Thousands of Mistakes Made in Surgery Every Year

Dec. 26, 2012 — More than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur in surgery every year at a cost of more than $1.3 billion in medical malpractice payouts, according a new study.

How preventable? Well, researchers call them “never events” because they are the kind of surgical mistakes that should never happen, like performing the wrong procedure or leaving a sponge inside a patient’s body after surgery.

But researchers found that paid malpractice settlements and judgments for these types of never events occurred about 10,000 times in the U.S. between 1990 and 2010. Their analysis estimates that each week surgeons:

  • Leave a foreign object like a sponge or towel inside a patient’s body after an operation 39 times
  • Perform the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times
  • Operate on the wrong body site 20 times

“I continue to find the frequency of these events alarming and disturbing,” says Donald Fry, MD, executive vice president at Michael Pine and Associates, a health care think tank in Chicago. “I think it’s a difficult thing for clinicians to talk about, but it is something that must be improved.”

Surgical Mishaps Happen

In the study, researchers looked at malpractice claim information for surgical never events from the National Practitioner Data Bank from 1990 to 2010. The results are published in Surgery.

Malpractice settlements and judgments relating to leaving a sponge or other object inside a patient, performing the wrong operation, operating on the wrong site or on the wrong person were included in their analysis.

The results showed a total of 9,744 paid malpractice judgments and claims for these types of never events were reported over the 20-year period, totaling $1.3 billion.

Based on these results, researchers estimate that 4,044 surgical never events occur each year in the U.S.

Researchers say the actual number of these surgical mistakes is likely even higher.

“What we report is the low end of the range because many never events go unreported,” says researcher Marty Makary, MD, MPH, associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Makary says by law, hospitals are required to report never events that result in a settlement or judgment.

But not all items left behind after surgery are discovered. They are typically only reported when a patient experiences a complication after surgery, and doctors try to find out why.

“We believe the events we describe are real,” says Makary. “I cannot imagine a hospital paying out a settlement for a false claim of a retained sponge.”

The consequences of surgical mistakes ranged from temporary injury in 59% of the cases to death in 6.6% of the cases and permanent injury in 33% of people affected.

Laura Dern Malin Akerman

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‘I keep bursting in to tears of joy in the changing rooms!’: Stunning mother-of-three is hitting the sales for the first time in fifteen years after losing nine stone

By Toni Jones


A mother-of-three from Essex is celebrating hitting the shops for the first time in 15 years – after shedding over nine stone.

Charlene Cush, 31, tipped the scales at almost 20 stone last year – and was so large the only clothes she could fit in were men’s XXXXL jogging bottoms.

Brunette Charlene hadn’t worn a dress since she was a schoolgirl and gave up buying women’s clothes when she struggled to squeeze into a size 24 but after discovering her teenage daughter was being taunted by bullies because of her size, Charlene, from Waltham Abbey, was shocked into changing her lifestyle.

Essex girl Charlene Cush has lost nine stone after discovering that her teenage daughter was being bullied because of her mother’s weight problems

After embarking on a rigorous diet and exercise regime, she has lost almost half her body weight – and now weighs just over 10 stone.

And now for the first time ever size 12 Charlene has been able to hit the January sales with confidence and choose all the glamorous clothes she likes.

Charlene said: ‘It was mental torture for me seeing all my friends going shopping and wearing gorgeous clothes they’d bought.

After embarking on a rigorous diet and exercise regime, she has lost almost half her body weight and is now able to buy the ‘girlie’ clothes that she has always loved

‘I was stuck in the sports shops and I never dreamed in a million years I’d ever be able to shop in all the shops they did.

‘Now I’ve lost the weight it’s opened up a whole new world for me – I keep bursting into tears of joy in changing rooms.

‘The shop assistants must think I’m nuts but I’m just so happy I can wear the clothes I’d always wanted to.’

Charlene, who used to live in men's jogging bottoms, now weighs ten stone and admits she often bursts in to tears of joy in clothes shop changing rooms

Charlene, who used to live in men’s jogging bottoms, now weighs ten stone and admits she often bursts in to tears of joy in clothes shop changing rooms

Charlene said: ‘Now I’ve lost the weight it’s opened up a whole new world for me.’

Charlene started to gain weight after giving birth to her daughter, Jacey, when she was 18.

