Oh my, so, no doesn’t mean no in this Brave New World

Families of potential organ donors could be overruled under a new model of “presumed consent,” a public consultation suggests.

The thing is that even this wouldn’t solve the shortage of organs for transplant. Simply put, not enough of us die in a manner, place or time that makes organs suitable for transplant. Even if every organ o everyone dying is government property and confiscated immediately this *still* doesn’t solve the problem.

There are only two solutions.

1) Live and paid transplant. Has to be paid as there aren’t enough unpaid volunteers. Obviously this doesn’t work for hearts but it does for liver, kidney and lungs (partial transplants work and we’ve two kidneys).

2) Xenotransplant.

It has always amused – amused as in “what in buggery are these people doing” rather than “amused ha ha” sense – that so much effort is put into presumed consent when it doesn’t in fact solve the problem at hand.

Yes, but, we want to know the comparative result

Dentures put wearers at risk of malnutrition because they cause wearers to avoid healthy foods which are difficult to chew, a major study has shown.

Researchers at King’s College London found the same was true for people with teeth loss, who also struggle to chew food properly.

In both cases, tooth loss and wearing dentures was associated with joint and muscle frailty which can leave people at risk of bone breakages and falls.

The scientists said that people with dentures, or fewer teeth find it difficult to eat foods such as fibrous fruits and vegetables, nuts and meat, which are essential for good nutrition.

Although dentures improves chewing function, the bite force is much weaker than that of natural teeth, meaning users often avoid certain foods.

But that’s not what we want to know at all. Assuming tooth loss, which gives the better result, dentures or gumming everything?

Guardian journalist gets shock

Having premature twins in Manhattan can cost in the hundreds of thousands – and in my case did – and my UK insurer never passed on a bill.

The only mystifying thing was how it made any money. Well. A few days ago a nervous-sounding agent rang me from Britain and, in what sounded like a script dictated by lawyers, said that he regretted to tell me the company, a huge European conglomerate, was getting out of the US market and my policy would not be renewed in January.

Things which are not profitable to supply stop being supplied. Shocker, eh?

or apply yourself to the free market and buy insurance from, for example, a provider part-owned by Jared Kushner’s brother that dwindling numbers of New York doctors accept and has a $14,000 (£10,000) excess on a family policy that costs more than $800 a month. (This isn’t an anomaly, it’s the industry standard.)

Things cost to supply what they cost to supply. NHS costs £2,000 per capita per annum. £8,000 for a family of four (I assume there’s a Mr. Viner around somewhere). That NY policy doesn’t look out of the correct price range, does it?

Hmm, well, he is an expert, isn’t he?

Many people who change their gender end up with “horrendous” results and are left feeling “badly damaged”, Lord Robert Winston has warned.

The scientist and TV presenter warned that the implications of gender reassignment surgery are not properly understood, with many operations ending in complications and people’s fertility left permanently damaged.

Speaking on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4, he said that “results are horrendous in such a big proportion of cases”.

He said 40 per cent of people who undergo vaginal reconstruction surgery experience complications as a result, and many need further surgery, and 23 per cent of people who have their breasts removed “feel uncomfortable with what they’ve done”.

He added: “What I’ve been seeing in a fertility clinic are the long-term results of often very unhappy people who now feel quite badly damaged.

“One has to consider when you’re doing any kind of medicine where you’re trying to do good not harm, and looking at the long-term effects of what you might be doing, and for me that is really a very important warning sign.”

He added that the long-term effects of taking hormones “are likely to affect reproductive function”.

Apologies but that last line does make me giggle.

Ya think?

You miserable sodding cow

There is so much we luddites in the NHS could learn from the giants of Silicon Valley, if only we’d stop fearing change. As someone whose hospital is already part-branded by that global health giant, McDonald’s (yes, the accommodation for parents in my children’s hospital is genuinely named Ronald McDonald House), I can only hope we embrace more of this tantalising NHS-private sector synergy.

