In Search of Major Reform: “In our health care system, where
doctors are paid piecework for their services, if you have a slew of
physicians and a willing patient, almost any sort of terrible excess
can occur,” Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, a cardiologist and author of “Intern: A
Doctor’s Initiation,” writes in The New York Times.

Though
accurate data is lacking, the overuse of services in health care
probably cost hundreds of billions of dollars last year, out of the
more than $2 trillion that Americans spent on health.

Are we
getting our money’s worth? Not according to the usual measures of
public health. The United States ranks 45th in life expectancy, behind
Bosnia and Jordan; near last, compared with other developed countries,
in infant mortality; and in last place, according to the Commonwealth
Fund, a health-care research group, among major industrialized
countries in health-care quality, access and efficiency.

Not So Hot: Wyeth this week withdrew its application
for European regulatory approval for a treatment for menopause-related
hot flashes, because it would have needed to conduct additional
clinical studies to address regulators’ safety questions about the
drug, desvenlafaxine.

Awareness of Heart Pain: “Younger women with coronary
blockages that raise their risk for heart attacks are less likely than
post-menopausal women to feel chest pain with exercise, a key warning
signal for heart disease, a study suggested Wednesday,” reports USA Today.

Researchers speculate high estrogen levels in premenopausal women could
relieve pain. And menopausal or postmenopausal women are
more often aware of their bodies, perhaps increasing the perception of
pain.

Plus: TV’s “General Hospital” makes good call on cardiac risks, says L.A. Times medical columnist.

Yoga Eases Menopause Symptoms: A small study indicates that
specially tailored yoga exercises ease hot flashes and other menopause
symptoms in breast cancer survivors.

“The researchers noted that breast cancer survivors often have more
severe menopausal symptoms than other women but have limited treatment
options,” reports HealthDay News.
“For example, they can’t have hormone replacement therapy that may
increase their risk of cancer recurrence. In addition, drugs used to
prevent cancer recurrence tend to induce or exacerbate menopausal
symptoms.”

Cutting Cancer Relapse Risk: The Washington Post looks at newly published studies concerning drugs that are effective in cutting the recurrence risk of breast cancer.

Stress Better for Women Than Men: HealthDay News today reports
that “higher anxiety levels may help elderly women live longer, but may
harm older men.” The research, from the Cleveland Clinic and Case
Western Reserve University, didn’t find an absolute connection between
anxiety and mortality but the study does point to gender differences.

“Baseline higher anxiety could have led the female study participants
to be more active and health-conscious,” said one researcher.

Christine

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