As a busy new mother, with little time to cook herself healthy meals, the pounds started to pile on – and after having her second child, Tylee, in 2007, her waistline kept expanding.

By the time she gave birth to baby Shayla, now two, she was struggling to fit in a size 24.

Charlene said: ‘I am a busy mum, and for 15 years, watching what I was eating was the last thing on my mind.

‘I was always running around all over the place, and I was so busy all day I’d rarely eat breakfast or lunch – and just pick bits of the children’s dinner.

‘But once I’d got them to bed at night I’d just head straight to the kitchen cupboard and fill my pockets with biscuits – then collapse onto the sofa and sit and eat for hours without thinking.

‘I knew I was really overweight but I was in denial about it.

‘I started avoiding going out, I even refused to go to family functions, because I didn’t have anything to wear, and I didn’t want people to see me the way I looked.

‘When I walked my daughter to school, she automatically walked a few steps ahead of me – I knew deep down that she was embarrassed, and I knew I had to do something for her sake.’

Charlene started to gain weight after giving birth to her daughter, Jacey, when she was 18. By the time she gave birth to baby Shayla, now two, she was struggling to fit in a size 24

After Googling weight loss plans, Charlene signed up to the Cambridge Weight Plan in April and soon started losing weight.

Charlene cut down to eating just one small meal a day, as well as regular soups and shakes – and gradually built up to eating three sensible meals a day.

And after taking up zumba classes, she has shed an amazing six dress sizes – now other mothers at the school gates don’t recognise her.

Charlene said: ‘I’ve always been a girlie girl, but my weight used to stop me being the bubbly, confident person I really am.

‘I wanted to buy bright dresses and skirts, but there was no way I’d fit in them. If I ever went shopping with friends, I’d be completely ignored by shop assistants.

Charlene cut down to eating just one small meal a day and then gradually built up to eating three sensible meals, regular Zumba classes also helped shift the weight

‘Clothes shopping is a completely new experience for me. The first time I tried to buy a pair of jeans, I had to call my friend and ask her what the numbers inside were – I had no idea how to shop if something wasn’t in a sports shop.

‘Now, I go to the shops and I’m like a kid in a sweet shop. I wear the brightest clothes I can.

‘I’ve become a bit of a fat crusader – I see bigger girls who are unhappy, and I just want to tell them I know how it feels, and that it is possible to change.

‘If I can do it, anyone can.

‘My daughter is so proud of me, and it’s such a relief knowing that no-one gives her a hard time because of my big bum anymore.’

'My daughter is so proud of me, and it's such a relief knowing that no-one gives her a hard time because of my big bum anymore.'

‘My daughter is so proud of me, and it’s such a relief knowing that no-one gives her a hard time because of my big bum anymore.’

Allie Mutch David Beckham

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Our Health Comes Through Commitment to Others

Above physical factors, health is primarily a byproduct of how we relate to each other.


kevin dooley/Flickr

Mens sana in corpore sano — a sound mind in a sound body. Many of us take this to mean that the soundness of the mind depends on the soundness of the body. But when the Roman poet Juvenal first coined this phrase, almost 2,000 years ago, he seems to have had the opposite in mind: the health of the flesh depends on the excellence of the thinking and feeling part. The purpose of developing virtues such as moderation is not primarily to enable us to lead longer, healthier lives and spend fewer of our days in a state of sickness or discomfort. Instead we aim first to become better people. Goodness is its own reward, and one of the byproducts of goodness is better health.

In the spirit of Juvenal, we should beware the temptation to think too much about the body, especially if it leads us to neglect what he would have called the needs of the soul. Health is not just the absence of disease. Nor is it merely the sum total of a battery of biological metrics, such as our waistlines, blood pressures, serum chemistry values, and an appropriately balanced mix of neurotransmitters. To be sure, it is a good thing when such values are in the normal range, but no amount of attention to getting the numbers right can guarantee the flourishing of mind and character.


As everyone is talking of the “holiday spirit,” remember that it means waking up each morning with the conviction that we are on a mission to enrich others’ lives. Isolation, mistrust, resentment, greed, and fear are all bad for us, not primarily because they render us more likely to develop cancer or suffer a heart attack or stroke, but because they undermine our capacity to live. The interests of the body are best served not by designated drivers and rigidly enforced diet plans, but by organizing our days so that each of us brings more humanity into the world. Health is not the most important thing in life. It is primarily a byproduct of the pursuit of the most important things life has to offer.

