All posts by thegoodman2

Reflection Post

Taking a class on Consumer Health has expanded my abilities to evaluate different services and products. As you pointed out in my snagit grading, I tend to put a lot of thought into things that interest me and little into things that do not. This is not only something that has effected my school work negatively, but my life as well in some cases. I put plenty of time into researching things I plan on purchasing for fun, but completely skip over researching many of the things that effect my health directly. I have also learned that I need to focus more on doing things in a timely manner, I let summer get the best of me and didn’t realize how close we were to the end of the quarter. Due to these realizations, I purchased a planner to keep track of deadlines, and I’ve started researching better dietary habits.

I believe the list to be filled with highly important topics, but I think that my politically focused mind is part of that opinion. I’m not too familiar with the public health major, but this list of topics seems like the type one in the field should focus on. For those outside of the field, I think it would be best to get them focused on things which more directly effect them (although all of the topics do). This concern will help people learn more on research and evaluation abilities, so they can continue to apply those skills when needed. I say this because that is exactly what the class has done for me, someone who is not a public health major.

 

 

Photovoice Project

I wanted to reflect on some of my dietary/health choices and how some of the choices effect my Crohn’s Disease. The things I chose to focus on were: Dairy products like ice cream sandwiches or milk, alcohol, Coca-Cola, and use of tobacco products. The questions I chose to focus on were “How healthy is it” and “Do I really know what I need to to make a healthy choice?” In most of the pictures, I focused on the nutritional information because this is the most important part of the decision making. Personally, I tend to ignore the nutrition facts because my metabolism hasn’t caught up to me yet. But I’m aware of the dietary changes that my mom has made, and how well they worked, so that isn’t the best excuse either. I have the ability to know whatever I need to know, I just don’t take advantage of that ability. I think this indifference is the cause of many consumer problems we see today, either because we aren’t motivated to learn the information, or because we don’t care about the consequences. Subjects like obesity and hard drug use come to mind.

Most of these choices I focused on are unhealthy in a general sense, or unhealthy specifically for me. Dairy is the only food product in my project that most people can consume without negative consequences in my list, but Crohn’s ruins that for me. Not only does dairy cause acne, but it messes with my stomach quite a bit. Alcohol, soda, and tobacco products are bad choices for my health with or without Crohn’s.

Alcohol has negatively effected my family in the past on multiple occasions, so I try to be careful with the prevalence of my consumption. Not only do I have a high risk of addiction, but my liver isn’t a fan of my choices either.

Soda (or my preference, Coca-Cola) has plenty of acidity and 39 grams of sugar. I know that it will bother my stomach and erode the enamel on my teeth over time. I quit a few years ago, but I always get it while out for food.

Tobacco products aren’t even a health question. Even though I’m only a social smoker, the negative effects are not going to disappear. You don’t need to smoke on a daily basis to experience the problems associated with nicotine and other chemicals.

Taking the pictures helped me to reflect upon the bad choices I’m making as a consumer. Not only is the information widely available on the internet, but there are clear labels in front of my face as I consume the products I’m speaking of. The prevalence of information does not correlate with the consumer actually having knowledge of the information. Although economists operate under the assumption that consumers have full market knowledge, we acknowledge this is not true. My generation and the generations after us will be blessed with the ability to learn about anything we please. As different services become more technologically advanced and complicated, it will be our responsibility to improve upon our understanding and help others do the same. Although we will continue to use the internet primarily for social interaction, I hope that more of the population can learn to evaluate the things they consume like we have in this class. Add this to the list of classes that high-schoolers should take before going out into the real world, because consumer health… matters.

*unable to upload pictures or powerpoint, emailed instead.

Glossary Five

Biohacking: “The activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally without regard to accepted ethical standards.” Some hacks involve putting a small magnet in your finger, some go much farther, one man even gave himself night-vision.

Euthanasia: “The act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.” This is a highly controversial topic, assisted suicide is illegal in most countries.

Autonomous vehicles: Vehicles capable of driving themselves have become a topic of road safety lawmaking since the first inception of the design. One of the main reasons this is a concern is because the car might face what is called the trolley dilemma. In the event of an accident or loss of control, the vehicle might have to decide which pedestrians survive, and which die.

Glossary Four

CRISPR:  “A gene editing technique in which CRISPR and the RNA segments and enzymes it produces are used to identify and modify specific DNA sequences in the genome of other organisms.” This technique of modifying DNA is now a serious health and ethics question being debated because CRISPR is also being tested on human cells. Bringing us to the topic of designer babies.

Designer Babies: The MIT Technology Review has reported the first testing of this method on human embryos in the US. Additionally, they report that the “three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China.” In order to avoid the ethical questions he did this outside the womb, and never implanted the eggs. Will this become a service we are sold in the near future?

