Thursday, 14 November 2013

China medical news roundup for Thursday 14 November

Beijing cardiologist uses microblog to educate a wider audience

On the walls of the inpatient wards of Beijing Anzhen Hospital, a large sign reads, "Please follow Yu Zhenqiu's micro blog for hypertension intervention".
Yu, the director of the hypertension department, said the micro blog helps him reach as many sufferers of high blood pressure as possible. Within his working hours, he can see no more than 30 patients even if he skips lunch.
"For the great majority who cannot see top specialty doctors like me at the country's large key hospitals, micro blogs might offer help."
His frequent postings on high blood pressure prevention and intervention tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, have brought Yu about 70,000 followers on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging website.
Apart from information on free-hypertension consultation sessions, he also replies to questions online.
"Many of my postings have been forwarded thousands of times, a result that could never be achieved by treating patients in the hospital," he said.
Writing posts is now a daily routine for him, such as washing his face and brushing his teeth, he said.
Yu, who is also deputy director of the China Hypertension Association, used traditional media first to share prevention and treatment tips and educational items about the disease, before moving online.

Full article at: China Daily

Chinese parents won't take sick kids to small hospitals

With a shortage of pediatricians and inadequate medical facilities, bringing children to hospital can cause a lot of stress to parents. Some experts have suggested a change in parents' attitude and adoption of an alternative medical model. Liu Zhihua reports.
There is a shortage of at least 200,000 pediatricians in China currently, according to K. K. Cheng, a professor with University of Birmingham, who specializes in epidemiology and the development of primary care in China.
Yang Dan, a Chongqing resident and mother to a 3-year-old boy says she detests taking her child to the hospital.
The air circulation is poor. The area is noisy. It is so overcrowded that parents have to hold their children in their arms for intravenous infusion procedures. There have been cases of parents losing their children in the disorganized environment.
Yet sending their children to small hospitals is out of the question, because they cannot provide quality healthcare, Yang believes. She says once her son was misdiagnosed even in the largest hospital in Ya'an, a medium-size city in Sichuan province.
With the disparity in healthcare quality between rural and urban regions, between a top-level hospital and a less-privileged one, most Chinese parents share the belief that small hospitals are incompetent.
Read more at China Daily

China lags on preventive health, says WHO

China should do more to curb a rise in non-communicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes that have long been neglected and now pose a risk to its economy, global health experts warned.
Non-communicable diseases challenge China’s economic development and cause a burden on society, said Bernhard Schwartländer, the World Health Organization’s representative in China, in a press briefing on Tuesday. “The cost of inaction, of doing nothing—in lives lost and social and economic prosperity foregone—is too great a price to pay,” he said.
He was joined by representatives of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission and China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Schwartländer said that high rates of smoking, lack of exercise and unhealthy diets have contributed to diseases. He said that the Chinese government should adopt policies to address problems, which have been overlooked and underfunded.
By 2015, the burden of death and health complications related to non-communicable disease will have cost $500 billion in the last decade, Dr. Schwartlander said. Reducing mortality only by addressing cardiovascular disease, reducing rates 1% per year in by 2040, would generate $10.7 trillion, he said.
Health care was largely left out of a reform agenda Chinese leaders revealed on Tuesday, though it briefly mentioned improving people’s welfare and strengthening reform of the medical and health system. China launched in 2009 an overhaul of its health-care system, establishing a universal insurance system to provide citizens more access to medical care.
China is struggling to deal with a population that is urbanizing, aging and is afflicted with chronic disease. Migration of millions of Chinese citizens to big cities from rural regions has spurred use of cigarettes, higher alcohol intake and increasingly sedentary lifestyles—all habits that lend to illness.
Now China is home to the world’s largest diabetes population, with the prevalence of 11.6% of the population-surpassing Russia’s population, said Li Guangwei, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. Chronic disease is the cause of 85% of deaths in China, according to China’s Ministry of Health. By comparison, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the rate is 70 per 100 in the U.S., while the World Health Organization says they represent 63% of deaths world-wide.
Funding remains a major issue, experts said. China’s health spending as a percent of GDP totaled 2.3% in 2011, compared to U.S. spending of 9.7%, according to the most recent data available from the World Bank.
Community clinics are overrun with patients and lack resources needed to address health problems, said Wang Bin, the deputy director the Disease Control and Prevention department of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Tobacco control remains underfunded, said Jiang Yuan, deputy director of the Tobacco Control Office of China’s CDC. The government allocated only 20 million yuan (about $3.3 million) last year for tobacco control, Ms. Jiang said.
Dr. Schwartländer said it isn’t likely that the China will reach the target set for it by the WHO to cut smoking rates in China by at least 30% by 2025. Currently 28% of people older than 15—301 million people—are smokers in China and smoking-related sickness kills more than one million Chinese citizens each year, according to WHO data. That compares to 43.8 million smokers in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts said that the government should not shoulder all the responsibilities to improve health conditions and that citizens should adopt healthier lifestyles by eating less salt, exercising more and cutting bad habits like smoking and drinking . “People are the owners of their own health,” said Dr. Wang, adding, “We’re at an important window in China.”
Source: WSJ

MSG may protect against diabetes: Nanjing study

A Jiangsu nutrition study has made the intriguing finding that MSG intake is inversely related to risk of hyperglycaemia.
Researchers from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Nanjing conducted a prospective dietary study of 1056 healthy adults from 2002 to 2007. Fasting blood samples were collected at baseline and follow up. Hyperglycemia was defined as fasting plasma glucose >5.6 mmol/l.
During the follow-up they identified 125 cases of hyperglycemia and found that people with the highest intakes of MSG had a lower risk of hyperglycemia. People with a high MSG intake, had only one third the risk of hyperglycemia compared with people with a low intake of MSG, they found. There was a linear inverse association between MSG intake and change in blood glucose.
The researchers noted that MSG stimulates insulin secretion by acting on glutamate receptors and is especially likely to decrease the risk of hyperglycemia in overweight-related insulin resistance.
However, based on this single study we do not recommend people increase MSG intake in order to prevent diabetes,” they commented.
Read the full study at: Clinical Nutrition

Anhui man on trial for urologist stabbing

An Anhui Province man has been accused of stabbing a doctor at a Songjiang district hospital that he believed had cheated him, district prosecutors said Tuesday.
The suspect, surnamed Huang, visited a military-run hospital in the district in 2012 to see a urologist, according to a press release from the Songjiang District People's Prosecutor's Office. The doctor found a cyst and advised Huang that he would need to have surgery to remove it or face potential health problems in the future.
Huang agreed, though reluctantly. The surgery cost him more than 20,000 yuan ($3,283), including the four-day hospital stay afterward. Several months later, Huang had recovered from the surgery, but still doubted whether it had been necessary, prosecutors said. He suspected that the urologist only suggested the surgery to help the hospital make money.
In April, Huang returned to the hospital seeking treatment for stomach pain. Another doctor prescribed him medication, but it failed to relieve his discomfort after more than 10 days. When Huang went back to complain, the doctor said that it might take more time for the medication to take effect.
Huang believed that the doctor was lying to him and only wanted his money, prosecutors said. He complained to the local health authority and to police, but nothing came of it.
In May, Huang returned to the hospital with a knife and stabbed the urologist, prosecutors said. He then went looking for the other doctor who treated him, but was stopped by hospital security guards. The urologist suffered minor injuries.
Huang confessed to stabbing the doctor and admitted that he had been unhappy with the hospital's care. 
Source: Global Times

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