Health is also not something that we can hoard up for ourselves. Its value is realized not in its accumulation, but in its spending. 

If one day we wake up in full possession of our bodily faculties and feeling our best, our best course of action is not to down a fruit and vegetable puree or go for a jog. Health achieves its fullest expression in connection, trust, gratitude, and a habit of rejoicing in the flourishing of others.

Our Darwinian age tends to see life as a struggle against scarcity to survive, but in fact life for most of us life is characterized less as survival of the fittest than flourishing of the wisest. Health is not just what is happening inside the body of any particular person. Instead it is also what is going on collectively. How aware are we of one another? How committed are we to one another? How much of our hope and ambition for every day is bound up in an ongoing commitment to make a difference in the life of another person?

This is, of course, the essential lesson learned by Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. A physician might encourage him to take more exercise, to eat a more varied and balanced diet, perhaps to take medications to control his blood pressure or blood sugar. Seeing that he never smiles, we might even suggest that he consider an antidepressant. But all our prescriptions would be for naught, because Scrooge’s disorder is not primarily bodily but spiritual.


Unemployed, I Went to Spain, to Walk

Through the opportunity to survey his days from a superhuman perspective, Scrooge learned that his life has been utterly empty and devoid of humanity. The opportunity to follow the Socratic injunction and examine life anew enables him to chart a new course, one centered less on taking for self and more on sharing with others. What Scrooge experiences for the first time in a very long time is the best medicine we have for the human soul. It is not found in a bottle, a pair of jogging shoes, or a juicer. The highest and best medicine, the only one that can truly suffuse and elevate everything else, is joy. Joy is life-affirming, life-restoring, and life-enhancing. Joy, and only joy, brings us truly and fully to life.

Our own health, the health of those around us, and the health of the nation depends less on what policymakers in Washington do or don’t do and more on the choices each of us makes. Do we know that we are here for a reason, that we are called to important work, that the world is beckoning us to share the very best we have to offer? Undue focus on our own health makes us less than we are meant to be.

This article available online at:

Neriah Davis Lori Petty

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Link between pot, psychosis goes both ways in kids

NEW YORK | Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:57pm EST

(Reuters Health) – Marijuana (cannabis) use may be linked to the development of psychotic symptoms in teens – but the reverse could also be true: psychosis in adolescents may be linked to later pot use, according to a new Dutch study.

“We have focused mainly on temporal order; is it the chicken or the egg? As the study shows, it is a bidirectional relationship,” wrote the study’s lead author Merel Griffith-Lendering, a doctoral candidate at Leiden University in The Netherlands, in an email to Reuters Health.

Previous research established links between marijuana and psychosis, but scientists questioned whether pot use increased the risk of mental illness, or whether people were using pot to ease their psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions.

“What is interesting in this study is that both processes are going on at the same time,” said Dr. Gregory Seeger, medical director for addiction services at Rochester General Hospital in upstate New York.

He told Reuters Health that researchers have been especially concerned about what tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active property in pot, could do to a teenager’s growing brain.

“That’s a very vulnerable period of time for brain development,” and individuals with a family history of schizophrenia and psychosis seem to be more sensitive to the toxic effects of THC, he said.

A 2010 study of 3,800 Australian teenagers found that those who used marijuana were twice as likely to develop psychosis compared to teens who never smoked pot (see Reuters Health article of March 1, 2010 here:).

But that study also found that those who suffered from hallucinations and delusions when they were younger were also more likely to use pot early on.


For the new study, published in the journal Addiction, the researchers wanted to see which came first: pot or psychosis.

Griffith-Lendering and her colleagues used information on 2,120 Dutch teenagers, who were surveyed about their pot use when they were about 14, 16 and 19 years old.

The teens also took psychosis vulnerability tests that asked – among other things – about their ability to concentrate, their feelings of loneliness and whether they see things other people don’t.

Overall, the researchers found 940 teens, or about 44 percent, reported smoking pot, and there was a bidirectional link between pot use and psychosis.

For example, using pot at 16 years old was linked to psychotic symptoms three years later, and psychotic symptoms at age 16 were linked to pot use at age 19.

This was true even when the researchers accounted for mental illness in the kids’ families, alcohol use and tobacco use.

Griffith-Lendering said she could not say how much more likely young pot users were to exhibit psychotic symptoms later on.

