I say this every year, but I'll say it again,
I can't believe how quickly the summer goes by. (yes I know
that technically it's still summer) It certainly has been
a beautiful one here in New York City. Usually, most of August
is filled with days that you can see the heat rising up from
the pavement and everything feels so sticky. Maybe, we had
two of those days this summer
and if we did, I don't
remember them like I usually do. The other feeling around
NYC right now is just how eerily quiet it is due to the Convention
-- believe it or not more quiet than 9-11. Everyone has left
town, and I mean everyone. It's really just the Republicans
and the Protestors. A lot of Protestors, many more than you
see on television. I'm looking forward to after Labor Day,
when it feels like New York again.
VOTING HAS NEVER BEEN MORE CONVENIENT
In case you didn't know, I certainly didn't - at least 24
states now allow anyone to mail in an absentee ballot for
any reason. The remaining 26 states require some sort of a
reason from an approved excuse list, but many have widened
the list of excuses. Virginia, for instance, grants a mail-in
ballot to anyone who says they have a long working day of
11 hours that includes a commute. In addition, most local
election officials have traditionally looked the other way
if people stretch the truth about their travel plans. The
Wall St. Journal has published a chart of websites for every
state where the absentee ballot can be located on-line (in
September 2nd Personal Journal section article called "Cast
a Ballot From the Couch: Absentee Voting Gets Easier")
or you can go to www.johnkerry.com
and go to their Register to Vote sections/ absentee ballots.
Why stand in line and get into a political argument if you
don't have to? P.S. BIG REMINDER, if you do decide to vote
from your armchair, remember to sign everything properly -
most need to be signed in two places, and use a dark pen,
preferably a felt tip -- your vote may not be counted if it's
not properly signed or can't be read clearly.
"I WISH I KNEW"
This is what a number of American women are saying that about
a safe and relatively new treatment for fibroids. (not new
enough for an M.D. to claim ignorance) Fibroids are the number
1 reason that women have hysterectomies in this country and
anywhere from 60%-80% of the women who hear about this procedure,
got the information from someone other than their doctor or
the internet. This treatment, called UAE for uterine artery
embolization, is an outpatient procedure that uses local anesthesia.
UAE cuts the blood supply to the uterus, causing the fibroid
to shrink. Like any surgery, it is not without risk and it
is not for women who would like to have children. However,
the risks and cost do appear to be lower than a hysterectomy
that requires general anesthesia and a much longer recovery
time. The major downside to this surgery as I read it in comparison
to a hysterectomy is that in 20% of the cases the fibroid
returns after three years. The reason that many in the medical
community believe that women aren't being told by UAE is that
it is not performed by a gynecologist but a specialty radiologist
- meaning the gynecologist could would lose the income from
performing a hysterectomy. (Average fee is $2000) American
women are becoming leery of these type of procedures. Physicians
perform surgery for fibroids and other conditions 650,000
times per year (200,000 of these are hysterectomies) -this
rate is three to four times as high as European countries.
Although complications for hysterectomies are low, the surgery
is linked to other problems such as weight gain, depression,
sexual dysfunction and high blood pressure.
For more information: Wall Street Journal
front page August, 24, 2004 "Silent Treatment Hysterectomy
Alternative Goes Unmentioned to Many Women"
ad42d8a34f32d6d298bb48db7e97e0ae. (This is a Canadian
Magazine with some good insight about hysterectomies, just
a note that I don't necessarily agree with bio-identical hormones
TEENS AND ANTIDEPRESSANTS
The FDA is clearly concerned about this. With the sole exception
of Prozac, that has been approved for young people, the agency
will likely ask for label revisions on antidepressants after
a hearing later this month. At issue is a report back in March
that links higher suicidal thoughts to antidepressants for
teens, 1.78 times more likely than placebo. At that point,
physicians were asked to monitor their young patients very
closely. The problem the FDA had with this study is that it
lumped all the antidepressants together - there may be different
results for different drugs. At risk could be at least 5 million
youths between the ages of 12-17 -- that is the number of
prescriptions written in 2002 for just Zoloft, Paxil and Wellbutrin.
British regulators have specifically called on doctors not
to prescribe these drugs with the sole exception of Prozac.
Families and physicians are encouraged to stress individual
and family therapy for a period of time before turning to
this is expected to have almost
no impact on the $12 billion US market for anti-depressants.
This is making me want to read that book "Prozac Nation"
-- $12 billion?!! For more information go to: http://www.californiahealthline.org/index.cfm?Action=dspItem&itemID=101012
That's it for this month! As always,
check out our website for lots more information at www.oonahealth.com.
In Good Health,
The Oöna Team
Questions or comments? Write firstname.lastname@example.org