Tag Archives: health

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.”

Food Matters: Prompt One

What information is new to you as an eater?

Information that is fairly new to me as a consumer of snacks is that almost everything that I consume on a daily basis contains a large quantity of sugar. I have always understood that sugar is not the greatest but I paid it no mind. According to the article “Hidden in Plain Sight” by sugar science the unsweetened truth “there are at least 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels. This include common names, such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as barely malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, among others” (Sugar Science the Unsweetened Truth, 2017, para. 3). In this case the FDA does not require manufacturers to include total added sugar just the total sugar content. According to the article men are not supposed to exceed 9 teaspoons of sugar, females are not supposed to exceed 6 teaspoons. Snacks in this case contain many servings of sugar and according to the article “The Snackification of Everything” by Akst “we gravitate toward snacks because they’re fast, easy and require little commitment” (Akst, 2017, para. 6). In reading these articles I have found that even healthy food can contain a high level of sugar content.

How concerning is this information and what might you do with it, either for yourself or someone you care about?

This information is very concerning considering I use approximately 2 teaspoons in my coffee every morning. Throughout the day I have about two cups of coffee accounting for 4 teaspoons of sugar leaving me with 5 teaspoons of sugar that I have left over. In reading this article I have found that sugar has many names not just sugar. When I walk into a store I typically walk down the snacks isle and pickup a couple of candy bars amounting to 44 grams of sugar total. Understanding the impact and staying informed will help reduce the amount of snacks and sugar consumed.

What policy decisions appear to affect people’s choices and health outcomes around your area of concern?

Currently the FDA is working on considering revising the current label design by addressing the way manufactures measure size and the amount of sugar added. Other policies and regulations that have helped with addressing the food industry is that of the Food and Drug Administration. Also According to Martinez (2013) “in the early 1990’s Congress passed the most significant piece of food labeling legislation Education Act of 1990. This legislation established lebeling regulations that require nearly all packaged products to carry the Nutrition Facts label. The regulations, which are implemented and interpreted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also identify which voluntary HNR claims are allowed and under what circumstances they can be used” Martinez, 2013, para. 3).

If people are less well informed than you, what do you think their responses might be when you tell them about this information?

It is my belief that once people learn about the information and resources I have provided they will begin to understand that it can and will affect their health. The very food they eat can affect them. In this case it was found that even healthy food contains an unhealthy amount of sugar. Many manufactures try to confuse their consumers by using names other than sugar to confuse people that purchase their products. Many corporations pay stores a large amount of money to keep their products near the isles while people pay for their food so that temptation or even a craving can make people buy their unhealthy products.

 References

Akst, D. (2017). The Snackification of Everything. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la/oe/akst-snacks-20141221-story.html

Hidden in Plain Sight. (2017). Retrieved July 19, 2017, from http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.WW7w18aZOCS

Martinez, S. (2013). Obesity and other Health Concerns Lead Food Companies to Step up Health and Nutrient Claims. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from https://consuminghealthmatters.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/healthconcernsleadtolabelclaims.pdf

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.

Glossary Post 1

Here are a few terms that I find to be useful in terms of consumer health, which I found while researching for my birth and early life post.

Evidence-based:  “the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective programs and policies in public health through application of principles of scientific reasoning, including systematic uses of data and information systems, and appropriate use of behavioral science theory and program planning models. ” (Ross et. al, 2003)

I found this term on the birth slides in the class resources. I did know this word before this class, but not in the context of public health. It is of up-most importance for consumers to make health-related decisions based on what is in their best interest. For this reason, it is important for them to have access to information that takes all appropriate information into account. This includes risk factors, scientific studies, and data.

Cost-sharing: “The share of costs covered by your insurance that you pay out of your own pocket. This term generally includes deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments, or similar charges, but it doesn’t include premiums, balance billing amounts for non-network providers, or the cost of non-covered services. Cost sharing in Medicaid and CHIP also includes premiums.” (Cost Sharing, n.d.)

I have come across this term a few times so far, as this is only my second quarter studying public health. I most recently came across it when doing my research for my early life prompt. I think this term is important, because it is a very common word used in the context of health care, and the definition can be confusing for many consumers.