A charity – yes, a genuine bloody charity – provides rooms so that parents can sleep near or in the hospital while their children are receiving treatment. In fact, they provided 2.5 million such overnight stays in 2015.

A facility and option which our glorious NHS did not and does not provide in fact.

And this is to be sneered at as some part of the privatisation of the NHS?

Go fuck yourself Ms. Clarke, right royally.

Is this right?

When the doors opened at 6am at least 300 people were standing in line. A vast convention centre in Baltimore had been transformed into a giant temporary free medical clinic. Word had spread among the city’s working poor.

There were military veterans and a large number of homeless people. Others in the queue had jobs in the digital economy, driving for Uber or working in warehouses for Amazon. Some couldn’t see; many had crumbling teeth. None had insurance that would cover their treatment.

Military veterans get health care from the Veterans Administration. You know, government run, free at the point of use, health care.

Hmm, well, yes, could be

A female medical student who began treatment to become a man has warned how encouraging children to undergo such procedures could create one of the “great medical blunders” of our time.

Kate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had injected herself with hormones causing her voice to drop and her face to grow prominent hair. However, she later abandoned the treatment after deciding she was not transgender.

Explaining how she had been encouraged to undergo the treatment after visiting online forums, she warned that “great harm” could be caused by groups eager to coax parents and their children into believing a child struggling with their sex was simply born the wrong gender.

In an interview with Radio 4, Kate, who began her treatment in her early 20’s, said she believes that had her confusion over her sex happened today she could well have undergone treatment but later regretted it.

“I’m very concerned that if I was a teenager now or even younger that I or my parents would be pushed to consider me then as transgender,” she said. “I would have welcomed that at the time. I wanted to be a boy when I was younger because boys were allowed to be assertive and confident. A young person may now take hormones or have surgery and later regret it.

“By giving treatment to young children we may be perpetrating a great harm. And we might look back on this in 30 or 50 years and see it as one of the great medical blunders of the 21st Century. I don’t know. If someone had offered me that as a child. I would have taken it and I would have ended up regretting it.”

Jamie Oliver and the effects of a sugar tax

Jamie Oliver’s 10p tax on sugary drinks sold in his Italian restaurants has resulted in a significant drop in sales, a study has found.

The Jamie’s Italian chain introduced the sugary drinks tax to set an example as part of a campaign to persuade the government to take action. In June 2015, Oliver announced that every drink containing added sugar would cost 10p extra and that the money would help pay for food education and water fountains in schools.

A study of the effects of the levy, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, has found that sales of sugar-sweetened drinks such as colas and lemonades fell by 11% in the first 12 weeks. At the end of six months, sales were 9.3% lower than they had been before the levy was introduced.

Hmm.

Jamie Oliver is to close six of his Italian restaurants after tough trading and the “pressures and unknowns” following the Brexit vote.

Oliver intends to close Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Aberdeen, Exeter, Cheltenham, Richmond, Tunbridge Wells and Ludgate Hill, near London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, by the end of the first quarter of the year.

My word this is a surprise, isn’t it?

The Endocrine Society, an international organization of medical experts and biological researchers, has released a new set of guidelines for caring for transgender patients. Along with the guidelines, the organization has issued a position statement calling on federal and private insurers to cover the costs of all medical interventions a physician might prescribe for a transgender patient, including hormone replacement therapies and surgeries.

People who want to get paid insist that the people with money should pay them.

So, Wakefield didn’t win then

The UK has eliminated measles for the first time, global health leaders have said.

Elimination of measles or rubella can be verified once a country has sustained “interruption of endemic transmission” for at least 36 months, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The UK nearly achieved this in the 1990s but was set badly off course by the MMR scandal, which saw vaccination rates plunge.

Health officials said rates have now reached the recommended 95 per cent coverage level in five-year-olds.

The European Regional Verification Commission said the UK has now achieved elimination status as of 2016 for measles.

