Blood Test Shows Promise for Gauging Heart Attack Risk After Chest Pain


A blood test that will predict heart attacks? This sounds too good to be true, but it just might be possible, according to an article at Here are excerpts:.

Though more study needs to be done, new research suggests that a simple blood test could help predict the heart attack risk of patients experiencing chest pain.

The Swedish study found that patients with chest pain who have undetectable levels of a certain chemical signal in their blood called “high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T,” plus no sign of reduced blood flow, are at very low risk for heart attack over the next month.

“Chest pain is a potentially life-threatening symptom, as well as being a very common one,” study lead author Dr. Nadia Bandstein, from the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden, said in a meeting news release. “In our hospital it’s the second most common symptom reported in the emergency department. Since there are no established ways to quickly rule out heart attack, many patients are admitted to the hospital unnecessarily, at a large cost to the patient and to society.”

According to Bandstein, “using this blood test along with an ECG [electrocardiogram], we will save about 500 to 1,000 admissions per year in our hospital alone, allowing us to use the beds for sicker patients.”

Still, more research is required. And experts note that studies presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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India-Based Firm Recalls Cholesterol Medicine Over Dosage Mix-Up

The Washington Post reported India-based pharmaceutical firm Ranbaxy Laboratories, which is facing increased regulatory scrutiny over its manufacturing practices, “has recalled more than 64,000 bottles of the generic version of a cholesterol-lowering drug in the United States after a dosage mix-up.” The paper reported that the company “recalled tablets of atorvastatin calcium, the generic version of Pfizer’s cholesterol-fighter Lipitor, after a pharmacist found a 20 milligram tablet in a sealed bottle marked for 10 milligram tablets,” citing a report from the FDA posted on its website.

The Wall Street Journal reported the FDA had classified the recall as Class II, which means the recalled product could lead to a temporary health use, or the potential for a serious health problem is unlikely.

The news was also covered by Bloomberg NewsReuters and CNBC on its website.

From the American Association for Justice news release.

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New Hampshire Senate Sends Governor Medically Unfit Drivers Bill

The AP reports the New Hampshire Senate has sent Gov. Maggie Hassan a bill “that would protect New Hampshire doctors and other medical professionals from lawsuits if they report someone as unfit to drive.” The Senate voted without debate Thursday to pass the House bill, which is noted to have “the support of the state branches of the AARP and AAA and the New Hampshire Medical Society.” The AP further points out that three years ago, New Hampshire “repealed a law requiring road tests for drivers 75 and older that AARP, AAA and other organizations opposed because it was based on a person’s age, not ability to drive.”

Among other sources also reporting the story are New Hampshire Union Leader, and Concord (NH) Monitor.

From the new release of the American Association for Justice.

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Healthcare Firm Recalls Some Infusion Pumps

Reuters reported, citing the FDA, that Baxter Healthcare Corp. has issued a recall for some of its Sigma Spectrum infusion pumps in the wake of more than 3,500 reports related to its malfunctioning. The pumps help deliver medicine and other fluids. No deaths have been reported, although there were seven adverse events.

From the new release of the American Association for Justice.

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Featured Link — Coach Broyle’s Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Those of us who are “of a certain age” have vivid memories of Frank Broyles, the enormously successful football coach at the University of Arkansas.

Long-retired now, Coach Broyle’s has turned his attention from football to Alzheimer’s disease. He has written a “playbook” for caregivers. You can read about it on his foundation’s Web site, and download the book there.

41fwLK6kv7LHere is a bit of information from the site:

OUR MISSION: to turn the crisis of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia into a positive life event and to ensure the best quality of life possible for all involved. We provide loving support, practical skills, resources and hope to caregiving families and healthcare professionals. It is the unique nature of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease that sets us apart. This caregiving involves a social model which is done “with” not “for” the loved one.

OUR VISION: a loving source of practical, life-changing information for caregivers in crisis due to Alzheimer’s Disease and forms of dementia. Through empowerment, encouragement, and experience, we instill hope for a better quality of life for the entire family.

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Featured Link — Life and Death in Assisted Living

If you have a relative or friend in assisted living you should read the lengthy but excellent article at ProPublica, titled Life and Death in Assisted Living. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Joan Boice needed help. Lots of it. Her physician had tallied the damage: Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, pain from a compression fracture of the spine. For Joan, an 81-year-old former schoolteacher, simply getting from her couch to the bathroom required the aid of a walker or wheelchair.

The Alzheimer’s, of course, was the worst. The disease had gradually left Joan unable to dress, eat or bathe without assistance. It had destroyed much of the complex cerebral circuitry necessary for forming words. It was stealing her voice.

Joan’s family was forced to do the kind of hard reckoning that so many American families must do these days. It was clear that Joan could no longer live at home. Her husband, Myron, simply didn’t have the stamina to provide the constant care and supervision she needed. And moving in with any of their three children wasn’t an option.

And this is a description of ProPublica:

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.

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Group Requests FDA to Revoke Approval of Opioid Painkiller

Modern Healthcare reported that a “collective of anti-substance abuse advocates and physicians” are asking the FDA chief “to reconsider the agency’s approval of a prescription painkiller” that could hurt “efforts to stop the current epidemic of overdoses seen in recent years as a result of prescription drug abuse.” In a letter addressed to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg and “posted on the petition site, the group, called FedUp Coaliton,” asked her to “reverse approval of the painkiller Zohydro ER” (hydrocodone bitartrate), “which will be first prescription opioid available that contains purely hydrocodone without combining it with a weaker substance like acetomenaphin.”

