BD Diagnostics launches ‘Be a Flu Fighter’ initiative
SAN DIEGO BD Diagnostics, a segment of Becton, Dickinson and Co., on Wednesday launched its “Be a Flu Fighter” initiative, a program aimed at increasing awareness and preventing influenza.
BD designed the “Be a Flu Fighter” initiative to enhance the ability of healthcare professionals at schools, hospitals, laboratories and other public/private settings to help slow the predicted, rapid spread of influenza by promoting good hygiene, vaccination and other flu prevention strategies. With straightforward, accessible language and graphics, the complimentary, printer-friendly materials can be easily downloaded from www.bd.com/ds/flufighter. The BD site also provides hospitals and laboratories with informational materials designed to help professionals properly obtain and handle specimens for flu diagnosis.
“As a world leader in health care, BD is pleased to provide these much-needed resources. Our role goes beyond providing quality products, and includes enabling healthcare professionals to effectively spread the word about practices that can lead to better prevention, diagnosis and therapy for infectious diseases, such as influenza,” stated Tobi Karchmer, medical director BD Diagnostics.
Poll: Americans divided over healthcare-reform legislation, but may be unaware of provisions
MENLO PARK, Calif. A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll issued late last month found that Americans are divided over congressional health-reform proposals, but also noted that large shares of people, including skeptics, become more supportive after being told about many of the major provisions in the bills, such as the effort to close the “doughnut hole” for seniors utilizing Medicare so that seniors no longer would face a period of having to pay the full cost of their medicines.
The new survey found that America’s seniors lean against the proposed legislation, with 48% opposed, 37% in favor and 15% offering no opinion.
The survey, however, found that seniors were less likely than younger Americans to be aware that the legislation includes provisions to close the “doughnut hole.” As many as 37% of seniors were aware of such provisions, compared with 53% of those under age 40. Six-in-10 seniors said that if the legislation did work to close the doughnut hole they would feel more supportive of it, a level of support identical to that found among younger Americans.
The January Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, conducted before the Massachusetts Senate vote, found overall opinion is divided when it comes to the hotly debated legislation, with 42% supporting the proposals in the Congress, 41% opposing them and 16% withholding judgment.
“It’s one thing to talk about the public’s perception of healthcare-reform legislation, which right now is in some ways negative, but it’s another to tell people what’s actually in the bill and when you do that people are more positive,” stated Kaiser president and CEO Drew Altman.
Of the 27 elements of the legislation tested in the poll, 17 moved a majority to feel more positively about the bills and two moved a majority to be more negative.
The poll finds that even after a year of substantial media coverage of the health-reform debate, many Americans remain unfamiliar with key elements of the major bills passed by the House and Senate. About half are aware that tax credits would be available to small businesses, one of the most popular provisions. And 44% recognize that the legislation would help close the Medicare “doughnut hole.”
CRN criticizes article that discourages use of herbal supplements
WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Monday criticized the Journal of American College of Cardiology for publishing an “uninformed, inaccurate and outdated interpretation” of laws governing herbal supplements as part of a article discussing the use of herbal supplements in conjunction with heart-disease medicines.
Specifically, CRN criticized the recent publication of “Use of Herbal Products and Potential Interactions in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease,” an article originally submitted to the publication in June 2008 that cautions against the use of those herbals in patients with heart disease, for making general, unsupported statements. “The article contains sweeping generalizations, often not backed by relevant citations, and copious factual errors, including a reference to products — some of which are not actually herbal supplements — that produce adverse effects on the cardiovascular system,” stated Douglas MacKay, CRN VP scientific and regulatory affairs.
The article identifies nine ingredients that should be used with extreme caution by patients being treated for heart disease. Those supplements include: St. John’s wort, ginseng, ginkgo, garlic, saw palmetto, echinacea, yohimbine, licorice and black cohosh. The article also cautions against the consumption of grapefruits or grapefruit juice. Author Arshad Jahangir, cardiologist and researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., advises readers to consult with their physicians and pharmacists around possible herb-drug interactions.
CRN did agree that consumers should talk openly with their physician about the herbal supplements they are using or considering using, particularly if they are on medications, the association stated.
According to CRN, 24% of American adults take herbal supplements each year.
“According to the 2008 ‘Life…supplemented’ Healthcare Professionals Impact Study, 63% of cardiologists say that they inquire about the dietary supplements their patients are taking,” MacKay said. “Furthermore, the study shows that 73% of cardiologists agreed that a regimen of healthy eating, dietary supplements, exercise and other smart lifestyle choices is key to maintaining heart health,” he said. “Herbal supplements should not replace medications or the need for smart lifestyle choices like healthy diet and regular exercise, but instead should be integrated as part of a total health regimen.”