Preconception:  Occurring before fertilization of an ovum, as in genetic counseling.” (Preconeption, 2009)

I came across the medical meaning of the term while studying the birth slides. It stuck in my mind, because I know the word under a different meaning. The second definition of preconception in the Medical Dictionary is: “An idea or belief held before analysis or investigation,” which is what the meaning that I have always associated with the word. This is important in the context of consumer health because those doing their research on induction technology may not know the medical definition of this word, and knowing it will likely make their research a lot less confusing.

Sources:

Brownson, Ross C., Elizabeth A. Baker, Terry L. Leet, and Kathleen N. Gillespie, Editors. Evidence-Based Public Health. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Cost Sharing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/cost-sharing/

Pearson, R. (2016). Consumer Health: Birth, Birth Options, Maternal-Child Consumer Issues [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from chrome-extension://bpmcpldpdmajfigpchkicefoigmkfalc/views/app.html

Preconception. (2009). In Medical Dictionary . Retrieved from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/preconception

 

Glossary Post 2

I am trying to keep my glossary posts connected to my main post for the week, so this week it is death. There are a lot of definitions and important things to know about how to go about death and talk about it. When we know someone or someone who has lost a loved one, our hearts take a hit.

Here are some important words I think are important in the consumer health world to use when it comes to death or injury.

Recall – this is to bring back from something due to a negative effect. In this case that I am using, many companies including car dealerships or grocery stores often will have to recall things. This is to protect the costumer from a feature or product that hurt another consumer/ or could have been a reason for their death. I just recently saw an article about an herbal tea had to be recalled because it led to a consumers death.

Donors – something someone gives for free though it could be something that could be negotiated for a price. It is a positive helpful thing. In these terms, I am thinking of donors for the body. Most of us have the donor heart on our license so that when we die, our organs can be given to someone in need of them. Once someone is given our donations, they become a consumer of what we had to offer for them.

Consumer Reports – Check out the consumer reports online, where there are a list of products and everything that keep people informed on how they are improving or declining our health and find ways to consume smarter, and not harder on our bodies

 

An Avoidable Topic: Death

As we finish week four, I am sorry to hear that our professor had to attend a memorial recently. See, I work at a restaurant, so I am always asking how people are doing. The responses are generally the generic, “I am good, how are you?” But this one Friday, I was caught off guard.

I do my usual host/bussing duties of greeting a couple and bring water to their table. As I poor the water into clear,clean glasses, I ask “How are we doing today?” And to my surprise, the lady responds “Well we just got back from a memorial, so not sure how to answer.” I was taken a back, which led to an awkward moment. I say, I am so sorry for asking and apologizing. The mood of that conversation changed and I left with an unsatisfactory feeling.

There was nothing I could do to change that moment, because eventually like all things, nothing lasts forever. There was nothing I could say or do to help that couple out. I myself, have experienced death when my grandpa died 4 years ago. Nothing anyone said mattered. I finally understood why death is hard, because nothing anyone says, you take in.

Yea he is in a better place. Yes, he was a good man. Yes, he will be missed. But nothing changes the fact that they are gone. Period.

So how to you bring up the topic? You don’t in my opinion. Be there for that person and feel their presence. Let them know you are there, because often speak louder with our actions than words. If they bring it up to you, elaborate, but if they appear distant, then just be there for support.

We are all consumers of death, whether it be our favorite pet or a loved one. It is an inevitable consumption. That doesn’t mean we cant help others by being there for them. There are different ways we all consume death, by what we do and use our bodies. How we take care of them and eventually how we take care of the world as well. It will come eventually, but we can take steps to prevent a sudden shock of a loved one passing.

Healthcare Prompt 2

I believe most consumers don’t understand why people would lose insurance from the implementation of the BCRA. Many assume that this bill would be taking away peoples insurance by force, partially because they do not understand the healthcare industry at a base level, and partially because they do not understand Obamacare and the BCRA.

Obamacare legislated that insurers could not discriminate against prospective customers for pre-existing conditions, this alone is not feasible for insurance companies. In order for this to work, the american people must forcefully be signed up for insurance, so the insurance companies can maintain profitability. So this is actually allowing those who wish to not bother spending money on insurance to do exactly that.

