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Tuesday November 10, 2009




Big Medicine is published by Team EMS Inc.


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Contact: ideas@tems.ca




Avi Bachar

Steve Crimando

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Chris Piper

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Geary Sikich

Ric Skinner

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The views expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of their organizations. In particular, the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Big Medicine, nor any member of Team EMS Inc.



















Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Kelly Rouba [Updated Mar 21 New York NY]--A self-help guide for youth, Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide is also useful to family members, friends, and caregivers of those suffering from the disease. Author Kelly Rouba has prepared a truly comprehensive resource without making it overwhelming, in order to help those who have the disease lead the best life possible.


As someone diagnosed with a severe form of juvenile arthritis at the age of two, Rouba is very familiar with how difficult—physically and emotionally—it can be to live with this chronic illness.

Readers get an overview of juvenile arthritis from the point of view of teenagers and their parents, and the book also includes discussions related to diagnosis, symptoms of the disease, its history, and various related conditions. Treatment options are also provided, as well as tips on how to adapt to life with the disease including exercise, diet and therapy. A list of applicable Web sites and other helpful resources is included at the end of most chapters.

Kelly Rouba is an author, writer, and public relations professional, who was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age two. She is also a member of the Arthritis National Research Foundation's Advisory Board.

$40.00 • Cloth • 0-8108-6055-4 | 978-0-8108-6055-1 • March 2009 • 240 pp
To order, visit www.scarecrowpress.com call 1-800-462-6420


Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide

A word from the author
By Kelly Rouba

It was in December 2006 when I got the call asking if I’d be interested in writing a book on juvenile arthritis. I still remember the day well—probably because I’ve been told for years by so many people that I should write a book and, well, here was my chance.

I’ve been a freelance writer for 10 years now. My work has been published in a multitude of publications from local newspapers to websites to big name magazines. I enjoy getting information out there to the public, and I especially like writing inspirational stories. But, to be honest, writing a book was something I never really wanted to do. However, this was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse as I was diagnosed with severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 2. To my own amazement, I accepted the challenge quickly since the subject matter is one that is near and dear to my heart, and I know that very little literature is out there for people in need of information.

Perhaps what is even more ironic about the fact that I completed writing this book and it is only days away from being released (March 2009) is that it is something I never would have read in my youth. This is not to say the book is not well written—in fact, it’s been strongly endorsed by Seth Ginsberg, founder of www.creakyjoints.org and the Global Healthy Living Foundation. But, what I am saying is that I had a difficult time accepting the fact that I had arthritis growing up. I can clearly remember throwing the resource guides my doctors gave me into the back of my closet soon after getting them and never looking back.

In my head, I refused to accept that I had arthritis. I didn’t want to be different from my peers. I hated all the doctors’ visits, constant blood tests, hospital stays, and the fact that I had to sleep in leg and arm splints. But probably the worst part was when the disease limited my ability so much that I needed a walker in elementary school and eventually had to resort to a wheelchair to get around not long after. To live “normally,” I believed that I had to ignore the disease, including the physical and emotional pain. This was how I lived my life for about 18 years.

It wasn’t until college that I finally began to embrace the fact that my life was “unique” (and not just in a negative way) due to this disease. This whole revelation began to come about after my professor asked us to write a term paper on a subject of our choosing. At the time, arthritis seemed to be one of the few subjects I could write on at length. During the presentation I had to give on the report, I realized the class seemed quite intrigued—and that was mostly because it was a topic they had never heard much about.

After that, my interest in creating awareness of the fact that approximately 300,000 children and teens suffer from this disease only grew. In fact, I even got involved with the Arthritis Foundation’s annual Arthritis Walk when it was established in my area, and I have now been a key organizer for several years. As a child, I never wanted to take part in the foundation’s events, so I guess I’ve come a long way.

At our local walk in Mercer County this May, I will be signing copies of my book along with a few of the individuals who are featured in it, including Ginsberg. I am honored to have this opportunity and have high hopes that those with juvenile arthritis, along with their family, friends, and caregivers, will find the book to be a useful resource—if they don’t toss it into the bottom of their closets.

To provide an overview of the book, it is the latest in what I refer to as a self-help series published by Scarecrow Press called “It Happened to Me.” While the series is meant for teens, I tried to write for a broader audience knowing that so few resources on juvenile arthritis are out there. As noted on Scarecrow’s site: “Readers get an overview of juvenile arthritis from the point of view of teenagers and their parents, and the book also includes discussions related to diagnosis, symptoms of the disease, its history, and various related conditions. Treatment options are also provided, as well as tips on how to adapt to life with the disease including exercise, diet, and therapy. A list of applicable Web sites and other helpful resources is included at the end of most chapters.”

While there is no cure for juvenile arthritis, I am hoping this book will help those living with the disease lead the best life possible—even though it can be very difficult at times.

Aside from volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation, I am also an advisory board member of the Arthritis National Research Foundation. I have been very committed to raising funds and awareness for both organizations. What keeps me going is the number of people who still ask what my disability is and are shocked to hear the answer. Yes, it’s not just your grandparents who get arthritis—kids get it too. And until the day that children with juvenile arthritis are no longer in pain or limited in terms of mobility, I will continue on my mission to spread awareness.

For more information on Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide, visit www.scarecrowpress.org.

To read more about Kelly Rouba, visit:




Kelly Rouba works full-time with EAD & Associates, an emergency management consultancy with a focus on special needs populations and human services. Ms. Rouba is also a DAE with FEMA Region II. Through this position, she has handled emergency preparedness issues relating to special needs populations and served as a key organizer of the regional special needs conference in 2008. Ms. Rouba previously served on the NJ Special Needs Advisory Panel, a task force led by NJ OEM.

A long-time disability rights advocate, Ms. Rouba is an avid public speaker on topics ranging from disability awareness to employment to emergency preparedness. From December 2006 through February 2008, she held the title of Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey and also served as state program coordinator. To date, Ms. Rouba has been featured in numerous publications and television programs, from NJN News to ABC’s Perspective New Jersey. Presently, Ms. Rouba is being filmed by Agency New Jersey for a documentary on juvenile arthritis, and she is co-hosting a television show called Breaking Barriers.

In 2008, Ms. Rouba became a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She writes for numerous publications, including a number of disability magazines and websites. In addition, she recently authored a book called Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide, which is being released by Scarecrow Press in March 2009.

In 2006, Ms. Rouba was honored by the State of New Jersey’s Department of Labor for her outstanding work ethic and success in the workplace as a local journalist and woman with a disability. In 2007, Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein presented Ms. Rouba with a proclamation recognizing her community service efforts and role as a journalist. And, in 2008, she received the Governor’s Volunteerism Award for her extensive community service. Presently, she volunteers with several organizations, including as a member of the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s Advisory Board and Project Freedom’s Board of Trustees.

Ms. Rouba earned her BA from The College of New Jersey in 2002, where she majored in Journalism/Professional Writing and minored in Communications.



Landmark textbook on strokes in children and young adults updated in second edition [Feb 6 Maywood IL]--In 1994, a neurology textbook edited by Dr. Jose Biller became the standard reference work for the treatment and prevention of strokes in young people.

Now, Stroke in Children and Young Adults has been extensively revised. In the Second Edition, the 14 original chapters have been rewritten, and three new chapters have been added, Biller said. Biller is chairman of the Department of Neurology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

In the foreword, Dr. Mark Dyken wrote that in reading the book, "one is struck by how much has been added to our knowledge." Dyken is professor emeritus of neurology at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Strokes can occur at any age -- even before birth. According to conservative estimates, about 3,200 strokes occur each year in youths under age 18. And more than 3,000 people under age 45 die of strokes each year. This age group accounts for between 5 percent and 10 percent of all strokes. Survivors can experience lifelong learning disabilities, seizures, movement disorders, language problems, cognitive deficits and paralysis on one side of the body. Between 6 percent and 20 percent of children who have strokes die, and at least half are left with some disability.

"The impact of strokes in this age group is devastating to the child or young adult, their families and society," Biller said.

Stroke in Children and Young Adults offers practical clinical guidance on strokes and related issues. The Second Edition includes new chapters on applied anatomy, pediatric central nervous system vascular malformation and vascular disorders of the spinal cord. It also has tips on how to prevent misdiagnosis, new developments in therapy and rehabilitation and data from the latest American Heart Association guidelines.

"Let us hope that the continued rapid acquirement of knowledge makes it necessary for a third edition long before 14 years," Dyken wrote in the foreword.

Biller has been treating young stroke patients for decades. He is a co-author of the 2008 guidelines for prevention and treatment of strokes in infants and children published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The Second Edition is dedicated to the late Dr. William DeMyer, a pediatric neurologist at Indiana University. Biller wrote that his colleague was "known and loved by many as preeminent neuroanatomist, erudite teacher, tireless advisor, compassionate caregiver, gregarious sportsman and consummate family man."



On the front lines in the war on terror [Feb 6 London England]--The emergence of terror medicine as a distinctive discipline has been prompted by the global proliferation of terrorism, especially since the end of the 20th century. Examples abound - Oklahoma City, the London metro, Madrid, and Mumbai.


The nature of terror attacks, such as anthrax attacks or suicide bombings, and the effects on victims have prompted novel approaches to rescue operations, diagnosis, treatment and coordination of services. Yet most physicians and other health providers, let alone members of the public, are still unfamiliar with many of its features.

A new book, Essentials of Terror Medicine, focuses on the constellation of medical issues uniquely related to terrorist attacks: preparedness, incident management, injuries and responses, and psychological consequences. The book provides insightful and practical information for physicians, nurses, emergency responders and other health professionals who may be called to service during or after a terror incident.

Co-author Leonard Cole said, "Efforts to prevent terrorist assaults should be among a society's highest priorities. No less important are the requirements to prepare for, respond to and recover from such events. Education, rehearsals and understanding the distinctive challenges posed by terrorist attacks are vital. The more that individuals and institutions become familiar with the issues concerning terror medicine, the greater the protection they can provide themselves and others."

Distinguished international authors have been brought together by the three editors of this volume, who themselves are recognized experts in relevant disciplines: Shmuel Shapira, epidemiology and hospital administration; Jeffrey Hammond, trauma surgery and emergency response; and Leonard Cole, bioterrorism and public policy. Moreover, many of the book’s 35 contributors have had immediate and extensive experience in the medical management of terrorist attacks.



Book examines health care delivery in war-torn Africa [Feb 6 Milwaukee WI]--Improving health care and addressing social justice issues in war-torn African countries are subjects close to Aaron Buseh's heart.

Buseh, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) who grew up in Liberia, recently published a book focused on improving health care delivery in war-torn African countries.

"Empowering Resilience: Improving Health Care Delivery in War-Impacted African Countries," is a case study of Buseh's home country of Liberia, but has implications for other countries ripped apart by war and civil violence, he says.

Buseh says he wrote the book to provide guidance for both international supporters and, more importantly, the people of African countries as they begin to build new health care systems out of the destruction.

"I am a man living in two worlds," he says. "I am a Liberian and African, and I am here in the U.S. studying and teaching about health issues. This book is my way of helping my people without being physically present."

He based the title of his work on what he sees as the best hope for health care improvement in Africa – the resilience of African peoples in the face of horrendous violence and painful loss.

An African model for health care

For example, he says, African countries can look at replacing old European health care models – which spend huge amounts of money building large hospitals and tertiary care medical complexes – with a system that focuses on primary and preventive care. When it comes to improving the health of people in Africa, Buseh says that improved sanitation and health care education reaches many more people and is more cost-effective than building huge medical complexes.

He adds that many of the diseases that affect millions in sub-Saharan Africa are preventable through vaccination, or easily treatable with inexpensive medications.

Improving health care can also be part of the peacemaking process. "All of the warring factions need health care," says Buseh, who suggests giving Africans incentives to collaborate on rebuilding their countries.

Looking at ways to decrease violence against women is a global phenomenon, with implications in Milwaukee as well as in Africa.

"I strive every semester to help my students to think globally and act locally about health care and social justice issues," says Buseh. "There are vulnerable populations here in Milwaukee, too. If I can get my students to feel outrage about the roughly 16 percent of Americans who struggle to access health care without health insurance, it becomes possible to elicit compassion from them for sub-Saharan Africans in need of health care in conflict-ridden countries such as Sudan, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia."

Citizens worldwide should care about what is happening in these nations, for both for humanitarian and economic reasons. "It's not just groups of people who can't get along," says Buseh of the strife in these nations. The fighting among warring factions in these areas impacts access to valuable minerals and natural resources that are an important part of the global economy.

Buseh's areas of research and expertise include factors associated with HIV/AIDS prevention, social stigma, quality of life, and structural barriers associated with health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa and the African American community in the United States.

While his book has implications for other regions of sub-Saharan Africa, the destruction of Liberia became the inspiration for the book.

Buseh lost his two youngest brothers to the violence, as well as several nursing colleagues and friends from a hospital where he once worked.

"It was an agonizing process to watch your country – which in the 1970s and 1980s was seen as a shining beacon on the continent of Africa, playing a major role in the African affairs and international community – be torn apart," he explains. "Health is one of those issues we can look at in rebuilding any country emerging from civil strife."



Ex-terrorists may be key to reducing militancy [Feb 6 Philadelphia PA]--The scourge of modern terrorism can be tackled more effectively by understanding how and why certain individuals give up their violent ways, according to a counter-terrorism expert who says information gleaned from ex-terrorists could provide clues to checking the growth of militant organizations.

"Individuals do not necessarily join extremist groups because they hold extremist views," said John Horgan, director of Penn State's International Center for the Study of Terrorism. "Instead, they acquire extremist views after joining a militant group for other reasons."

Horgan is using his training in applied psychology to discover how people become involved in and disengage from terrorist movements. He is also interested in how terrorist networks learn, adapt and evolve, both in response to societal responses to those movements as well as in response to technological innovation.

In a new collection with his colleague Tore Bjorgo, "Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement" (Routledge, 2009), Horgan argues that research into factors that make a person disengage from terrorism could provide greater insight on how the seed of terrorism takes root, and how it can potentially be stopped.

"Individuals who once shrouded every detail of their lives in secrecy are willing to engage researchers on some of the thorniest questions relating to their former terrorist lives," explained Horgan, who is also associate professor of science, technology, and society at Penn State.

According to the Penn State researcher, disengagement involves a change in behavior by breaking off participation in violent groups or changing the way in which they engage in political violence.

When such individuals leave or disengage from the extremist ideals of the group, the reasons can range from disillusionment with the tactics being pursued by the group, social tensions within it, to the lure of economic support and amnesty for the terrorist.

However, attempts to accurately pin down the factors that trigger withdrawal from terrorism remains elusive. That is because researchers have been preoccupied with discovering how and why individuals become involved in terrorism, and very little attention has been paid to those who have given up terrorism or terrorist movements that have become inactive.

"Addressing these gaping holes in our understanding could in the long term better equip us to meet the challenges of terrorism and will also equip us with a strategy for counter-radicalization," said Horgan.

In one chapter, Horgan outlines some of the issues relevant to constructing a psychological perspective on disengagement from terrorism. "We have provided a series of starting points in trying to understand why certain individuals give up terrorism, and the various ways in which they reach that decision."

For starters, he seeks to narrow the discussion on individual disengagement to a few core questions: whether disengagement means leaving a group or simply assuming a new role; whether individuals leave voluntarily or involuntarily; where do individuals go after leaving terrorism and what do they do; and finally how to be sure that a person has become disengaged from terrorism and will not return to violent ways.

In addition to interviews with former terrorists of the IRA and al-Qaeda, Horgan studies autobiographies by former terrorists, communiqués, statements by movements, and discussions on Internet bulletin board to answer some of these questions.

The Penn State researcher argues that for disengagement to be successful, it will have to be tailor-made to not only the specific terrorist movement but also to the specific role or individual being targeted by the security forces.

The book is a collection of articles on counter-terrorism by leading world experts on terrorist disengagement. The authors analyze case studies of disengagement programmes in places such as Columbia, northern Europe, Italy, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

The insight gained from the strengths and weaknesses of these case studies will be an invaluable guide to students, researchers and policy makers in the field of counter-terrorism.



New book dissects statistics for doctors and medical students [Nov 11 Cold Spring Harbor NY]--The medical literature is chock full of risk ratios, P values, numbers needed to treat, life tables, regressions, survival analyses, and confidence intervals. But what do they mean?

A second edition of the book Medical Statistics Made Easy, recently released by Scion Publishing, provides the easiest possible explanations of statistical tests and descriptions used throughout the medical literature. It will serve as an essential resource for medical students and professionals who need to understand common statistical terms.

"Whether you love or hate statistics, you need to have some understanding of the subject if you want to critically appraise a paper. To do this, you do not need to know how to do a statistical analysis. What you do need is to know why the test has been used and how to interpret the resulting figures," explain the authors, Michael Harris and Gordon Taylor, in the Preface to the book.

The "Statistics at work" section, which offers real-life examples from published papers, has been completely updated in this new edition. The new edition retains the user-friendly format of the first edition, with examples to illustrate concepts and clear explanations of how to interpret the results.

Each statistical test is presented with concise answers to the same series of questions, such as "How important is it?" "When is it used?" and "What does it mean?" To generate the answers to these questions, the authors compiled 200 recently published, mainstream medical papers and noted how frequently the statistical tests were used in each. They then developed a star system (1-5 stars) to rate the importance and usefulness of each statistical test or concept.

"Acquiring the skills to appraise medical research papers is a daunting task," writes Bill Irish in the Foreword to the book. "I commend this book to all healthcare professionals, general practitioners and hospital specialists. It covers all ground necessary to critically evaluate the statistical elements of research papers, in a friendly and approachable way."

About the book: Medical Statistics Made Easy, 2nd edition (©2008, Scion Publishing Ltd.) is 116 pp. in length and is available in paperback (ISBN 9781904842552). It was written by M. Harris (General Practitioner and Senior Lecturer in Medical Education, Bristol) and G. Taylor (Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics, University of Bath). For details about the book, see http://www.scionpublishing.com/9781904842552



New book provides unique view into jihadist mind [Nov 11 Sacramento CA]--David Aaron, a veteran U.S. diplomat and director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, has compiled a wide range of writings by Islamic terrorists that offer an unusual window into their mentality. The book, "In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad," is a virtual encyclopedia of jihadist rhetoric written by the terrorists themselves.

"Reading the texts of jihadi writings and speeches can help readers develop deeper and more powerful insights into the thinking motivating Islamic terrorists," said Aaron, also a senior fellow at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "I hope this book becomes a resource for researchers, policymakers and others who want a deeper understanding of jihadism."

Aaron points out that the appalling views of fanatical jihadists presented in the book are the beliefs of only a small minority of Muslims. The book should not be seen as providing a balanced or representative picture of Muslim views.

Included in the book are translations of writings and speeches from such widely known Islamic terrorists as Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as other jihadis who are not so notorious. The sources for the material include Internet postings, television interviews and terrorist communiqués, and are listed in the book.

Readers are offered unfiltered access to a broad range of stories, rationales, ideas and arguments of jihadi terrorists and those who support their mission. Some quotations have been selected because they are representative, others because they are contradictory, and still others because they provide a unique insight into the jihadi mentality.

Aaron said the Internet has made jihadi material widely available. By one count, the number of terrorist-related Web sites has grown from 12 in 1997 to 4,500 by 2005.

"I hope the book, in essence, paints a self-portrait of jihadism," Aaron said. "Instead of describing what jihadis stand for, it presents jahadis' as they see themselves. Jihadis' statements are often more appalling and more profoundly revealing than the accounts that have been written about jihadi terrorism."

Aaron writes that it may be more difficult for Americans to fathom jihadism compared to earlier totalitarian movements, which originated in Europe, because jihad comes out of a culture largely unfamiliar to Americans and does not speak with a single voice.

The book begins with a concise history of Islam and the events that led to the terrorist radicals of today.

Aaron has held senior positions under three presidents, most recently as the Clinton administration's ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade. Other highlights of his government career includes serving as deputy national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter and helping to organize the negotiations for the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt in 1978. Aaron also wrote two PBS documentaries, including "Lessons of the 1991 Gulf War."

"In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad" is available at www.rand.org. The work was sponsored by RAND's continuing program of self-initiated independent research. Support for this research is provided by donors and by the independent research and development provisions of RAND's contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers.



21st century could be the 'age of paranoia,' warns leading scientist [Nov 11 London England]--Paranoia is on the increase and could go unchecked unless we take urgent action, claims a leading scientist. Dr Daniel Freeman, a Wellcome Trust fellow, warns that changes in how we live and work could mean that we are entering an "age of paranoia".

For a decade Dr Freeman has been conducting pioneering research into paranoia at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and recently developed the world's first laboratory method of testing paranoia using virtual reality. The research has demonstrated that levels of paranoia and mistrust are much higher in the general public than previously suspected. One in four people in the general public have regular paranoid thoughts.


Now, in a book entitled Paranoia: the 21st Century Fear, published this week by Oxford University Press, Dr Freeman and brother Jason argue that not only is paranoia incredibly common, it is also on the increase.

"These days, we daren't let our children play outside. We're suspicious of strangers. Security cameras are everywhere," says Dr Freeman, a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow. "We seem to have entered an age of paranoia. And the indications are that things may only get worse."

Dr Freeman believes that a combination of factors is fuelling this new era of suspiciousness, including the increasing number of people living in cities, the physical environment in which we live, growing wealth inequalities and the over-reporting in the media of crime and terrorism.


For the first time ever, 2008 has seen the urban population of the world outnumber the rural. In 1800, only five per cent of people lived in urban areas worldwide, but this figure is set to rise to sixty-five per cent by 2030. This does not bode well for our mental health: scientists have known for some time that rates of paranoia are twice as high in cities compared to rural areas.