Also, the new study cannot prove one causes the other. Genetics may also explain the link between pot use and psychosis, said Griffith-Lendering.

“We can say for some people that cannabis comes first and psychosis comes second, but for some people they have some (undiagnosed) psychosis (and) perhaps cannabis makes them feel better,” said Dr. Marta Di Forti, of King’s College, London, who was not involved with the new research.

Di Forti, who has studied the link between pot and psychosis, told Reuters Health she considers pot a risk factor for psychosis – not a cause.

Seeger, who was also not involved with the new study, said that there needs to be more public awareness of the connection.

“I think the marijuana is not a harmless substance. Especially for teenagers, there should be more of a public health message out there that marijuana has a public health risk,” he said.

Griffith-Lendering agrees.

“Given the severity and impact of psychotic disorders, prevention programs should take this information into consideration,” she said.

SOURCE: Addiction, online December 7, 2012.

Romane Bohringer Gisele Bundchen

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Chest compression-only CPR shows long-term benefit

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People who suffer cardiac arrest – in which the heart stops beating – were less likely to die in subsequent years when bystanders performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation using chest compressions only, a new study found.

That builds on previous research that found no short-term survival differences in adult victims given compression-only CPR instead of the standard kind, which includes mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

And it supports an American Heart Association recommendation that the simpler form of CPR is appropriate for bystanders, who may feel so intimidated by the prospect of combining chest compressions with rescue breathing that they give no aid at all.

This study shows “we were on the right track in 2008,” said Dr. Roger White of the Mayo Clinic, who was on the advisory group that wrote the AHA’s statement.

The recommendations don’t apply to CPR performed in the hospital, nor in the community by medical personnel or people who are proficient in rescue breathing. They also apply only to adult, not pediatric, victims.

Some 383,000 people in the U.S. suffer cardiac arrests every year, and only about 10 percent survive.

The study looked at data from two randomized trials that were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 and covered more than 3,200 adults whose cardiac arrests were likely due to heart problems rather than trauma, suffocating or drowning. Dispatchers instructed bystanders via phone to use either the standard or compression-only form of CPR.

The new study’s authors, who were from Seattle, France and Sweden, were able to follow up on longer-term outcomes for 78 percent of those participants.

The one-year survival rate was about 12 percent for chest compression alone and about 10 percent for compression plus breathing, said Dr. Florence Dumas, an author of the study, in an email to Reuters Health. After adjusting for different factors, mortality in the compression-only group was 9 percent lower than in the standard CPR group. The survival benefit persisted over five years, according to findings published in the journal Circulation.

That suggests “that potential short-term outcome differences do translate to meaningful long-term public health benefits,” said Dumas.


In 2008 the AHA said compression-only CPR was an option for bystanders who aren’t trained or who aren’t confident in their ability to perform the compressions combined with rescue breathing.

Some people have worried that collapsed victims of non-cardiac events such as drug overdoses or a blood clot in the lungs might not get the oxygen they need with the compression-only approach, he said.

But the study authors wrote that, “importantly, we did not observe evidence of harm among those for whom oxygenation and ventilation might in theory be more important” such as non-cardiac causes or an unwitnessed cardiac arrest.

There is likely some oxygen remaining in the blood when a victim’s heart has stopped for a short period of time, and the compression-only technique can distribute it to vital organs. If a person has been down for a longer or unknown period of time, it’s more likely that they’ll need fresh oxygen through rescue breathing, said White, an anesthesiologist and cardiac care specialist who was not involved in the new study.

That’s why the AHA’s recommendations apply when bystanders actually witness an adult suffering cardiac arrest with no obvious non-cardiac cause such as drowning. (Kids suffering cardiac arrest need rescue breathing.)

“The vast majority (of events) are likely to be cardiac in origin,” said White. “So proceeding with chest compression is likely to be beneficial in the vast majority of cases,” he said.

One limitation of the study was that it tracked survival only; it couldn’t assess patients’ level of function or quality of life. In addition, the original trials the study drew from weren’t designed to track long-term outcomes.

SOURCE: Circulation, online Dec. 10, 2012.

