability crack down benefits insurance companies

A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce study shows that California’s crack down on payments to injured workers has not resulted in lower premiums charged employers. Changes were made to the workers’ comp system in 2003 and 2004 reportedly because of spiraling insurance costs. With lower payouts to injured employees it was hoped that employers’ premiums… Read more

Bullying linked to adulthood anxiety and depression

Bullying is most often discussed as being an adolescence issue and left behind once out of high school. Research now indicates that effects of bullying may linger well into early adulthood. Allison Dempsey, doctoral student, University of Florida College of Education, studied the effects of bullying on 210 college students. Primarily, Dempsey asked participants about… Read more

Declining memory linked to lack of imagination

When children imagine their future selves as astronauts, politicians, or superheroes they are using episodic memory. Episodic memory allows individuals to project themselves both backward and forward in subjective time. Creating an imaginary event, known as constructive-episodic-simulation, requires an individual to recall details of a previous experience and to put them together to create the… Read more

Thinking differently about Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease has long been recognized by tremors and a characteristic stiffness and sluggish gait. It has been thought that the cause of the disease was the death of neurons in the mid-brain that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine. The belief was supported by the fact that dopamine is known to help maintain motion control. Emory… Read more

FDA approves first fibromyalgia drug

Pfizer’s Lyrica (pregabalin) is the first drug approved by the FDA in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Lyrica reduces pain for fibromyalgia patients. Exactly how it does this is still unknown, but data suggest that it effects neurotransmitters in the brain—the chemical that influences which signals are transmitted successfully from one neuron to another. The effectiveness… Read more

New memory formation observed after learning

Gary Lynch, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at UC Irvine, achieved a century-old dream of neuroscientists—to observe changes in brain cell connections following a period of learning. Synaptic connections, critical to learning, were observed to change in rats’ brains after they learned to navigate a new, complex environment. A control group of rats were… Read more

Parkinson’s risk reduced by high blood pressure medication

Long-term use of calcium channel blockers appear to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, while no such association was seen for other high blood pressure medications. Christoph R. Meier, PhD, MSc, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, studied 7,374 men and women over the age of 40. One-half of the group had Parkinson’s disease, the other half–the control group–had… Read more

Chronic pain helped by focusing on the moment

It may seem contrary to focus on your body when you feel pain. After all isn’t it natural to want to block it so you do not think about it? Psychologist Dr. David Kannerstein’s approach is to have the patient focus on breathing (unless of course breathing is the cause of the pain), to be… Read more

Benefits of relaxation

The Mayo Clinic thinks ‘refueling through relaxation’ needs to be near the top of your to-do list. As far as the Mayo Clinic is concerned, relaxation is a vital process that decreases wear and tear on the mind and body. Relaxation can reduce the heart rate, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to major muscles, reduce… Read more

FDA places gene therapy clinical trial on hold after woman’s death

Sadly, a Seattle patient, who was part of a gene therapy clinical trial for inflammatory arthritis, died unexpectedly. As a result the FDA called a halt to the clinical trial. The company conducting the clinical trial, Targeted Genetics, notified the FDA when the patient died. The clinical trial will remain on hold until the cause… Read more

Parkinson’s new drug treatment raises issue of side effects

Traditionally, Parkinson disease patients receiving medication have been given levodopa for treatment. In recent years a newer class of drug called dopamine agonists has been used to disable muscle control problems often associated with the disease. Rebecca Stowe, University of Birmingham, reports in a study, that appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library… Read more