"Social bonds are much looser in cities than in smaller, rural communities where ready-made, relatively stable support networks exist," says Dr Freeman. "Social isolation, a frequent drawback to urban life, is closely associated with paranoid thoughts. In the UK nearly four times as many people live alone than fifty years ago. Increasing paranoia is certainly one more challenge posed by galloping urbanisation."

Poverty, deprivation and wealth inequality are also linked to poor health and to increased levels of mental illness. Research conducted in the US has shown that the people in the states with the widest income inequalities also displayed the lowest levels of trust – and higher rates of mortality. Mistrust is associated with higher rates of death from cancer, heart disease and strokes.

Paranoia isn't confined to Western nations, but it does appear that societies in which people are divided by huge differences in income and where the emphasis is on individual economic success run the risk of breeding conflict, unhappiness and distrust, argues Dr Freeman. An increasingly flexible employment market, with more reliance on short-term contracts, breeds uncertainty, stress and fuels competition in the workplace, encouraging us to see our colleagues as rivals and potential threats.

Dr Freeman also explores the potentially harmful consequences of media over-reporting of crime and terrorism, encapsulated in the newsroom cliché "if it bleeds, it leads", which he believes instils in us exaggerated fears.

"Every age has its bogeymen, and ours includes terrorists, hoodies and paedophiles, but the amount of coverage they receive in both tabloids and broadsheets greatly outweighs coverage of our real killers, such as heart disease, cancer, and road accidents.

"Over-reporting of dangers fosters a culture of paranoia. After all, it's hard to stay cool when everyone else is panicking. The way we reason makes us particularly susceptible to the power of the media. The more something is repeated, and the more graphic and emotional it is, the greater the impression it makes upon us."

Much needs to be done to help stem the rise in paranoia, at both a societal and individual level, concludes Dr Freeman.

"Dealing with paranoia at an individual level is relatively straightforward through techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy," he says. "But if we are really to get to the root of the problem, we need urgent action at a wider level. We need a range of policies to raise public awareness of paranoia, to train therapists and tackle the effects of potentially damaging social and economic trends."



Protecting your business in a pandemic [Nov 10 Chicago IL]--A pandemic is an epidemic that covers a huge swath of the country or even the world. And it's just as scary as it sounds: For example, it's estimated that up to a third of the U.S. population could fall ill in an Avian flu pandemic, costing the U.S. economy alone up to $675 billion.


Worse, pandemics shatter lives and businesses and tend to rock society to its foundations. But humanity has been through pandemics before. As disaster-management and business-continuity expert Geary Sikich shows in this book, there are ways to make the best of a bad situation.


These methods improve the chance that businesses will remain resilient, and people healthy, employed, and productive--even in the darkest days of an international disaster. Protecting Your Business in a Pandemic helps managers and owners understand the threat pandemics pose to society, the overall economy, and their businesses.


Using illustrative examples, it offers readers a practical guide for assessing the threat of pandemics to their own organizations and help in developing business-continuity plans to deal with the economic and medical consequences.


Chapters include:

-The Initial Response, which investigates possible pandemic scenarios and outcomes. - Global Reaction, which compares each scenario with previous pandemics and projects real-time reactions from all sectors of society.

-The Danger of Reassortment, which introduces the reader to the resources they will need to respond to the long-term and/or possibly permanent changes to the economy.

-After the Shock: Potential Risks for the Global Economy outlines important aspects of how business operations and society could be altered--forever--by the pandemic.


Practical and hands on, the book provides step-by-step guidance in the form of evaluation and assessment tools, exercises, and detailed examples.


Special tools include an easy-to-use roadmap for developing and maintaining a comprehensive business-continuity plan.


Experts agree--it's only a matter of time before another pandemic strikes. That's why every business needs to keep a copy of this book handy, before a global nightmare comes true.

Table of Contents:

* Foreword by Charles P. Carey
* Preface
* Chapter 1: A Call to Action: The Danger of HN51
* Chapter 2: Pandemic Surprise
* Chapter 3: The Pandemic Settles In
* Chapter 4: Global Reaction to a Pandemic
* Chapter 5: The Danger of Reassortment
* Chapter 6: After the Shock: Potential Risks for the Global Economy
* Chapter 7: Paradigm Shifts: Socioeconomic and Market Ramifications
* Chapter 8: Tick, Tick, TickGeopolitical Impacts of a Pandemic
* Index
* About the Author

LC Card Number: 2008009952
LCC Class: HD49
Dewey Class: 658




From cloudy to clear: New book explores the modern history of meteorology [Oct 6 Tallahassee FL]--For much of the first half of the 20th century, meteorology was more art than science, relying heavily on an individual forecaster’s lifetime of local experience. Now, a Florida State University researcher has written a book that tells the story of the field’s transformation from a “guessing science” into a sophisticated scientific discipline based on physics and mathematics.

“Weather by the Numbers: The Genesis of Modern Meteorology” was written by Kristine Harper, an assistant professor of history at FSU, and was just published by the MIT Press. In her book, Harper says that the greatest factor making the transformation of meteorology possible was the development of the electronic digital computer. Earlier attempts at numerical weather prediction had foundered on the human inability to solve nonlinear equations quickly enough for timely forecasting.

“A weather forecast is of little use if it is made several weeks after the weather has come and gone,” Harper noted.

After World War II, the combination of an expanded observation network developed for military purposes, newly trained meteorologists savvy about math and physics, and the nascent digital computer all came together to create a new way of approaching atmospheric theory and weather forecasting, Harper writes.

In “Weather by the Numbers,” Harper also examines the efforts of meteorologists to professionalize their discipline during the interwar years and the rapid expansion of personnel and observational assets during World War II. She describes how, by the 1950s, academic, Weather Bureau and military meteorologists had moved atmospheric modeling from research subject to operational forecasting.

“Not only did they have to contend with barely effective models and balky computers, they faced having to convince their colleagues that numerical modeling techniques would lead to better and more timely predictions,” Harper said.

Challenging previous accounts that give sole credit for the development of numerical weather prediction to digital-computer inventor John von Neumann, Harper points to the crucial contributions of Carl-Gustav Rossby, founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s meteorology program and a member of the renowned “Scandinavian tag team” of meteorologists who worked with von Neumann. (In 1945, von Neumann had settled on weather prediction as a suitably difficult scientific problem amenable to a numerical solution to showcase the capabilities of his proposed computer.) The team’s transformation of the discipline, Harper writes, was the most important intellectual achievement of 20th-century meteorology and paved the way for the growth of computer-assisted modeling in all of the sciences.

“Having spent many years working with these models as a meteorologist, discovering their history was a fascinating experience,” she said.

While “Weather by the Numbers” is Harper’s first academic book, it promises not to be her last. She is currently writing another book on the use of weather control as a tool of the state in mid-20th-century America. Like “Weather by the Numbers,” it will address issues related to the history of science and technology, and environmental history.

“Because of my background in meteorology and oceanography,” Harper said, “I continue to be drawn to historical topics that draw on my scientific expertise and have the potential to inform policy decisions in the 21st century.”

In addition to her writing, Harper also will be teaching with FSU-Teach -- a program recently created to recruit more FSU math and science majors into the teaching profession.



Historian faces fears, fantasies about NYC's destruction [Sep 23 Amherst MA]--There’s a reason New York is the “City That Never Sleeps”: from Godzilla to tidal waves, asteroids to zombies, America’s premier metropolis has been ravaged time and time again in films, novels, pulp fiction, television and cartoons.

In a new book, Max Page, associate professor of architecture and history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, explores how visions of New York’s destruction were a part of the country’s collective imagination long before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks turned fiction to grim reality.

“The City’s End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions of New York’s Destruction” (Yale University Press) catalogues the countless ways American writers and artists have imagined the city’s demise since the 1800s. Through text and many color and black-and-white illustrations, Page plumbs the evolution of a “central theme in American culture.”

“The theme traces back to the 19th century when New York became the greatest American city,” says Page. Time and 9/11 have done little to diminish the powerful image of the city’s downfall, as illustrated by last year’s release of the movie “I Am Legend,” which pits New York’s last human occupant against an army of mutants spawned by a plague.

According to Page, depictions of New York’s destruction reflect the prevailing issues of each historic period. In the 19th century, such stories were shaped by worries over racial and ethnic violence and class warfare. By the 1950s, the prospect of nuclear war cast a long shadow over the city, says Page, but now the city faces the fictional onslaught of environmental threats, terrorism and technology gone awry. “These stories play out our fears and social problems,” he says.

Page says the city’s role as a perennial fictional victim reflects its unique role in the national mindset. “New York stands for America in a lot of the stories,” he says. “The fact that we want to destroy it shows how important it is. … In some ways, it’s a compliment.”

The character and familiarity of the city also give it a prominent place in the disaster genre, says Page. “There was a time when one-fifth of Americans could trace a connection to the city,” he says. “The shape of the city—located on an island—and its iconic buildings mean that no place looks better destroyed than New York.”

The idea for the book emerged years ago when Page was researching another work, “The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940,” which examined the history of real estate development, slum clearance and the tearing down and rebuilding of the city.

“I kept coming across movies, stories and other fictional accounts of New York’s destruction,” says Page, who collected the materials for a “campy” exhibit titled “Destroying New York.” He finalized the exhibit proposal to the New-York Historical Society the day before the 9/11 attacks. “I put it aside for awhile, but 8 to 9 months after the attacks, I revived the idea as an actual topic for scholarship.”

In the seven years since the World Trade Center was obliterated from the New York skyline, Page says artists, writers and filmmakers have cautiously added new chapters to the canon of fictional devastation, proof that the city retains its mythic power in the American psyche.

“By repeating the image of the city’s destruction, the end result is one long love song,” he says. “If New York is no longer the setting of our worst fears, it may not be the home of our greatest hopes. And that would be the beginning of the city’s end.”



International researchers and clinicians share their insights and experience with blast related injuries [Aug 18 Baltimore MD]--There has been a rise in global terrorism against nonmilitary targets. Recent events in Oklahoma City, New York City, Madrid, London, and Mumbai have demonstrated that mass casualties are more likely from explosive devices than from biological, chemical, radioactive, or nuclear weapons. Editors Nabil M. Elsayed, James L. Atkins and Nikolai Gorbunov have assembled an impressive list of international experts in the mechanisms and treatment of blast related injuries in this timely book.

This authoritative text begins with a section on the epidemiology of blast and explosion injuries which details issues of triage, morbidity and mortality, as well as clinical experiences treating casualties at combat support hospitals. The next section covers the pathology and pathophysiology of blast injuries on the lungs and nervous system as well as quaternary blast effects resulting in burns. In a section devoted to primary research on the mechanisms of primary blast injuries, there are chapters devoted to computational modeling of lung blast injuries and the biochemical mechanisms primary blast injuries to include the role of free radicals and oxidative stress and the inflammatory response in primary blast injuries. The final section of the book relates global experiences of blast injuries and their mass casualty management.

Other than the physicians who have treated trauma victims in settings such as Iraq and Afghanistan, few physicians in the United States have been trained in the care of the injured blast victim or have taken care of patients who have sustained injuries from explosions. The assessment of acute injuries from blast is still poorly understood and no reliable prognosticators of blast injuries currently exist. While this text is not meant to serve as a text for the treatment of blast-related injuries, it is meant to provide a better understanding of explosion blast injury mechanism which will in turn help in the design of better protective armor and improve medical care.

Co-Editor Colonel (retired) James L. Atkins, M.D., PhD stated he was "thrilled we were able to assemble such a qualified international group of contributors for the book. This shows this is a worldwide problem, not just a military problem" Dr. Atkins also added that "These threats are constantly changing and it is important that medical professional recognize the patterns of blast related injuries and the inflammatory response precipitated by blast injuries that may take up to 48 hours to manifest." He hopes this book "helps clinicians and researchers understand what is already known about blast injuries" and that in turns "helps to guide the treatment of mass casualties resulting in blast related injuries".

Dr. Nabil Elsayed is currently Senior Manager of Toxicology, Department of Early Drug Development with Celgene Corporation in Summit NJ. Dr. Elsayed received his Ph.D. from the School of Public Health, UCLA, Environmental Health and Toxicology and is a Fellow with the Academy of Toxicological Sciences. Dr. Elsayed received a Department of the Army Commendation for Special Services in 1988 for developing a new method for quantitative determination of Physostigmine in human blood. During his time with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), Dr Elsayed served as Senior Toxicologist and Section Chief, Pulmonary Biochemistry Section, Department of Respiratory Research, Division of Medicine. While at WRAIR, Dr. Elsayed supervised and provided technical advice to civilian and military investigators in the areas of oxidative stress, chemical and biological warfare agents, toxic gases, ischemia/reperfusion injury, dietary and non-dietary antioxidant therapy, blast overpressure and non-lethal weapon injury assessment and treatment. Email:

Dr. Atkins received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and performed his post-doctoral work at NIH. Prior to his retirement from the Army in July of 2005, Colonel (ret) Atkins was the Director of the Division of Military Casualty Research at WRAIR and Task Area Manager for the Resuscitation program of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Combat Casualty Care Research Program. In 2003 Dr. Atkins received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Resuscitation Scientific Symposium of the American Heart Association. He received the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Combat Casualty Care Research Program Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Dr. Atkins has been studying the role of iron in blast related lung injury since 2004, under a grant from the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program. He in now focusing his efforts on the emerging problem of blast induced brain injury and he was recently appointed as Director of the newly established Division of Brain Dysfunction and Blast Injury at WRAIR. Email:

Dr. Nikolai V. Gorbunov is currently Research Associate Professor with the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Gorbunov received his Ph.D. from the Russian Academy Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia. He then completed a two-year postdoctoral training in Biomedicine at the Research Center of the Consorzio "Mario Negri" Sud (Italy) and a two-year DOE postdoctoral training program in Radiation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1994 and 2000 Dr. Gorbunov was a recipient of the National Research Council Fellowship Awards to pursue the NRC Senior Research Associateship at WRAIR. Working on models of blast-related injury he and co-authors have introduced a mechanism of the inflammatory response to shock wave induced pulmonary trauma and described the role of cell redox signaling in the related pulmonary microvascular remodeling. In this book, Dr. Gorbunov and Dr. Elsayed have presented the redox metabolic machinery balanced by antioxidants as an "interface module" which mediates systemic response to the blast-induced oxidative stress. Email:

Explosions and Blast Related Injuries derive from the expertise of numerous international researchers and clinicians. It is
available online through Academic Press (Elsevier) publishers.


New publication addresses safety of imported foods [Aug 18 Washington DC]--As the proportion of imported foods in the food supply continues to increase, Americans are putting themselves at a potentially greater risk for foodborne disease as some countries may not have the same sanitary standards as the U.S. Imported Foods: Microbiological Issues and Challenges, the latest book in the ASM Press series Emerging Issues in Food Safety, thoroughly explains one of the greatest weaknesses in the U.S. food safety system and outlines steps necessary to remedy it.

"Food safety concerns have become a crucial public health issue. Perhaps most alarming of these is the questionable safety of many imported foods. As the market for food becomes increasingly global and our population clamors for more fresh produce and uncooked ready-to-eat foods, the microbiological risks of imported food have dramatically increased," says Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety who edited the book with colleague Marilyn Erickson.

Imported Foods: Microbiological Issues and Challenges brings together the most up-to-date and in-depth information on microbiological food safety. This volume not only describes the problems with imported foods but also suggests specific programs and steps to improve the monitoring and safety of imported foods. Authors explain the systematic risks inherent in food production in developing countries, the current U.S. food safety system, newly acquired foodborne pathogens, and recommendations for systematic changes to the monitoring of imported food. Throughout this volume, the authors emphasize proven concepts of microbial risk analysis and practical methods to address this growing public health concern.

"If the U.S. food safety system is allowed to continue unchanged, there are likely to be major increases in the occurrence and size of foodborne outbreaks as U.S. food imports increase from countries in which risky food production, harvesting and processing practices exist. This issue is among the most serious of food safety concerns confronting Americans for the foreseeable future. This book is the first to provide a comprehensive treatment of the microbiological food safety issues facing the United States from imported foods, and provides the justification for changes in the U.S. food safety net," says Doyle.

Imported Foods: Microbiological Issues and Challenges has a list price of $99.95 and can be purchased through
ASM Press online or through other online retailers.


'Dire Predictions' book offers easy guide to global warming science [Aug 18 Philadelphia PA]--Global warming, increasing greenhouse gases and melting ice sheets are all dire predictions by the Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but understanding the scientific assessments, future impacts on our lives, and the things we can do to mitigate the situation is not easy. Now, in a new book, two Penn State climate scientists present the information from the most recent IPCC reports in easily understood, sometimes amusing explanations and illustrations.

"Dire Predictions, Understanding Global Warming: The Illustrated Guide to the Findings of the IPCC" has the answers to all your questions about global warming with the graphs, images and layout expected from international publisher DK, which specializes in popular illustrated reference books such as "The Way the Universe Works." The authors of "Dire Predictions" are Michael E. Mann, associate professor of meteorology and director of the Earth System Science Center, and Lee R. Kump, professor of geosciences, both at Penn State.

"It was gratifying to see how the DK folks helped us take the scientific information and make it leap off the page," says Mann.

And leap it does, from various images of the Earth and a multitude of maps to a page of mosquitoes emphasizing the increase in infectious diseases with global warming, with something in nearly every page that will stop you to read the text.

"Working with the DK artists -- what they call their 'information architects' -- translating the information-packed diagrams produced for a more scientifically literate audience by the IPCC into more accessible visuals for the general public was very interesting," says Kump.

The book is very successful from the point of view of the reader. Dynamic images outline topics such as an undersea diver and coral reefs pointing to "How Human Activity Has Changed the Rules of the Game," or polar bears and a golden toad illustrating the "Highway to Extinction?"

The authors divide the book into five parts beginning with "Climate Change Basics." Here, specific questions like "What are the important greenhouse gases, and where do they come from?" and "How does modern warming differ from past warming trends?" open several articles. The second part, "Climate Change Projections," presents "Fossil Fuel Emissions Scenarios," "Future Changes in Extreme Weather" and "The Geographic Pattern of Future Warming."

The third section, "The Impacts of Climate Change," asks, "Is it Time to Sell the Beach House?" and includes discussion of "War," "Famine," "Pestilence and Death," to be followed by "Earth, Wind and Fire."

The final two chapters deal with "Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change" and "Solving Global Warming." Articles such as "It's the Economy, Stupid!" show the costs of climate damage, mitigation and the benefits reaped. Other topics are "Keeping the Power Turned On," "Forests" and "Waste."

"I came in, knowing a great deal about the basic science so that part of the book was easier," says Mann. "I knew less about the projected impacts of climate change or the issue of climate change mitigation, so I had to study up on those areas."

The book covers not just the work of the IPCC Working Group One which covered "The Physical Science Basis," but also the work of Working Group Two, "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability," and Working Group Three, "Mitigation of Climate Change." While the three reports of the latest IPCC efforts are available online, each is well over 700 pages plus appendices for a total of over 2,000 pages.

In the book "Dire Predictions," Mann and Kump have boiled the essence down to five parts, with mostly two-page articles full of colorful graphics, for a total of just over 200 pages of engaging science. A key element is accurate information debunking the most commonly held misinformation about climate change.

"The most fun for me was collecting the misinformation out there and debunking the myths surrounding global warming," says Kump. Mann also thought finding and debunking the myths was fun.

These myths include the idea that carbon dioxide is causing the holes in the ozone, that the increase in carbon dioxide is the result of natural cycles, and the possibility that our atmosphere is not warming at all. The authors consider each myth or misunderstanding and explain any kernel of truth within and why the myths are untrue.

While the book is perfect for people interested in global climate change, it is also a good beginning for an introductory course in climate change for students not majoring in science. College, high student and middle school students and most adults would find the book an easy roadmap to understanding the global warming debate.


Watercooler rumors -- what's truth got to do with it? [Aug 18 Rochester NY]--Rumors and dirty politics go hand in hand to sway public opinion. Sweeping up the mess left behind requires a savvy and credible communicator who knows how to manage the rumor mill and squelch the mongering.

Rumor expert Nicholas DiFonzo credits Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama for aggressively refuting rumors on camera but gives his website--only a B.

"He's doing some things really well, but I think he could do better," says DiFonzo, professor of psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology and author of The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the Extraordinary Power of Rumors (Avery) due out Sept. 11.

DiFonzo—who also operates the Professor Nick website about all things rumor-related—prescribes the clout of a trusted, neutral third party to debunk rumors, especially for those eager to believe them; and the benefit of answering those lingering unexplained questions that bother some potential voters about the origin of Obama's middle name (Hussein) and his family's religious beliefs.

Conversely, Sen. John McCain's campaign adroitly used a neutral third party—in this case McCain's lawyer, a Democrat—to stamp out the rumor of an inappropriate relationship with an attractive lobbyist, DiFonzo says.

In The Watercooler Effect, DiFonzo shares with a general audience other ideas about rumors, those unverified statements of doubtful information that circulate around office watercoolers and coffee pots, and anywhere people congregate. An overview, excerpts and a reading guide may be accessed online.

"This book explores why people believe rumors, what they are, how people spread them, where they spread them and why the spread them, and other questions related to the phenomenon of rumor—such as how they change over time," DiFonzo says.

Using colorful stories and examples, DiFonzo differentiates rumor from its "close cousins"—urban legend and gossip—and provides useful tools for spotting and deflating rumors.

"For the longest time I've wanted to give away the nuggets of knowledge that have been building up about rumor," DiFonzo says. "The Watercooler Effect communicates the latest and most thorough sets of ideas about rumors that exist. I think people will find it helpful and useful."


The role of giving explored [Jun 20 Indianapolis IN]--We Make A Life By What We Give is the title of a new book that will nudge readers to think about their lives and how they can share what they have to improve their lives and the lives of others. Indiana University and Riley Hospital for Children physician-philosopher Richard B. Gunderman, M.D., Ph.D. guides readers through reflection on and discussion of the role of giving in their lives.

