Bathing in thermal water has an impressive history and continuing popularity. In this paper a brief overview of the use of water in medicine over the centuries is given. (+info)
A randomised trial of an Internet weight control resource: the UK Weight Control Trial [ISRCTN58621669].
BACKGROUND: Obesity treatment is notoriously unsuccessful and one of the barriers to successful weight loss reported by patients is a lack of social support. The Internet offers a novel and fast approach to the delivery of health information, enabling 24-hour access to help and advice. However, much of the health information available on the Internet is unregulated or not written by qualified health professionals to provide unbiased information. The proposed study aims to compare a web-based weight loss package with traditional dietary treatment of obesity in participants. The project aims to deliver high quality information to the patient and to evaluate the effectiveness of this information, both in terms of weight loss outcomes and cost-effectiveness. METHODS: This study is a randomised controlled trial of a weight loss package against usual care provided within General Practice (GP) surgeries in Leeds, UK. Participants will be recruited via posters placed in participating practices. A target recruitment figure of 220 will enable 180 people to be recruited (allowing for 22% dropout). Participants agreeing to take part in the study will be randomly allocated using minimisation to either the intervention group, receiving access to the Internet site, or the usual care group. The primary outcome of the study will be the ability of the package to promote change in BMI over 6 and 12 months compared with traditional treatment. Secondary outcomes will be the ability of the Internet package to promote change in reported lifestyle behaviours. Data will be collected on participant preferences, adherence to treatment, health care use and time off work. Difference in cost between groups in provision of the intervention and the cost of the primary outcome will also be estimated. CONCLUSION: A positive result from this study would enhance the repertoire of treatment approaches available for the management of obesity. A negative result would be used to inform the research agenda and contribute to redefining future strategies for tackling obesity. (+info)
Patient mobility in European Union: health spas in Ischia, Italy.
In a new case on patients seeking medical services abroad, the Leichtle case, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) confirmed its previous rulings on patient mobility. According to the Court, patients in the European Union have a (conditional) right to receive health care abroad, whereas the sickness fund should reimburse the costs of treatment and travel expenditures. As such, the Court has strengthened patient mobility in the European Union, based on the free movement principles. Now, it is up to the European Commission to develop a communal strategy aimed at further strengthening patients' rights in the Union. (+info)
Spa therapy for ankylosing spondylltis at the Dead Sea.
BACKGROUND: The efficacy of spa therapy in ankylosing spondylitis has not been investigated extensively. OBJECTIVE: To study the efficacy of balneotherapy and climatic therapy (climatotherapy) at the Dead Sea area in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. METHODS: In a single-blind randomized controlled study, 28 patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis were allocated into two groups of 14 patients each. The first group (the combined treatment group) received balneotherapy (mud packs and sulfur pool) and exposure to the unique climatic conditions of the Dead Sea. The second group (the climatotherapy group) used the fresh water pool and experienced the same climatic conditions. The duration of treatment was 2 weeks and the follow-up period 3 months. RESULTS: For both patient groups a significant improvement was found in the outcome measures: Bath AS Disease Activity Index (P = 0.002), VisuarAnalog Scale for pain (P = 0.002) and VAS for spinal movement (P = 0.011). The variability was explained by the effect of time (within group effect) rather than the type of treatment (between group effect). Quality of life, assessed by the SF-36 questionnaire, was very low prior to the study, but improved in terms of pain amelioration in the combined treatment group. CONCLUSIONS: Climatotherapy at the Dead Sea area can improve the condition of patients suffering from long-standing ankylosing spondylitis. (+info)
Precision in weighing: a comparison of scales found in physician offices, fitness centers, and weight loss centers.
OBJECTIVE: Weight assessment is a critical aid in patient care. It is particularly important in monitoring progression of pregnancies, heart failure status, and when adjusting medications. Although weight is generally determined using a scale, few studies have evaluated the precision of non-household scales. The objective of this study was to assess scale precision across a variety of settings. METHODS: An evaluation of scales from randomly selected primary care clinics (n=30), diabetology/endocrinology clinics (n=7), weight loss facilities (n=25), and fitness centers (n=30) was performed. Assessments were completed on a total of 223 scales: 94 from primary care clinics, 32 from diabetology/endocrinology clinics, 39 from weight loss centers, and 58 from fitness centers. Scales were assessed for condition, location in facility, resting surface, commercial designation, and calibration history. Scale precision was validated using 100 lb. (45.5 kg), 150 lb. (68.3 kg), 200 lb. (90.9 kg), and 250 lb. (113.6 kg) certified weights. RESULTS: Overall, scales demonstrated decreased precision with increased weight. At higher weights, more than 15% of scales were off by more than 6 lbs. (2.3 kg), approximately 1 Body Mass Index (BMI) unit. While facility type was not significant, condition, location in facility, resting surface, commercial designation, and calibration history were significant. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that many scales used to measure body weight are imprecise and that scales in health care settings are no more precise than those in other facilities. Clinical decisions based on scales that are imprecise have the potential to cause iatrogenic complications in patient care. (+info)
Estimation of the real population and its impact on the utilisation of healthcare services in Mediterranean resort regions: an ecological study.