Although I’m glad to think that people might no longer be forced to purchase something they don’t want, I’m not so sure about the economic effects that could have. We may see insurance companies going out of business due to the insurance pools having larger portions of risky customers. I’d like to know how that could play out in more depth. My Mom is in the healthcare industry, so I might ask her what she thinks.

Consumer Protection and Regulation Prompt

The time article on suicide by plane has two interesting ideas, but one of these will only serve to understand the crash rather than prevent it. Putting a camera in the cockpit could be a good idea for company policy to prevent liability as well, and preventing the problem by requiring two pilots could save lives and money, so a legal angle for those ideas may not even be needed. Many drivers in Russia use dashcams to simplify insurance problems due to an accident.

Food consumption is always going to be a hard thing to take care of, many people (including myself) dont pay enough attention to what they eat. Even with all of the information widely available on nutrition labels and websites like the FDA link about salt consumption.

Michelle Obama’s lunch program may have been targeted at improving the lunch served to students, but it made the situation worse in many states which were underfunded or caught off guard (http://www.npr.org/2017/05/01/526451207/trump-administration-rolls-back-2-of-michelle-obamas-signature-initiatives). Though i dont like most things that the Trump Administration does, giving states exemptions for certain parts of the law so that they can provide better options is a good thing.

Health Care Prompt Two

In reading this resource I learned that by passing the H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 was going to save approximately $321 billion through the years 2017-2026. The only negative impact that it would have on the people is that the individuals that cannot afford insurance will not have it. The Better Care Reconciliation Act would remove the penalties and make it more expensive for individuals to pay for medical attention. According to the H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 states that “by 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law” (H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, 2017). This information provided by the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation have estimated the effects of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

In this case Obamacare provided all a means to be insured and if you were not insured you had to pay a penalty. This in my opinion was beneficial for both the insured and the individuals that do not have it. One of the main things that I would like to know is how much of an impact will it has to those that cannot afford health insurance. The increase of premiums will also negatively impact those that cannot afford it. In conducting further research I found that the affordable care act website had very informational sources to help those looking into becoming more informed in the types of insurances available. The current site that I found is the http://www.medicaid.gov/affordable-care-act/index.html.

Consumer Protection & Regulation Matter Motor Vehicles

After reviewing multiple consumer protection and regulation prompts I found to be most interested in an article that has to do with automobile safety recalls and what our government is doing to keep us aware and safe from what could potentially become life threatening in regards to faulty automobile equipment. This issue is of particular importance because it is a huge risk to families and many others that own vehicles that are and have potential problems. As a Toyota owner I remember receiving a recall letter stating they were having a recall on many Toyota models due to some technical issues and it’s my belief that they did what they could to at least identify the problem and try to fix it.

It is my belief that as a consumer of potentially harmful vehicles I feel that I am unsafe depending on the issue that is being addressed. In this particular article the Toyota Motor Corporation recalled and temporarily stopped selling new and used Toyota models due to the gas pedals sticking. The gas pedal sticking is of great danger to society in many cases. Depending on which major highway they are on it could and may have a potential for death and injury. As a consumer you will not know if your vehicle has any issues because the dealers have assured you that everything is up and running correctly. According to the Associated Press (2010) “Toyota has recalled 4.2 million vehicles worldwide because the gas pedal systems can get stuck. The company said the problem is rare and is caused by condensation that builds up in the gas pedal assembly” (Associated Press, 2010, para. 4).

In this case the law and department that we should invest some time into is that of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This agency is part of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government and it helps ensure the safety of individuals by making sure that all automakers are developing ways to improve safety standards. In March 1, 1967 the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations was passed and made it so that companies must have safety standards. This department made it so that people would be protected from faulty vehicles and their designs. In my personal experience I did not know very much about how the government conducted their duties in regards to motor companies.

In reading the article and searching for laws that apply to our safety in regards to motor companies I have reached a conclusion that we as consumers have to be aware of specific laws that are there to protect us from harm. The motor companies may not find the problem right away and they may only find it when someone gets into an accident due to a faulty vehicle. It is important to understand that there are important regulations that motor companies have to follow and most importantly the laws.

References

(n.d.). Retrieved July 01, 2017, from https://icsw.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/FMVSS

Staff, A. P. (2010, January 30). Toyota says new gas pedals are en route to dealers. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2010/01/us_clears_toyota_gas_pedal_fix.html