In the book, Dr. Gunderman expands on the adage, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." In 22 essays, Dr. Gunderman explores the ethics of philanthropy and examines the importance of sharing to those who give and to those who receive.

Dr. Gunderman's inclusive view of giving reflects upon the needs and opportunities of donors as well as recipients. Much of what we have, things such as compassion or understanding or merely the capacity to listen, can be shared, increasing their worth to both the giver and the recipient, says Dr. Gunderman, who is vice chair and a professor of radiology at the IU School of Medicine, director of pediatric radiology at Riley Hospital for Children and a professor of philosophy and philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis' School of Liberal Arts.

"…medicine calls us to an even higher standard. If we find ourselves doing things to patients, we have lost our way. Even doing things with patients does not capture the full range of our calling.

In medicine, we are called to do things not to patients, and not only with patients, but for patients. The wholeness of the patient is medicine's reason for being. That wholeness encompasses not only the wholeness of the body, but also the wholeness of the person. In diagnosing and healing the body, we should never lose sight of the whole human being of which the body is a part," writes Dr. Gunderman in an essay entitled The Golden Rule.

"This book is an invitation for individuals of all professions, for those of all religions, and for current and future generations to enter into a conversation on giving. It's an important conversation that everyone can benefit from," says Dr. Gunderman.

Dr. Gunderman is an affiliated investigator of the Indiana University Center for Bioethics. We Make A Life By What We Give is published by Indiana University Press.


New book explores value of 'emotional labour' [Jun 14 Chicago IL]--Emergency dispatchers, caseworkers and other public service workers perform "emotional" labor that should be valued in the same manner as mental and physical labor, according to a new book co-written by a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher.

Emotional labor is face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact, often with clients under stress, that is essential to a job, said Sharon Mastracci, UIC assistant professor of public administration and co-author of "Emotional Labor: Putting the Service in Public Service" (M.E. Sharpe, 2008).

"Public service workers must understand, engage and channel the emotions of their clients to be effective," Mastracci said.

"For instance, if your bus is running behind, the driver can calmly explain the reasons why, which are often beyond the driver's control, or act defensive about riders' complaints and lash out," she said. "Both responses affect riders' perceptions of that particular trip, which they might generalize to bus service overall, fairly or not."

Mastracci and co-authors Meredith Newman of Florida International University and Mary Guy of the University of Colorado at Denver gathered workers' stories through interviews, focus groups and surveys. They found parallels between emotional labor and cognitive work. Among their findings:

-Workers can express the amount of emotional labor they do and describe the activities involved.

-Workers report varying levels of ability and effectiveness.

-Differences in ability and effectiveness vary with the individual, not with the work environment.

-Emotional labor can contribute to job satisfaction.

-Emotional labor contributes to "burnout" only when workers must suppress their own emotions and pretend to feel a different emotion.

The researchers conclude that the value of emotional labor should be acknowledged in job descriptions, applicant screening, training and development and retention strategies.

The book addresses inequities in the pay and status of workers who do emotional labor, trends in occupations requiring emotional labor, and gaps between theory and practice in public service.


Managing risk in an increasingly hazardous world [May 31 Nashville TN]--If you have a nagging feeling that life is getting increasingly hazardous, you may be interested in the new book, “Operational Risk Management,” by Mark D. Abkowitz, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University.

The book contains 15 case studies of major disasters, including September 11, Hurricane Katrina and the losses of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles. It also includes two success stories where major disasters were averted through careful planning, extraordinary communication and teamwork.

Through a detailed analysis of this combination of natural disasters, man-made accidents and terrorist acts, Abkowitz asks the question “Why did it happen"” and answers it by identifying ten basic risk factors that underlie various catastrophes, even those that are as different as major oil spills and devastating tsunamis.

Finally, the risk management expert points out a number of “lessons learned” that individuals, companies and governments can apply to prevent many disasters from occurring and to better control the consequences of those that are unavoidable.

“Risks can be managed. It is just a matter of doing it the right way,” Abkowitz said. “When you take a step back and take a holistic view, you see that there are a number of simple things that we can do that would substantially increase our safety and sense of well being.”

The case studies investigate individual disasters in detail and often reveal surprising but little known details. For example, did you know that:

Several members of Al Qaeda who carried out the September 11 attack on the Trade Center were detained at security checkpoints yet still allowed to proceed with their operation;

Officials of the Soviet Union purposely kept the news of the nuclear reactor explosion at Chernobyl secret from the local population for 36 hours, exposing more than 100,000 people to high levels of radiation without their knowledge;

NASA officials allowed history to repeat itself when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry because they did not accept the recommendations made following the Challenge disaster when the shuttle broke up less than two minutes after launch;

Japanese officials allowed a terrorist group to operate under the guise of a religious organization, leading to an attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000 others;

In 1989, on United Airlines flight 232, due to extraordinary communication and teamwork, the majority of the passengers and crew survived a crash so severe that they should all have perished.

The motivation for the book came from a course on risk management that Abkowitz has taught for the last six years at Vanderbilt. In the class, students research and analyze specific disasters. They attempt to determine the factors that cause each catastrophe and identify steps that could have been taken to prevent or mitigate it.

As a result of this applied hindsight, Abkowitz has concluded that we can do a significantly better job of managing risk if we take an “all hazards” approach and focus on controlling the ten basic risk factors that he has identified.

“Today, we have overly compartmentalized the risks that we face,” he said. “We have given responsibility for man-made accidents, intentional acts and natural disasters to different organizations. Each group has its own resources and priorities with only limited coordination despite the fact that these different categories of risk share many of the same risk factors and outcomes.”

Although Abkowitz concluded that we can do a much better job of managing the risks that we face, he cautioned that it is impossible to create a risk-free society so we must also change our expectations. “We can do a much better job of prioritizing where to place our attention and resources, but this does not guarantee that those risks will be completely eliminated, nor does it mean that other risks considered less important will not cause occasional problems. So we need to accept that bad things can sometimes happen, learn from the experience and move on.”


Finding God with biocomplexity [May 31 Calgary AB]--After centuries of trying to uncover the fundamental laws of the universe, science is still no closer to answering some of humanity’s biggest questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God and the evolution of the human mind and societies. Is that because science is not sufficiently advanced to tackle such problems" Or is it because the traditional approach to science is incapable of answering humanity’s deepest wonders"

It is the latter, according to University of Calgary physicist, biologist and philosopher Stuart Kauffman, who argues in his forthcoming book that nature’s infinite creativity should become the basis for a new worldview and a global spiritual awakening.

“We are at the point where we are realizing that there are some things we are never going to fully understand because there are no natural laws that can fully explain the evolution of a species, the biosphere or the human economy,” says Kauffman, a pioneer of complexity theory and founder of the U of C’s Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics. “This means that reason alone is an insufficient guide for living our lives. I believe we can reinvent what we hold sacred as a view of God that is not a supernatural Creator, but the ceaseless and unforeseeable creativity of the universe that surrounds us.”

Kauffman’s newest book Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion (Basic Books, New York) will be released in Canada on May 19. “Radical,” “brilliant,” and “comprehensive,” are words being used by colleagues and reviewers to describe the book, which Kauffman hopes will provide a middle-ground between the destructive tendencies of religious fundamentalism and the anti-spiritual attitudes presented recently in popular books such as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion “ and journalist Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great.

“Words like ‘God’ and ‘sacred’ are scary to many of us who live in modern, secular society because they have been used to start wars and kill millions of people, and we just don’t need any more of that,” Kauffman says. “What we do need is for humanity to become reunited under a common global ethic based on the idea that we are all part of nature, and we will never be the master of it because it is not entirely knowable.”

Reinventing the Sacred argues that Reductionism – the philosophy based on the work of Galileo, Descartes, Newton and their followers that everything can ultimately be understood by reducing it to laws of chemistry and physics – has been the basis of our scientific worldview for nearly 400 years and is the foundation of modern secular society. Using arguments grounded in complexity theory, he argues that it is time to break this “Galilean spell,” since the reductionist approach is inadequate to explain the infinite possibilities of evolution and human history. Instead, Kauffman argues that the highest levels of organization are the result of the unpredictable process of emergence.

“It’s not that we lack sufficient knowledge or wisdom to predict the future evolution of the biosphere or human culture. It’s that these things are inherently unpredictable because we can never prestate what all the possibilities might be,” he says. “Can a couple walking in love along the banks of the Siene really be reduced to the interactions of fundamental particles" No, they cannot.”

The book then argues that the process of emergence can provide the platform for reinventing what humankind considers most sacred. It also discusses why arguments for intelligent design fail in the scientific realm and how complexity theory can build a bridge between the traditionally opposed views of science and religion.

“God is the most powerful symbol we have and it has always been up to us to choose what we deem to be sacred,” Kauffman said. “To me, the idea that we are the product of 3.8 billion years of unpredictable evolution is more awe-inspiring than the idea than the idea that everything was created in six days by an all-knowing Creator.”

An essay outlining Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred thesis is contained in a new series of 13 essays by distinguished thinkers on the topic “Does science make belief in God obsolete"” currently published on the
John Templeton Foundation website. The preface and first chapter of the book are currently published as an essay titled “Breaking the Galilean Spell” on Edge.org:

An essay by Kauffman titled “Reinventing the Sacred” is also scheduled to be published in the May 10 issue of New Scientist magazine.

About the Author:

Stuart A. Kauffman is well-known for his research in theoretical biology and as a pioneer in the field of complexity theory. He joined the University of Calgary in February, 2005 as the founding director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics, which conducts leading-edge interdisciplinary research in systems biology. Originally a medical doctor, Kauffman was a seminal member of the Santa Fe Institute, where he is currently External Professor. He is Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, a MacArthur Fellow and a Trotter Prize winner. Kauffman’s previous books include The Origins of Order, At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity and Investigations.


Forgotten diseases key to lifting developing world from poverty, destitution and despair [Apr 12 Washington DC]--One of the main obstacles towards progress in the developing world is the litany of tropical diseases affecting residents that have not been seriously addressed by the public health community. This is the message of a new book, Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases, published by ASM Press.

“Some of the worst tropical diseases in the world have too long been ignored. Parasitic and bacterial diseases such as hookworm, snail fever, river blindness, guinea worm, elephantiasis, sleeping sickness and leprosy are the most common infections of third-world populations. These neglected tropical diseases represent one of the most important reasons why populations living in Africa, Asia and Central and South America remain caught in a vicious cycle of poverty, stigma and despair,” says author Peter Hotez of the George Washington University.

With a lifetime devoted to the subject of tropical diseases, Hotez provides a comprehensive view of these forgotten diseases. Written in accessible, straightforward language, Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases thoroughly explains the most significant NTDs, including social and economic aspects, public health concerns, and preventative measures.

The book is intended to raise public awareness about these forgotten diseases and their enormous physical, social, and economic costs to individuals and nations alike, and advocates for the largely voiceless victims living in remote and rural regions. Hotez also provides a roadmap to coordinate global advocacy and mobilization of resources to combat these conditions and addresses unique opportunities to fight the neglected tropical diseases through low-cost and highly cost-effective control measures.

“Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases summarizes in mostly non-technical language the major concepts about neglected tropical diseases and how they cause human suffering, as well as their global importance and the unique and unusual opportunity we now have to lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty through low-cost and highly cost-effective control measures,” says Hotez.

le, Forgotten Diseases has a list price of $39.95 and can be purchased through ASM Press online at
http://estore.asm.org or through other online retailers.



New book gives a human face to children with congenital heart disease [Mar 30 Cold Spring Harbor NY USA]--Despite the fact that congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect in the United States, pediatric cardiology receives relatively little attention compared to adult cardiology.


But a new photodocumentary volume entitled My Heart vs. the Real World gives a human face to children with CHD. Through striking black-and-white photographs and interviews with CHD patients and their families, it shows how these children cope with day-to-day struggles and go on to lead fulfilling lives.

The author of the book, Max Gerber, is a CHD patient himself. “I remember going to the doctor’s office when I was 8 or 9...and nobody ever looked like me, so it was a very isolating experience,” Gerber says. He hopes that the images in his book will help CHD patients and their families realize that they are not alone.

Ten chapters each spotlight a single child. The photographs show the children engaging in day-to-day activities, visiting the doctor, and participating in special festivities such as birthday parties, weddings, vacations, graduations, and holiday celebrations. The images are accompanied by personal accounts from the children and family members.

With structural and developmental abnormalities that include heart valve defects and cardiac muscle deformities, children with CHD face their own mortality at a young age. They often struggle to fit in with other children while protecting their health. “These photos reveal what our vision might fail to see: the remarkable persons behind the external scars,” says Dr. Peter Guzy, a cardiologist and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA.

In the introduction to the book, the author writes about his experiences growing up and living with CHD. An additional chapter focuses on Gerber’s life and includes stories from his parents. A 12-minute slideshow and commentary by Gerber is at

The Web site for My Heart vs. the Real World (
www.heartkidsproject.org) is a blog/message forum for families and children with CHD. It also includes images and excerpts from the book to increase awareness of CHD in the general public.

“Max Gerber gives us an as-yet-unseen glimpse into the hearts and minds of children and young adults who are growing up with congenital heart defects,” explains Mona Barmash, President of the Congenital Heart Information Network. “The hauntingly beautiful photography accurately portrays the thought provoking reality of their experience.”

The author intends to donate a portion of his proceeds from the sale of the book to charities serving pediatric heart patients.

About the book: My Heart vs. the Real World: Children with Heart Disease, In Photographs & Interviews (ISBN 978-087969782-2) is published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. It is 203 pp. in length, includes 109 photographs, and is available in hardcover. For more information, see

About the author: Max S. Gerber is a professional photographer. Born three months premature with bradycardia (an abnormally low heart rate), he has had a pacemaker since the age of eight. His pictures have been published in more than a dozen countries, and in prominent periodicals such as Time, Newsweek, The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly, The Sunday Telegraph Review, DoubleTake Magazine, and Los Angeles Magazine.



Priming scientists for successful media interviews [Mar 30 Washington DC USA]--Evolution, climate change, stem cell research–Scientists are frequently called upon to provide expert information on hot button issues that pervade the daily news headlines, yet most find themselves woefully unprepared for the bright lights of the television studio or leading questions from a newspaper journalist. A


 new publication from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), "Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media," by Holly Menninger and Robert Gropp, will prepare scientists for successful and effective media interviews.

Recognizing that many scientists are reluctant to engage in media outreach, the Primer outlines compelling reasons for scientists to interact with the media and describes key differences between journalism and science that may not be apparent to practicing scientists. Step-by-step, Menninger and Gropp walk scientists through the entire interview process–from appropriate questions to ask when a reporter calls to practical advice for looking and sounding one’s best on-air or on-camera.

The information and advice in the Primer is presented in eight easy-to-read chapters that provide vital information for scientists new to media outreach, as well as a quick refresher for seasoned experts–an ideal text for a graduate course on science communication or a professional development course for students and faculty. The Primer’s authors speak from their own experiences as PhD scientists in the biological sciences with years of experience in media outreach.

The concise, user-friendly volume has several unique features that set it apart from other media guides for scientists. The Primer includes first-person interviews with nearly a dozen scientists who have successfully navigated print, radio, and television interviews. The scientists–including the “Island Snake Lady,” Kristin Stanford, recently featured on the Discovery Channel show, "Dirty Jobs"–share advice and experiences on a number of topics, including safely speaking on behalf of an organization, avoiding trouble when discussing socially or politically controversial topics, and reflections on first interviews.

The Primer also provides worksheets to assist readers with interview preparation: building a message framework with talking points and transition phrases, developing analogies, and using illustrative props or images. It includes pages for readers to organize contact information of journalists with whom they have worked directly and those who have reported on stories related to their own research to keep as potential contacts for future story pitches.

"Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media" is available now at www.aibs.org/bookstore/


Holly Menninger is a public policy associate at the American Institute of Biological Sciences, where she works on science policy and to improve communication among scientists, policymakers, and the general public. She has a PhD in behavior, ecology, evolution, and systematics from the University of Maryland. Before joining AIBS, Menninger frequently fielded entomological questions from journalists representing local, national, and international media outlets. She now writes regularly for the AIBS Public Policy Report, the Washington Watch column in BioScience, and on the blog of the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.

Robert Gropp is the director of public policy at AIBS, where he has led the effort to increase AIBS media relations and activities to better articulate and communicate public policy positions to and through the media. He earned a PhD in botany from the University of Oklahoma. With over 10 years in public affairs, Gropp has worked with many media outlets ranging from trade publications to national newspapers. He also edits the Washington Watch column in BioScience as well as the AIBS Public Policy Report and Natural Science Collections Alliance Washington Report.


Title: Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media
Authors: Holly Menninger and Robert Gropp
Publisher: American Institute of Biological Sciences
ISBN: 978-0-936829-03-6
5.5x7.5 paperback, 54pp., $12.95


Global: Supportive devices or unnecessary surveillance? New book warns of threats posed by ambient intelligence, calls for safeguards [Mar 30 London England]--In the near future, every manufactured product – our clothes, money, appliances, the paint on our walls, the carpets on our floors, our cars – will be embedded with intelligence, networks of tiny sensors and actuators, which some have termed “smart dust” or an “Internet of Things”. The world of ambient intelligence (AmI) is not far off. We already have surveillance systems, biometrics, personal communicators, machine learning and more. Ambient intelligence will provide personalised services − and know more about us − on a scale dwarfing anything hitherto available.

Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence, a new book written by a European consortium of researchers, serves as a warning. It aims to warn policymakers, industry, academia, civil society organisations, the media and the public about the threats and vulnerabilities facing our privacy, identity, trust, security and inclusion in the rapidly approaching world of ambient intelligence.

In the AmI vision, ubiquitous computing, communications and interfaces converge and adapt to the user. AmI promises greater user-friendliness in an environment capable of recognising and responding to the presence of different individuals in a seamless, unobtrusive and often invisible way. While most stakeholders paint the promise of AmI in sunny colours, there is a dark side to AmI as well.

This book illustrates the threats and vulnerabilities by means of four “dark scenarios” and then identifies safeguards to counter the foreseen threats and vulnerabilities. The authors make recommendations to policymakers and other stakeholders about what they can do to maximise the benefits from ambient intelligence and minimise the negative consequences.

Emile Aarts, Vice President of Research at Philips, said, “This book is mandatory reading for anyone who is professionally active in the field of ambient intelligence, as it can be seen as a landmark contribution to the discussion on AmI. After almost ten years of development, ambient intelligence can now live up to its expectation that it can change peoples’ lives for the better through its novel user-centric technology. In the end, however, this will only work if we can settle the ethical issues that are connected to it.”

Gary Marx, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said, “The book is the most informative and comprehensive policy analysis of new information and surveillance technologies seen in recent decades. Those wishing to praise a book often say, ‘essential reading for anyone concerned with …’ But I would go beyond that strong endorsement to say Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence should be required reading for anyone concerned with public policy involving new communications and surveillance technologies.”

Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence has been prepared by a consortium of partners from five European countries following several years of research on the emerging brave new world of ambient intelligence. It is based on a project sponsored by the European Commission, although the views expressed in the book are those of the authors alone and are not intended to reflect those of the Commission.

The principal editors and authors of the book are David Wright, Trilateral Research & Consulting, UK; Serge Gutwirth, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; Michael Friedewald, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Germany; Elena Vildjiounaite, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; and Yves Punie, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), European Commission JRC, Spain.


Global: Women and disasters [Mar 20 Los Angeles CA USA]--The International Research Committee on Disasters is pleased to announce the newest publication in its book series, "Women and Disasters: From Theory to Practice" Edited by Brenda D. Phillips and Betty Hearn Morrow.

FORWARD -- Joe Scanlon
1 WHAT’S GENDER GOT TO DO WITH IT? -- Brenda D. Phillips, Betty Hearn Morrow
Integrating feminist theory and methods -- Elaine Enarson, Brenda D. Phillips
Balancing resilience and vulnerability -- Maureen Fordham
4 GENDER AND DISASTER: A synthesis of flood research in Bangladesh, William E. Lovekamp
Risk factors for psychological morbidity -- Jane C. Ollenburger, Graham Tobin
6 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AFTER DISASTER: Voices from the 1997 Grand Forks flood, Alice Fothergill
Case studies from Hurricane Andrew and the Red River Valley flood -- Elaine Enarson
Cheryl D. Childers
Jennifer Wilson, Arthur Oyola-Yemaiel
10 BUT SHE’S A WOMAN AND THIS IS A MAN’S JOB: Lessons for participatory research and participatory recovery -- Richard L. Krajeski and Kristina J. Peterson

Women and Disasters: From Theory to Practice can be purchased directly from Xlibris Corporation by visiting:

All Royalties benefit the International Research Committee on Disasters (IRCD). The IRCD is a nonprofit organization dedicated to social science inquiry on various aspects of disasters. As an official research committee of the International Sociological Association, the IRCD strives to promote interdisciplinary work worldwide. With members in over 30 nations, the IRCD represents the world’s most significant body of researchers involved in the study of socio-behavioral and organizational related to mass emergencies.


The IRCD publishes the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, the world’s longest-published journal in the field. For more information, visit http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/ijmed/about.php. Previous issues of the journal (except for the last three years which require a membership) may be accessed freely at http://www.ijmed.org

Dedication: this book has been dedicated to Verta Taylor and Mary Fran Myers, whose bodies of work have inspired considerable examination of the issues of gender in disaster contexts and prompted change designed to improve life safety for women and children.

Brenda D. Phillips, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events
Oklahoma State University
536 Math Sciences Building
Stillwater, OK 74078
405-744-5298; Fax 405-744-6534



USA: Coal-fires science: Ready to ignite around the world [Jan 24 Boulder CO]--In spite of the human suffering and environmental dangers they cause around the world, naturally burning coal fires and coal fires ignited by human activities receive little attention from the media, compared to other environmental catastrophes.


