Monday, January 4, 2010

Primate Medicine

Two links this morning for mainstream media health:

US response to H1N1 'appropriate' - which I think is correct, if less by design and more by luck. I find it interesting that the death rates for different flu strains are given in the article, but not for the typical 'annual' flu. (The death rates become important when one is trying to figure out how much money to spend on influenza programs, because the money usually has to get cut from something else - and it would be good to know if that something else was a greater or lesser risk than the one you were proposing to fix.)

Norway's response to MRSA - stop prescribing antibotics. I find this interesting for two reasons - firstly, because it shows a reduction in intervention in response to increased disease (which worked) and secondly because the primary influencing factor in human MRSA was demonstrated (overwhelmingly, in multiple regions) to be over-use of antibotics in humans.

(Yes, yes, One World, One Health. Everything that goes into the bioweb touches everything else. But let's hit the lower hanging fruit first, shall we, before harring off to stop animals from getting medical treatment?)

I am curious as to what sort of in-clinic, alternative care or counseling was given patients in lieu of an antibiotic prescription. Sometimes, if a provider (MD, DVM, whatever) declines to prescribe medication, the client/patient seems to take offense, as if the provider doesn't care/isn't trying to make the patient better. 'Tincture of talk' fixes many of these misunderstandings, but not all of them. A provider might easily decide that it is a better use of their time to write the script and go on to the next patient than to spend the time convincing the client to accept the more conservative treatment (which isn't making the provider any money anyway.)

Also of note is the variation in drug approval in different countries across the world. In many places I've visited - specifically Latin America - drugs that are restricted to prescription use only in the USA are available over the counter at pharmacies and animal supply/feed stores.

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