Medical news of 2005


If any one word could sum up the news of 2005 in the world of medicine it would be challenging. I can think of less gracious terms that would fit, but having made my way in and around that world as nurse, once a very ill patient and now nurse massage therapist and herbalist I feel itŐs best to work for change within the confines of the system given. ThatŐs not to say I donŐt think the system needs a major overhaul. I think doctor, patient, nurse and everyone in between can at least agree on that issue. In the mean time the average consumer will at some point find himself stuck in a system that doesnŐt serve them or their loved ones. What is one to do?

HereŐs one creative think outside the box resolution that a good friend of mine came up with for her mother dealing with end stage cancer. The oncologist wanted her to right away start a new very expensive stay at home chemotherapy that may extend her life as much as one year. She does have Medicare and some prescription insurance that covered the drug but the drug was still too expensive. After many calls to drug companies (that refused to give samples,) congressman and doctors no one could resolve the issue. Their solution, ask for samples of the other drugs she was taking freeing up insurance funds to purchase the newer more expensive drug. DonŐt be afraid to ask for samples, to call your congressman or work with drug companies that may supply drugs for free if the need is there.

As medicare part D takes effect in 2006 seniors are a buzz with what they should do, which plan will work for them. Again donŐt be afraid to ask for help. There are virtually hundreds of plans to choose from, unfortunately, if you choose a plan that doesnŐt work for you you will have to wait a year to move to another plan. Of course the drug companies are for these new plans they stand to make millions.

There is some new hope for an AIDS vaccine. Researchers have begun working with a group of women making their living selling themselves on the streets of Nigeria. These women seem to be mysteriously immune to AIDS despite their multiple exposures. Come to find out these women actually have a gene that keeps the virus from attacking their bodies. This gene has since been isolated and trials are underway. Although human trials are not on the forefront but itŐs a start.

Fortunately there have been no outbreaks of the bird flu in this country yet this year. LetŐs hope it stays that way. This smart virus, quick to mutate is a killer with a death rate of 50 percent. The virus as yet does not transmit person to person, only bird to person.

A new study done at a major metropolitan hospital shows acupuncture to be effective for osteoarthritis and migraine headache. Of course those having had acupuncture for a variety of other maladies know that its abilities to heal extends beyond just these two conditions.

As we continue to live longer of course we want our time to be quality healthy time. The up coming year will continue to be a challenge to do so as we face newly emerging diseases and decreasing funds to deal with them. Start by taking charge of your health. Like it or not more and more of that responsibility will lie with each individual. As it should be.

Happy New Year, till next time, Rebecca