ProfNet Wire: Health & Medicine -- Smallpox/Kendra's Law

Article ID: 510384

Released: 10-Mar-2005 2:20 PM EST

Source Newsroom: PRNewswire/Cision

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**1. FITNESS: ACL INJURY GREATER IN WOMEN. KEVIN PLANCHER, New York City- based sports orthopedist and official orthopedic surgeon for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams: "For decades, it seemed the only people who suffered from anterior cruciate ligament injuries were professional football players. But the tables have turned in the past few years, and researchers are learning some surprising new truths about this painful, debilitating injury that are critical for women athletes to know. Women are anywhere from four to eight times more likely to sustain a tear or rupture of the ACL than men. And while football players would be pleased to hear that more than 70 percent of all ACL injuries occur in non-contact sports, this news heightens the risk even further for women, who are more likely to participate in non-contact activities."

**2. HEALTH: ARE WE AS HEALTHY AS WE THINK WE ARE? DR. CHARLES SCHUTZ, chief medical officer for DESTINY HEALTH, a health insurance company that puts its members in control of their own health care dollars, says new data reveals a crisis for Americans who think they're healthier than they really are. Schutz says among the most revealing findings, eight of 10 said they'd take better care of themselves if they had a life-threatening problem: "That's like saying you'll wear your seatbelt after you have a fatal accident. The study shows we need a new definition for 'healthy.' We tend to think we're well until we are actively sick, when in reality a person is healthy only when he or she is living a healthy lifestyle."

**3. HEALTH: DIET AND EXERCISE TO ACHIEVE CONCEPTION. LESA CHILDERS, MSW, founder of PCOSTRATEGIES, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women make lifestyle modifications to aid in conception, says the incidence of infertility has proportionately skyrocketed along with obesity, diabetes and cardiac conditions. Childers notes 6.1 million American women are infertile, affecting approximately 10 percent of reproductive-age couples: "What most women don't know is that they can diet and exercise their way to fertility. Excess eating and lack of, or not enough, exercise causes excess sugar or insulin in the blood, disrupting hormones and thereby making it difficult to conceive."

**4. HEALTH: EARLY DETECTION FOR SKIN CANCER. GEORGE HOLLENBERG, board- certified dermatopathologist and founding director of ACUPATH LABORATORIES, INC.: "The most important thing in treating skin cancer is early detection. Patients must be vigilant about moles and must seek immediate professional help. In turn, practitioners should send suspicious moles for testing, rather than adopting a possibly fatal 'wait-and-see' approach." Hollenberg can discuss early detection of skin cancer, and can provide first-person case studies.

**5. HEALTH: STAY HEALTHY WITH EPSOM SALT. JIM HILL, president of GILES CHEMICAL, a manufacturer of magnesium sulfate in North America, and member of the EPSOM SALT COUNCIL, is available to talk about the health benefits of Epsom salt: "Epsom salt is a generations-old product that more and more people are relying on. Health benefits include: reduced stress, better muscle and nerve function, and regulated enzyme activity. It also helps prevent artery hardening, makes insulin more effective, improves oxygen use and flushes toxins."

**6. MEDICINE: ACUPUNCTURE CAN HELP ACHIEVE PREGNANCY. MARK P. LEONDIRES, M.D., FACOG, lead reproductive endocrinologist with REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE ASSOCIATES OF CONNECTICUT: "Would-be parents who struggle with the often mysterious challenge of infertility are learning that yet another medical mystery -- acupuncture -- has been shown in numerous studies to play a role in helping infertile couples achieve pregnancy. There are a host of potential imbalances within the body that can be contributing factors to infertility. Acupuncture can play a part in helping to restore balance in many of those areas. For infertility, possible trouble spots that may be helped by acupuncture include blood flow, hormone levels and chemical imbalances."

