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  • Update [2009-3-20 10:57:20 by DemFromCT]: Tom Daschle on health reform.
  • Des Moines Register:

    Myth No. 1: There is a free market in health care...

    Myth No. 2: The private sector is the best solution...

    Myth No. 3: Government-run care takes choices from doctors and patients...

    What's NOT a myth: So-called free market plans can't compete with public plans.

    It's true.

  • Good news on the vaccine front.

    An experimental vaccine is effective half the time in stopping cytomegalovirus infection in women in their child-bearing years, researchers report in the March 19 New England Journal of Medicine.

    No vaccine currently exists for cytomegalovirus, which can cause birth defects when it infects a pregnant woman. Because of this risk, vaccine researchers have targeted the virus for decades — without any clear benefit until now.

  • Speaking of viruses, the virology blog has a good piece on the exotic tropical virus, chickungunya.

    Since its discovery over 50 years ago, infection by chikungunya virus was known to be spread by mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti, which feeds almost exclusively on humans. In 2004, and outbreak of chikungunya disease started in Kenya and spread to islands in the Indian Ocean and finally India, where it had not been reported for 32 years. On Réunion, one of the Indian Ocean Islands, nearly 40% of the population of 785,000 fell ill. An outbreak in Italy three years later, the first ever in Europe, was started by an infected traveler from India. Cases of chikungunya have been reported in travelers returning to the US, although transmission within the country has not been reported.

  • More exotic viruses, this one with a nasty twist to the story:

    Researchers Worldwide Rally to Help Scientist Exposed to Ebola

    The accidental exposure of a scientist to the Ebola virus last week has triggered a series of teleconferences by Ebola scientists on two sides of the Atlantic united around a single goal: to help save the life of their colleague, an unnamed virologist at the Bernard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany, who pricked herself in the finger during an experiment. No approved treatments exist for Ebola, but at the sessions, researchers and physicians discussed the results from a raft of recent studies, some not yet published, into treatments that could prevent or slow the disease, which has a mortality rate of up to 90%.

    See also previous post, same topic.

  • Twitter tracks illness via Sick City. Google tracks illness via flu searches. Report your own symptoms here at Who Is Sick?. Advertising for your teenager. Can social networking change the face of public health?
  • CQ politics:

    The House Republican Conference has set up a weekly education series for aides, called Health Care Boot Camp. Experts from the Congressional Research Service and former Hill and administration staff members who are now at think tanks or in the private sector lecture on health policy. One recent session was a history of President Bill Clinton’s failed health care reform effort; another was to focus on how various proposals would affect existing insurance coverage.

    The member-level task force has also been bringing in experts to help members build the knowledge they need to debate Democrats effectively.

    I wonder if they are learning how to care.

  • Ezra:

    THE CHAIRMAN OF AMERICA'S HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS SUPPORTS A PUBLIC INSURANCE OPTION. [UPDATED!]

    Never thought I'd get to write that headline. But it's true. The current Chairman of America's Health Insurance Plans is George Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente. Halvorson also serves on the Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System, which just released a plan called "The 2020 Vision." You can download the plan here. I did. And I can give it a recommendation I can rarely offer to health reform proposals: The contents surprise.

  • Of course, Ezra notes there's a signing statement, so maybe not.

  • Official word on Natasha Richardson.

    The seemingly mild head injury that killed actress Natasha Richardson was an epidural hematoma, the New York City medical examiner's office announced today.

    The death was ruled an accident. Richardson was reported to have slipped and fallen while taking a skiing lesson at a Canadian resort. Although she is said to have appeared unhurt, she later developed a headache and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

    That's entirely consistent with the diagnosis of epidural hematoma, says Eugene Flamm, MD, chairman of neurosurgery at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

    "It is a common syndrome where someone gets hit on the head, seems fine, and then falls down unconscious," Flamm tells WebMD. "It takes that much time for the pressure to build up on the brain."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 07:09 AM PDT.

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