Germline Engineering: Making CRISPR even more controversial is the long term consequences, because the changes made would be passed down. “Germ line is biologists’ jargon for the egg and sperm, which combine to form an embryo. By editing the DNA of these cells or the embryo itself, it could be possible to correct disease genes and pass those genetic fixes on to future generations.”

Glossary Post 3

Genetically Modified Organism: “Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.”

Organic Foods: “USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.”

Food and Drug Administration: “The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.”

Glossary Post 2

Pre-existing condition: “a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts.” This has been a major issue for recent health care legislation. The A.C.A. required insurance companies to accept those with these conditions, among other things.

Risk pool: “Risk pooling is also known as health insurance, which is a group of persons contributing to a common pool, usually held by a third party. These funds are used to pay for all or part of the cost of providing a defined set of health services for members of the pool.” Seeing as how different people are expected to cost the insurance company different amounts over time, customers are sorted into pools of different risk levels.

Addiction: “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”

Glossary Post 1

Self-ownership: The concept that all humans “own” themselves, and they therefore have control over their body and life choices. Online dictionaries redirect to the word “ownership,” with self-ownership as a related form of the word. The term is most common in liberty focused political circles, but also has some importance in consumer health studies.

Bodily Autonomy: “The right to autonomy in making health decisions in general.” Although in most cases this is contextually used interchangeably with self-ownership, self-ownership is often more broadly due to its less specific political connections.

Consumption Smoothing: “The ways in which people try to optimize their lifetime standard of living by ensuring a proper balance of spending and saving during the different phases of their life.” This is an important concept for many to understand, because this is the justification for insurance. By spending a little bit every month, we can prevent part or all of the massive spending required during an emergency.

PhotoVoice Plan

For my Photovoice Project I’d like to tackle the issue of Crohns Disease. I’ve essentially ignored the fact that I have it, making very few dietary changes over the last few years. In order to make myself address this problem directly, I’ll research some of the problem areas in my diet and how others handle it. My mother has made multiple serious diet changes herself over the years, and I’d like to learn about those more as well.

Pharmaceutical Prompt One

Honestly I don’t see any problem with DTC advertising directly, but there are some problems which could be handled. Bringing treatment options to the attention of consumers is good in my opinion.

The WHO article from the 9th slide said that the advertising led to higher prices for the consumer or tax payer. Tax dollars shouldn’t be subsidizing advertisements, but I’m not sure how the ads can effect the prices consumer pay. The 2015-2016 Congress failed to pass a bill removing this tax break by leaving it untouched in the Finance Committee.

In that article, the former director Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and Health Law at WHO said that it increased focus on pharma company profits. I find it odd that consumers hate the concept of profits, that focus is what drives growth, innovation, and lower prices. After taking some economics courses, this is much clearer to me.

Consumers would be better off if they were informed better about the negative side effects, according to this FDA study.  Atlhough doctors said they felt “that DTC ads made their patients more involved in their health care,” but they also thought “the ads did not convey information about risks and benefits equally well.” Many DTC ads include a short ending with very fast side effect announcements, I think this is almost a sort of disingenuous advertising.

 

Death and Dying Prompt: Medical Malpractice

Malpractice is clearly a huge issue in the medical field, and after reading the NPR article in the prompt, I now see it is far more prevalent than I believed it to be. The older sister of a close friend of mine survived serious malpractice which caused very heavy blood loss during surgery. She is still dealing with the consequences of that doctor’s mistake. I hoped that this was not a common occurrence, but the estimates range from 98,000 to 440,000 a year according to the article.

The first step to fixing this issue should be to get the numbers recorded properly. The second should be working for better accountability measures or more strict hiring/screening processes. The doctor which made a mistake in my example above had left a previous hospital for similar reasons, these types of things should not be allowed to happen. One would expect hospitals to avoid doctors like this at all costs, but he must’ve slipped through the cracks somehow.

Challenge:

Around a year ago, my mom was given legal control of my grandfather’s medical choices. He ended up passing because he refused to be treated at first, but he wasn’t coherent enough to make choices himself. He didn’t have any of the preemptive paperwork done, so my grandmother was making the decisions. She was too busy trying to take care of herself, because she lives in a very rural area, so my mom took over the medical and financial decisions. I know too many people who have had loved ones make bad decisions for them because they were scared of what could happen, or too unwilling to listen to the doctors. With this in mind, the family that know how I would like to be treated aren’t necessarily going to follow that plan. I’ve spoke to my sister about how if I lose my mental capacity, i should be let go. I’m not quite sure my parents would let that happen, so I’ll probably get an advance directive filled out myself.