BACKGROUND: The demographic structure has a significant influence on the use of healthcare services, as does the size of the population denominators. Very few studies have been published on methods for estimating the real population such as tourist resorts. The lack of information about these problems means there is a corresponding lack of information about the behaviour of populational denominators (the floating population or tourist load) and the effect of this on the use of healthcare services. The objectives of the study were: a) To determine the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) ratio, per person per day, among populations of known size; b) to estimate, by means of this ratio, the real population in an area where tourist numbers are very significant; and c) to determine the impact on the utilisation of hospital emergency healthcare services of the registered population, in comparison to the non-resident population, in two areas where tourist numbers are very significant. METHODS: An ecological study design was employed. We analysed the Healthcare Districts of the Costa del Sol and the island of Menorca. Both are Spanish territories in the Mediterranean region. RESULTS: In the two areas analysed, the correlation coefficient between the MSW ratio and admissions to hospital emergency departments exceeded 0.9, with p < 0.001. On the basis of MSW generation ratios, obtained for a control zone and also measured in neighbouring countries, we estimated the real population. For the summer months, when tourist activity is greatest and demand for emergency healthcare at hospitals is highest, this value was found to be double that of the registered population. CONCLUSION: The MSW indicator, which is both ecological and indirect, can be used to estimate the real population in areas where population levels vary significantly during the year. This parameter is of interest in planning and dimensioning the provision of healthcare services. (+info)
Cost-effectiveness of Spa treatment for fibromyalgia: general health improvement is not for free.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of an adjuvant treatment course of spa treatment compared with usual care only in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FM). METHODS: 134 patients with FM, selected from a rheumatology outpatient department and from members of the Dutch FM patient association were randomly assigned to a 2(1/2) week spa treatment course in Tunisia or to usual care only. Results are expressed as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for a 6-month as well as a 12-month time horizon. Utilities were derived form the Short Form 6D (SF-6D) scores and the visual analogue scale (VAS) rating general health. Costs were reported from societal perspective. Mean incremental cost per patient and the incremental cost utility ratio (ICER) were calculated; 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using double-sided bootstrapping. RESULTS: The data of 128 (55 spa and 73 controls) of the 134 patients (96%) could be used for analysis. Improvement in general health was found in the spa group until 6 months of follow-up by both the SF-6D (AUC 0.32 vs 0.30, P < 0.05) and the VAS (AUC 0.23 vs 0.19, P < 0.01). After 1yr no significant between-group differences were found. Mean incremental cost of spa treatment was 1311 Euro per patient (95% CI 369-2439), equalling the cost of the intervention (thalassotherapy including airfare and lodging), or 885 Euro per patient based on a more realistic cost estimate. CONCLUSIONS: The temporary improvement in quality of life due to an adjuvant treatment course of spa therapy for patients with FM is associated with limited incremental costs per patient. (+info)
Effectiveness of sulphur spa therapy with politzer in the treatment of rhinogenic deafness.
Several studies have focused on the usefulness of sulphur, radioactive and bromo-iodine mineral waters in the treatment of chronic inflammatory lower and upper respiratory processes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the tolerability, effectiveness and impact on quality of life of sulphur spa therapy with Politzer in subjects with chronic inflammatory processes responsible for the onset or persistence of rhinogenic deafness. The study was performed on 27 subjects (mean age 62 +/- 2.2 years, range: 28-88) with chronic catarrhalis otitis, chronic rhino-sinusitis and pharyngeal inflammation. These patients underwent 12 sessions of humid-hot inhalation, with vapour jet 20 cm from the face, at 38 degrees C for 10 min, followed by Politzer with sulphur sodium chloride bicarbonate alkaline mineral water from "Rosapepe" Spa, in Contursi (Salerno, Italy). Middle ear function and possible social recovery (based on Giaccai and Gardenghi guidelines) of the patients were assessed, at the beginning and end of the spa therapy. Results, at the end of this treatment, showed a significant (p < 0.05) increase in audiometric curves corresponding to the normal ventilation of the tympanic box (incidence of 24% before therapy and 33% thereafter) and a decrease in pathological curves. Moreover, a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in the percentage of auditory loss was recorded (N = 41; 19.7% +/- 2.5 --> 13.9% +/- 1.9) and improved hearing, at the frequencies required for daily activities: 500-1000 and 2000 Hz (31.1 dB +/- 1.7 --> 26.8 dB +/- 1.5). No adverse effects to the spa therapy were observed during the study. In conclusion, the results of this study are in agreement with data in the literature, demonstrating that associated spa therapy with Politzer and inhalation have a positive impact on the therapeutic strategy of chronic inflammatory processes, responsible for the onset or persistence of rhinogenic deafness, in order to enhance and combine with the already consolidated pharmacological approaches. (+info)