Friday, February 05, 2016

Student invents app for university gyms

Rachel Koretsky (pictured) is not only a gym rat, and American Univ student, but also a tech startup mogul. She invented the phone app upace.

The app allows students to click and find out how crowded the gym is, plan their times, and sign up for classes.

She told the website DC Inno she is adding new features all the time.

She developed upace through the AU Entrepreneurship Incubator. AU also served as the pilot for the project.

More schools will be added in 2016. A couple more offer it now.

Has her age and gender been a factor? Age cuts both ways--university decision-makers know she understands the problem, but on the other hand, it may make her seem like a student and not deadly serious.

Still, she is marching on. I mean, "working it out."

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Weed can damage short-term memory--but not by much

I came up in the 1960s, marijuana was around, I never cared for it, but I still know adults who smoke everyday.

There is no question in my mind that it makes people kinda boring to be around if one is not sharing the bowl.

New research in the JAMA J of Internal Medicine confirms it--if you smoke a LOT of weed, it can damage your short-term memory. But only, dude, like a little.

They have a fun new term--marijuana year--that is a year of smoking daily. A marijuana year is also if you smoke every other day for two years or once a week for seven years.

(If you got that, you must not be smoking too much.)

The more you smoke--the worse you perform on memory tests. Kind of.  To wit:

Two groups of 10 people...You give them a list of 15 words and 25 mins later, see how many they remember.

--The first group, non-smokers or those who smoke only occasionally--Maybe nine out of 15 words.

--The second group, smoked every day for a period of five years. 8.5 words out of 15.

Doesn't seem like a dig difference? Researchers admit it's not. But they say if you smoke every day from 20 to 45, you may remember 2.5 fewer words.

So to me the bottom line is you can toke up every day for five years or more and it has little effect on your cognitive abilities and focus. At 45, you can search for a word as it is.

Maybe I am the boring one. Or I need to start using it. Or this is a nothingburger study. I report--you mellow out.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

You may not be getting evidence-based treatment in hospitals

I was hospitalized once for a drug interaction, but they claimed it was asthma (which I did not have). The nurse who took care of me--I could hardly breathe--said she was doing what she did for her son, which was moisture and sitting with me as I gasped. Apparently, there was no protocol for how to handle people who could not breathe.

According to Berndadette Melnyk, dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State, use of tested practices is relatively low.

Many hospitals get poor scores in handling pressure sores or falls.

A substantial percentage (30%-40%) of hospitals do not meet national benchmarks for quality and safety.

 The study appeared in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Bursing. The team interviewed 276 chief nurse execs.

Most nurses interviewed believed in evidence-based practices, but said their organization employed these only sometimes or not at all.

Case in point: Children with asthma continue to be treated with nebulizers in the ER, although studies have shown better outcomes with a bronchodilator with a metered dose inhaler and spacer.

Evidence-based techniques yield at 28% improvement.

The nurse team also concluded that more nurses need to learn more about evidence-based practices and how to meausre outcomes.

Melnyk recommended you ask your nurse or doctor about the treatment--is it backed by science? Look it up--demand answers.

I got the nebulizer--and "breathing treatments" from a couple of techs who came around every so often during my stay. I went home with an inhaler. Stopping the offending medicine, though, ended the so-called asthma.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

"Affordable" generic drugs becoming less obtainable

In an article in Blood, the American Society of Hematology says pharmaceutical companies use several strategies to keep cheaper generic drugs from market.

In 2013, Americans spent more per capita on pharmaceuticals than Canada, the next-highest.

Some drugs can cost a patient $100,000 a year.

One in five Americans say they have not filled a prescription because of cost.

Generics emerge when the patent on the name-brand drug expires. They save the system $1.5 billion a year. Yet, many patients cannot get them.

The researchers say drug companies use many strategies to delay, prevent, or suppress generics.

---Pay for delay. The patent owner pays the generic company to delay putting the generic on the market.

----The patent holder creates its own generic. This would be OK, except it is often done to threaten the generic company that does not go along with pay to delay.

--Product hopping. The name-brand drug company makes a slightly altered version, maybe with a different tablet or dose, and the patent on that has not expired.

The doctors said they saw leukemia patients (they are blood docs) everyday who could not afford the life-saving meds.

Well, this sucks.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Even having insurance won't stave off crippling debts

A Kaiser/NYT poll showed that 20% of Americans WITH insurance have trouble paying medical bills.

Of that number, 63% report using up savings and having to take another job to try to make ends meet.

Even though they had insurance, those with dire medical situations delayed vacations or major household purchases (77%), spent less on clothes and other items (75%), or used most of their savings (63%).

Three quarters of those surveys said the new deductibles, copays or coinsurances were more than they could afford.

People also put off other health care--say the dentist.

A quarter also got unexpected claim denials. A third had to seek care outside their network with big bills attached from that.

A third had to defer essential bills such as food, heat, or housing.

These people made extra efforts to shop for cheaper procedures--but reported it was hard to find out what something would cost. Get the procedure or surgery--and THEN you will find out.

Two-thirds of those who did try to negotiate a price were unsuccessful.

So this is ducky, all this.  Pfft.