Unfortunately, few university geoscience curricula devote time to the study of these fires. A new volume published by the Geological Society of America may help change that.

Geology of Coal Fires: Case Studies from Around the World, GSA Reviews in Engineering Geology Volume XVIII, offers a comprehensive overview of coal-fires science, an interdisciplinary area of research that is gaining international attention.

According to volume editor Professor Glenn B. Stracher of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics at East Georgia College in Swainsboro, Georgia, coal fires are responsible for coronary and respiratory diseases and arsenic, fluorine, and carbon monoxide poisoning in humans, often culminating in death. The heat energy, toxic fumes, and solid by-products associated with coal combustion, both at the surface and underground, destroy floral and faunal habitats while polluting the air, water, and soil.

"In addition to addressing these pressing problems, coal-fires science may lead to an understanding of the role played by ancient and modern fires in global warming and Earth's carbon cycle. The affect of coal fires on the chemistry of Earth's atmosphere and life on our planet is unknown," said Stracher. "Coal-fires science is an exciting and critically important field of interdisciplinary research ripe for expansion."

The volume is the first such GSA publication of its kind. It includes the recent research of the world's leading coal-fires scientists, grouped into five sections:

* Spontaneous combustion and greenhouse gases
* Mineralogy and petrology
* Geophysics – modeling
* Geophysics – remote sensing
* Coal fires and public policy

Areas of the world studied include China, Russia, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Israel, and the United States.

Individual copies may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online bookstore or by contacting GSA Sales and Service

Geology of Coal Fires: Case Studies from Around the World
Glenn B. Stracher (editor)
Geological Society of America Reviews in Engineering Geology XVIII
2007, 278 pages plus index, US$80.00, GSA member price US$56.00
ISBN 978-0-8137-4118-5


USA: New book by UCR biologist discusses 12 diseases that impacted humanity [Nov 15 Riverside CA]--Understanding past outbreaks of diseases can better prepare us for diseases in our future. This, in a nutshell, is the message of a new book by a professor emeritus of biology at the University of California, Riverside.

Irwin W. Sherman’s Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World (American Society for Microbiology Press, 2007), which is written for the general reader, focuses on a dozen diseases that greatly influenced society, politics and culture.

Sherman selected the diseases based on how humans have survived the onslaught of “plagues,” many of which led to the introduction of public health measures and other interventions aimed at stemming the spread of diseases.

“The recent pandemics of SARS and HIV/AIDS clearly show that our lives, as well as the political and economic fortunes of the developed world and that of emerging nations, can be influenced by the appearance of a contagious disease,” Sherman said. “My purpose in writing this book is to show that, despite the challenges which an unanticipated illness may place before us, the future is not without hope or remedy.”

In the book, Sherman argues that the following dozen diseases shaped history and illuminated the paths taken in finding measures to control them:

  • Porphyria and hemophilia, which influenced the political fortunes of England, Germany, Russia and the United States
  • Late blight, which spawned a wave of immigration that changed the politics of the United States
  • Cholera, which stimulated sanitary measures, promoted nursing and led to the discovery of oral rehydration therapy
  • Smallpox, which led to a vaccine that ultimately eradicated the disease
  • Plague, which promoted quarantine measures
  • Syphilis, which provided the impetus for cure through chemotherapy
  • Tuberculosis, which resulted in attenuated vaccines
  • Malaria and yellow fever, which provided the basis for vector control
  • Influenza and HIV/AIDS, two pandemics that continue to elude control.

“The book is about the lessons we have – or should have – learned from our past encounters with unanticipated disease, and how such understanding can be put to use when future outbreaks of disease occur,” Sherman said. “Unanticipated outbreaks of disease – epidemics – provoke questions: What is needed to curtail the transmission of a disease" What will it take to contain a disease so that protective measures can be instituted" These are perplexing and complex questions that need answers.”

Sherman joined UCR in 1962 and retired in 2006. During his tenure, he served as chair of the Department of Biology (1973-1978); dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (1981-1988); acting executive vice chancellor (1993-1994); and chair of the Academic Senate (1997-2004).

The author or coauthor of more than 150 scholarly papers and four books, Sherman also has edited two books on malaria. His previous book, The Power of Plagues (American Society for Microbiology Press, 2006), examined the interrelationship between plagues and culture.

He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, Ill., where his lifelong research on the biochemistry of malaria parasites began.


USA: Handbook helps parents deal with childhood infections [Oct 30 Denver CO USA]--A new book designed for parents helps them better understand the diseases their children could face and the weapons to fight them, while offering practical advice for preventing infections in their kids without going overboard.

Germ Proof Your Kids: The Complete Guide to Protecting (without Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections, released this week by ASM Press, is the inside source on germ defense – from antibiotics and vaccines to health foods and home remedies. Written by internationally respected pediatrician and infectious disease specialist Dr. Harley Rotbart, the book offers an accessible, comprehensive handbook for parents and physicians.

“Parents feel incredible anxiety about their children contracting nasty germs and untreatable diseases. News sources are increasingly filled with stories of contaminated hamburger, Bird flu, common colds, and the West Nile virus. In a world seemingly full of microscopic danger, where can concerned parents turn to protect their kids" Germ Proof Your Kids guides them in protecting, without overprotecting, the ones they love from the invisible enemies all around them,” says Rotbart, who is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and The Children’s Hospital of Denver.

By combining the latest scientific findings on disease prevention and treatment with the ages-old wisdom of Mom and Grandma, Rotbart demystifies childhood infections in four parts:

* “Part One: Worthy Enemies” introduces the germs by name and reputation, as well as to the ways in which they travel in and out of children. Rather than present them in alphabetical order, though, they are organized into the diseases that parents most hate, those that they most fear, and those that they used to hate and fear but are now mostly gone.

* “Part Two: Weapons in the War” is the good news to counter all the bad news in Part One. These chapters describe kids’ natural immunity to infections, as well as the armamentarium doctors and scientists have amassed to combat germs.

* “Part Three: Wear your Boots in the Rain” contains the reconciliation chapters – how do mom’s ideas of infection prevention jive with those we have been taught by modern medicine"

* “Part 4: Wisdom of the Ages” contains a single but important chapter that puts it all in perspective. How should parents balance phobia with prudence in protecting their kids" How much prevention is too much"

While written for parents, this volume also serves as a perfect office manual for physicians, providing the up-to-date, concise information that doctors need to educate parents about germs and the best available treatment options.

More information on the book, including Rotbart’s GERMBlog™, can be found online at

Germ Proof Your Kids has a list price of $29.95 and can be purchased through ASM Press online at
http://estore.asm.org or through other online retailers.



USA: Sports-related injuries most common cause of visits to the doctor's office for young athletes creating a need for increasing knowledge of diagnosis and treatment [Oct 30 New York NY USA]--A new and innovative book for pediatricians is taking a different approach in helping to increase knowledge and understanding in the field of sports medicine. The book applies written information on sports medicine along with video case-based teaching to fully demonstrate the proper ways of diagnosing and treating sports related injuries in young athletes.

With more than 30 million children playing sports in the United States, sports injuries are the most common cause of visits to pediatricians for people under 18. Yet less than six hours of training during a pediatrician’s residency is related to musculoskeletal and sports medicine. Recognizing the need for improving knowledge and clinical skills in this area, the American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) teamed up with Jordan D. Metzl, M.D., FAAP, sports medicine physician and nationally recognized pediatric sports medicine specialist at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery to come up with a solution.

The result is a trendsetting book, Sports Medicine in the Pediatric Office: Multimedia Case-Based Text with Video, a book and DVD which explain and show how to examine specific sports injuries, how to differentiate between different types of injuries, how to evaluate x-rays, and provides prevention exercises for patients and handouts that pediatricians can share with patients.

“From my experience people learn best through hands-on teaching,” said Dr. Metzl. “That’s why we decided to include case studies and a DVD along with the written text. It allows pediatricians to see how they should assess, diagnose and treat common sports injuries. Most importantly it’s a resource to help them provide quality patient care.”

Sports Medicine in the Pediatric Office has come out to many accolades from the medical community. “In many ways, this volume is the informational ‘strength training’ we have all been waiting for when it comes to improving our knowledge and clinical skills in the field of sports medicine,” said Lewis R. First, M.D., FAAP, professor and chair of the department of pediatrics at University of Vermont College of Medicine and chief of pediatrics at Vermont Children’s Hospital in the foreword of the book.

In commenting about the book to fellow pediatricians, Andrew Gregory, M.D., FAAP from Vanderbilt University said, “This is a must-have reference for every pediatrician’s office. The videos walk you through everything you need to know about sports medicine injuries in children. This is like the musculoskeletal rotation that you never got in residency.”

Increasing knowledge among pediatricians about sports injuries is not limited to the United States. “The lack of training during residency is a worldwide issue,” said Dr. Metzl. “That’s why this multimedia resource is also being translated into several other languages; so that pediatricians throughout the world can benefit from it.”

The selection of Dr. Metzl and Hospital for Special Surgery for this project further demonstrates the hospital’s leadership in education. “With quality patient care at the center of the sports medicine service, our physicians and residents remain committed to being a source for outstanding initiatives in education, training, research and information for local, national and international communities,” said Russell F. Warren, M.D., attending orthopedic surgeon at HSS.

Contributors to the book from Hospital for Special Surgery include Robert G. Marx, M.D., MSc, FRCSC, attending orthopedic surgeon; Ben Heyworth, M.D., resident physician in orthopedic surgery; Drago Novkovic, ATC, athletic trainer; Amanda Sparrow, PT, advanced clinician in pediatrics; James Voos, M.D., resident physician in orthopedic surgery.

To view sample chapters from Sports Medicine in the Pediatric Office: Multimedia Case-Based Text with Video that demonstrate how the book takes a comprehensive approach to improving pediatricians’ knowledge log on to



USA: Civil defense researcher finds what's old is new again [Oct 13 Chicago IL]--A book exploring modern civil defense through the lens of performance suggests today's all-too-familiar security efforts -- metal detectors in federal buildings, shoe removal at airports and suggestions to scrutinize those around us in response to terrorism alerts -- were foreshadowed by civil defense practices of the 1950s and 1960s.

"Civil defense is no longer merely an arcane by-product of the Cold War characterized by memories of ducking under school desks, kitsch artifacts or the dispensing of ID tags to children," says Tracy C. Davis, Northwestern University Barber Professor of Performing Arts, professor of English and author of "Stages of Emergency" (Duke University Press).

"Since 9/11, civil defense has been resurrected as homeland security," she says.

In the 1950s, U.S. schoolchildren learned to protect themselves from disaster with the help of Bert the Turtle in "Duck and Cover," a film produced by the Federal Civil Defense Administration. Its aim was to teach youngsters what to do in the event of unexpected nuclear attack.

"Bert would go under his shell whenever a mischievous monkey unsuspectingly dropped a firecracker," says Davis, whose book compares civil defense efforts in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. "Today FEMA uses Herman, a crab with 'disaster-proof' armor, to guide children around their homes to collect potentially vital materials in the case of emergency, including terrorism," says Davis.

"What's old is new again," says Davis, who began her research prior to the dark events of September 2001. In "Stages of Emergency," she shows how different national priorities, contingencies and social policies in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain influenced those nations' rehearsals of nuclear disaster.

Raised in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s, Davis recalls growing up "amid the futility of civil defense efforts" that convinced her "the world could be blown up and destroyed at any moment." She had "constant fears about being on the frontline" between U.S. and Soviet missile paths.

A theatre scholar investigating the theatrical nature of Cold War civil defense exercises, Davis dug deep into the national archives of the countries she was studying. In the process she uncovered information classified in the Cold War.

"Stages of Emergency" analyzes public exercises involving private citizens -- Boys Scouts serving as mock casualties, housewives arranging home protection, clergy trained as fallout shelter managers - as well as covert exercises by civil servants.

While the three countries constantly exchanged information about the science underlying civil defense practices, "the very different ethos of the three nations resulted in very different civil defense rehearsals," she contends.

In the U.S., civil defense government guidelines permeated all levels of the school curriculum. Civil defense activities in the U.S. involved millions of people at a time in rehearsal evacuations, and architects and engineers were offered incentives to build public fallout shelters.

"The civil defense activities people recall from their school days are a micro-version of rehearsals that occurred in U.S. cities nationwide," Davis says. "In 'Operation Alert,' an event that occurred annually from the mid-1950s to early 1960s, at least a quarter of the population would tune into their radios for instructions "as if a nuclear attack already had occurred."

While school children hid under their desks and city office workers scrambled to basement shelters, President Eisenhower was airlifted to a safe facility in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the federal government apparatus went underground or headed to relocation facilities.

In Great Britain, a cash-strapped government in need of funds to replace housing destroyed in the Blitz was in no position to build public fallout shelters. With their more communal national ethos, the British instead built upon efforts they had developed during World War II and created a civil defense corps.

"This unarmed force at its height had 350,000 volunteers conducting elaborate rehearsals on weekends," Davis says. They included medical triage efforts connecting the National Health Service with block-by-block organizations training people in rescue and first aid.

In the early 1950s, Canadians followed suit and developed a rudimentary civil defense corps. But Canadian officials soon encountered resistance from their citizens, who were enjoying an unprecedented, booming post-war economy.

"In a short time, Canadians simply refused to build fallout shelters in their homes or show up for disaster rehearsals," Davis says. As a result, the government became the focus of Canadian civil defense activity, and civil service exercises practiced linking all echelons of the federal government to provincial, regional and local governments.

In the U.S., such coordination of all governmental levels was illusory. The federal government refused to fund the effort properly, and state governments were unable to keep up with federal mandates for either civilian or civil service measures.

"We remember the Cuban Missile Crisis as the epitome of anxiety," Davis says, "but papers in the Kennedy administration's archive reveal that even in those dark days the government never ordered civil defense measures to protect the public." And, even if it had, the action would have been hopelessly short of stipulated goals, she adds.

Ultimately the U.S. government made the decision to spend the fruits of post-war prosperity on an interstate highway network that could serve in both war and peacetime as opposed to blast-proof bunkers that were useful only in war. It decided it was cheaper to take the civil defense message home via school children trained by Bert the Turtle.

As the Cold War ended, so did civil defense exercises. But as governments struggle with 21st century fears of sleeper cells, dirty bombs, rogue states and terrorism, some strikingly familiar civil defense efforts have been revived.

Late last month (September 2007), emergency planners in the Alabama city of Huntsville (population 158,000) announced they were planning the nation's most ambitious fallout shelter plan, including the conversion of an abandoned mine that could provide underground protection for 20,000. What's old is new again.


American College of Physicians publishes 'The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health' [Sep 18 Philadelphia PA USA]--In October the American College of Physicians (ACP) will publish "The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health." Edited by Dr. Harvey Makadon, Dr. Ken Mayer, and Hilary Goldhammer of The Fenway Institute at Fenway Community Health, and Dr. Jennifer Potter of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the textbook is designed to teach current and future medical providers about the unique health care needs of sexual and gender minorities.

"The American College of Physicians is pleased to present this outstanding text, which fulfills an important but currently unmet educational need for a broad range of health care providers," said Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP, Senior Vice President, Medical Education and Publishing at ACP.

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Americans, in addition to having the same basic health needs as the general population, also experience health disparities because of continuing discrimination and ignorance related to sexual orientation or gender identity. For example:

* LGBT people as a whole are 40 to 70 percent more likely to smoke than non-LGBT people;

* Gay and bisexual men continue to be at increased risk for HIV and other STD acquisition and transmission;

* Many providers have little knowledge of transgender people and their specialized medical and mental health needs;

* LGBT youth are often isolated and at higher risk for depression and attempted suicide;

* Lesbians may be at greater risk than other women for certain kinds of cancer.

Despite these disparities, many medical providers are unaware of specific health issues impacting LGBT people or are unskilled in making their practices welcoming and inclusive of LGBT patients. "The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health" draws on Fenway Community Health's more than 35 years providing medical and mental health care to the LGBT community to address this common disconnect between doctor and patient.

"We as medical providers need to be as knowledgeable as possible about health issues impacting all of our patients, especially groups with unique health disparities, like LGBT people," said Dr. Makadon, Director of Training & Education at The Fenway Institute and associate professor at Harvard School of Medicine. "We also need to be comfortable talking to sexual and gender minorities in a non-judgmental way about behaviors and situations that result in these disparities so that they are comfortable being honest and open with us. Doctor-patient communication is an essential component of providing quality health care."

"The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health" contains chapters on subjects as diverse as adolescence and coming out; LGBT couples and families with children; health promotion and disease prevention; mental health and substance abuse; transgender health; and patient communication and creating a more welcoming office environment.

An ACP Press title, "The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health" will be distributed by all major distributors and medical book sellers, including Ingram Book Group. It is also available to readers at
www.acponline.org/fenway, www.amazon.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com, or by calling ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600, or 215-351-2600.

The American College of Physicians
www.acponline.org is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 124,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults.

For more than thirty-five years, Fenway Community Health has been working to improve the physical and mental health of our community, especially those who are traditionally underserved like lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, women, those living with HIV/AIDS, and people from communities of color. Fenway Community Health is one of only seven LGBT-specific health centers in the U.S. The Fenway Institute at Fenway Community Health works to increase the health of the larger community through research and evaluation, education, outreach and health policy advocacy. For more information, visit



Toxic food trend continues to worry US public [Sep 2 Amherst NY USA]--August 1, 2007, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning, urging consumers to avoid certain brands of French Cut Green Beans in 14.5-ounce cans manufactured by Lakeside Foods Inc, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin because the product may not have been processed sufficiently to eliminate the potential for botulism toxin.


A month earlier in July 2007 there was a recall of canned meat products and dog food due to the same poisonous substance, botulism, which according to the FDA can produce such symptoms as general weakness, dizziness, difficulty breathing and double vision.


While statistics deny there's been an actual increase, the public perception of a “trend” in food recalls may have started in 2006 when traces of the E. coli virus were found in packaged spinach. These recent instances in food recalls due to poisonous chemicals make U.S. consumers wonder, ‘Why does this keep happening"’ and ‘What can be done to prevent it from happening again"’ Interestingly, this is not just a new issue resulting from a more global economy and mass-produced, processed foods.


Internationally renowned food expert Morton Satin shows how these outbreaks because of unclean, adulterated food have affected society throughout history. In the engrossing new book DEATH IN THE POT: THE IMPACT OF FOOD POISONING ON HISTORY (Prometheus Books, $24), Satin documents events both tragic and bizarre in regards to food poisoning and how it affects us all.

Satin first takes his readers back in time to explore some of the most interesting and well-documented health threats of all time. In the fifth century B.C.E., the great plague of Athens, probably caused by contaminated cereals, led to the defeat of the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War. In the prescientific Middle Ages, illnesses resulting from contaminated food were often attributed to the wrath of God or malevolent spirits. Heavily infectious ergot induced a spasmodic muscle condition, which the Church named “St. Anthony’s Fire” and interpreted as retribution by God on heretics. Similarly, in seventeenth-century America the hallucinogenic symptoms of moldy grain were thought by Puritans to be signs of witchcraft. Even the madness of King George III, which played a role in the American Revolution, may have been induced by accidental arsenic poisoning.

In the twentieth century, Satin recounts the efforts of modern industrial societies to make food safer; in some cases these efforts were heroic. For example, in the early days of the Food and Drug Administration a “Poison Squad” was formed, consisting of young scientists who willingly acted as guinea pigs to test the toxic effects of chemical additives. Today, the government has focused on the hazards of food bioterrorism. He also details one of the first events to make E. coli a term that everyone now associates with food poisoning and disease. In 1993 the food chain Jack in the Box decided to cook their hamburgers at a lower temperature, resulting in meat contaminated with E. coli. More recently in 2006, the bacteria was found in packaged spinach which in turn initiated numerous food-safety programs that are continually working to ensure that the food eaten by millions of people is healthy and safe.

Satin ends by describing measures taken to protect the public from intentional and unintentional poisoning, and recounting recent poisoning incidents. A fascinating glimpse into history from a unique angle and an authoritative reference work on food safety, DEATH IN THE POT is entertaining and informative reading for laypersons and experts in food technology and public health.



Doctors share joys and frustrations in 'On Being a Doctor 3' [Sep 2 Philadelphia PA USA]--Doctors' observations of their patients and everyday experiences in medicine can be inspiring, tragic, infuriating, funny, or poignant. The American College of Physicians, the nation's largest medical specialty organization, has published a compilation of stories, essays, and poems by doctors and their patients, "On Being a Doctor 3."

"Doctors tell of the often dysfunctional, sometimes wonderful, world we live in," write co-editors Christine Laine, MD, MPH, FACP, and Michael A. LaCombe, MD, MACP, in their introduction. "Reading these stories will help you see why, despite these challenges, most doctors would not dream of doing anything else."

Some stories depict particular patients (whose identities are protected) and others portray characters that are composites of people whom physicians have encountered in medical training, in practice, or in their daily lives. Other stores are written by patients themselves.

The writings first appeared in the On Being a Doctor section of the ACP journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Drs. Laine and LaCombe, who select and edit works for the section, chose 111 pieces for this third On Being a Doctor compilation. (The first two volumes were published in 1995 and 1999.)

The works are arranged into eight chapters: On Society and the World Around Us; On Becoming a Doctor; On Being a Patient; Balancing the Personal and Professional; Those Who Are Our Patients; On Aging; On Death and Dying; and Hospital, Health Systems, Contentions.

Some examples:

The patient in an Indian slum hospital who won't leave when discharged. The doctor can't understand why, until he sees the man's two children hidden under the bed, feasting on hospital food

The physician hugging her children and crying at the end of a workday that included being stuck by the needle of an HIV-positive patient. She instinctively pulls back, fearing a chance the virus could be transmitted through her tears

The closeted gay medical student who can't let on that he recognizes the AIDS patient on whom he and his colleagues are making hospital rounds

The doctor witnessing an epidemic of drug abuse who writes in the poem "OxyContin": "Top of her class / with nothing but promise ahead / until hi-jacked by / the torment of needle and spoon."; and

The "trouble with medical students," according to the poem of a mentoring physician, is "...they are young... full of possibility, full of questions you have stopped asking..."