Kevin Smith Catherine Oxenberg

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Mariners sign Ibanez to one-year contract

Raul Ibanez of the New York Yankees ties the game with a 2-run home run in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers in Game 1of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium in New York, Oct. 13, 2012. UPI/John Angelillo 

License photo

Published: Dec. 26, 2012 at 6:38 PM

SEATTLE, Dec. 26 (UPI) – The Seattle Mariners have signed free-agent outfielder Raul Ibanez to a one-year contract, the team said Wednesday.

The 40-year-old Ibanez agreed to a $2.75 million deal, reported.

The 17-year MLB veteran, who played for the Mariners from 1996-2000 and 2004-08, is coming off a successful year with the New York Yankees — especially in the post-season, when he bashed three homers and drove in five runs while hitting .318 for the American League East champs.

He sports a career .278 average with 271 home runs and 1,116 RBI over 1,975 games.

To make room for Ibanez, the Mariners designating right-handed pitcher D.J. Mitchell for assignment.

Barbara Flynn Nancy Allen

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U.S. home prices show long-term growth

U.S. home prices rose 4.3 percent September-to-October, pointing to a sustained market recovery, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller report said Wednesday.

Published: Dec. 26, 2012 at 3:07 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 26 (UPI) – U.S. home prices rose 4.3 percent September-to-October, pointing to a sustained market recovery, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller report said Wednesday.

Price gains beat the consensus forecast, which called for prices to climb 4 percent.

Seasonal declines showed up as expected, the monthly report said, as prices fell month-to-month in 12 of 20 markets in the 20-city index. But prices in the 10-city index rose 3.4 percent over 12 months, pointing to faster gains in October than September, when the 10-city index was up 2.1 percent on an annual basis and the 20-city index was up 3 percent on an annual basis.

The annual gain in October was higher than the annual gain in September in 19 of 20 cities tracked.

Only Chicago and New York posted negative annual returns n October. Phoenix posted price gains for the 13th consecutive month. San Diego, next on the list, posted gains for the ninth consecutive month.

“The October monthly numbers were weaker than September as 12 cities saw prices drop compared to seven the month before,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Month-to-month declines were posted in October in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Seattle, Tampa, Fla., and Washington. Chicago was the weakest among all 20 cities, with prices dropping 1.5 percent, followed by Boston, where prices fell 1.4 percent. Las Vegas recorded the strongest one-month gain with prices up 2.8 percent, followed by Phoenix, with prices up 1.4 percent.

Prices were flat from September to October in Denver.

Lara Bingle Sophia Bush

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and your family a fun filled holiday season and a Happy New Year!


Rebecca Demorney Lisa Loring

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One in 12 in military has clogged heart arteries

NEW YORK | Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:59pm EST

(Reuters Health) – Just over one in 12 U.S. service members who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars had plaque buildup in the arteries around their hearts – an early sign of heart disease, according to a new study.

None of them had been diagnosed with heart disease before deployment, researchers said.

“This is a young, healthy, fit group,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Bryant Webber, from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

“These are people who are asymptomatic, they feel fine, they’re deployed into combat,” he told Reuters Health.

“It just proves again the point that we know that this is a clinically silent disease, meaning people can go years without being diagnosed, having no signs or symptoms of the disease.”

Webber said the findings also show that although the U.S. has made progress in lowering the nationwide prevalence of heart disease, there’s more work that can be done to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and reduce their risks.

Heart disease accounts for about one in four deaths – or about 600,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new data come from autopsies done on U.S. service members who died in October 2001 through August 2011 during combat or from unintentional injuries. Those autopsies were originally performed to provide a full account to service members’ families of how they died.

The study mirrors autopsy research on Korean and Vietnam war veterans, which found signs of heart disease in as many as three-quarters of deceased service members at the time.

“Earlier autopsy studies… were critical pieces of information that alerted the medical community to the lurking burden of coronary disease in our young people,” said Dr. Daniel Levy, director of the Framingham Heart Study and a senior investigator with the National Institutes of Health.

The findings are not directly comparable, in part because there was a draft in place during the earlier wars but not for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn. When service is optional, healthier people might be more likely to sign up, researchers explained.

Still, Levy said the new study likely reflects declines in heart disease in the U.S. in general over that span.

Altogether the researchers had information on 3,832 service members who’d been killed at an average age of 26. Close to 9 percent had any buildup in their coronary arteries, according to the autopsies. And about a quarter of the soldiers with buildup in their arteries had severe blockage.

