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Author Archive: Craig Klugman

04/17/2014

National Health Care Decisions: A Week of Dying in America

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This week is host is National Healthcare Decisions Day. The goal of this April 16th event is to “inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” Events are being held nation-wide to encourage people to complete advance directive forms as well as to have conversations with their friends and family about end-of-life health care wishes.

The latest study shows that 26% of people in general have completed advance directives. For those over age 65, the completion rate is 51%. Completion rates are higher among whites than other racial/ethnic groups, higher in those with more education than those with less, higher for those with higher incomes, and higher among widows than any other marital status group.…

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This entry was posted in Cultural, End of Life Care, Featured Posts. Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

04/10/2014

Pharmaceutical or Illegal Drug: The Bizarre Case of Marijuana

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

After gay marriage, one of the most controversial issues in the United States today is the issue of marijuana. Twenty-one states have passed laws or referendums legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Two states (Washington and Colorado) have legalized small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Sixteen other states have pending legislation. Some of these states allow physicians to prescribe it while others permit physicians to recommend it by certifying that a patient has a qualifying condition.

This is a far cry from the 1970s when marijuana was classified as a Schedule I drug meaning it has no medicinal use and is highly addictive.…

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This entry was posted in Cultural, Featured Posts, Health Regulation & Law, Pharmaceuticals and tagged . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

04/01/2014

Cute with a Good Story: Social Media Selects Experimental Subjects

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

For patients with a serious illness, accessing cutting edge drugs has just taken a new turn. In the past, a patient with cancer would undergo conventional treatments. If that failed, then he or she would be considered for a clinical trial of a new drug that may (or may not) have the potential to affect the disease. Entry into trials is strict with controls for potential subjects’ age, sex, type and stage of cancer, treatments already tried, and more. And trials are limited in size. Depending on the type of trial the researchers are looking for safety, efficacy, side effects, or dosing.…

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This entry was posted in Clinical Trials & Studies, Featured Posts, Pediatrics, Research Ethics. Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

03/19/2014

The New Patrons of Science

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

While Leonardo DaVinci worked on his many amazing inventions, his work was subsidized by patrons such as Ludovico Sforza, Cesare Borgia, and Giuliano de’Medici. Charles Montagu and Isaac Barrow supported Isaac Newton. Gardiner Hubbard supported the inventions of his future son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell. The patron system permitted a wealthy family or individual to support an artist or  natural philosopher (i.e. scientist) to pursue his (the supported were almost exclusively male) work. Being a patron was a civic duty and often was a way to pursue a personal passion that one lacked the time or expertise to pursue (or would have been looked down upon).…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Science and tagged , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

03/11/2014

Choosing Wisely: Promising New Tests to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

According to an article in Nature Medicine, a new blood test appears to be accurate for diagnosing whether an individual is likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Although not yet available for public use, the technique may offer a faster, cheaper, easier, and less invasive method for diagnosis. The researchers looked for fats present in the blood of seniors in the subject pool who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Five years earlier, this group, along with others, had a baseline blood draw performed. As it turns out, the levels of 10 lipids in Alzheimer’s patients are higher than in those individuals with even mild cognitive impairment.…

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This entry was posted in Clinical Trials & Studies, Featured Posts, Genetics. Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

03/06/2014

Why the way we pay doctors matters

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

How your doctor is paid may affect how he or she approaches the work. Steven moved from being a private practice doctor to working in academic medicine about 6 months ago. He has noticed a number of differences in the practice environment. He works far more hours in academia for less pay. He finds academic medicine to be inefficient—what took 20 minutes in private practice takes 2 hours in his new university hospital. If his private practice held a staff meeting, they were provided food and sometimes paid for their time. In a faculty meeting, there is rarely food, they take place before or after a long day, and there is no extra pay.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

02/26/2014

Intersextion: Germany Allows Parents to Choose “No Sex” on Birth Certificate

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In Jeffrey Eugenides Pulitzer-Prize winning novel Middlesex, readers are introduced to a protagonist, Cal Stephanides, who is male with female traits. This best seller helped to bring into the mainstream consciousness the notion of people who are born intersex—having characteristics of male and female sex organs. Or more generally, a person born with sex organs that fall outside what is considered the male or female norm. For example, a girl with a very large clitoris, or a boy with a very small penis or scrotum that looks more like labia. This category can also include a girl who has XY chromosomes, or a child who appears to have the genitalia of one sex and internal organs of the opposite sex.…

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02/18/2014

Freedom for the corporation, religious servitude for the individual

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Many women in this country gained insurance coverage for their contraceptive costs under the controversial Affordable Care Act (ACA). One of the many challenges that have been levied against this law is the so-called contraceptive mandate, a requirement that all employer-sponsored plans cover the costs of contraceptives.

When it was announced, this mandate caused uproar from religious communities that believe contraception is immoral. In response, the Obama Administration altered the ACA to exempt health plans sponsored by religious employers, mostly houses of worship, from using their funds to pay for contraception. To be classified as a religious employer, the entity must “serve those who share its religious tenets and otherwise have inculcation of religious values as its purpose” and is a non-profit registered with the IRS.…

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02/07/2014

No Butts About It, CVS Ends Tobacco Sales

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This week the second largest pharmacy chain in the U.S. announced that it would no longer sell tobacco products. The move is hailed as a step forward for preventing tobacco-deaths. The American Cancer Society, members of Congress, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and President Obama praised the company for this decision. CVS says that it is in the health care business and tobacco products cause nearly half a million deaths every year.

Is this move likely to change Americans’ habits? Drug store sales account for only 3.6 percent of all tobacco sales (one-half of all sales is from gas stations).…

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01/27/2014

Bioethics Expertise In The Media of Public Opinion

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Over the last few months the bioethics wires have been ablaze with conversations about the McMath and Munoz cases. Much of the internal (to bioethics) furor has been over the lack of understanding of death by the public and the media. A thread of debate has been whether those in bioethics reached out enough to journalists and the media to help them to be more accurate in reporting and to educate the public. Bioethics has always had a complicated relationship with the media—those in the field are often sought out for commentary on current events, and those who do are often criticized for reducing complex issues into sound bites.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Media and tagged . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.