In commenting on the continuing popularity of the On Being a Doctor section in Annals of Internal Medicine, Drs. Laine and LaCombe write, "Why is it that stories about illness and physicians attract such an eager audience" One reason is that diagnosing and treating disease often contains elements of high drama. Second, an aura of mystery often surrounds the medical profession. Lastly, many doctors themselves are wonderful storytellers."

About the Editors

Christine Laine, MD, MPH, Senior Deputy Editor of Annals of Internal Medicine, is a clinician, researcher, and medical educator who has worked in medical journalism for more than a decade. After receiving an undergraduate degree in writing at Hamilton College, she completed medical school at State University of New York at Stony Brook, internal medicine residency training at New York Hospital Cornell University Medical College, and fellowship training in general internal medicine and clinical epidemiology at Beth Israel Hospital Harvard Medical School. She is a clinical associate professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

Michael A. LaCombe, MD, MACP, has developed a career that blends writing with practicing medicine. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, has practiced medicine for over 30 years in rural Maine, and is former director of cardiology at Maine General Medical Center in Augusta. He is the author of "Medicine Made Clear: House Calls from a Maine Country Doctor" (Dirigo Press, 1989). Dr. LaCombe is working on two anthologies -- one of poetry, one of prose -- to be published in 2008.

To order "On Being a Doctor 3," visit the ACP Web site:

https://www.acponline.org/atpro/timssnet/catalog/books/obd3.htm.  List price is $29.95; ACP Members pay $25.95. The hardcover book has 384 pages.



It's time to look at health risks in a new light [Sep 2 Baltimore MD USA]--How solid is the link between high cholesterol and heart disease" Do regular screening tests for breast and prostate cancer lead to far fewer deaths from these diseases" How safe is the water we drink and the air we breathe" How should we interpret the daily flood of news reports on sometimes contradictory medical studies"

A new book, co-written by a Johns Hopkins University professor and an outside colleague, seeks to examine health questions like these in a new light. Authors Erik Rifkin and Edward Bouwer are not physicians; both are environmental scientists with decades of experience in analyzing health risks connected with air, water and soil pollution. By directing this expertise at data from mainstream medical studies, the researchers believe they have found a fresh way to help the average reader assess common health risks.

Their findings are described in a new book published by Springer and titled "The Illusion of Certainty: Health Benefits and Risks." Bouwer is a professor and chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins. Rifkin is president of an environmental consulting firm in Baltimore. The book includes a chapter on “The Physician’s and Patient’s Perspective,” written by Bob Sheff, a radiologist who trained at UCLA and Johns Hopkins.

The researchers said they wrote the book because they believe that the average person, who must make critical decisions about health risks, is not getting a complete picture. They discovered that health-related choices that sometimes sound straightforward and obvious are often much more uncertain and controversial when the risk statistics are viewed in a different way.

“I’ve been involved in human health and environmental risk assessment for more than 30 years,” Rifkin said. “It became clear to me during this time that the uncertainty in health risk assessment had gotten lost, and the numbers had taken on a life of their own”

He had collaborated with Bouwer on projects for 20 years, and the two decided to train their science skills on data from medical studies. “I can read scientific articles, and I’ve had experience handling epidemiological data,” Bouwer said. “You can look at the data in medical studies the same way you look at environmental data. We did, and we found that the there was a lot of uncertainly in these studies, but it often wasn’t being communicated to people.”

Much of this misinformation, the researchers said, comes from the way risks are explained to a patient or described in a news story. One measure, called absolute risk reduction, looks at the difference in death rates between two groups, such as one group that received a medication and one that did not. If one person died among 100 people who took medication, the death rate would be 1 percent. If two people died among 100 people who did not take medication, that death rate for that group would be 2 percent. The difference between these death rates, found by subtracting 1 percent from 2 percent, would yield the absolute risk reduction: 1 percentage point.

But the authors learned that drugs companies, journalists and some medical professionals often rely on a different measure: relative risk reduction. This term compares only the raw numbers of people who died in each instance. In the above example, because half as many people (one versus two) died in the group that took the medication, the relative risk reduction is 50 percent. By this measure, the patient can be told that his or her chance of dying is cut in half by taking the drug, instead of being told that there was only a 1 percentage point difference in the treated group.

“It’s as if, in hearing about a baseball game between the Orioles and the Yankees, you’re told that the Orioles scored twice as many runs as the Yankees,” Rifkin said. “But if you don’t know the actual numbers involved, you don’t know whether this was a close 2-1 game or a 20-10 rout. If you don’t know where you’re starting from, the relative risks figures will not be helpful.”

In their book, Bouwer and Rifkin argue that, although relative risk is a useful yardstick for research scientists, “it should not be used by the public to assess the risks and benefits of screening tests. Far more weight should be given to absolute risk reduction values.”

In their book, Rifkin and Bouwer give readers an easy way to visualize the absolute risk numbers through a graphic called the Risk Characterization Theater. This diagram is patterned after a seating chart for a theater with space for 1,000 people. The authors darken the “seats” that represent the number of people who are likely to benefit from a screening test or a medication or who may be at increased risk from exposure to an environmental contaminant.

“These theater charts make it easier for people to see what the case studies are referring to,” Bouwer said. “We’re trying to give people some new tools to help them make better informed decisions about health risks.”

Various chapters in the book focus on topics such as environmental contaminants, prostate screening, cholesterol, statin drugs, smoking, chlorinated drinking water and exposure to residential radon. The authors said their intent is not to offer medical advice but to show readers another way to evaluate health risks.

In the book’s foreword, Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University, says Rifkin and Bouwer have been “courageous in writing this book. In going to the heart of what’s been lacking in risk communications and management, they have taken on established thinking. As a result, this book may be controversial. In my view, a book like this is long overdue, and we all will be better for the reflection and debate it is likely to stimulate among scientists and policy-makers.”


CDC travel health book advises travelers on hazards both ordinary and extraordinary [Jul 17 Atlanta GA USA]--The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released an updated version of the "Yellow Book," the definitive guide to healthy international travel. The newest edition of the "Yellow Book" provides information on a range of health risks from the ordinary — sunburns, auto accidents and travelers′ diarrhea — to the extraordinary — avian flu and natural disasters. New features include an expanded section on preventing injuries and life-threatening blood clots that develop while sitting for hours on a plane, as well as the latest recommendations for immunizations and malaria prevention. The biennial health guide, named for its yellow cover, is officially titled "Health Information for International Travel" and serves as the authoritative guide for travel health recommendations.

"More than 63 million Americans travel abroad each year. This book can help prepare travelers for their trips, or help them learn how to stay safe and healthy while overseas," said Dr. Christie Reed, team lead for CDC′s travelers′ health group. "The Yellow Book serves as the gold standard of travel health recommendations. We want travelers, health care providers and those in the travel industry to have the best information and health care recommendations for traveling abroad."

New features include an expanded section on injuries and auto accidents and tips for avoiding deep vein thrombosis on long international flights.

Because injuries and auto accidents are the greatest risk to travelers, the Yellow Book stresses the importance of wearing seatbelts when driving in foreign countries.

The book also advises people to make efforts to stretch their legs and arms on long international flights to help prevent deep vein thrombosis. And it has information that can help the more than 10 million people who take cruise vacations each year protect themselves against norovirus (a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness) and motion sickness.

Additional new features in the 2007-2008 Yellow Book include:

* Recommendations on traveling to countries that have experienced limited, non-pandemic human avian influenza cases
* Updated immunization guidelines
* New developments in the prevention and treatment of malaria
* Detailed information of skin problems travelers may experience
* Health risks and recommendations for humanitarian workers

Popular recurring features include recommendations for:

* Pre- and post- travel health care
* Managing underlying and chronic conditions while traveling
* Jet lag
* Cruise ship travel
* Travelers with disabilities
* Recent immigrants returning home to visit friends and relatives
* Traveling with infants and children
* International adoptions

"This book contains must-have information for the traveling public including families, students, missionaries and volunteers, multinational corporations, the travel industry, as well as for doctors, nurses and pharmacists," Reed said.

The Yellow Book, offered by major health publisher Elsevier, is now available at bookstores, through Internet book sellers or by contacting Elsevier at 1-800-545-2522 or online at

The Yellow book also is available free online. To access the Yellow Book online, or to find additional information on travelers′ health, go to
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/.  The companion Web site lets travelers look up specific information by travel destination and view or print custom reports based on individual travel plans. The site is one of CDC′s most-visited Web sites. It is updated constantly as travel health threats emerge and new information becomes available.



Shopping for healthcare overseas: An economist's view [Jul 17 Philadelphia PA USA]--The exploding cost of healthcare in the United States has many Americans traveling overseas for treatment. With the aid of the Internet, patients can find international providers who will administer the healthcare they need at a fraction of the cost. Medical tourism, as this trend is called, has the potential to dramatically impact the economies of developing countries and has serious implications for healthcare around the globe.

Medical Tourism in Developing Countries explores this international trade in medical services and discusses its potential as an economic growth strategy. The book, to be released on August 7, is co-authored by Saint Joseph’s University Economist Milica Z. Bookman, Ph.D., and her daughter, an intellectual property attorney, Karla R. Bookman.

The United States is the only industrialized nation without free, universal healthcare. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are currently 43.6 million people in the United States without health insurance. These individuals, however, are not the largest consumers of medical tourism.

“Not all uninsured individuals have the internet savvy and wherewithal to research something like medical tourism. Some do, and they would be good candidates for treatment abroad,” explains Dr. Bookman. “It’s more likely for the insured, facing huge deductibles, to take advantage of medical tourism.”

This exodus of Americans to developing countries in search of quality medical care raises questions about the limitations of the United States healthcare system, the flaws of which have recently been brought into the spotlight through Michael Moore’s latest movie, SiCKO. “Some of the procedures these patients are seeking are not available in the United States,” Dr. Bookman explains. “It takes a long time to wait for FDA approval, and many people don’t have that time.”

Choosing to receive medical, dental, cosmetic, surgical, or wellness treatments overseas requires some research. In the book, Dr. Bookman advises consumers to do an intensive Internet search and only choose hospitals with JCI accreditation – an international standard measuring the quality of medical care outside of the United States.

According to Dr. Bookman, “the most popular procedure Americans go overseas for is dental work. The most popular countries for medical tourism include Thailand, India and Costa Rica.” Their reputation as developing countries may invoke images of botched surgeries and crude operating equipment. But Dr. Bookman explains that the level of care patients receive is just as good, and sometimes better, than care offered in the United States.

It is also not uncommon for patients receiving international medical care to bring their spouses and their families. “Many of these individuals use this as an opportunity to vacation as well,” notes Dr. Bookman. “Hospitals often offer courses and programs for families to take advantage of during their stay.”

In the book, Dr. Bookman looks at the potential for medical tourism to improve the health outcomes of these developing countries. “A successful medical tourism industry, when coupled with cooperation between the private and public sectors, may lead to public health improvements in developing countries,” Dr. Bookman says. “But at this point, we are still searching for a model to follow.”


Book helps to cope with the death of a baby [Jul 1 Wellington NZ]--A New Zealand picture book aimed at helping children to understand the death of a baby in their family/whanau will be launched in Wellington by Mayor Kerry Prendergast on Monday
(2 July).

What’s Happened to Baby? features illustrations by renowned Wellington illustrator Ali Teo, and helps parents and caregivers to guide young children through the experience of this difficult loss.

The book has been produced by skylight – the national support organisation aimed at building resilient young New Zealanders – in association with SIDS Wellington (Sudden Infant Death Support) and SANDS Wellington (Stillbirth and Newborn Death Support).

skylight’s resource manager, Tricia Irving, said What’s Happened to Baby? had been carefully designed to match a wide range of bereavement situations including miscarriage, stillbirth, cot death, and accidental or natural deaths of an infant or toddler.

“In this way it has been developed as a book that can serve and support a large number of bereaved New Zealand families/whanau,” she said.

“The death of an unborn or newborn child is extremely difficult for parents themselves to comprehend, let alone for their other children to understand. This book helps families/whanau to cope and deal with the grieving process together,” she said.

The book also features information to assist adults in supporting their bereaved children.

skylight provides resources, support and training nationwide to help young New Zealanders and their families/whanau deal with change, loss and grief.

skylight’s Chief Executive, Bice Awan, said revenue from the book’s sale would assist the organisation to continue providing young people and their carers with tools and support to deal with life issues and build their resilience so they could move forward.

She said skylight supported more than 5,000 individuals every year through its counselling services in Wellington, and many more through resources and education services nationwide.

Mayor Prendergast - a patron of skylight, trained midwife and author of a book on baby death – will launch What’s Happened to Baby? at a function in her Mayoral Chambers at 2pm on Monday.

What’s Happened to Baby? is available from skylight’s website
www.skylight.org.nz  or by contacting skylight on ph 0800 299 100 or rs@skylight-trust.org.nz.  It will also be available through a number of bookstores and libraries nationwide.



New book presents latest research on intimate partner violence [Jun 30 07 Durham NH USA]--Recent news stories have reported the deadly consequences of intimate partner violence. Now a new book presents the latest research about the nature, causes and impact of intimate partner violence and how this new information can be used to aid victims and families.

“Intimate Partner Violence” is edited by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, a health psychologist at the University of New Hampshire and researcher at the UNH Family Research Lab. The book is co-edited by Sarah Giacomoni.

According to Kendall-Tackett, knowledge in the field of intimate partner violence is increasing at a dramatic rate, creating tremendous opportunities for repairing lives and families damaged by abuse.

“We felt it was important to bring together all the current research in one place. The field is advancing at such a rapid rate that it can be difficult for practitioners or policymakers to apply what researchers have learned. We were fortunate to have many of the leaders in the field contribute chapters to this book,” Kendall-Tackett said.

“High-profile domestic violence cases, such as the stories currently in the news, bring attention to this important problem. We’d like to make sure that our responses to cases like these are evidence-based so that they will be the most effective,” she said.

The new book — a master reference — synthesizes current research on intimate partner violence and provides specific, evidence-supported ideas that can be put into active practice to protect those at risk. Specifically, the book presents:

-- Practice-proven approaches to risk assessment, risk management, and safety planning.
-- Specific steps primary care health professionals can take to identify IPV — and to empower and protect survivors.
-- The latest information on femicide and pregnancy-related violence.
-- A spotlight on how the criminal justice system works to help and support victims—and where it must do more.
-- Innovative new approaches the military is taking to prevent IPV in service families.
-- Guidance on the ethnic/cultural issues that impact IPV, and how they should shape our approaches to survivors from African-American, Hispanic, and Asian communities.
-- The responses of faith communities to partner violence.
-- Field-tested prevention programs for high school and college-age students.
-- Policies and practices child protection agencies can institute when dealing with IPV in clients’ homes.
-- The safest ways to help victims leave abusive relationships.


Guidelines for handling decedents contaminated with radioactive materials [May 7 07 Atlanta GA USA]--Detonation of a nuclear weapon or activation of a radiological dispersal device could cause radioactively contaminated decedents. These guidelines address how medical examiners and funeral home personnel should handle decedents in both of these scenarios.




In a moment's notice: Surge capacity in terrorist bombings [May 7 07 Atlanta GA USA]--Explosive devices and high-velocity firearms are the terrorists’ weapons of choice. The devastation wrought in two European capitals, Madrid and London, demonstrate the impact that can be achieved by detonating explosives among densely packed civilians. In an instant, an explosion can wreak havoc—producing numerous casualties with complex, technically challenging injuries not commonly seen after natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes. 


Because many patients self-evacuate after a terrorist attack, and prehospital care may be difficult to coordinate, hospitals near the scene can expect to receive a large influx—or surge—of victims after a terrorist strike. This rapid surge of victims typically occurs within minutes, exemplified by the Madrid bombings where the closest hospital received 272 patients in 2.5 hours. In addition, injuries to workers involved in recovery procedures can lead to a secondary wave in surge.

To address the challenges posed by such an event, CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control convened an expert panel in October 2005 and January 2006. The panel included experts in the areas of emergency medical services, emergency medicine, trauma surgery, burn surgery, pediatrics, otolaryngology, intensive care medicine, hospital medicine, radiology, pharmacology, nursing, hospital administration, laboratory medicine (blood bank), and public health. The panel was charged with identifying creative strategies that could be adopted in a timely manner to address surge issues from terrorism. 

This document, which is the result of the expert panel meetings, reflects the opinions and recommendations of the experts. It includes a description of system-wide and discipline-specific challenges as well as recommended solutions to address these challenges.  The proposed solutions for the discipline-specific challenges have been incorporated into easy to use templates that can assist various disciplines in managing surge needs for injuries.

PDF formatted for print
(6.95 MB/57 pages)


Gang signs: Book examines the life and lessons of girls and gangs [Apr 17 07 Houston TX USA]--They take drugs. They are sexually active. They are involved in violence. They are girls who are associated with gangs, and the perception from schools, state agencies and even families is that they are beyond help. Avelardo Valdez, University of Houston social work and sociology professor and director of the Office for Drug and Social Policy Research at the Graduate College of Social Work, makes the assertion in his latest book, “Mexican American Girls and Gang Violence: Beyond Risk” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

“These girls are now an underclass-second or third generation of marginalized women who don’t know any other kind of life and, without intervention from new policies or programs, are not going to break that cycle,” Valdez said. “These girls need help. If they don’t rise to the top, they are discarded.”

Valdez and his research team spent two years identifying and interviewing 150 girls associated with 26 gangs in San Antonio. Boys from those gangs assisted in identifying the girls who were approached with the consent of their parents or guardians. The ODSPR maintains a research office in San Antonio.

“These girls are not necessarily gang members. They are friends, girlfriends, sisters or neighbors of gang members,” Valdez said.

His book examines conditions that create a sub-culture where the accepted norm to young Mexican American girls on San Antonio’s west side is drug use, violence (intimate partner and other physical violence), delinquency and pregnancy. The life is reinforced by others in gangs or those associated with gangs. He is hopeful that his research adds to an arena that is lacking in such literature. Much of the current research focuses on men and boys in gangs, he said.

Among the findings in his book:

* Multiple sex partners, pregnancies and childbirth, crime and multiple drug use are all common among these beyond risk girls,
* Girls affiliated with delinquent youth gangs show significant early childhood physical, emotional and sexual trauma,
* Among this street-based culture, women are expected to adhere to traditional gender roles, often resulting in victimization if these roles are violated,
* Positive family relationships, especially the mother-daughter relationship, were shown to have a protective function for these female adolescents

“My aim is to provide first-hand experiences of the social, cultural and contextual dynamics that are affecting poor, urban, Mexican American, adolescent females living in an era of gangs,” Valdez said. “I’m looking at how each girl’s level of delinquency is related to the quality of their relationships with their parents, siblings, boyfriends, common-law husbands and friends.”

Valdez says the existence of these issues represents a failure of schools, government and extended families that have resulted in a socially disorganized community, creating a climate ripe for gang life and a perception that solutions are too far out of reach to make a difference. One finding from the research indicates that services to nurture mother-daughter relationships may go a long way in preventing risk behaviors in the adolescent girls. In addition, services or training that conveys traditional gender roles without the traditional patriarchal system may also be valuable in stemming the tide of gang association.

The Office for Drug and Social Policy Research (ODSPR) was established in 2001 as a commitment to move the UH Graduate College of Social Work towards a drug research agenda. The ODSPR collaborates with many entities including the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The effort also serves as a clearinghouse for publications and papers on drug research.

For more information on the Office for Drug and Social Policy Research, please visit

For more information on the UH Graduate College of Social Work, please visit



Disease can be our ally, not just our enemy, says new book by UCR evolutionary biologist [Apr 5 07 Riverside CA USA]--In a time when we worry about bird flu and contaminated spinach, Marlene Zuk, an evolutionary biologist at UC Riverside, offers a fresh perspective on disease and the role it plays in our lives. Her new book, Riddled with Life: Friendly Worms, Ladybug Sex, and the Parasites that Make Us Who We Are (Harcourt, 2007), argues that disease is not always our foe; it can be a vital partner and friend.

"Disease can be natural, normal, and sometimes even essential," said Zuk, a professor of biology. "Certainly the experience of being sick isn’t pleasant, and of course illness causes a lot of harm, but we – and all other living things – evolved with disease, and if you take it away, there are unforeseen consequences."

In the book, Zuk explains how disease influences everything in our lives, from the evolution of two sexes, to our personalities, to how we choose our mate. It also answers questions such as: Why do men die younger than women? Why do we – and lots of other animals – get sexually transmitted diseases? Why do we have sex at all, rather than simply splitting off copies of ourselves like certain geckoes? And how is our obsession with cleanliness making us sicker?

She offers in her book the example of children who grow up with antibacterial products from soap to cutting boards and computer keyboards, and sanitary wipes for grocery cart handles. "They run the risk of chronic health problems like asthma and allergies," she said.

According to Zuk, the role of disease, once seen as a whole, is not always scary. "Disease is like the constant companion humans have had since the beginning of time, evolving right along with us, shaping us as much as we shape it," she said. "We need disease to function."

To underscore her point, Zuk advises that we understand the importance of disease in our lives by considering how gravity has shaped our evolution. "Gravity makes us break our bones when we fall and our body parts droop with age, but in a weightless environment we don’t function very well either," she said. "Like it or not, we evolved with gravity, and we evolved with disease."

At UCR, Zuk studies parasites and behavior in a variety of animals. Her research centers on sexual selection and the effects of parasites on mate choice and the evolution of secondary sex characters. Her popular writings include contributions to the Los Angeles Times, Natural History, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

A native of Los Angeles, Zuk is also the author of Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can’t Learn about Sex From Animals (University of California Press, 2002), which argued that while animals display considerable and interesting variation, not all of it can be extrapolated to explain human behavior. In addition, she is coeditor, with Jenella E. Loye, of Bird-Parasite Interactions: Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour (Oxford University Press, 1991).

