Thursday, April 24, 2008

Disruptive Discoveries: BPA and your Health

Caught the National Geographic Strange Days Program last night on PBS and it was very interesting. It seems that the ubiqiutous plastic water bottle contains bisphenol A, which in very small trace amounts has been linked to endocrine problems.

A 2005 U.S. Center for Disease Control study reported that 95 percent of tested Americans contained bisphenol A at levels known to cause abnormalities in lab animals. This compound, which mimics the female hormone estrogen, can disrupt an animal’s endocrine system and, even in tiny amounts, scramble early cell development in mice and other lab animals. “Too much of any hormone at the wrong moment can be risky,” explains vom Saal. Lacing any animal system with it can have consequences. As vom Saal relates, “You have essentially set a time bomb in the genes of that animal.”

It seems the USA now has its first lawsuit over BPA according to Reuters. Here is the portion that caught my eye. I would not be using plastic bottles or liners to feed an infant formula or milk as the PBS program tested the impact of a dishwasher on baby bottles and the leaching accelerated.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc also said on Friday it will pull baby bottles and other products made with BPA from its Canada stores immediately and phase the items out of its U.S. stores next year.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The price of year around baseball

It's spring time in America and acrooss our nation many families are spending evenings at the baseball fields. For many kids in the greater Houston area baseball is a 12 month sport involving spring, fall, summer and select teams. Houston is a mecca for baseball talent due primarily to a temperate climate and the abundance of talent that develops with good coaching. Yet this comes at a cost.
The Houston Comical has reported one of the consequences of year around baseball has been a seven fold increase in Tommy John surgery since 1996. Kudos to Sam Khan on a well written piece that needs more scrutiny as kids are pressured to play ball year around.
While rates on UCL surgery are not tracked nationally, some of the area's and country's top surgeons said they've seen a significant increase in the number of high-school-aged players having the procedure.
"I would say over the last five to seven years, (the rate) has doubled," said David Lintner, an orthopedic sports medicine specialist who is Eovaldi's doctor and also serves as the Astros' team medical director. "And it goes up steadily every year."
Dr. James Andrews, one of the nation's most respected orthopedic surgeons, has also seen a spike in the number ofhigh school pitchers he has performed the procedure on.
In a three-year span from 1996-99, Andrews performed Tommy John surgery on 164 pitchers, 19 of whom were high school aged or younger. From 2004-07, that number had jumped to 588 pitchers, 146 of whom were high school or youth league players — a seven-fold increase.
"Without a doubt, it's an issue," said Glenn Fleisig, the Smith and Nephew Chair of Research at the American Sports Medicine Institute, which was founded by Andrews. "The numbers are staggering in adolescents. More and more high-school-aged kids are having the surgery."
The big question: Why is a procedure once used mostly on college and professional players becoming more prevalent in kids who can't legally vote?
There are many factors, including how much a pitcher throws, what type of pitches he throws and whether he has good mechanics. But one factor stands out as the main culprit.
"Without a doubt, the No. 1 statistical cause (of UCL injuries) is overuse," Fleisig said. "In our studies, when a pitcher regularly threw with arm fatigue, he was 36 times more likely to be in the surgery group as opposed to the non-surgery group. That's the strongest statistical correlation in any study we've ever done."

Let's keep in mind Tommy John was 39 years old and had been pitching in the major leagues for 19 years when he had his UCL surgery.

Friday, April 18, 2008

We Want You To Know

It must be ok for me to post this true story on the web since AETNA wants us to know. A small group client selects AETNA to insure their health for 3/1/08. AETNA approves the group on 3/10/2008. The group hires a new employee and submits an enrollment form to AETNA on 3/25/2008 for the employee to be covered on 4/1/2008. AETNA informs me that since a new employee was added in the 1st 30 days they are increasing the rates by 67% retroactive to 3/1/2008 as this is their long established policy when enrollment changes in the 1st 30 days. If AETNA really wanted us to know would not their proposals reference such a rule?
So now I understand the AETNA logo. The human figure is a business owner throwing his AETNA policy in the air in utter frustration upon learning his raes were not locked in for a full year. I want you to know.