Animal-to-human organ transplants--a solution or a new problem?
Xenotransplantation is seen by some mainly as an opportunity and by others mainly as a danger. It could help overcome the shortage of organs from human donors, but it raises a number of questions, particularly about safety, ethics and human nature. This article reviews the progress of research, debate and decision-making in this area. (+info)
Developing communality: family-centered programs to improve children's health and well-being.
Despite decades of enormous investment in research and public programs, the United States continues to face pandemics of preventable health problems such as low birth weight, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and interpersonal violence. With some justification, these problems have been blamed on the failings of families. The reasons why families may function poorly in their child-rearing roles have not been coherently or vigorously addressed by our social policies; sometimes these policies have aggravated the problems. This paper provides background to allow a better understanding of families' role in the social determination of children's health, and argues for programs and policies that assist families through the creation of social supports embedded in communities that are characterized by trust and mutual obligation. (+info)
The health impact of economic sanctions.
Embargoes and sanctions are tools of foreign policy. They can induce a decline in economic activity in addition to reducing imports and untoward health effects can supervene, especially among older persons and those with chronic illnesses. Often, violations of the rights of life, health, social services, and protection of human dignity occur among innocent civilians in embargoed nations. This paper examines the effects of embargoes and sanctions against several nations, and calls for studies to determine ways in which economic warfare might be guided by the rule of humanitarian international law, to reduce the effects on civilians. It suggests that the ability to trade in exempted goods and services should be improved, perhaps by establishing uniform criteria and definitions for exemptions, operational criteria under which sanctions committees might function, and methods for monitoring the impact of sanctions on civilian populations in targeted states, particularly with regard to water purity, food availability, and infectious-disease control. Prospective studies are advocated, to generate the data needed to provide better information and monitoring capacity than presently exists. (+info)
Focus on adolescent pregnancy and childbearing: a bit of history and implications for the 21st century.
Early childbearing in the United States has roots in the past; is the focus of intense partisan debate at the present time; and will have demographic, social, and economic ramifications in the future. It is an extremely complex issue, for which its associated problems have no easy or simple answers. Early parenthood is viewed as a social problem that has defied public policy attempts to stem its growth. It has become the focus of concern primarily for three reasons: (1) sexual activity has increased sharply, most recently among the youngest teens; (2) out-of-wedlock childbearing has risen among all teenagers, regardless of age; and (3) the issue of welfare. A review of statistics highlights the problem and discussion focuses on means of mitigating the negative effects of early childbearing. (+info)
Pesticides and immunosuppression: the risks to public health.
There is substantial experimental, epidemiological and other evidence that many pesticides in widespread use around the world are immunosuppressive. This poses a potentially serious health risk in populations highly exposed to infectious and parasitic diseases, subject to malnutrition, and inadequately serve by curative health programmes. An expanded programme of research is needed to investigate this potential risk and to design precautionary measures. (+info)
Reform follows failure: II. Pressure for change in the Lebanese health sector.
This paper describes how, against a background of growing financial crisis, pressure for reform is building up in the Lebanese health care system. It describes the various agendas and influences that played a role. The Ministry of Health, backed by some international organizations, has started taking the lead in a reform that addresses both the way care is delivered and the way it is financed. The paper describes the interventions made to prepare reform. The experience in Lebanon shows that this preparation is a process of muddling through, experimentation and alliance building, rather than the marketing of an overall coherent blueprint. (+info)
Role of technology assessment in health benefits coverage for medical devices.
With the profusion of new medical technology, managed care organizations are faced with the challenge of determining which medical devices and services warrant health benefits coverage. To aid in this decision-making process, managed care companies turn to technology assessment, a process that differs from the Food and Drug Administration's review of medical devices. Health plans typically use a structured approach to implementing coverage requirements in employer group benefits contracts and use technology assessment to evaluate the scientific evidence of effectiveness to support coverage decisions. Also important is the societal context for decisions regarding coverage for new technologies and the options being considered by policy makers for accountability in technology assessment by private insurers and health plans. (+info)
The limited state of technology assessment for medical devices: facing the issues.
Medical devices are an integral part of clinical practice and account for a substantial proportion of the national health budget. Clinical testing and regulation of medical devices, however, is vastly different from and inferior to the testing and regulation of drugs. As managed care organizations begin to exert controls on device use, providers are being caught between the policies of their organizations and the demands of device manufacturers and patients, who want wider access to devices. We outline several reasons for the poor state of medical device evaluations and the dangers of using devices without adequate information, and include the recently developed device assessment and reporting guidelines created by the Task Force on Technology Assessment of Medical Devices. (+info)