Zuk got her undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. After a postdoctoral appointment at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, she joined UCR as a faculty member in 1989.

Q & A with Marlene Zuk:

Q: Your last book was about sex – why did you turn to disease?

A: Sex is all about disease, so they aren’t as different as you might think. For one thing, disease may be responsible for why we and most other animals have sexual reproduction at all, instead of just cloning ourselves. It’s much more efficient to just have a female produce Xerox copies of herself. But the parasites and pathogens are always evolving back at us, so a copy of even the most resistant set of genes will become outdated and useless in a matter of generations. A sexually produced baby, however, has an entirely new set of genes to outwit the diseases that surround us.

Q: We keep hearing about new and scary diseases: bird flu, West Nile virus, E. coli. Which should we be worried about the most?

A: None of these. Although it’s important to keep an eye on new epidemics, and keep them from growing, a far more urgent problem is antibiotic resistance in many of the most dangerous diseases, like infections with formerly easily conquered bacteria. Nearly a third of infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria that causes a form of pneumonia, meningitis, and ear infections, are resistant to penicillin. Tuberculosis, syphilis, typhoid, gonorrhea – all have antibiotic-resistant strains in some parts of the world. Because of the frequent use of antibiotics in hospitals, infections acquired there are particularly problematic; more than 70% of the bacteria causing infections in people while they are patients in hospitals are resistant to at least one of the drugs commonly used to fight them. It’s a problem we’ve caused, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Q: So what can we do to be healthier, if diseases are always going to be around?

A: For one thing, we can ease up on the siege mentality that tells us we have to scrub every surface we touch. Children growing up with more siblings and pets, and those that get more colds, end up with fewer allergies and a lower incidence of asthma, and scientists increasingly think that is because their immune systems are exposed to the normal barrage of particles that stimulate appropriate function.

Q: If disease is so natural, does that mean we should let our bodies heal themselves and not try and interfere with modern medicine?

A: Absolutely not. Disease symptoms can be either produced by the body to help get rid of a disease agent, or they can be produced by the agent itself as part of an effort to spread to other hosts. You want to encourage the former and squelch the latter. Take fever, for instance. Animals allowed to raise their body temperatures through fever recover more quickly than those given fever-reducing drugs. Children in particular are given fever reducers far more often than necessary. On the other hand, sneezing and sniffling likely helps the organism that causes them to spread, so reducing their frequency probably won’t harm us.



One in five people will face a ‘shameful’ death [Apr 5 07 Bath England]--Most people are unprepared for the shameful reality of how they could die, warns the author of a new book charting the social history of dying.

Although the majority of people imagine they will grow old and die in their sleep, surrounded by friends and family, one in five people will die what previous generations would consider a ‘shameful’ death - alone, ravaged by dementia and without dignity.

The deaths of more than half of the population will be ‘managed’ by medical professionals following serious injury or ill-health, with a small proportion dying suddenly, and often unexpectedly.

The rapid increase of the shameful death is being fuelled by an ageing population and a lack of foresight over how to deal with the ultimate consequences of the medical advances which keep people alive for longer.

“Most people think only fleetingly about how they will die, and usually it surrounds some romantic notion of dying in our sleep at home,” said Allan Kellehear, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bath and author of the new book, A social history of dying.

“This notion couldn’t be further from the truth; we are significantly more likely to die a lonely prolonged death in a nursing home or hospital, preceded by multiple organ failure, pneumonia or dementia.

“As we live longer, there is every chance that we will outlive those friends and family who would have traditionally seen us through our last years. It is also likely that we will have exhausted the financial means by which we would pay professionals to look after us instead.

“Dying today is becoming increasingly tragic and antisocial. The way we die is important because it is the last act of life, and plays an important role in how our friends and relatives will remember us.

“Some people spend years dying, and for many of the one in four of us who currently end our days in a nursing home, those last years can be like a living death. The way we care for our dying is a true reflection on how a society cares for its people; and it has to be said that the way we treat our dying in developed countries around the world is truly shocking.”

A social history of dying charts the experience of death from the remains of the early humans through to the experiences of people today. Kellehear has used on his own research on the topic and has drawn on human and clinical sciences literature of dying from around the world.

“The early humans mostly died of predation, but as soon as settlements sprang up, we started living longer but dying of the diseases that affect our farmed animals,” said Kellehear. “From then on we see the emergence of two main kinds of death: the ‘good’ peasant death surrounded by friends and family and the ‘well-managed’ death overseen by shamans and later medical professionals.

“Today, although people still expect these kinds of death, medical advances and a growing dementia epidemic mean that we experience a prolonged death. Taking so long to die when you are so old that you become confused, unmanageable and unrecognisable to friends, makes the way we are likely to die uncertain.

“For governments and policy makers the best solution to this problem has been to build nursing homes - some people describe this as the final solution.

“When we interview nursing home residents through our research, they tell us that they feel they lead useless lives, are a burden to others, have no future, and suffer psychologically and physically.

“The care people receive in nursing homes continues to receive major criticism, not just in the UK but around the world. The most common concerns surround lack of attention to the cultural needs and cognitive status of the residents; their former lives are all but ignored.

“The fear of abandonment expressed by so many elderly people is frequently realised in full at many of these institutions. After two million years of dying characterised by well-patterned and well-understood partnerships with community, family and specialist health workers – the act of dying now appears to be disintegrating.”

For Kellehear, it is no surprise that some people take control of the only component of their dying over which they have any measure of control – the timing of their death.

He believes that increasing numbers of elderly and terminally ill people will turn to suicide in order to take control and manage their own death.

“There are approximately one million suicides per year world wide, and the largest age-related grouping is for those over 80 years of age,” said Kellehear.

“Old people intent on suicide seem very serious about their decision to die; they are less likely to give a warning, and are far more likely to complete a suicide than other ages. (50 per cent of over 65s who try to kill themselves through suicide succeed in doing so, compared to 25 per cent in younger age groups.)

“This is not about the well-publicised individuals who insist on their right to die, this is about ordinary older people who do not want to face disability, pain, cognitive impairment, and loss of bodily and social autonomy and dignity that old age can bring.

“When asked, respondents to a survey on why they might not want to live to 100 said that being a burden to others, losing the ability to be active and useful, losing the ability to think and reason clearly and the desire to avoid prolonged suffering, were the key reasons offered as to why finding the right timing for death was important.”

Kellehear believes that governments and individuals need to tackle the issue of how we care for the dying before it becomes a major crisis.

“Whether it is introducing more liberal policies that enable people to better manage how they die, a closer examination of medical ethics, better training for nursing homes or support for people who care for elderly – something needs to happen,” said Kellehear.

“We need to tackle the subject of dying head on. Talking about dying, let alone our own death, is not a popular theme for politicians or public debate, but there is no escape from the tragedy that will befall many of us when we die.”

A social history of dying (ISBN 978-0-52169-429-2) by Allan Kellehear is published by Cambridge University Press and is available in bookstores.

Kellehear is part of the University's Centre for Death and Society (CDAS), the UK’s only centre devoted to the study and research of social aspects of death, dying and bereavement. Established in September 2005, CDAS is an interdisciplinary centre of regional, national and international importance. It provides a centre for the social study of death, dying and bereavement and acts as a catalyst and facilitator for research, education and training, policy development, media, and community awareness.



'Post Mortem' diagnosis: Present-day ailments plagued some of history's great figures [Apr 5 07 Philadelphia PA USA]--Medical science has made great leaps in the last several decades, but -- as “Post Mortem: Solving History’s Great Medical Mysteries” by Philip A. Mackowiak, MD, MBA, FACP, reveals -- some of our “modern” illnesses have been around for centuries.

Published by the American College of Physicians (ACP), “Post Mortem” endeavors to solve 12 of history’s most perplexing medical mysteries:

* Whether Alexander the Great was a victim of West Nile virus.
* What Edgar Allan Poe really died of.
* The cause of Pharaoh Akhenaten's bizarre appearance - the father of King Tut was described as a "humanoid praying mantis."
* The cause of Booker T. Washington’s abrupt decline.
* The shocking cause of Beethoven's deafness.
* The disease responsible for Christopher Columbus' crippling arthritis.
* The microbe that ended Greece's Golden Age.
* What contemporary physicians could have done to save Mozart from his final illness.
* Whether Roman Emperor Claudius was poisoned or died of natural causes.
* Joan of Arc’s mental state during her heresy trial.
* Why Florence Nightingale took to her bed for nearly three decades.
* The gruesome details of King Herod’s terminal illness.

“Dr. Mackowiak is one of today’s most creative and accomplished medical historians,” said John Tooker, MD, MBA, FACP, Executive Vice President/CEO, ACP. “His clinical expertise and entertaining writing style make ‘Post Mortem’ appealing to the general public, physicians, and medical students.”

Part medical mystery book, “Post Mortem” traces 3,500 years of the history of medicine from the perspective of what contemporary physicians thought about the diseases of these 12 famous patients and how they might have treated them. The medical histories presented are the most comprehensive ever compiled for these 12 titans of history.

"’Post Mortem’ looks at the medical conditions of important historical figures as something more than footnotes to their lives,” Mackowiak said. “In many instances their illnesses profoundly affected their legacies.”

Each case is organized according to the standard format used by physicians in clinical practice today. The history of the present illness (i.e., the illness in question) is given first, followed by the subject’s past medical history, social history, family history, and physical examination (based on historical records).

To heighten the reader’s suspense, the identity of the patient is not revealed until the end of the case history, when Dr. Mackowiak leads the reader through a list of diagnostic possibilities to the one diagnosis most consistent with the illness described in historical records.

Although “Post Mortem” is the work of an eminent clinician and medical educator, the book is written for both the general public and the medical community. It covers a novel area of history, inspired by the annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference hosted by Dr. Mackowiak since 1995 for the VA Maryland Health Care System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The conference attracts a broad range of attendees: the general public, historians, physicians, physicians-in-training, and high school students.

“Post Mortem” will be available at bookstores everywhere on April 6 or directly from the American College of Physicians at
www.acponline.org/postmortem or by calling ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600, or 215-351-2600.

Dr. Mackowiak is Director of Medical Care at the VA Maryland Health Care System and Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has studied and taught the art of clinical diagnosis to medical students and graduate physicians for over three decades.



Think herbal supplements are safe? Think again, book by Saint Louis University doctor says [Apr 5 07 St Louis MO USA]--People are mixing supplements, herbs and over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs to cure themselves of ills, unaware that they could be making themselves sicker, says George Grossberg, M.D., director of the division of geriatric psychiatry at Saint Louis University.

Dr. Grossberg is about to change all that. He is the co-author of a new book, "The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide," which is a comprehensive listing of what various herbs and supplements do, possible side effects and how they might interact with other medications and foods.

"People think if it doesn't require a prescription, it's got to be safe, and that's not true. There could be life-threatening effects."

Dr. Grossberg first became interested in the topic after a routine six-month visit with a patient he had successfully treated for depression. He had been seeing the patient for four or five years, and asked if the man was dealing with any new health problems.

The patient mentioned that he was scheduled to go in for cystoscopy in a couple weeks because there had been blood in his urine. The procedure involves inserting the pencil-thin tip of a probe through the urethra, up to the bladder to detect the cause of the problem.

The patient had undergone thousands of dollars of MRIs and CAT scans of his lower abdomen and pelvis, which had not revealed the reason for the bleeding, and the test was the next diagnostic step.

Dr. Grossberg asked if the patient had changed anything – perhaps had started taking a new medication.

No new medicine. Then the patient's wife pulled from her purse a vial containing a supplement she had purchased from the health food store to enhance memory. Both husband and wife had started taking the herbal memory enhancer, which largely contained ginkgo biloba

"One of the side effects of ginkgo biloba is an increased risk of bleeding. He had no awareness of this. I told him to stop taking the herb and get rechecked before having cystoscopy. The bleeding stopped, and he didn't need the test."

Dr. Grossberg ticks off other common herbs that people take without realizing their side effects or how they might interact with medications.

St. John's wort sometimes is taken for anxiety and depression. Those who also are taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, such as Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil, should beware. Mixing St. John's wort with these medicines can cause serotonin syndrome -- with symptoms that may include agitation, rapid heart beat, flushing and heavy sweating -- that may be fatal.

Dong quai, which some women take for menstrual disorders and to ease symptoms of menopause, has been linked to cardiovascular problems, such as irregular heart rhythm and low blood pressure. If a patient takes the herb along with an antihypertensive drug, her blood pressure could plummet, putting her at risk of stroke.

Some people take echinacea, which enhances the immune system, for the common cold. However, those who also take Lipitor, Celebrex and Aleve face an increased risk of liver damage. Echinacea also can be harmful for those who have multiple sclerosis, diabetes, HIV infections or allergies.

Dr. Grossberg and his co-author Barry Fox make it clear that they're not anti-herb or anti-medicine.

"There just are a lot of things people can take that have a lot of bad interactions. And on some level it makes sense for them to think that what they're doing is safe. They associate natural remedies with nature and think if the supplement wasn't safe, they couldn't pick it up without a prescription.

"Hopefully this will get them to think more about it so they look before they leap. People can look up what they're thinking of taking and see if there's efficacy. And they should always talk to their doctor about everything they're taking."

Many doctors don't know much about herbal remedies, which have been used as medications for thousands of years.

"When I trained, there was nothing like this in our medical education," says Dr. Grossberg, who graduated from medical school in 1975. "The younger doctors are more likely to know this than older doctors."

Elderly people, he says, use herbal remedies and don't always tell their doctors and pharmacists. They should.

"A lot of our older patients are buying herbals and botanicals. In addition, while those over 65 represent about 14 percent of the population, they consumer 40 percent of over-the-counter medications," he says.

The book, published by Broadway Books, a subsidiary of Random House, is being released in mid-April.



Latest outdoor-related treatments detailed in new wilderness medicine book [Mar 26 07 Philadelphia PA USA]--Dr. Paul Auerbach's clinical reference book is the leading source of expert advice on handling health problems that occur in remote areas, extreme environments and the great outdoors

Elsevier, the world-leading science and medical publisher, today introduced the 5th edition of Wilderness Medicine, the definitive clinical reference on its unique subject. Wilderness Medicine explains how to manage everything from frostbite to infection by marine microbes and situations stemming from natural disasters to diverse everyday injuries, such as bites, stings, poisonous plant exposures and animal attacks.

"Wilderness Medicine is the only book that covers the entire field," said Dr. Auerbach, MD, MS, editor of the book and Clinical Professor of Surgery, Division of Emergency Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine. "It includes vital, comprehensive treatment information that you won't normally find in standard medical texts but will absolutely need during a medical crisis."

Each year, more and more people venture outdoors, including wilderness and rugged environments, and many suffer from injuries or illnesses while in the mountains, deserts, forests, jungles, or oceans. Wilderness Medicine presents expert detailed guidance on responding to these emergencies, both in the field and within emergency department and hospital settings.

In addition to coverage of topics such as hypothermia, reptile bites, poisonous plant exposures, and other essential wilderness medicine topics, this book includes new information on volcanic eruptions, extreme sports, wilderness cardiology, aerospace medicine, mental health in the wilderness, and tactical combat casualty care, among others. The book also describes how to meet the unique needs of specific patient populations, such as children, women, elders, the disabled, and people with chronic medical conditions. In addition, it addresses vital aspects of search and rescue, gear, navigation, nutrition, and survival.

Dr. Auerbach is a founder of the Wilderness Medical Society and among the world's most respected authorities in this field. One hundred fifty-seven experts from medicine, government, education, research, industry, and the military, among other fields, contributed.

Persons who will find Wilderness Medicine essential include physicians, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, outdoor-enthusiasts and adventure travelers, wilderness expedition leaders, the military, firefighters, search-and-rescuers, explorers in all environments (such as divers, alpinists, backpackers, etc.), and anyone interested in health care issues related to the outdoors. The coverage spans the globe with detailed descriptions of the environment, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Wilderness Medicine, 5th Edition (ISBN: 978-0-323-03228-5) is 2336 pages long with 2100 illustrations, 1950 in full color. It is available at



Online book helps children understand the effects of stroke [Mar 17 07 St Louis MO USA]--Speedy treatment is essential to saving lives and preventing brain damage during a stroke. But the rapid pace of events also can leave patients and family members confused about what has happened and what to expect.

That's especially true for children whose parents or grandparents have a stroke, according to Mark P. Goldberg, M.D., professor of neurology and director of the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Caring for a recuperating family member can make it challenging to find time to explain to kids the causes and effects of a stroke, which adults may only partially understand themselves.

"For kids, this can be very frightening," Goldberg comments. "The stroke patient's changes in mood and ability to communicate are scary to a child who doesn't understand that this is a manifestation of the stroke that often will get better. We looked, but there was very little available in the way of kid-friendly books or websites that could help."

Now a new resource is available for children through the Internet Stroke Center at Washington University School of Medicine, a stroke information web site founded and directed by Goldberg.

"When Grandpa Comes Home: A Story About Stroke" is an illustrated online book. The narrator, a young girl named Janie, describes her experiences when her grandfather moves in with the family after a stroke. Included are brief, child-friendly explanations of what causes stroke; why stroke can lead to changes in mood, verbal and physical ability and behavior; and what can be done to reduce the risk of stroke.

As Janie watches her grandfather and her parents struggle with new limitations imposed by the stroke, she moves beyond her initial resentment of those changes and develops her own ways of helping her grandfather celebrate and cope with the ups and downs of recovery.

Ami Wilson, a student at Maryville University, wrote the story during an internship at the Internet Stroke Center under the mentorship of David Murray, editor of the Stroke Center internet site. Another intern and student at Maryville, Christine Warner, provided the watercolor illustrations that accompany the text. Jing Shi, a web designer for the center, combined the text and illustrations in a format that simulates the turning pages of a book.

In addition to "When Grandpa Comes Home…," the Internet Stroke Center contains a national registry of clinical stroke trials and extensive information for adult family members and patients on the causes of stroke, what to expect after a stroke and how to help patients during the recovery process.

"Adult caregivers need a tremendous amount of support too," Goldberg says. "For them, it's a huge amount of stress and change. And with 750,000 strokes occurring each year in the United States, there is an urgent need to make important information — such as how to prepare your home for the arrival of a recovering stroke patient — available in an easily accessible format."

The center is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function. http://www.strokecenter.org/patients


Illuminating the dark side of plants [Feb 15 07 New York NY USA]--Plant poisoning is a significant problem around the world. In the United States, exposures to plant toxins account for approximately ten percent of the annual calls to the nation’s Poison Control Centers. Responding to the need for a useful guide to the harmful potential of plants, Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants provides portable, comprehensive information to the toxic plants encountered everywhere, both inside and outside the home.

This clearly structured and colorfully illustrated guidebook, co-published by The New York Botanical Garden Press and Springer, is an indispensable resource for hikers, gardeners, parents of small children, pet owners, physicians, nurses, and veterinarians. Its handsome and information-packed presentation will also appeal to everyone who loves plants or collects books about plants.

Lewis R. Goldfrank, Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, comments, “This second edition of the Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants is a remarkable improvement to a great book. New graphics and formal structure increase its value for the lay person and the clinician.”

Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants presents clear information on hundreds of plants. It is lavishly illustrated, elegantly highlighting each plant’s distinguishing characteristics. The images include 398 full-color photographs as well as color plates from the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of The New York Botanical Garden.

The book contains vital information on a broad variety of poisonous and injurious temperate and tropical plants such as holly, poinsettia, and philodendron. It also includes common names, descriptions, species distribution, and information on the toxic part of each plant, and provides the latest medical information along with scientific references. An easy-to-use glossary of botanical terms helps guide the non-specialist through this fascinating and multidisciplinary field.

The authors of this completely revised edition (first published by the American Medical Association in 1985) include two physicians in active practice in medical toxicology and emergency medicine: Lewis S. Nelson, M.D., New York University School of Medicine, and Richard D. Shih, M.D., Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, New Jersey. They teamed with Michael J. Balick, Ph.D., a noted ethnobotanist and authority on toxic plants and Director of the Institute of Economic Botany at The New York Botanical Garden.

Lewis S. Nelson, Richard D. Shih, Michael J. Balick
Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants
Co-published with the New York Botanical Garden
Springer, 2nd edition, 2007, 340 pp., 434 illus., 398 in color.
Softcover, EUR 39.95, £30.50, $39.95, sFr 65.50
ISBN: 978-0-387-31268-2



Ways to guard against top eight threats to today's children [Feb 14 07 Boston MA USA]--In an age when parents and children are bombarded with images and stories of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, child abductions and school violence, it's no surprise that heightened efforts to protect the family are often accompanied by increased levels of anxiety and stress.

Parents and caregivers seeking to safeguard their children from the dangers of the modern world -- without burning out in the process -- can find a practical, comprehensive and easy-to-use resource in "The Safe Child Handbook: How to Protect Your Family and Cope with Anxiety in a Threat-Filled World "(John Wiley, New York).

Written by John S. Dacey of Boston College and his former BC doctoral student Lisa B. Fiore, now of Lesley University, the book outlines the top eight threats to children and parents -- which include kidnapping, terrorism, child abuse, school violence, drug and alcohol abuse, weather emergencies, home safety and inappropriate media influence -- and shows how families can be ready to face the most drastic situations with confidence.

A step-by-step guide filled with practical advice, helpful techniques and fun activities for children, "The Safe Child Handbook" is an invaluable tool for families seeking to prepare and protect their loved ones from realistic threats and risks without getting stressed out.

"It can be as dangerous to over-protect your children as it is to do too little," says Dacey, a noted developmental psychologist and originator of the nationally acclaimed four-step "COPE" method that teaches children to use self-control to reduce anxiety. "If you try to protect your children from every imaginable threat, you'll only succeed in fraying and exhausting your nervous system -- and theirs.