Service members who had been obese or had high cholesterol or high blood pressure when they entered the military were especially likely to have plaque buildup, Webber and his colleagues reported Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than 98 percent of the service members included were men.

“This study bodes well for a lower burden of disease lurking in young people,” Levy, who wrote an editorial published with the report, told Reuters Health.

“Young, healthy people are likely to have a lower burden of disease today than their parents or grandparents had decades ago.”

That’s likely due, in part, to better control of blood pressure and cholesterol and lower rates of smoking in today’s service members – as well as the country in general, researchers said.

However, two risks for heart disease that haven’t declined are obesity and diabetes, which are closely linked.

“Obesity is the one that has not trended in the right direction,” Levy said.

“Those changes in obesity and diabetes threaten to reverse some of the dramatic improvements that we are seeing in heart disease death rates,” he added.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, online December 25, 2012.

Rachel Ward Carrie Fisher

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9/11 responders may have higher risk of some cancers

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Rescue and recovery workers who provided aid after the World Trade Center attacks may have an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate and thyroid cancers, a new study suggests.

However, that finding was based on a relatively small number of cancers. And neither relief workers nor people who lived, worked or went to school near the towers had a higher-than-average chance of being diagnosed with all cancers combined up to seven years later.

“There’s a lot of interest in the question of, does exposure to the World Trade Center cause cancer?” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the New York City Health Commissioner.

In part, that interest has been driven by a debate on whose health care should be covered by the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act – set up to care for World Trade Center victims – and what conditions should be included.

Based on this study, Farley said the role of the attacks on cancer risk is “complicated.”

“Most of the people who have had cancer so far would have had it anyway,” Farley told Reuters Health.

But because cancer can take 20 or more years to develop, the true risks may not become clear for many years, he added.

Researchers have predicted that exposure to dust, smoke and other chemicals after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks may have put people who were nearby or involved in the clean-up efforts at risk of some diseases, including cancer.

To see how those workers and residents had fared through 2008, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tracked 55,778 enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry. That included 21,850 people involved in the rescue and recovery efforts.

Using state cancer records, the research team, led by Jiehui Li, recorded any new diagnoses among those groups and compared their chance of cancer to data from all of New York State during the same time period.

In total, there were 1,187 new cancers among everyone in the health registry. The overall rates for both rescue workers and residents were similar to the rate of cancer diagnoses across the state.

Out of 23 types of cancer the researchers examined, three cancers were more common in rescue and recovery workers during the last two years of the study: prostate cancer, thyroid cancer and multiple myeloma – cancer of the bone marrow cells.

Aid workers were between 1.4 and 2.9 times more likely to be diagnosed with one of those cancers in 2007 or 2008 than other New Yorkers, the researchers reported Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That was based on 67 prostate cancers, 13 thyroid cancers and seven myelomas among responders.


Dr. Jacqueline Moline from North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, New York, said studies have consistently shown a higher rate of thyroid cancer in responders – but it’s unclear why rescue workers would also be at increased risk of prostate cancer.

Farley said it could be that people who were exposed have had better health care in recent years, so they’ve been checked for prostate and thyroid cancer more often.

“It may be that these would be cancers that would never have been picked up” had workers not been screened, he said.

Moline, who has studied cancer in World Trade Center responders but wasn’t involved in the new report, also noted that seven years isn’t a very long time to track the growth of solid tumors.

“I think as times goes on we are going to see increased rates of cancer in those who were exposed, at higher rates than we would expect if they weren’t exposed,” she told Reuters Health.

Researchers should especially be on the lookout for whether certain cancers show up earlier than usual, or in unexpected populations – for example if lots of non-smokers are diagnosed with lung cancer, Moline said.

“We don’t have a really good handle on what happens when people are exposed to a complex mixture of carcinogens,” she added.

“I think we’re not going to get a full answer for many years.”

That’s a concern, Moline said, because the Zadroga Act only provides health monitoring and care for people affected by the attacks through 2016 – before some related cancers may have even been diagnosed.

Farley said the major health risks linked to the World Trade Center attacks so far have been breathing problems such as asthma and mental health problems, including post traumatic stress disorder. But he said he and his colleagues will continue to monitor cancer in relief workers and residents.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, online December 18, 2012.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Rachel McAdams

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COL BKB: Arizona 68, San Diego State 67

Published: Dec. 26, 2012 at 12:37 AM

HONOLULU, Dec. 26 (UPI) – Mark Lyons drained two free throws with 13 seconds left Tuesday and co-No. 3 Arizona stayed undefeated with a 68-67 win over No. 16 San Diego State.

