Archive for December, 2011

Baby Dies From Cronobacter Infection: Formula?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Parents everywhere are wondering if it is possible that an infant’s formula actually killed the baby.  After purchasing Enfamil at a Walmart in Missouri, the infant’s parents fear that feeding the baby that very formula killed it.  The infant died from cronobacter sakazakii infection, which has previously been linked to powdered baby formula.  This wouldn’t be the first time that an infant was killed after contracting cronobacter from powdered formula.  This information comes from Daniel J. DeNoon’s WebMD article, “Infant Formula Investigated in Baby Death.”

While that particular lot has been pulled from store shelves at Walmart, it hasn’t been recalled so it is still available for purchase elsewhere.  A spokesman for Enfamil says that each and every batch is tested for cronobacter before it goes out the door.  The company is looking at records from the manufacturer’s batch and date to ensure that it was indeed tested for cronobacter before it left.  Enfamil’s maker, Mead Johnson, does not expect a widespread recall because they are confident that the cronobacter did not come from their formula.  While cronobacter is very rare, it is fatal anywhere from 50-80% of the time so it is a horrible infection.  See all of the latest health care and health insurance information here.

Unexpected Health Benefits of Coffee

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Most of us love our morning, or afternoon, or evening cup of coffee.  Lucky for us, Woman’s Day has given us “7 Surprising Health Facts About Coffee.”  Amanda Greene Kelly writes that these benefits and facts are sometimes unexpected and always interesting.  Women who drink coffee have 20% fewer cases of depression than those who do not.  And the more coffee consumed, the less likely those studied were to suffer from depression.  Coffee can also help you keep your weight in check.  Sipping on caffeine after a meal causes your body to process the food more slowly and could be a small help in keeping a healthy weight.

Regardless of the amount taken in, caffeine has also been shown to increase fertility in males because it helps with sperm motility.  The least deadly form of skin cancer was reduced by drinking caffeine.  Basal cell carcinoma risk was 20% less for women and 9% less for men who drank caffeine.  While coffee can increase the pain you feel from heartburn, it is unlikely to cause other stomach problems like ulcers and increased pains.  You might have some fatigue or irritability without your daily coffee, but that will go away within a few days because coffee is not truly addictive like drugs.

A random coffee fact is that your coffee maker is one of the germiest places in your house.  Practically no one cleans it, so make sure to follow your instructions and clean your coffee maker once a month or so.

While the article is not suggesting that you only drink coffee to protect against skin cancer or keep your weight in check, it’s kind of nice to know some positive side effects from your morning cup of joe.  If you have taken on any healthier living habits, compare health insurance quotes and see if you can lower your premiums.

Morning After Pill Still Behind the Counter

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The Plan B morning after pill actually won’t be available on the shelves of drugstores, according to the Associated Press article “Morning-after pill stays behind counter after all, by Lauran Neergaard.  Plans were in place to make the morning after pill available on store shelves after a recommendation by the FDA, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stopped those plans.  Her decision is backed by the Obama administration.  Sebelius said that she worries a product like the morning after pill will confuse 11-year olds shopping at drugstores.  While the FDA wanted the age 17 limit lifted, Sebelius said that there is not significant proof that younger girls would use the morning after pill properly.  One pediatrician countered that even the youngest girls would not be negatively affected by the hormones in the morning after pill.

While those arguments are questionable, the Plan B morning after pill is still available over the counter to anyone over the age of 17 who needs it.  You don’t have to have a prescription for Plan B or for Next Choice, a generic 2 pill version of the morning after pill.  For the pill Ella, you do have to have a prescription and whether or not it will be covered under your insurance depends on your particular health insurance rates and plan.  The pill is expensive, $50 for Plan B, but is 89% effective at preventing an unwanted pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.  The political debate on this issue is hot, with conservatives pleased and liberals irritated.  Although some consider Plan B an abortion pill, it has no effect if a woman is already pregnant.  This debate surely will rage on.

Giuliana Rancic’s Health Care Woes Continue

Monday, December 5th, 2011

After undergoing a double lumpectomy last month, Giuliana Rancic of E! News is now planning for a double mastectomy.  This information is from MSNBC’s Today Show website.  The original procedure did not eradicate all of her breast cancer, so after much thought she has decided to go the route of more radical treatment.  Her breast cancer was found in a routine mammogram required before undergoing fertility treatments at her clinic in Colorado.  After the breast cancer was found this year, Rancic opted for a double lumpectomy, followed by radiation.  She learned recently that the lumpectomy had not gotten all of the cancerous cells on one side and was faced with a tough decision.  She could either have another lumpectomy in hopes that it would get all the cancer or opt for the double mastectomy.

To me it seems like a no-brainer; get the double mastectomy and you have less than a 1% chance of your cancer returning.  But I have not been in the position to make this awful decision and I realize that everyone has their own process and reasoning when it comes to treatment choices.  When you compare health insurance companies’ costs for treatment, the lumpectomy with radiation is less than a double mastectomy with reconstruction.  With a higher likelihood of the cancer returning after a lumpectomy and more frequent follow up screening though, health insurers could end up with similar costs regardless of the treatment course.  In this situation it is up to the patient to decide what they will do because those with health insurance will have their procedures covered according to plan.  While the cost is hardly Giuliana’s main concern, for many Americans without adequate health insurance, that might be part of their decision making process.  We wish Giuliana all the best health in the future.