"Safeguarding against severe weather, school violence, terrorism and other dangers can evoke powerful anxieties that are potentially more injurious to children than the threats themselves," he says, "so you have to be prepared to deal with their fears as well as their protection."

Coping with a threat-filled world takes its toll on parents, as well. "Nearly 20 percent of today's mothers are estimated to be suffering from serious levels of anxiety," Dacey says. "We want to help readers avoid membership in this group."


John S. Dacey, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist and has been a professor of educational psychology at Boston College's Lynch School of Education for forty years. In addition to "Your Anxious Child" (Jossey-Bass), a best seller written with co-author Fiore that has been translated into Spanish, Italian and Korean, Dacey is the author of numerous other publications on parenting, creativity, adolescent psychology and human development, notably the books "The Nurturing Parent: How to Raise Creative, Loving, Responsible Children" (Simon & Schuster), and "The Joyful Family" (Conari Press), written with Lynne Weygint. He has served as a resource for print and broadcast media around the country.

Lisa B. Fiore, Ph.D., is a professor of child development and educational psychology at Lesley University. Her current research focuses on how teachers can assist anxious children in the classroom context. She began her work with Dacey when he was her advisor during her time as graduate student at Boston College's Lynch School of Education, where she received a doctoral degree in 2000.



First complete history of SA's 4000 floods [Posted 07:52 Dec 13 Adelaide SA Australia]--The most comprehensive book produced on South Australia's 4000 floods since European settlement will be officially released in Adelaide today.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, launched the Bureau of Meteorology’s Floods in South Australia: 1836-2005.

“Amid the bushfires and furnace-like conditions of recent days, it seems almost hard to believe it will flood again,” Mr Hunt said. “But the flash flooding which hit Gawler two weeks after Ash Wednesday in 1983 is a sharp reminder of the weather extremes in South Australia.

“And just over 12 months ago, Adelaide experienced floods that damaged infrastructure and caused price rises in local produce.”

Mr Hunt congratulated a team of 89 Work for the Dole participants and 27 volunteers, including students from University SA, who put in more than 30,000 hours over four years to complete this project.

“Researchers checked more than 600,000 microfilmed newspaper pages to produce a 240-page book covering some of the State’s most dramatic events,” Mr Hunt said. “Here we have a composite record which includes over 2000 articles and photographs, together with DVD footage of floods which swept through South Australia.

“This has been a mammoth effort to sift through all these records to produce what is an outstanding history and reference guide. I am advised that the book is expected to be used by emergency services to help plan mitigation strategies for future floods,” Mr Hunt said.

“It is a unique and comprehensive tool of considerable public interest and of great use to engineers, hydrologists and researchers. Students will also find it useful and fascinating.”

More information:



Medical text takes on an Aussie style [Posted 13:45 Dec 12 Brisbane QLD Australia]--You say tomato, I say tomahto and to most of us it wouldn't make any difference, but when it comes to the language of medicine getting it right is vital.

Authored by two Queensland University of Technology academics, Australia's first medical terminology textbook will be launched today (December 6) and aims to advance the understanding of medical terms.

Sue Walker and Jenny Nicol, from QUT's School of Public Health, have spent two years turning the American spelling, terminology, descriptions and definitions of a medical text into Australian style.

The Language of Medicine is specifically aimed at the Australian and New Zealand health sector but is suitable for any country that uses British spelling conventions.

"The book has been completely updated to suit Australia and is aimed at allied health and medical professionals, as well as anybody who needs to have understanding of medical terminology," Ms Nicol said.

"All spelling has been changed from American to Australian style and descriptions have been modified to illustrate clinical practice in Australia and New Zealand. Drug names now reflect the terminology used in Australia."

Ms Nicol said there were many critical differences between American and Australian medical terminology.

"For example epinephrine is widely referred to as adrenaline outside of the United States. In Australia we call it adrenaline, so you can imagine the problems that can arise when people are trying to understand the different medical terms," she said.

Mrs Walker said the text provided practical applications of medical terminology through case studies, actual medical records and discharge summaries.

"All terms, definitions and clinical information have been reviewed and rewritten as necessary to match Australian health system practices with inappropriate terminology removed," she said.

"It is also possible for readers to work out the meanings of words by their spelling and the way the words are made up of prefixes, suffixes and word roots.

"For example gastroenterology can be broken up into gastr- meaning stomach, enter- meaning intestines, -logy meaning study of ... so the whole word refers to the study of the stomach and intestines."

Mrs Walker said the community had been calling out for an Australian version of a medical terminology text book, and The Language of Medicine would meet this demand.

"It demystifies the medical language. It will help health professionals communicate more effectively with other health professionals, clinical students better understand medical terms, and medical reports and correspondence be more accurately transcribed and understood," she said.

Jenny Nicol is a QUT lecturer in health information management and Sue Walker is the associate director of QUT's National Centre for Classification in Health. The Language of Medicine is available at bookstores and also online at www.elsevier.com.au


PAHO launches 'Advances in Immunization' book [Dec 4 Washington DC USA]--The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today issued a new publication, "Recent Advances in Immunization 2nd edition," that "provides the strategies and tactics to help us reach the goals of sustaining our immunization achievements and reaching the people who have not benefited from existing and new vaccines," according to Dr. Jon K. Andrus, PAHO's lead technical advisor on immunization and one of the book's two editors.

Drs. Andrus and de Quadros
The editors of "Recent Advances in Immunization 2nd edition," Dr. Jon K. Andrus (left,) and Dr. Ciro de Quadros.

Dr. Ciro de Quadros, director of international programs at the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the other editor of the new publication, said "This is a very timely book with details on some new vaccines that haven't been introduced yet. We are witnessing great advances in science and technology but not all mankind is benefiting from them. We hope this book will help make these new technologies available."

The publication covers topics of adolescent and adult immunization, combination vaccines for children, vaccination safety, measles and rubella, new and under-used vaccines, the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer, and preparations for the influenza pandemic.

PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses, in a preface to the book, notes that in the Americas, immunization has been responsible for a fourth of the reduction in childhood mortality since 1990. "Immunization, already regarded as a 'best buy' public health intervention, is now believed to have even more far-reaching economic impact, such as in better education outcomes and more years of productive life."

The book is aimed at national immunization managers and public health professionals, including students, epidemiologists, disease control specialists, surveillance personnel, and others.

Dr. Orin Levine, Director of the Pneumococcal Vaccine Development and Introduction Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said at the book's launching, "Now that we have this book, I hope we will be able to further accelerate the uptake of new vaccines like HiB, pneumococcal vaccine, and influenza."

Levine, author of the combination vaccines chapter, said the number of new vaccines is increasing and even more are in the pipeline, noting that the U.S. childhood vaccination schedule now covers 12 vaccines requiring between 18 and 21 separate injections to complete the required doses. New combination vaccines can reduce the number of shots needed but, he writes, "The great variety of available combination vaccine options poses a challenge for the clinician who must keep current with new knowledge about the antigens in the combinations, let alone the commercial names."

Drs. Andrus and de Quadros noted in the book's introduction, "Thanks to the work of immunization programs throughout the Region's countries, the peoples of the Americas now live free of indigenous polio and measles; neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis have been well controlled; and new vaccines have been added to national immunization programs and their application has been sustained."

While "progress has been extraordinary-diseases have been eradicated or eliminated and the public health infrastructure has been strengthened-but progress has been uneven. Some countries still have a significant proportion of their populations living in districts where coverage remains below 95 percent. Sporadic outbreaks of diphtheria and pertussis still occur because of an accumulation of susceptibles missed by routine national programs. This accumulation also puts countries at risk for large measles outbreaks when importations of measles virus occur, as has recently happened in Mexico (2003-2004), Venezuela (2001-2002), and Colombia (2002)."

"Reaching children and families who live in low-coverage areas will be essential for sustaining the success of measles elimination and for achieving the targets to eliminate rubella and congenital rubella syndrome," Andrus and de Quadros say, adding that to reach immunization targets "some countries will need to seriously consider the introduction of new or underutilized life-saving vaccines. Vaccines targeting diseases caused by pneumococcus, rotavirus, human papilloma virus, and influenza may greatly help in reaching the Millennium Developing Goals and the targets outlined in World Health Organization's Global Immunization Vision and Strategy."

Reaching these targets, the editors note, will require that immunization programs evolve from targeting just children to including the whole family "to enable countries to attain higher vaccination coverage of adolescents and adults for influenza and human papilloma virus, as well as for human immunodeficiency virus and other diseases when future vaccines against them become available."

Launched today in English, Recent Advances in Immunization also will be published in Spanish, French, and Portuguese. For more information on how to obtain the new book, please visit PAHO Publications page.


New book tells untold story of global campaign to eradicate polio [Nov 30 Washington DC USA]--In 1988, the year health organizations around the world moved to eradicate polio, the disease paralyzed at least 350,000 children at a rate of nearly 1,000 each day around the globe. By 2005, 17 years after a comprehensive campaign was launched to administer the polio vaccine, only 2,000 children were struck by the disease.

Authors Tim Brookes and Omar A. Khan, M.D., M.H.S., give an on-the-ground look inside the worldwide effort to eradicate polio in countries from Pakistan to Nigeria in "The End of Polio? Behind the Scenes of the Campaign to Vaccinate Every Child on the Planet," published by APHA Press, the publishing unit of the American Public Health Association (APHA). The book explores the work of international health organizations and workers in administering vaccines to men, women and children.

The campaign's stakes are frighteningly high: If the eradication program fails or misses a few infected children, the entire world could be re-infected with the disease within five years.

Brookes and Khan traveled to Pakistan to accompany polio eradication team members in the field to give an inside view into the successes of and obstacles to one of the world's last vaccination campaigns. The vaccinations in Pakistan are part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), arguably the largest and most ambitious public health project in history, costing an estimated $4 billion. The four core partners in the GPEI -- the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Rotary International -- set a goal of eradicating polio worldwide by the year 2000. Although many nations were polio-free by that year, polio cases persist in various parts of the world.

"The book goes back and forth between the big story of polio and the progress against polio," said Brookes, a leading health author and director of the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. "(It) alternates between the big picture chapters and the tight focus micro picture of how a vaccination campaign actually takes place on the ground, what kinds of struggles and obstacles and what kinds of heroism are involved."

Brookes and Khan interviewed dozens of people who have been on the front lines of the global vaccination effort. The authors tell the stories of planners who map the areas where vaccinations must be provided, health workers who identify where children are being paralyzed and laboratories that confirm where the poliovirus is circulating. The book includes an 8-page insert of color photos of vaccination campaigns in various parts of the world.

The End of Polio explores the problems that still face vaccination efforts in Nigeria, India, Afghanistan and other countries, wrote David L. Heymann, M.D., acting assistant director-general for communicable diseases for the World Health Organization, in the book's foreword.

"Tim Brookes tells the story of these challenges in a readable and accessible narrative, clearly showing the scope of the eradication program, the challenges that remain, and the consequences of failure," Heymann wrote.

Donald A. Henderson, M.D., M.P.H., dean emeritus of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., called The End of Polio "one of the best books that I have read which so vividly documents the excitement, the drama, the frustrations and the realities of field work for dedicated individuals doing their best under unbelievably difficult circumstances."

"Finally, a book that captures the spirit and courage of the countless day-to-day individual efforts which together make up the extraordinary, largely untold story of the global polio eradication initiative, the largest internationally coordinated health effort in history," wrote Bruce Aylward, M.D., M.P.H., director of the global polio eradication initiative at the World Health Organization.

Brookes has written books on the 2004 U.S. influenza vaccine shortage, the SARS outbreak, asthma and hospice care, including Behind the Mask: How the World Survived SARS and A Warning Shot: Influenza and the 2004 Flu Vaccine Shortage, both published by APHA. He was born in London, England, and educated at Oxford University. Khan has written extensively on topics in global health. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Vermont and the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. He holds a faculty appointment at the University of Vermont and is board certified in family medicine.

Ordering Information: Published by the American Public Health Association, 2006, ISBN: 9780875531861, 206 pages, cost is $39.95 ($35 for APHA members), plus shipping and handling. To order, call toll free 888-320-APHA; fax 888-361-APHA; e-mail apha@pbd.com or visit APHA's Web site: http://www.aphabookstore.org.

Send request for a review copy on letterhead to APHA Publications Marketing, 800 I Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001- 3710, or fax to 202-777-2531.


'Deserving Poor' or 'Greedy Geezers'? New book debunks aging crisis [Nov 18 Waltham MA USA]--Despite the impending retirement of 76 million baby boomers, huge government deficits, and unrelenting battles over Social Security, the United States is not facing a demographic tsunami, according to a new book by two leading experts on the economics and politics of aging.

Aging Nation: The Economics and Politics of Growing Older in America, addresses contentious issues ranging from the mushrooming market in "fountain of youth" anti-aging products to the ongoing battle over "saving" Social Security and other entitlement programs. Brandeis economist James H. Schulz and Case Western Reserve political scientist Robert H. Binstock agree there is considerable cause for concern. But they argue that with sound policies and programs in place and smart individual choices, the elderly can prosper -- averting a future characterized by poor health, poor finances, and employer age discrimination.

"Many reform proposals today unwisely call for individuals to take major responsibility for their own economic security in old age. This will expose them to many new uncertainties and risks, risks that were minimized in the past by collective pension and health insurance programs sponsored by business and government," says Schulz.

In his press conference following the mid-term elections, President Bush again cited entitlements as one of the biggest issues facing the country. However, Aging Nation debunks the aging crises put forth by the 'merchants of doom,' who predict huge dependency burdens, Social Security bankruptcy, and inter-generational conflict.

"Our book offers a new aging policy framework based on the fact that the lives of Americans of all ages are inextricably linked with the fate of today's and tomorrow's elderly," say the authors.

The authors analyze the impact of an aging nation on evolving private and public retirement policies, faltering employer pensions, skyrocketing health care costs, and the debate over entitlement programs. They argue that the threat to our future economic growth and economic welfare is not so much "population aging" as it is the old fashioned issues of promoting quality education, technological change, and business investment (historically, the key factors responsible for the impressive rise in our living standards).

James H. Schulz is the author of numerous books on aging policy, including the internationally acclaimed textbook, The Economics of Aging, now in its seventh edition. Robert H. Binstock has published six editions of the Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences and is a leading authority on the politics of aging. Both Schulz and Binstock are past presidents of the Gerontological Society of America.



Moral clarity espoused in debate over healthcare reform [Nov 16 Rochester NY USA]--When the Clinton health care reform initiative died in 1994, the problems it promised to address didn’t disappear with it; they grew worse.

More than a decade later, the United States’ population has reached 300 million, a large percentage lacking adequate—or any—health care. Figures vary, but approximately 45 million Americans have no health insurance at all and another 20 to 30 million are underinsured, while many more are at risk of losing what little they have.

A new collection of essays, Health Care Reform: Ethics and Politics (University of Rochester Press), questions the ethics of having so many citizens without basic health care—the middle aged who have lost their jobs and benefits, children of uninsured parents—and proposes ways of moving beyond the standard ideological roadblocks.

The anthology, edited by Timothy Engström and Wade Robison, professors of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, calls for a renewed national dialogue committed to revamping the U.S. health care model guided by moral principles in balance with political and economical realities.

Health Care Reform grew from a conference held at RIT in 1995 and shows how little has improved since the failed Clinton initiative. Essayists include Howard Brody, a former consultant with the Clinton administration’s Health Care Reform Task Force; Norman Daniels, from Harvard School of Public Health; and Uwe Reinhardt, who sat on the National Advisory Council for Health Care Policy, among others.

“The message throughout the book is that moral clarity comes first and that clear policies can and must follow,” says Robison.

The escalating costs of health care force companies to cut benefits and transfer costs to employees to remain profitable or, paradoxically, to move abroad to countries with a national health care system—all decisions that compromise individuals’ and the nation’s economic health.

“What is ironic about outsourcing health care costs by moving whole industries abroad is that we are the only industrialized country that doesn’t have some kind of national health care,” Engström says. “We cling tenaciously to what doesn’t work and ignore solutions that have been shown to work well in other countries. If we would learn from the countries to whom we send our industries, we would not have a health care system in crisis.”

As more companies transfer costs to employees and more workers find themselves with increased costs, diminishing benefits, or no health care benefits at all, the crisis will only deepen, the editors say. Often overlooked is the cost of not meeting citizens’ health needs, potentially laying the foundation for new strains of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis that could spread and infect the population indiscriminately and hurt the economy in unforeseen ways.

“We can let things proceed, letting individual companies solve their problems as best they can, or we can, provide examples of how clear moral argument and economic and political comparisons can foster consensus regarding the universal principles needed to reform health care,” Engström says.



Combating terrorism: How prepared are state and local response organizations [Nov 15 Sacramento CA USA]-- By: Lois M. Davis, Louis T. Mariano, Jennifer E. Pace, Sarah K. Cotton, Paul Steinberg

This book presents the results of the third and final wave of a national survey to elicit assessments of state and local response agencies of the activities they have undertaken after 9/11 to respond to terrorist-related incidents and of federal programs intended to improve preparedness and readiness for terrorism. The survey also sought information on how state and local agencies are resourcing these activities. The survey results indicate that:

* In response to the 9/11 attacks, state and local response organizations took a number of steps to improve preparedness, e.g., updating mutual-aid agreements for emergencies and response plans for chemical, biological, and radiological incidents and conducting risk assessments.
* Response organizations that perceived a higher threat of terrorism for their jurisdiction were more likely to take action to improve response capabilities than organizations that perceived a lower threat, regardless of whether they had received external funding to support these activities.
* Organizations varied in how they financed these efforts — some increased internal spending or reallocated resources — and in receipt of external funding.
* State public health agencies and emergency management services received federal support early in 2002, but first responders did not receive federal support until spring 2003.
* Organizations varied in their expectations about the role of the military and the National Guard in a large-scale terrorist incident, suggesting variation in the planning assumptions they are using.
* Participation with the private sector in joint preparedness activities needs improvement, as does coordination between public health agencies and emergency responders.
* Organizations have high expectations for the Department of Homeland Security, particularly for funding support and for information about terrorist threats. However, appropriations for federal homeland security assistance have been steadily decreasing.

In light of the catastrophic impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, controversy has arisen over whether state and local organizations have overemphasized preparedness for terrorism at the expense of emergency preparedness for natural disasters. Our survey results suggest that the events of 9/11 spurred response organizations not only to undertake preparedness activities for terrorism-related incidents, but also to make general improvements in emergency response. All these activities support overall preparedness for any catastrophic event.

Paperback Cover Price: $27.50
Discounted Web Price: $24.75
Pages: 196
ISBN: 978-0-8330-3738-1


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New asthma book updates treatment [Nov 15 Canberra ACT Australia]--The latest medical and clinical research on treatment and diagnosis of asthma will be made available free of charge to doctors, pharmacists and other professionals who deal with asthma patients, via a new handbook.

The 6th edition of the Asthma Management Handbook, launched today by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, updates the previous guidelines issued to Australian medical and health professionals.

Changes in the new edition include:

* new drug therapies and their changing role, especially combination therapy with inhaled corticosteroids and a long-acting beta agonists
* the Global Initiative Against Asthma classifications of asthma severity have been adopted, stressing the importance of recognising patterns of asthma
* emphasis is placed on practical interventions that work, including quitting smoking, weight reduction and matching inhaler devices to the patient’s capability
* diagnosis and treatment of other illnesses often suffered by asthma patients (co-morbidities), including other lung and bronchial conditions, depression, sleep apnoea and allergic conditions such as rhinitis.

Mr Pyne said National Asthma Council Australia compiled the first management handbook in 1990, as part of its role to ensure a national approach to the illness, and had since kept it up to date.

“More than 60 experts in this field have created this new edition by reviewing the latest research, assigning levels of evidence, writing, re-writing and editing - all in their ‘spare’ time,” Mr Pyne said.

“This very generous collaboration has made Australia an international model in terms of our approach to asthma. It has ensured that our asthma management guidelines are not only authoritative, but they are being used by GPs, in particular.

“The results can be seen in our success in treating asthma. Although it remains a very real problem for this country, asthma deaths have dropped from a peak of 964 in 1989 to the latest statistic of 311, recorded in 2004.”

Mr Pyne said approximately 2.2 million Australians were affected by asthma. Up to 16 per cent of children and 12 per cent of adults had a current diagnosis of asthma.

The Government provided $103,000 under the Asthma Management Program to fund the printing of 60,000 copies of the new edition, which will be distributed principally to respiratory, paediatric and general physicians, allergists, general practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, asthma foundations, asthma educators, students and other allied health professionals.

It is also distributed in National Asthma Council information kits, nationally and internationally.



American College of Physicians publishes 'Stroke' [Nov 13 Philadelphia PA USA]--Stroke, by its very nature, breeds medical fragmentation. While knowledge has increased dramatically among the many specialties involved in its prevention and treatment, unification is critical for improving patient care. “Stroke,” the ninth book in the American College of Physicians’ Key Diseases series, brings together physicians and surgeons so that all are on the same page when it comes to stroke prevention, treatment and recovery.

Co-edited by Robert J. Wityk, MD, and Rafael H. Llinas, MD, both of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “Stroke” delivers concise, practice-oriented overviews and practical recommendations to guide decision-making for the non-neurologist. “Stroke” answers questions that are frequently asked by internists, neurologists in-training, medical students, stroke patients, caregivers, and the general population.

“Stroke” is “a clearly written modern manual of stroke diagnosis and treatment,” according to Martin A. Samuels, MD, FANN, FACP, Chairman and Neurologist-in-Chief, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, writing in the book’s Foreword. The book is a guide to the clinical management of patients -- from clinical and laboratory assessment, to prognosis, rehabilitation, and stroke prevention.