With the Wildcats trailing by two points, Lyons drove to the basket and was fouled by Skylar Spencer. His two foul shots gave Arizona (12-0) the lead for good.

The Aztecs (11-2) got the ball back and Chase Tapley had a chance for the win, but Nick Johnson blocked his shot off the glass at the buzzer, handing the Wildcats the win in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.

Solomon Hill scored 21 points with six rebounds and Kevin Parrom added 17 points off the bench for the Wildcats.

Tapley finished with 19 points for San Diego State, which saw its 11-game winning streak snapped.

Robin Quivers Kevin Smith

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Recreational marijuana should not be top federal priority: Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama says federal authorities should not target recreational marijuana use in two Western states where it has been made legal given limited government resources and growing public acceptance of the controlled substance.

His first comments on the issue come weeks after Washington state and Colorado voters supported legalizing pot, or cannabis, last month in ballot measures that stand in direct opposition of federal law.

“It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law that’s legal,” he told ABC News in part of an interview released on Friday.

“At this point (in) Washington and Colorado, you’ve seen the voters speak on this issue. And, as it is, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions,” Obama said.

The Department of Justice has said pot remains a federally controlled substance and states have been looking for guidance from Washington on how it will handle the conflict with state laws.

Medical use of the substance is legal in 18 U.S. states. But federal officials have still continued to crack down on some providers in those states.

Pot remains an illegal narcotic under U.S. law, but Washington and Colorado became the first states in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana use on November 6. A similar effort in Oregon failed.

Obama called the situation “a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law.” He told ABC that “what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about” how to reconcile federal and state laws, and that he has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to examine the issue.

In his 1995 memoir, “Dreams of My Father,” Obama admitted to regularly smoking pot in high school. The father of two told ABC that he would not go so far as to say pot should be legalized altogether. There are also concerns about drug use in children and violence, he told ABC, according to its website.

“I want to discourage drug use,” he added.

The new measures in Washington and Colorado, which already permit medical marijuana use, allow possession of up to an ounce of the substance for private use. They also will regulate and tax sales at special stores for those aged 21 and older.

Kevin Smith Catherine Oxenberg

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My Beauty Purchases

My recent beauty purchases:

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 15 With Dermaxyl Complex SPF 15 With Dermaxyl Complex
I use this primer everyday!  It creates the perfect canvas for foundation application, while helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for visibly softer skin.  Love it!

Yves Saint Laurent ROUGE PUR COUTURE Glossy Stain 5 Rouge Vintage
This is a new product I’m trying.  It claims that is coat your lips with this lip color that offers a lightweight texture, which immediately melts onto lips. Glossy Stain delivers intense glossy color for an extremely long-lasting shine.  So far so good.

Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer Ocher
There’s a reason why it continues to win “Best Concealer!” Moisturizing and blends perfectly to conceal dark circles, spots and imperfections.  It’s worth the premium price.

NARS Blush Orgasm
This is a staple in my beauty routine, a classic blush.

Smashbox Brow Tech
I love the angled, long-wearing waterproof gel pencil for easy filling and defining along with a brow brush applicator to groom brows perfectly into place.  No need for sharpening!

Justine Bateman Andrea Thompson

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Allergies, extra weight tied to bullying

A high school student (L) walks towards a group of female students chatting in front of a school in Tokyo November 9, 2006. REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota

A high school student (L) walks towards a group of female students chatting in front of a school in Tokyo November 9, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Kiyoshi Ota

NEW YORK | Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:20am EST

(Reuters Health) – Kids who have food allergies or are overweight may be especially likely to get bullied by their peers, two new studies suggest.

Not surprisingly, researchers also found targets of bullying were more distressed and anxious and had a worse quality of life, in general, than those who weren’t picked on.

Bullying has become a concern among parents, doctors and school administrators since research and news stories emerged linking bullying – including online “cyberbullying” – with depression and even suicide.

“There has been a shift and people are more and more recognizing that bullying has real consequences, it’s not just something to be making jokes about,” said Dr. Mark Schuster, chief of general pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, who wrote a commentary published with the new research.

Studies suggest between one in ten and one in three of all kids and teens are bullied – but those figures may vary by location and demographics, researchers noted.