**7. MEDICINE: MVA AND PREVENTION OF SMALLPOX. PETER WULFF, president and CEO of BAVARIAN NORDIC, a biotech company active within research, development and manufacturing of vaccines and immunotherapy against infectious diseases: "The threat of a smallpox breakout cannot be taken lightly. Modified Vaccinia Ankara, a third-generation smallpox vaccine in development, might be able to address vaccine needs and ensure the safety of millions from diseases like smallpox. Those at risk include pregnant women and immuno-sensitive patients, such as those with HIV, AIDS, transplants, cancer and eczema. The MVA vaccine may be especially crucial for nearly 25 percent of the population that cannot receive the currently available second-generation vaccine."

**8. MEDICINE: OPTIONS FOR REMOVING TATTOOS. Joshua L. Fox, M.D., FAAD, founder of ADVANCED DERMATOLOGY PC: "More people than ever are getting tattoos. It is estimated that approximately 3 percent now have tattoos in the United States. Getting a tattoo has never been safer, primarily because of the use of disposable needles. But people with tattoos and those considering getting one should still remain mindful of the possibility that someday they may no longer want it. Industry experts say that 50 percent of people with tattoos will eventually consider having them removed. The good news is that patients have more options now than ever before when it comes to removing tattoos. New techniques in lasers have improved results, reduced the risks and broadened the spectrum of patients who can benefit from this technology."

**9. MENTAL HEALTH: ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION. FRANCIS MARK MONDIMORE, M.D., psychiatrist, member of the clinical faculty of the JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE and author of "Adolescent Depression:" "Adolescent mood disorders are complex, poorly understood and potentially dangerous illnesses, and parents want the facts about these illnesses. What are the danger signals of serious depression in teenagers? How does depression relate to other problems, such as drug abuse, ADHD and eating disorders? What are the available treatments? How can parents help their child get the best treatment possible? What else can parents do?"

**10. MENTAL HEALTH: NY LAW HELPS MENTALLY ILL. MARY T. ZDANOWICZ, Esq, executive director of the TREATMENT ADVOCACY CENTER, a national nonprofit organization working to eliminate barriers to timely treatment of severe mental illness: "Kendra's Law, New York's 5-year-old program allowing court- ordered outpatient treatment for someone with a severe mental illness, is a remarkable success. New statistics show that during assisted outpatient treatment, 74 percent fewer participants experienced homelessness; 77 percent fewer experienced psychiatric hospitalization; 83 percent fewer experienced arrest; and 87 percent fewer experienced incarceration. Individuals in Kendra's Law were also more likely to regularly participate in services and take prescribed medication." Zdanowicz says assisted outpatient treatment is available in 42 states and helps people with untreated severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia.

**11. PUBLIC HEALTH: LIMITED LEGAL RECOURSE FOR DISCLOSURE OF HIV. CHERYL CAMIN, attorney at GARDERE WYNNE SEWELL in Dallas, says HIV-positive individuals in Florida's Palm Beach County were recently saddled with the additional burden of having their names, addresses and HIV status inadvertently distributed to more than 800 people. However, she explains their legal recourse is surprisingly limited: "We've heard a lot about the HIPAA privacy rules, but those rules don't give an individual the right to sue for a violation. On the other hand, a HIPAA violation can be used as evidence in a civil suit based on any fallout from the disclosure." Camin adds that some states have special laws protecting a person's HIV-related information.

**12. PUBLIC HEALTH: TO PRESCRIBE OR NOT PRESCRIBE? MAC STEWART, health law attorney at STEWART & STIMMEL, says if pain reliever Vioxx returns to the market, doctors will have to follow very strict prescription guidelines. Stewart says an FDA advisory panel recently recommended the drug be put back on the market, but there has been no final decision: "If it returns, physicians would be well advised to follow the manufacturer's guidelines to the letter. Doctors must develop a very thorough history on anyone who might be a candidate for this drug. And if there's anything in the patient's background that indicates a potential problem, they'd be wise to prescribe something else."


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