CNN quoted Dr. Stephen Anderson, a Washington emergency room physician, “You’re talking about a drug that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of five times more potent than what we’re dealing with now.” Anderson, past president of the Washington chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said: “I’m five times more concerned, solely based on potency.” Anderson “is not part of the most recent petition to the FDA about the drug,” CNN noted.

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, President of Physicians For Responsible Opioid Prescribing, notes in the Huffington Post that, according to the CDC, the overprescribing of opioids was one of the primary factors in the opioid-addiction epidemic. “When faced with this public-health crisis, the very last thing we need are new opioids released on the market with campaigns to encourage more prescribing,” he writes.

From the American Association for Justice news release.

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Your Legal Options If You Are Disabled in a Car Accident

Your Legal Options If You Are Disabled in a Car Accident

When you’re seriously injured and disabled in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, you are probably dealing with pain, distress and worry that you won’t be able to cover your bills or get back on your feet. Insurance adjusters can be difficult to negotiate with, but fortunately there are many legal pathways that can help you get compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain, suffering and other losses you’ve endured.

Settle Outside of Court

Settling is the quickest and easiest legal pathway for earning compensation, according to Nolo. Most car accident injury claims end with a settlement before ever going to trial. The advantage of this option is that you’ll get paid faster, avoid higher attorney’s fees, and steer clear of lengthy trials and unfair jury decisions.

Demand Letter

The settlement process is usually initiated with a demand letter. It’s important to gather evidence, including medical records and lost wages, in order to develop your initial demand. Working with an accident attorney who has experience and is dedicated to innocent victims – such as the attorneys with Kitchen Simeson Belliveau Llp– will ensure that you are in good hands and your demands are well-heard.

Going to Court

In some injury cases, going to court is unavoidable. This is often the case when insurance companies fail to offer a reasonable settlement. But injury claim trials run some risk, as there is the possibility that the jury may decide against you, leaving you with zero compensation.

The court process begins with the filing of a formal legal complaint with the appropriate court. The next step is called discovery and requires that both parties obtain information from each other. A deposition may also be requested that will require that you answer basic questions about the accident. Once your day in court arrives, the jury will hear evidence and testimony and will be responsible for deciding your case.

Get Medical Attention

Your biggest responsibility as an accident victim is to go to the doctor and get the medical attention you need. Swift and well-documented medical treatment is vital and will ensure your rights are protected.

When another driver has acted negligently and is clearly responsible for the accident that injured you, the law is on your side. There are a number of legal pathways that will help you get back on your feet and give you the compensation you deserve.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

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Patients Using Heart Device Issued Warning After Four Others Died

Bloomberg News reported Thoratec Corp. issued a warning to patients about “the use of the pocket controller for its mini heart pump after four patients died and five others were injured.” Bloomberg noted the warning “includes new information and labeling for the HeartMate II LVAS Pocket System Controller prescribed to 2,142 patients since August 2012.” According to the article, “patients and their caregivers” faced “problems when changing to a backup controller from their main system,” citing the company.

The news was also covered by the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

From the American Association for Justice news release.

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Five Types of Personal Injuries That Can Lead to a Lawsuit

Personal Injury-1You probably know that if you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you may be able to file a lawsuit. But do you know exactly what kinds of “injuries” can lead to a personal injury case? If you’ve suffered in any of these five ways, you may have a personal injury case.

  1. Bodily Harm

The first, most obvious kind of personal injury that can lead to a lawsuit is bodily harm. Bodily harm can occur in anything from a car accident to a bar fight to a slip-and-fall incident at a grocery store.

Lawsuits resulting from bodily harm are usually pursued to cover medical bills resulting from the incident. The plaintiff will usually sue for the total amount of the past medical bills as well as for the estimated cost of any future related medical costs.

  1. Pain and Suffering

Besides the cost of medical bills, you as the plaintiff can also sue an individual just for the fact that they caused you pain. This pain can be physical, mental, or even emotional. Typical examples of this pain and suffering include anger, depression, trauma, humiliation, and anxiety.

Like the costs of bodily harm, emotional distress and pain and suffering compensation is supposed to cover any past, present or future pain and suffering that is related to the incident. Since compensating for discomfort isn’t as cut-and-dry as covering the cost of medical bills, a jury decides what amount of compensation will be adequate.

  1. Property Damage

Personal injury cases can also include compensation for damages to personal property. One of the most common examples of property damage compensation happen in cases of car accidents. In order to calculate the damages, or the amount the defendant will pay, the attorney for personal injury will determine what the market value of the property was at the time of the incident.

  1. Income Loss

Damages for income loss often get tacked on to bodily harm cases. Imagine you are a writer. You get into a car accident and break your hand. Not only does that injury give you medical bills to pay, but it also keeps you from being able to do your job. Even if your employer is kind enough to hold your job until you’ve healed, you won’t be earning any money during that time. Suing for income loss can keep you from getting behind on your regular day-to-day expenses.

  1. Punitive Damages

The other claims up to this point have been compensatory—designed to make up for damages and losses you have suffered. Punitive damages are different: they are basically designed to punish the defendant. These damages are awarded in cases where extreme negligence or carelessness occurred. The idea is that the blow to the defendant’s pocketbook will make them more careful in the future.

Suffering in any way is difficult to deal with. Filing a lawsuit won’t fix or reverse the damage, but it can help you manage any financial repercussions and help you move on with your life. When filing a lawsuit, you don’t necessarily have to pick one of these five categories—some injury cases include compensation for a combination of income loss, pain and suffering, and bodily harm. If you’ve been injured by another person, find a lawyer and see if you have a case.

This article is from Meghan Belnap, blogger, researcher, and freelance writer.

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