The film “The Kingâ€™s Speech” won the Academy Award for Best PictureÂ [on Sunday night.] The movieÂ has come in for some criticism for its depiction of the political machinations surroundingÂ the abdication of Edward VIIIÂ andÂ Britainâ€™sÂ appeasement of Hitler.Â The British-born writer Christopher Hitchens, unsparingÂ and deliciously eloquent as always, puts the politics ofÂ Â George VIÂ in a far less favorable light than theÂ movie does.Â Â Â Â Â Â
ButÂ ”The Kingâ€™s Speech” hasÂ won almost universal praiseÂ for itsÂ portrayal ofÂ the reluctant monarchâ€™s stuttering, a speech pattern that includes involuntary repetition of sounds and syllables and â€śspeech blocksâ€ť that cause prolonged pauses. Many youngÂ children who stutter grow out of the problem, but perhaps as manyÂ as one in every 100 adults are affected by the condition,Â 80 percentÂ of whom are men. Stuttering clusters in families, so researchers have been searching forÂ inherited genes that might cause the condition.Â Last year,Â in The New England Journal of Medicine,Â NIH researchers reported some successÂ withÂ results showing an association betweenÂ three mutated genes andÂ stuttering,Â althoughÂ those mutations are probably responsible for a very small minority of cases.Â
Itâ€™s been said thatÂ ”The Kingâ€™s Speech” will doÂ for stuttering what “Rain Man” did for autism: PlantÂ a sympathetic view ofÂ a disability in the public consciousness. OneÂ danger ofÂ suchÂ a quick infusionÂ ofÂ awareness, however,Â is thatÂ it can hardenÂ into aÂ fixed, if largely favorable,Â stereotype.Â We are finding out — or are being reminded — about all the famous people whoÂ have stutteredÂ (many of them writers).Â First-person accounts are popping up all over the place because of the film.Â TheÂ best Iâ€™ve come across isÂ byÂ Philip French, a British film critic, whoÂ describes vividly what it was like toÂ listen to theÂ radio broadcasts of the real King George VI, wondering ifÂ he wouldÂ make it to the end â€ślike a drunken waiter crossing a polished floor bearing a tray laden with wine glasses.â€ť Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*
Heart disease and February: What relationship could be more cozy? From the scary risks of shoveling snow (yep, you could die, so be sure to lift a little at a time), Mercedes-sponsored red dress parades and government-sponsored National Wear Red DayÂ®, to tips for identifying heart attacks in women (men, you need a different month I guess), February has all the important stories to improve your awareness. Such a polite term “awareness.”
But I wonder, now that the Internet is upon us and people are seeing their insurance rates and co-pays skyrocket, if maybe we’re shooting ourselves in the foot with all this heart-month marketing hype. People are sick and tired of testing “just to be sure.” It’s starting to directly cost them a fortune, and people areÂ frustrated at having to pay a fortune for healthcare, let alone heart care.
I know, I know — I should be at the forefront of working with patients to stomp out heart disease. And goodness, people DO need to be attuned to diet, exercise, and weight loss. But the reality is, if we’re giving you theÂ 10 latest tips on how to detect a heart attack, we’re probably a bit too late.
That’s the problem with all these press releases: While there’s a need to raise “awareness” of heart health, there’s also a very real need for people to take us — heart disease professionals — seriously to help cut costs in healthcare here. The last thing our healthcare system needs is more frivolous testing. Yet this is exactly what all this marketing does for our healthcare system — and it helps those with the largest PR budgets most of all. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*
Real total direct medical costs of cardiovascular disease (CVD) could triple, from $273 billion to $818 billion (in 2008 dollars) by 2030. Real indirect costs, such as lost productivity among the employed and unpaid household work, could increase 61 percent, from $172 billion in 2010 to $276 billion.
Results appeared in a policy statement of the American Heart Association.
CVD is the leading cause of mortality and accounts for 17 percentÂ of national health expenditures, according to the statement. How much so? U.S. medical expenditures rose from 10Â percentÂ of the Gross Domestic Product in 1985 to 15 percentÂ in 2008. In the past decade, the medical costs of CVD have grown at an average annual rate of 6 percentÂ and have accounted for about 15 percentÂ of the increase in medical spending.
The spending is associated with greater life expectancy, “suggesting that this spending was of value,” the authors wrote. But as the population ages, direct treatment costs are expected to increase substantially, even though lost productivity won’t, since seniors are employed at lower rates.
If current prevention and treatment rates remain steady, CVD prevalence will increase by about 10 percentÂ over the next 20 years. The estimate reflects an aging population, and one that is increasingly Hispanic. To prepare for future cardiovascular care needs, the American Heart Association projected future costs. By 2030, 40.5Â percentÂ (116 million) of the population is projected to have some form of CVD. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*
Cute packaging and product placement in the checkout lane at Duane Reade will get you generic Tylenol for a price equivalent to $50 for 100 tabs, as opposed to $6 per 100 count in the usual package.
*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*