Archive for the ‘health’ Category

“vaginal flora”

April 10, 2007

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted in a 1998 report that black women aged 15-29 in the United States are more than 30 times as likely to have gonorrhea as are white women; black women in this age group are also more than 10 times as likely as Hispanic women to have gonorrhea. The CDC attributed this increased risk to black women’s lack of access to treatment services. But Dr. Hillier’s new data suggest an important role for a biologic factor: a lack of lactobacilli in the vaginal flora.

NYC penises

April 6, 2007

Working from the new statistics from Africa that show male circumcision can reduce the transmission of HIV, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is initiating a campaign to encourage men in the Big Apple to undergo the procedure. Cyberspace finds this plan controversial, not least because Africa is not New York City.

Joe at politics, technology, and economy blog Joe At Large is himself uncircumcised and can appreciate the backlash of “uncut” men to this new health campaign. He says, “[B]efore we go out making any recommendations to health departments and male populations I think it’s important to get at all the facts and address the criticisms. I think it’s a valid point that there is a very big difference between straight men in Africa and gay men in New York City.”

Stuart Rennie at the Global Bioethics Blog elaborates: “There are a lot of unknowns and issues raised by the use of male circumcision as HIV prevention strategy in a place like New York. One is that the African studies were about the reduction of HIV risk among circumcised men in hetrosexual relations. The high-risk groups in the US are mostly injection-drug users and men who have sex with men, and the studies say little to nothing about that.”

The blogger at anti-circumcision site Male Circumcision and HIV is incensed by the fact that Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former New York City health commissioner, was remiss on cracking down on Orthodox Jewish mohels who spread herpes to circumcised infants by orally staunching the blood of their cut penises—a practice known as metzitzah b’pei: “Because Dr. Friedan is living in a city that has a very large voting block who hold circumcision as sacred, it’s not surprising in a way. But it is still shocking that religion and culture has a death grip on public policy in an era of the scientific method and democracy.”

How Am I Doing? How Are They Doing? New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a quintessential New Yorker, offers his candid reviews of new releases on the big screen.

Based on a book and true story, the film covers an event in Vichy, France, when the local French collaborators in the Vichy government cooperated with the Nazis in the roundup and murder of Jews.
The movie opens with the roundup of seven French/Jewish males who are lined up and commanded to drop their pants to verify, by their circumcision, that they are Jews. They are then shot.

anal pain at New York airport

February 7, 2007

US immigration officials insisted the sufferer of an anal infection remove a small piece of medical thread which was being used by doctors to treat the condition. The man required treatment under general anaesthetic as a result.

California prisons

December 23, 2006

(I will edit this post and add comments later.)

With males vastly outnumbering females behind bars, prisons are typically designed and managed for violent men.

At a minimum, advocates want more female guards, to protect women’s privacy and dignity; more food for pregnant inmates; easier access to sanitary products; and regulations for visits that enhance, rather than discourage, the preservation of close family ties.

The California Legislative Women’s Caucus has made incarcerated women its top priority this year. In an unusual April fact-finding mission, four lawmakers visited Valley State, and two of them spent the night.

They went through processing as inmates do, minus the strip search, receiving bedrolls and cell assignments. They ate in the dining hall, slept on the thin mattresses and asked women about their problems and personal stories.

Some complaints mirrored those in men’s prison: Many inmates said they were hungry all the time and could not land spots in academic or job-training classes. What differed were complaints about medical care and concerns about children.

Measured on a per-inmate basis, the Corrections Department spends 60% more on healthcare for women than for men. Reproductive issues are cited as one reason, but women also arrive in prison with a greater incidence of HIV and AIDS and have more mental health needs. Some inmates told the legislators that they had not had a mammogram or Pap smear in years.

“The model for women in prison in California is wrongheaded,” said state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), who was joined on the sleepover by Assemblywoman Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge). “Most of the inmates we spoke to were in for DUIs and drug offenses…. Why are we spending billions upon billions to house these people in such a high-security environment?”

After years of protest from female inmates and their families, male guards may no longer conduct pat searches of women.

Dawn Davison, who runs one of the four California lockups housing women, called that a key achievement. Because more than half of female inmates have been physically or sexually abused, she said, they were traumatized anew when pat-searched by men.

As for their conduct once imprisoned, officials could find no record of a female prisoner in California killing another. By contrast, 14 male prisoners were killed by fellow convicts last year.

And although assaults and even small-scale riots are common in men’s prisons, fights among women are usually “nothing more than a lovers’ quarrel and a little slapping around,” Davison said. Attacks on staff by women, she added, rarely go beyond a kick delivered by an inmate resisting an order.

Arriving 7 1/2 months pregnant, she worried constantly about her baby’s health. She said she received iron pills and prenatal check-ups but always left the chow hall “starving.” The servings, she said, were too meager for someone eating for two.

Most upsetting, Foster recalled, was “the total lack of privacy from men,” who make up 75% of the correctional officers at Valley State.

Male guards were able to look down on women in the showers from a control room, she said, and mingled near the inmate reception area while female officers conducted strip searches, in which hand mirrors are used to search incoming inmates’ private parts for contraband. That was most humiliating, she said, for women who were menstruating.

“It’s all run by men. The doctors, the officers. There are men everywhere,” said Foster, of Redding. “You just feel violated all the time.”

Afterward, with an ankle fastened to the bed, she was allowed to spend a few days in the hospital bonding with her daughter, Olivia. Then it was back to the cellblock, where the pain of separation was enhanced by pain from breasts engorged with milk.

The prison, Foster said, crying as the memories washed over her, did not provide a pump.

California prison population:

Men: 93%
Women: 7%

Female inmates:
Number in California prisons: 10,800
Average time served: 14 months
Serving time for a nonviolent crime: more than 66%
Have been physically or sexually abused: 57%
Average age: 36 * With minor children: 64%
Babies born to inmates each year: about 300

Sources: California Department of Corrections, Little Hoover Commission

glyphosate in Ecuador

December 23, 2006

Correa contends that the fumigation using glyphosate is unacceptable because it kills legal crops on the Ecuadorean side of the border and has been blamed for causing health problems.,,-6297141,00.html

Mark Souder is one of four Congress members to have sent a letter requesting $150m in additional military aid, for new equipment to set up a drug eradication base.

Mr Souder rebuffs concerns about the effects of glyphosate on people and the environment.

“Scientifically, there is no risk,” he says. “Emotionally it bothers people.”

mad cow disease

December 17, 2006

Creekstone Farms, a Kansas beef producer, wants to reassure customers that its cattle are safe to eat by testing them all for mad cow disease. Sounds like a smart business move, but there’s one problem: The federal government won’t let the company do it.

American health care

December 17, 2006

At the press conference, DeStefano spoke of how major employers have passed nearly $20 million a year of health care costs for their employees onto the backs of state taxpayers, because their employers turn to the state government’s HUSKY program. The campaign listed the top four offenders, based on 2004 figures:

• Wal-Mart: 824 workers costing $5.6 million from HUSKY

• Stop N Shop: 741 workers costing $5.1 million

• Dunkin Donuts: 530 workers, $3.6 million

• McDonald’s: 460 workers, $3.1 million.

DeStefano’s universal health care plan would force major employers to offer a minimally acceptable health care plan for their workers or sacrifice all state tax breaks.

Maybe Connecticut should dump the HUSKY program and state tax breaks. Why should governments and companies pay for people’s health care? Americans would probably be healthier and would live longer if they were responsible for their own health care costs.

If you eat grease all day and jump off roofs all night for fun, why should I have to pay for your surgery?