“Stroke” includes cutting-edge information on acute stroke treatment, primary stroke prevention, and the newest therapies for stroke-related symptoms and disorders. Drs. Wityk and Llinas worked with 26 book contributors, many from Johns Hopkins affiliated institutions, who are professors, medical directors and researchers in the fields of neurology, neurosurgery, and radiology.

The book’s 18 chapters include: “Overview of the Approach to the Stroke Patient,” “Antithrombolytic Therapy,” “Carotid Artery Disease,” “Stroke in Young Patients,” “Aneurysms and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage,” and “Effect of Oral Contraceptives and Hormone Replacement on Stroke Risk in Women.”

The ACP Key Diseases Series provides the crucial information physicians need to understand and treat the most commonly encountered illnesses found in the practice of internal medicine. Concise descriptions of symptoms and treatments are given throughout the text; Key Points summarize chapter information; and Case Studies provide analysis of commonly encountered clinical dilemmas. Eight other books in the ACP Key Diseases Series are: “Asthma,” “Back Pain,” “Depression,” “Dyspepsia,” “Headache,” “Hypertension,” “Lyme Disease,” and “Obesity.”

“Stroke” can be ordered via the ACP Web site or by calling the ACP Customer Service Department at 800-523-1546, extension 2600, or 215-351-2600 (M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET). The ACP product number is #330361000; ISBN is 1-930513-69-0. List price is $40.00; ACP Members pay $36.00. The softcover book has 400 pages.


Risk in social science [Nov 8 London England]--A new book by Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby and Dr Jens Zinn explains how the break-neck speed of technological innovation, coupled with a collapse of confidence in public authorities, "experts" and corporations has pushed 'risk' to the top of the research agenda.

Risk in Social Science, which is intended primarily as a text-book for students of sociology, psychology and social psychology, brings together the work of major researchers in the Economic and Social Research Council Social Context and Responses to Risk Network (SCARR) at the University of Kent. It is designed as an introduction to the field of risk research and includes contributions from a wide range of academic disciplines, drawing on international research literature as well as UK material from the leading authorities in the field.

Academic research is increasingly inter-disciplinary, and there has been a shift in focus to trying to understand how ordinary people perceive and respond to risk and including these aspects when modelling risk scenarios. 'Research shows that extreme responses may lead to a "culture of fear" in which anything new is suspect, or "edgework", where people deliberately take risks in extreme sports, sexual behaviour and relationships,' they say.

The recognition of the complex nature of risk, as well as its high profile in public debate and in the media has led to richer approaches and more hybrid methods of social science research and analysis, as well as more interaction between government, academia and business. 'Risk reduction is now a policy objective in a number of areas, but risk is also recognised as an important ingredient within policy, as the management of continuing risks replaces risk elimination as the major important policy concern,' say Peter Taylor-Gooby and Jens Zinn.

In their introduction, Peter Taylor-Gooby and Jens Zinn explain how failures of technology and innovation, such as the Thalidomide tragedy, the BSE outbreak and Chernobyl, increased public distrust of institutions. 'When risk issues become politicised they are difficult to resolve by technical means alone,' the authors state.

'A whole range of innovations, including nuclear power, GM food, motorway building and the Ilisu, Namarda and Yangtse dam projects all provoke vigorous and determined political protest and we know that political pressures can prevent the diffusion of new technologies, despite a lack of scientific evidence,' they say.

The book looks at the topic of risk from many different angles, with chapters on Crime, the Environment and Technical Development, Everyday Life and Leisure Time, Family and Partnerships, Health and Illness, Lifecourse, Youth and Old Age, Media, Social and Public Policy, Risk Regulation and Social Inequality (Gender, Ethnicity, Disability and Class).

Risk in Social Science Edited by Peter Taylor-Gooby and Jens Zinn. Published by Oxford University Press. The authors include, Professor Hazel Kemshall, De Monfort University, Professor Nick Pidgeon, Cardiff University, Professor John Tullock, Brunel University, Professor Jane Lewis, London School of Economics, Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby, University of Kent, Professor Sarah Vickerstaff, University of Kent, Professor Jenny Kitzinger, University of Cardiff, Professor Andy Alaszweski, University of Kent, Professor Bridget Hutter, London School of Economics and Dr David Abbott, University of Bristol.



New disaster preparedness resource provides valuable information for pediatricians and emergency response planners [Oct 27 Washington DC USA]--HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), today released Pediatric Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness: A Resource for Pediatricians. The resource is intended to increase awareness about the unique needs of children and encourage collaboration among pediatricians, state and local emergency response planners, health care systems, and others involved in planning and response efforts for natural disasters and terrorism incidents.

"This resource provides critical information about how pediatricians and other physicians caring for children can work with other entities involved in public health planning," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "Based on their well- established role in the community, pediatricians are in an ideal position to assist in the development and implementation of plans that address the needs of our most vulnerable citizens."

"With the publication of this new resource, our nation's planning and response efforts are strengthened by bringing needed focus on children in disasters," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness Rear Admiral W. Craig Vanderwagen, M.D. "Not only pediatricians will benefit, but also state and community response planners, who will be better able to address our children's special needs in all types of disasters."

Children have increased vulnerability to injury from catastrophic events because of their unique anatomic, physiologic, immunologic, and developmental characteristics. Local, state, regional, and federal emergency response plans that recognize and address these differences can reduce harm and even save lives, according to the resource.

The publication provides an overview of the role of national, regional, and local emergency response systems before, during, and after disasters and terrorism events. The pediatrician's role in collaborating with this infrastructure and local emergency departments, schools, and day care facilities is highlighted. Individual chapters provide detailed information on the triage, supportive care, and referral of children affected by natural, biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear, and blast events. Children's emotional and mental health needs are also described, including the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and behavioral problems that often result from these incidents. In addition to advice on integrating the information into emergency response plans, the resource also contains an extensive list of suggested references and a discussion of lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.

"Pediatricians already have the knowledge to identify and manage the physical and psychological symptoms children experience as a result of illness and trauma," said AAP President Eileen M. Ouellette, M.D., J.D. "This resource gives them the necessary tools to extend that expertise to the management of widespread or catastrophic events."

Development of the resource, which is available online at http://www.ahrq.gov/research/pedprep/resource.htm,

was funded by AHRQ, the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. AHRQ has several related resources to help clinicians, policy makers, and the public address the special needs of children in emergency situations, including the report Pediatric Anthrax: Implications for Bioterrorism Preparedness (go to http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/pedanthtp.htm)

and the video Decontamination of Children: Preparedness and Response for Hospital Emergency Departments (for information about the video and to see a clip, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/research/decontam.htm).

To learn more about all AHRQ-supported research, tools, and activities related to bioterrorism and public health emergency preparedness, visit the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/browse/bioterbr.htm.

For more information about the American Academy of Pediatrics' terrorism resources, visit http://www.aap.org/terrorism.


RAND toolkit identifies programs for long-term recovery among children exposed to significant traumatic events [Oct 25 Alexandria VA USA]--The RAND Corporation today issued the first guide that shows how to provide school-based mental health programs for students exposed to violence, natural disasters and other traumatic events.

The guide, called a toolkit, was developed by RAND Health for the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute (RGSPI) to enable schools to help students displaced by natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“We found that following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, schools were in a unique position to help the displaced students they enrolled, but had limited information about how to help,” said Lisa Jaycox, a RAND senior behavioral scientist who is the lead author of the guide. “This toolkit should be used as a step toward closing the information gap.”

“Ensuring that children receive long-lasting help for the emotional effects of traumatic events requires critical planning ahead of time,” Jaycox added. “If this waits until a large-scale disaster strikes, there are few resources for developing new programs or training staff. It is essential that schools know what is out there, so that they can choose the program that best fits their students' needs and for which they have the appropriate resources.”

Titled “How Schools Can Help Students Recover From Traumatic Experiences: A Tool-Kit for Supporting Long-Term Recovery,” the guide moves beyond the short-term responses typically taken by schools after disasters strikes.

Although schools have developed good capacity as “early responders” to support communities in the aftermath of disasters or crises, they have much less experience in how to support the longer term mental health issues of students and staff members.

Originally developed a few months after the hurricanes, the toolkit has now been expanded to include national and international mental health programs for treating other experiences such as sexual abuse and assault, the sudden death of family members, terrorism incidents, and trauma experienced by refugees.

The guide was issued as RAND President and CEO James A. Thomson and RGSPI Director George Penick were meeting with leaders in business and government in Mississippi and in Louisiana this week to discuss rebuilding in the Gulf States.

“The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute will play an important part in helping Gulf Coast states and communities find effective solutions to many of the problems they face,” Thomson said.

RGSPI works to develop a long-term vision and strategy to help build a better future for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

RAND, a nonprofit research organization, joined with seven universities to create RGSPI in late 2005. The seven are: Jackson State University and the University of Southern Mississippi in Mississippi; Tulane University, the University of New Orleans and Xavier University in Louisiana; and Tuskegee University and the University of South Alabama in Alabama.

RGSPI seeks funding from nonprofit institutions, other donors, government and the private sector to conduct a broad range of studies. It is the first organization of its kind in the region to conduct a full spectrum of policy research on pressing challenges facing the three states, including problems that existed even before the hurricanes struck.

The toolkit compares 24 trauma-focused programs that have been developed and used by schools across the United States and countries that have experienced ongoing wars and acts of terror. The guide assesses these programs based upon the potential needs of students and provides school officials with estimates of the time, funding, training, and other resources needed to put the programs into place.

Researchers note that exposure to traumatic events can have significant long-term consequences, leading to reactions of anxiety and depression and causing some students to act out in school, at home and among their peers.

Trauma-focused programs that have been developed specifically for use in schools can reduce emotional and behavioral problems while also fostering students' resilience for future events.

Among the programs that the report describes are:

* A program by RAND, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and the Los Angeles Unified School District called Cognitive-Behavior Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), which was developed to treat students exposed to multiple acts of violence. Students showed emotional and behavioral improvements six months following initial therapy. The program has since been implemented in other states including Maryland, Wisconsin and Illinois.
* The UCLA Trauma/Grief Program for Adolescents, which has been used in New York City schools following the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and in schools in post-war Bosnia. The program targets middle and high school students following terrorism incidents, community violence, man-made disasters and war. Program participants have displayed reductions in depression and improvements in academic performance and classroom behavior.
* The Friends & New Places program, which has been used to help 1,100 K-12 students who were displaced to the Dallas Independent School District following Hurricane Katrina. Results have not been formally evaluated, but the program is designed to reframe how displaced children think about their traumatic experiences in relation to their new environment and emphasizes making treatment for traumatic events culturally acceptable.

In addition to evaluating programs for schools to choose from, the toolkit also includes funding options for securing program materials and training staff. However, RAND researchers note that information on funding resources can change rapidly and schools should thoroughly investigate which resources are available in their district.

Plans are underway to make the toolkit available as an Internet-based search tool. Schools will be able to determine which program best meets their needs based on a series of search criteria – including the age of their students, the trauma experienced and the related symptoms.

Development of the toolkit and selection of the programs were guided by work from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). NCTSN is funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration.

Other authors on the report include Lindsey Morse, Terri Tanielian, and Bradley Stein of RAND.

As part of a partnership with Mercy Family Center in News Orleans and Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, the report authors are working on a study of children exposed to community level disasters like Hurricane Katrina and will develop a risk profile of which children are most in need of mental health treatment.

RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, is the nation's largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on quality, costs and delivery, among other topics.

Copies of “How Schools Can Help Students Recover From Traumatic Experiences: A Tool-Kit for Supporting Long-Term Recovery” (ISBN: 0-8330-4037-5) can be ordered from RAND's Distribution Services
(order@rand.org or call toll-free in the U.S. 1-877-584-8642) or downloaded from the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute at www.rand.org/rgspi.



American College of Physicians publishes 'Internal Medicine Essentials for Clerkship Students' textbook [Oct 23 Philadelphia PA USA]--The American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation’s largest medical-specialty society, has released “Internal Medicine Essentials for Clerkship Students 2007-2008,” produced in collaboration with the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM). Based on a national curriculum, the textbook is an authoritative educational resource to augment learning during the third-year internal medicine clerkship.

“Internal Medicine Essentials” covers the common problems and disorders a student is likely to see on the internal medicine rotation. The textbook has a publicly accessible Web component with additional clinical photos, tables, screening tools and other instruments.

“Internal Medicine Essentials” is unique in that it was created by faculty who helped design the internal medicine clerkship curriculum and who are actively involved in teaching and advising students on the internal medicine clerkship. The textbook was written by 67 authors representing 49 different medical schools. The editor-in-chief is Patrick C. Alguire, MD, FACP, director of education and career development for the American College of Physicians.

“Internal Medicine Essentials” helps students care for patients, prepare for clinical rounds, and study for the end-of-rotation examination. It is organized around the major training problems that are included in the nationally recognized Core Medicine Clerkship Curriculum Guide. Content is derived almost entirely from two evidence-based resources published and managed by ACP: the Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP) and the Physician Information and Education Resource (PIER).

“Learning about internal medicine -- the specialty providing comprehensive care to adults -- in the third year of medical school is an important experience, regardless of what specialty the medical student ultimately pursues. Through publication of this book and other efforts on behalf of students, ACP is promoting medical knowledge and professionalism early in the medical career,” said Dr. Alguire. ACP also supports medical student learning through complimentary Medical Student Membership, sponsorship of a national clinical competition and residency fair, a Council of Student Members, and study resources such as MKSAP for Students 3. ACP also addresses public policy issues related to the concerns of medical students.

ACP (Doctors of Internal Medicine. Doctors for Adults.®) is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Membership includes more than 120,000 internists, related subspecialists, and medical students. ACP works to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine.

The Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (www.im.org/CDIM) is the national organization of individuals responsible for teaching internal medicine to medical students. Founded in 1989, CDIM promotes excellence in the education of medical students and serves internal medicine faculty and staff.

“Internal Medicine Essentials for Medical Students” can be ordered via the ACP Web site; or contact the ACP Customer Service Department at 215-351-2600 (M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET). The ACP product number is 330361030; ISBN is 1-930513-82-8. List price is $49.95; ACP Medical Student Members receive a $10.00 discount. The softcover book has 278 pages.


The truth about rumors and why we believe them [Oct 19 Rochester NY USA]--A flurry of rumor and gossip followed recent reports of a small plane hitting a high-rise apartment building on New York's Upper East Side. Was it a helicopter or a plane? Was it an accident or a terrorist attack? The pilot's celebrity identity added another strange twist as the rumor unraveled to substantiated fact.

The process of that unraveling, of people sorting out bits of fact and fiction, fascinates Nicholas DiFonzo, professor of social and organization psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology and one of the leading experts on rumor and gossip research. He is currently researching how rumors proliferate, spread and die over time as part of a National Science Foundation-funded study.

In their recent book Rumor Psychology: Social and Organizational Approaches published by APA Books, DiFonzo and co-author Prashant Borida, associate professor of management at the University of South Australia, present new research and ideas about rumors, which they differentiate from gossip and urban legend.

"A rumor is what you do when you try to figure out the truth with other people," DiFonzo says. "It's collective sense making. The classic example is 'I heard that…'"

Gossip, on the other hand, is sharing information with an agenda, he says. It could be for entertainment or to bond with another person or to reinforce a social norm. Gossip, which may be true, tends to have an edge.

"Gossip is more to do with social networks," DiFonzo says. "A strong motivation we have as humans is to connect with a group."

The urban legend is a misnomer, he says. "'Modern legends' or 'contemporary legends' would be more accurate."

"How do people know what's true is true?" is the question that most interests DiFonzo.

His research on rumor accuracy and the role of trust in rumor transmission seeks to determine how successful people are at figuring out the truth.

One of the studies included in Rumor Psychology surveyed public relations professionals from Fortune 500 companies about the veracity of organizational or workplace rumors from their own experience. The authors found that most workplace rumors are 95 percent accurate.

Rumor Psychology also includes new studies about rumor propagation and why people believe them. The authors also recommend methods for managing organizational rumors and present a research agenda for future rumor research.


New guide to help countries prevent violence against children [Oct 17 Geneva Switzerland]--The World Health Organization (WHO) is today issuing a practical new guide to help countries prevent violence against children. Children are the victims of startling levels of violence, often at the hands of those who should be protecting them. This new guide, published by WHO and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), demonstrates that violence against children can and must be prevented.

According to the recently released UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence Against Children, much of the violence endured by children aged 0-14 years occurs in the home at the hands of parents, caregivers, and family members. The consequences of this violence hinder children's health and development and can last well into adulthood, negatively affecting health and increasing the risks of further victimization and becoming a perpetrator of violence.

Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence is intended to assist countries to design and deliver programmes for the prevention of child maltreatment by parents and caregivers. The guide is a practical tool that will help governments implement the recommendations of the UN Study on Violence Against Children.

Country reports in the UN Study show that children under 10 years of age are at significantly greater risk than older children of severe violence perpetrated by family members and people closely associated with the family. The Study also reports WHO estimates that in children under 18 years of age the worldwide prevalence of sexual violence involving forced intercourse and touch is 73 million for boys and 150 million for girls.

Research shows that child maltreatment can be prevented. The need to increase investment in prevention is urgent and global. Promising strategies include reducing unintended pregnancies; improving access to high-quality pre- and post-natal care; reducing harmful levels of alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and by new parents; providing home visitation services by nurses and social workers to families at risk of maltreatment, and training parents on child development, non-violent discipline and problem-solving skills. The UN Study and the guide make it clear that responsibility for implementing such strategies lies with governments, and should involve other stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research councils and the international community.

"For too long now the response to child maltreatment has been dominated by systems for reacting to cases once maltreatment has already started. The scientific evidence for preventing physical, sexual and psychological abuse from occurring in the first place is already quite strong, and the time is ripe for a paradigm shift from reaction to prevention," said Dr Anders Nordström, WHO Acting Director General.

The new WHO-ISPCAN guide provides technical advice for professionals working in governments, research institutes and NGOs on how to measure the extent of child maltreatment and its consequences and how to design, implement and evaluate prevention programmes. The guide also notes that the strong relationships between child maltreatment, economic inequality and poverty mean that reducing inequality and poverty are likely to make a significant contribution to preventing child maltreatment.

"We welcome the WHO-ISPCAN guide on Preventing Child Maltreatment," said Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF. "This is an important new tool for addressing violence against children."

A unique aspect of Preventing child maltreatment is its recognition that child maltreatment and other childhood adversities are associated with a broad range of risk-taking behaviours in later life, including smoking, high-risk sexual behaviours, unintended pregnancy and harmful alcohol and drug use.

According to a recent WHO study, the lifetime impacts of child sexual abuse account for approximately six percent of cases of depression; six percent of alcohol and or drug abuse/dependence; eight percent of suicide attempts; 10 percent of panic disorders, and 27 percent of post traumatic stress disorders. Such risk factors and behaviours can lead to some of the principal causes of death, disease and disability.

"What happens to people in childhood still has a major effect thirty, forty and even fifty years later. One person might be driven to chronic depression, or to alcoholism, another to suicide, another to drug use leading to chronic hepatitis. But these linkages are concealed by time, shame, secrecy, and by social taboos against discussing these things," said Dr Vincent Felitti, Chief of Preventive Medicine at the Kaiser Permanent Medical Care Program in the USA, and a contributor to the guide. "These concealed life-long consequences mean that governments everywhere are already spending a substantial portion of their health budgets treating the consequences of maltreatment, resources that would be far more effectively spent on prevention".

"We have enough information to take preventive action. We cannot delay. Children cannot wait. By following the recommendations contained in this guide countries can immediately start to implement child maltreatment prevention programmes while building the evidence base further," said Professor Barbara Bonner, President of ISPCAN.



Social work director authors vital handbook for mental health professionals [Oct 7 Cincinnati OH USA]--They’re on the front lines of treatment, but they’re not prescribing the medications. A new handbook by University of Cincinnati Social Work director Sophia Dziegielewski holds valuable information for social workers, family therapists and counselors who work with clients who take medications for their mental health.

A new book for mental healthcare workers is billed as the first of its kind in giving non- medically trained professionals (NMTPs) a comprehensive look at the role of medications in mental health treatment – not only how they work, but also side effects, interactions, tolerance, affects of expired medications, brand-name versus generics, and the important role of the non-medically trained health care provider in “gathering information that supports understanding the whole person,” as is written by the author.

Sophia Dziegielewski
Sophia Dziegielewski

Sophia Dziegielewski, director of the School of Social Work at the University of Cincinnati, is author of Psycho-Pharmacology Handbook for the Non-Medically Trained, published by W. W. Norton & Company. “It’s written in such simplistic language that it is designed for all,” she says.

Now entering her second year as the director of the UC School of Social Work, Dziegielewski has written dozens of articles, three training manuals and several textbooks in the areas of mental health. She explains that it’s often the social worker, psychologist, family therapist or counselor who is monitoring how a client is taking and adjusting to prescription medications to treat mental health disorders. She says the book has easy-to-understand information on what professionals need to watch out for, once their client is prescribed a medication. “A consumer will be prescribed a medication and then may not meet with the doctor again for six weeks. Well, for the most part, many of your side effects from that medication are going to occur within the first week or two,” says Dziegielewski.

Psycho-Pharmacology Handbook

The book is also filled with brief “quick tips” that professionals can scan for information on the role of NMTPs and treating depression, increasing compliance in taking medications, helping to reduce prescription errors, assessing tolerance and addiction, and other issues related to medicinal treatment.

The second half of the book delves more deeply into specific drugs and examines:

  • Medications to treat depression
  • Medications to treat bipolar disorders
  • Medications to treat anxiety
  • Medications for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
  • Alternative treatments, such as herbal remedies

The Psycho-Pharmacology Handbook for the Non-Medically Trained has a retail price of $27.50 in the U.S.; $38.50 in Canada, and can be ordered online through Amazon.com







Save up to 90%. Limited Quantities!



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