Health Ethics, Easter Salmonella, and Seniors vs. Baby Boomers

An recent peice of writing by Gary Schwitzer of the University of Minnesota on his blog asks some hard questions about how relevant animal studies really are to human health responses. He quotes a Wall Street Journal story:

    “Many times, however, subtle results in animals are unclear and scientists just don’t know what to make of them. In the case of the new Novartis drug Galvus, James Shannon, the company’s global head of pharmaceutical development, told investors that Novartis researchers “do not understand — do not know — the mechanism of the skin findings” in monkeys. They do know that “humans appear to react to Galvus in a very different way.”

Bill Seig at Men’s Health Today reminds us just in time for Easter, that handling baby chicks may lead to salmonella poisoning-

    “The bacteria is spread through chick feces, which clings to its feet or feathers, even though they look so clean and cute. Little kids who are likely to put their hands in their mouth are most susceptible.”

He suggests that parents avoid such gifts, unless they are ready for a lot of germ control.

Is Access Taking a Backseat to Quality in Healthcare? asks the Center for Global Development. It seems that it is difficult to measure performance in health care environments. Administrators and managers must choose between monitoring quality of care, or acessability, as measured by amounts of patients served.

    “It’s much easier to tell if a child gets a vaccination than it is to tell if a pregnant woman gets proper prenatal care. The first you can easily observe, and therefore count or measure; the second is trickier. But determining the appropriateness of a health service involves first defining what is considered to be high-quality is and then being able to measure it. There are lots of good ideas about how to do both, but it is not nearly as standardized as measuring number of assisted deliveries or utilization rates at clinics.”

Finally, compared to others their own age, Seniors feel healthier than Baby Boomers. That was one of the surprising findings from a recent online survey of over 500 Baby Boomers and Seniors conducted by 50Plus Research

    “In fact, 37% of Seniors feel that “My health is much better than most people my age.” But only 20% of Boomers feel this way.”