In the year of my birth measles killed 127 children. And left some unknown, larger, number permanently blinded and or brain damaged.

The last known case of smallpox (other than infected lab workers) was when I was in secondary school, the declaration of victory just before I left it.

It always rather worries me when people say that living standards aren’t rising. Continuing to live is, I tend to think, a rise in standards. So is parents not having to carry a little white coffin….something the modal family of a century ago was likely to have to do.

How fascinating

It was coming up to midnight on Sunday 4 July 1948 and my mother, who had been in labour for 18 hours, was just about ready to give birth to me. She wanted to start pushing. But the doctors and midwives looked up at the clock on the wall and said, “Stop. Hold on, Edna, hold on.” They knew they were moments away from the start of the National Health Service and wanted me to be the first baby born into this new service. So my mother took a deep breath and held on. That’s how I was born at one minute past midnight on Monday 5 July 1948 – the first NHS baby.

That was in a cottage hospital in a little corner of west Wales called Glanamman. It was the staff there who told my mother, “You must call her Aneira,” the female form of Aneurin, after Aneurin Bevan, the architect of the NHS. They knew it was significant that Bevan’s dream of a health service that was free for everyone to use had come to fruition that day.

A quite wondrous reminder that those cottage hospitals existed before the NHS did. And the hospital bed, the doctors, nurses and so on. Even, maternity services.

As all should know but too few do the first NHS built hospital opened in 1963.

And that cottage hospital she was born in?

The Amman Valley Hospital was once a private house named “Frondeg” and home to the family of William (Gwylim) Rees; manager of Amman Tinplate works at Garnant. Sometime later it became the home of the Folland family. Henry Folland made his fortune in the tinplate industry and the family moved to Black Pill in Swansea in the first half of the 1920’s. More information on the Folland Family can be found on the “Mr and Mrs Henry Folland” page on this site.

Before Henry Folland ventured on holiday to Egypt in the spring of 1926, he informed his wife that on his return, he wished to donate their former home on what was then Horny Road, Glanamman, to the community, in order that it be used as a much needed hospital. The family’s intention had already been announced by the wife of county councillor John Phillips at a concert two years previously in February of 1924. Unfortunately, Henry Folland died in Egypt and it was left to his wife, Lilly Folland, to carry out his wishes.

While the various committees in the area were still trying to decide which sort of service the new hospital should provide, Mrs Folland was more focused. Her vision was that of her former home acting as a fully equipped cottage hospital, providing as many services as possible to the sick and injured of the area. Swansea General Hospital at the time, was overcrowded. At her own expense, Mrs Folland, by 1929, had proceeded to turn Frondeg into a twelve bed self contained hospital.

Fundraising continued through the efforts of various committees in the locality and the hospital was able to start its life with a credit balance of £12,000, including the donations by the Folland family.

That’s how the NHS was founded. By nationalising previously extant medical infrastructure, in this instance charitably funded such. Well done to Nye Bevan of course, just abstracting into the State what already existed.

There’s a problem with this single payer

In the meantime, freeing healthcare from the clutches of predatory insurance companies is what all Democrats should be thinking about.

The cost problem in American health care isn’t about insurance companies. It’s about the wages that doctors and nurses get.

Taxes would rise as healthcare costs are shifted over to the government. This is a trade-off other industrialized countries are willing to make – they also pay their doctors less – but one Americans aren’t used to.

That’s the problem that needs to be solved and it really isn’t obvious that having the Feds paying for everything is going to solve it.

Bernie’s health care plan

Employer-sponsored plans could not duplicate benefits provided by Medicare, but could offer extra benefits.

An interesting little bit, don’t you think?

If Medicare for all will, eventually, fix your hip then other insurance plans cannot offer to fix your hip…..

That’s not just single payer, that’s nationalisation of who may pay for care.

How amusing

Using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar could increase the risk of diabetes in just two weeks, new research suggests.

The study shows that the supplements can change the body’s response to glucose, heightening the risk of the condition which is suffered by almost 4 million Britons.

