Monday, 26 May 2014

A dozen medical news stories to start the week ...

1. The Chinese name for dementia should be changed because the characters meaning “insane” and “idiotic” are demeaning and inappropriate, according to a professor of clinical psychiatry who wrote an editorial in the International Psychogeriatrics journal.

2. Professor Ye Shuang from the Renji Hospital in Shanghai has told an international rheumatology conference that the cheap diabetes drug metformin is a simple steroid-sparing agent in lupus, and thus could enhance efficacy and reduce side effects of therapy, according to Rheumatology Update.

3. A clinic in Shandong Province is said to have charged a pregnant women double for an ultrasound scan because she had twins. The hospital defended its charging, saying it it charged 'per organ'.

4. China's New Rural Cooperative Medical System (NCMS) is not working well for the poorest counties, according to health economists. In a new study they say that hospital out-of-pocket payments are higher for the poorest counties of China under the scheme.

5. A hospital in Shanxi has apologised to a man with a rash who was given vaginal pessaries as oral medicine. The man complained when he read the label but the doctor insisted they were the right medication. He later admitted his error and blamed it on the noisy and chaotic working conditions at his clinic.

6. Officials from the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control in Beijing have defended the quality of vaccines manufactured in China after a critical article in Nature raised doubts about the standards of production.

7. A national campaign to prevent neural tube defects has helped increase the rate of periconceptional folic acid supplementation from 15 % to 85 %. However, more than half of the women began taking the supplements too late, only after learning they were pregnant.

8. The inflammatory disease of blood vessels, Kawasaki Disease has been traced to wind-born toxins from cropfields of north-eastern China, according to researchers.

9. Cases of 'breakthrough' chickenpox in children who have been immunised under the one-dose schedule of varicella vaccination are milder than cases of chickenpox in unvaccinated children, a study from the Fengtai Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Beijing, shows.

10. The province of Hebei surrounding Beijing is full of 'ghost hospitals' as patients opt to seek healthcare at major hospitals in the capital, according to a new report. Some Hebei hospitals are 70% empty, and the preference for Beijing is putting strain on the city's already overloaded hospitals.

11. A 3-year old girl with a stomach disorder is being fed mouth-to-mouth by her father who chews up her food for her as she cannot digest it. The father says he needs tens of thousand of yuan to pay for the operation to cure his daughter and has already received several thousand yuan in donations.

12. The Chinese craze for IV infusions has claimed another victim, after an 11-year-old boy with a fever died shortly after being put on a drip at a hospital in Foshan, Guangdong. The hospital says it is investigating the case to ascertain the cause of death.

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