Nov. 29 - Dec. 2

Health Law Faces Threat of Undercut From Courts
The New York Times
As the Obama administration presses ahead with the health care law, officials are bracing for the possibility that a federal judge in Virginia will soon reject its central provision as unconstitutional and, in the worst case for the White House, halt its enforcement until higher courts can rule. ...“Any ruling against the act creates another P.R. problem for the Democrats, who need to resell the law to insured Americans,” said Jonathan Oberlander, a University of North Carolina political scientist, who wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine last week that such a ruling “could add to health care reform’s legitimacy problem.”

Diabetes Treatment: How Much Insulin Do You Need?
The Huffington Post
..."There's controversy over how much better you can really do with additional shots," says John Buse, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, in Chapel Hill. "I don't see much improvement in overall glucose control in many patients with the rapid-acting insulin taken at meals. And it does promote weight gain and low blood sugar. Is the burden worth the benefit?"

Thanksgiving With an Eating Disorder: How to Make it Easier (Blog)
The Huffington Post
..."We start prepping people [we treat for eating disorders] for Thanksgiving about a month ahead of time," says Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D., director of the University of North Carolina Eating Disorders Program and author of Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop. ..."If you have someone who understands you in your family or friendship circle, talk with them ahead of time and get their support throughout the day," says Bulik.

Breaking the code of genetic testing
The Indianapolis Star (Indiana)
..."The genie's out of the bottle, and the task before us is not to try to stuff the genie back into the bottle," said Dr. James Evans, member of a government advisory committee on genetics and society. "It is misguided to approach this from the stance of preventing people from getting information they might want. "We need to ensure that people have reliable, unbiased information about what such testing means and doesn't mean," added Evans, Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics & Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cutting-edge tool in operating room: Good Sam’s wand detects sponges left behind
The Palm Beach Post (Florida)
...The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses - the nurses who are in charge of such counts - reported this year that at least 80 percent of the time a sponge is left in a patient, the operating room count has been completed and, in theory, every sponge has been accounted for. "There's human error involved because we're not perfect, so it's a process that needs to be looked at," said H.J. Kim, associate professor of surgical oncology at the University of North Carolina, who studies counting practices and technology that can improve them.

Dying to be thin
The Monterey Herald (California)
...In fact, the Renfrew Center, which hosts 10 eating-disorder clinics nationwide, cites that nearly 20 percent of the women in their residential and outpatient programs are in their 30s and beyond. Moreover, Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., director of the eating-disorders program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reported in the same article that one in two patients is a woman 35 or older.

Autism program adapts as number of students grows
The Star News (Wilmington)
...Eric has a mild form of autism, a brain disorder that affects one out of 110 people in the United States and about 50,000 in North Carolina, according to statistics on Wilmington's TEACCH Autism Program website. TEACCH is a University of North Carolina Medical School program that helps people with autism and their families cope with the illness.

Health giants' rivalry heats up
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
WakeMed claims that its rival, the UNC Health Care System, is using its status as a taxpayer-supported institution to create "predatory" competition and disrupt the Triangle's medical market. WakeMed submitted a formal request Monday for financial statements and other records from UNC Health, to determine whether the system is using public money to "shift services and gain an unfair competitive advantage over WakeMed, other hospitals and physician practices throughout the community."
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Sick Children at Risk From Flawed Dosage Directions, Study Says
Bloomberg News
...Doctors should also be aware of the inconsistencies and help ensure parents and caregivers know the correct treatment for their children, Darren DeWalt, a pediatrician and internal medicine physician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote in an editorial. “The most elegant and efficient medical therapies will fail if patients or caregivers cannot adequately and accurately administer the therapy,” he wrote.

Why It's So Easy To Give Kids The Wrong Dose Of Medicine
"All Things Considered" National Public Radio
If the recommended dose on a bottle of allergy medicine is a teaspoon or tablespoon, lots of us reach in the kitchen drawer. But kitchen spoons are notoriously inaccurate. "They can be way off," says physician Darren DeWalt of the University of North Carolina. Some kitchen teaspoons are twice as big as others, says DeWalt.

Concerns about kids' medicines (Blog)
The Washington Post
...The new study began Nov. 6, 2009, and continued through February 2010.The researchers say they hope they will help evaluate how well the industry responded. In an editorial accompanying the study, Darren DeWalt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said the findings illustrate that more needs to be done to help parents administer medications to their children safely.

Children's medicine doses can be confusing, study finds
The Los Angeles Times
..."We know people have trouble getting dosing right for not just over-the-counter but prescription liquid medication," said Dr. Darren A. DeWalt, an associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. "But to see how common the mismatch was in this study was startling. It's not only confusing information, it's almost not intelligible at times."

To Use OTC Children's Medications Safely, Parents Need to Take Charge
U.S. News & World Report
...In the meantime, we've got kids to take care of. Darren DeWalt, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, spoke with U.S. News about what parents can do to protect their children from dosing errors while the industry gets its act together. DeWalt studies how well people understand medical information and wrote an editorial in JAMA calling for not just better packaging, but more help for parents.
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Dosages for Children's Liquid Medications Confound Parents
...What about developing a standardized measuring device to be included with all medication? It's not so easy, says Darren DeWalt, an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who penned an accompanying editorial in JAMA calling for an end to the confusion. “The problem is not all people are well-educated and giving them a universal syringe or spoon with all these markings will actually be confusing,” says DeWalt.

Labels faulty on many kids' meds, study says
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
A study of top-selling over-the-counter medication for children shows problems with dosage instructions that pose a risk of harmful mistakes. ..."We spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get these drugs to market, and we aren't giving people accurate information so they can actually use it," said Dr. Darren DeWalt of UNC-Chapel Hill, who wrote an editorial that goes with the JAMA study. "We do that a lot in health care where we drop the ball."

Equations that Spell Disaster
The Scientist
...Historically, physicians have noted that this widespread inflammation often follows seemingly commonplace gastrointestinal infections. “There have been outbreaks of bacterial infections where a water supply is infected and almost everybody in town gets sick, but only a few people go on to develop Crohn’s disease,” explains R. Balfour Sartor, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

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