Previous studies have linked high intake of sweeteners to a greater risk of diabetes,

Thus the campaign against sugar to reduce diabetes might well be increasing the incidence of diabetes…..

Well done everyone!

That American single payer dream

One by one, Democrats are moving on from the Affordable Care Act. And increasingly, they’re embracing a full transition to a single payer system as an answer.

OK.

But the most ambitious single-payer plans are probably dead in the water. The California, Sanders, and Conyers bills call for extraordinarily generous benefits that outstrip those offered by most real-world countries with universal health care. California’s bill, for instance, would have the state pay for all long-term care, nursing homes, dental, and vision, none of which the single-payer system in, say, Canada typically pays for (it doesn’t even pay for prescription drugs or therapy sessions with psychologists).

OK.

You can think of the AmeriCare approach as a public option on steroids. It would create a new single-payer program called AmeriCare that would take on everyone ensured by Medicaid and SCHIP, and would automatically enroll all children at birth. It would pay the same rates to providers as Medicare, meaning it’d be considerably less generous to doctors and hospitals than private insurers.

Sure, you can make US health care cheaper by paying everyone in US health care less money.

In the latter analysis, they found that over time as employers adjusted to the new reality, 85 percent of Americans would ultimately be insured in AmeriCare, 10 percent in Medicare, 3 percent would be eligible for multiple government programs, 2 percent would be in the military’s Tricare system, and a mere 1 percent would still have private insurance.

AmeriCare doesn’t eliminate the private insurance system, but it does make it small enough to drown in a bathtub.

But here’s the thing: Lewin finds that AmeriCare would take over because they assume that almost every employer would choose it over private insurance, because it’d be so much cheaper. “The combination of lower administrative costs and lower provider payment rates under Medicare makes Medicare coverage very attractive to employers,” Commonwealth’s Karen Davis wrote in 2007, using “Medicare” to refer to the new AmeriCare program. “When given the choice, most employers would purchase coverage for employees through Medicare.”

Ah, but those very much lower compensation rates are going to mean that US health care won’t be as good as it was. Nor as good as is available through private insurance. Nor will there be as much public sector health care either.

The whole idea works by degrading current health care standards. Leaving rather a lot of room for private on top of it, no?

Slightly odd statement

It’s estimated that chronic metabolic disease accounts for 75% of America’s $3.2 trillion health care bill, of which 75% is preventable. Indeed, our Medicare will go belly-up by 2026, and Social Security by 2029, due to diabetes. Same for the NHS.

People dying younger saves money for health care and pension systems.

Such confounding factors

Children who live near fast food outlets are more likely to gain weight compared with those living farther away, new research suggests.

And therefore, the cry will be, fast food outlets cause obesity.

The study also found a higher density of fast food outlets within poorer neighbourhoods.

Hmm, for there’s another thing we know, that obesity rates are higher among the poor than the rich. So our causal link could be entirely different – the poor are fatties, fast food is sold to fatties, thus the fast food shops congregating where the poor are.

Correlation and causality do indeed need to be teased out.

Depends rather on what “healthy food” means

Supersize tactics by retailers mean the average person is consuming an extra 17,000 calories a year – which could mean five pounds weight gain – health experts have warned.

The Royal Society of Public Health said consumers are facing more than 100 attempts each year by shops and fast-food chains to “up-sell” unhealthy foods and drinks each year.

The charity said soaring obesity levels were being fuelled by pushy sales assistants, trained to ask customers if they wanted to “go large,” upgrade to a meal deal, or add cut-price chocolate to their purchase.

That we’re all supposed to be concerned over such trivia. Sigh.

However:

The charity urged businesses to pledge to only up-sell healthy food and drink, and said shops should stop paying staff commission for hitting “up-selling” targets.

They’re complaining about calories, not anything else. And all food contains those calories – things that don’t contain calories aren’t food.

They’re not even being consistent within their own press release.