The new findings come from two studies published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

In one, Dr. Eyal Shemesh from the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and his colleagues surveyed 251 kids who were seen at an allergy clinic and their parents. The children were all between age eight and 17 with a diagnosed food allergy.

Just over 45 percent of them said they’d been bullied or harassed for any reason, and 32 percent reported being bullied because of their allergy in particular.

“Our finding is entirely consistently with what you find with children with a disability,” Shemesh told Reuters Health.

A food allergy, he said, “is a vulnerability that can be very easily exploited, so of course it will be exploited.”

The kids in the study were mostly white and well-off, the researcher said – a group that you’d expect would be targeted less often. So bullying may be more common in poorer and minority children who also have food allergies.

But allergies aren’t the only cause of teasing and harassment by peers.

In another study, researchers from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, found that almost two-thirds of 361 teens enrolled in weight-loss camps had been bullied due to their size.

That likelihood increased with weight, so that the heaviest kids had almost a 100 percent chance of being bullied, Rebecca Puhl and her colleagues found. Verbal teasing was the most common form of bullying, but more than half of bullied kids reported getting taunted online or through texts and emails as well.


Shemesh’s team found only about half of parents knew when their food-allergic child was being bullied, and kids tended to be better off when their families were aware of the problem.

He said parents should feel comfortable asking kids if they’re being bothered at school or elsewhere – and that even if it only happens once, bullying shouldn’t be ignored.

“We want parents to know,” he said. “Start the conversation.”

“Parents whose kids have a food allergy should really be aware that their kids have the kind of characteristic that often leads to being bullied,” Schuster told Reuters Health. “They should be working with the school to handle the food allergy in a way that isn’t going to make it more likely that their kids will be bullied – and they need to be attuned to their kids.”

That’s the same for parents of overweight and obese children, he added.

“Kids need their parents to be their allies in these situations,” he said. “Their parents can help them still feel strong.”

SOURCE: Pediatrics, online December 24, 2012.

Carey Mulligan Catherine Bosley

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Graduate who weighed nearly 19 stone after gorging on junk food and fizzy drinks sheds six dress sizes to fit into LBD for Christmas

By Anna Berrill


When it comes to the festive season, many women would love to look slimmer in their party outfits -  but few of us have the willpower of Shayda Malaki.

The 24-year-old graduate has lost seven stone since March 2011, dropping from a size 24 to a size 12 just in time for the party season.

Shayda, who lives in Edgbaston, Birmingham, said: ‘This year was the first Christmas party season I looked forward to and I’m also going to my first New Year’s Eve party too.

Shayda Malaki has dropped from a size 24 to a size 12 in just a year and a half

Shayda Malaki has dropped from a size 24 to a size 12 in just a year and a half

‘For Christmas parties in the past, I would put on whatever fitted me and tried to hide in the background because I was self-conscious about my size.

‘This year it was so nice to have options and I tried loads on.’

Shayda, who has a masters degree in applied biomedical science from Aston University, dropped from 18st 11lbs to 12st 3lbs after signing up to her local WeightWatchers group in March 2011.

She said: ‘I thought I would be the biggest one there but I’m so glad I went as it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

LEFT: Shayda weighed nearly 19 stone before joining WeightWatchers in March 2011. Now, RIGHT, she says: she gets ‘so many compliments’. ‘Losing weight has given me a new life,’ she adds

‘Before that, the first thing I would do when I got home was open the fridge and eat until I was so full I couldn’t move.

‘I didn’t do anything, I never went out and was always making excuses. I cried all the time.

‘I would have huge portions. I didn’t realise exactly how much I was eating until I joined WeightWatchers and discovered what a normal portion should be.’

Festive fun: Shayda lost weight just in time to fit into her LBD

Festive fun: Shayda lost weight just in time to fit into her LBD

On a typical day, Shayda, who works at her family’s cafe in Selly Oak, would consume a large bowl of cereal, crisps, chocolate bars, a sandwich, fizzy drinks, and a ‘mountain’ of dinner. 

Now, she weighs everything to control her portion sizes, and opts for lean meat, salads, fruit and yoghurt, and combines this with exercise.

She said: ‘I get so many compliments and lots of people don’t recognise me.

‘Losing weight has given me a new life.

Olivia Pascal Kimberly Joseph

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