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Archive: August, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, August 15, 2012, 10:03 AM
Filed Under: Michael Cohen

by Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph., M.S.

Last week we learned about an unresponsive patient whose family brought him to a hospital emergency room. The patient had earlier been given a prescription for a pain patch called fentanyl. The doctors immediately identified multiple narcotic pain patches placed all over his body. The patient was given a reversal agent called Narcan and regained consciousness.

When the ER team asked about the patches the patient said he followed the label instructions exactly. The label said “apply one patch every 72 hours.” But there was no instruction on the label to remove the older patch when each new patch was applied. The instruction to apply a new patch every 72 hours is correct because the rate of release from the patch starts to fall off over that time period. However, there is still a significant amount of drug left on the old patch that can continue to be absorbed. So the amount of drug the patient was actually absorbing overall began to multiply with each new patch until he eventually overdosed. Apparently neither the doctor who prescribed the drug nor the pharmacist who dispensed it gave that instruction.

POSTED: Friday, August 10, 2012, 4:59 PM
Filed Under: Robert Field

by Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H.

Will they ever give up? House Republicans have devised yet another plan to try to undermine the health reform law. This one is an attempt at an end-run around the Supreme Court ruling that upheld it.

The Court found that the law’s individual mandate to maintain health insurance is constitutional. It reasoned that the penalty for failure to comply with it functions in the same way as a tax. As such, Congress has broad power under the Constitution to impose it.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 8, 2012, 12:25 PM
Filed Under: Daniel Hoffman

by Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D.

The changes currently taking place in health care are huge, pervasive and irresistible. That's only to be expected as health care moves toward consuming 20 percent of America's GDP. As part of the process it's predictable that people with a stake in preserving or even reversing the status quo would respond with what psychologists call ego defense mechanisms.  Predictable and understandable, yes, but that doesn't make their wails appealing. And as guides to public policy, ego defenses typically lead to chaos and disaster.

Two segments of health have been particularly egregious in this respect: a part of organized medicine and most of the pharmaceutical industry. Their respective approaches to health care dynamics have been the classic ego defense of scapegoating and denial.  

POSTED: Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 1:55 PM

Editor's note: Diane Girardot is sending dispatches from the American Psychological Association conference in Orlando, Fla. from August 2-5.

By Diane Russell Girardot, L.P.C.

Highway hypnosis. We all know what that is. You get in your car at the end of a long work day, hit the Turnpike for home, then you’re in your driveway in what seems like mere seconds. How did you get there?  

An alternate personality did not emerge and take over your body, you were not temporarily abducted by aliens, and you are probably not crazy as far as researchers from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. are concerned. You simply zoned out in what is scientifically called “a dissociative experience.”

What we know about dissociative states, explains Steven N. Gold, Ph.D., is that loss of awareness during dissociation thankfully does not disconnect you from all behavior. Somehow you are still aware deep within your brain of left turns, red lights, and lane changes. Your memory and logic are in tack even though you “zone out” .

But only at one level and a lower level at that. If dissociation occurs at a higher level and you control less of your own behavior that could be a symptom of anxiety, depression, trauma or a deep hypnotic state, depending on your susceptibility. The Nova research presented at the American Psychological Associations Annual meeting last week in Orlando, Fla. found compelling correlations between hypnotic and dissociative states, but also some notable differences, primarily with hypnotizability.

Under a controlled, induced hypnotic state, study participants got points for each observable behavior categorized as simple (like arm levitation) to hard (seeing something that isn’t there).  

POSTED: Sunday, August 5, 2012, 10:53 AM

Editor's note: Diane Girardot is sending dispatches from the American Psychological Association conference in Orlando, Fla. from August 2-5.

By Diane Russell Girardot, L.P.C.

It is very likely that the individuals who set fire to dogs and cats in the Philadelphia area this summer would turn their attention to humans, as predicted by FBI and University of Florida data gathered in separate studies of animal cruelty. 

POSTED: Sunday, August 5, 2012, 5:16 PM

Editor's note: Diane Girardot is sending dispatches from the American Psychological Association conference in Orlando, Fla. from August 2-5.

By Diane Russell Girardot, L.P.C.

Mozart was only listened to by a small audience at first.  Over time his music became a standard in concert halls across the globe. Can we hope for the same when it comes to modern cuisine?  

POSTED: Saturday, August 4, 2012, 2:22 PM

Editor's note: Diane Girardot is sending dispatches from the American Psychological Association conference in Orlando, Fla. from August 2-5.

By Diane Russell Girardot, L.P.C.

Is your adolescent yawning during the day and struggling to fall asleep at night? Is your child persistently late for school or falling asleep in class? The problem could easily be not enough sleep. Is your adolescent impulsive, hyperactive, irritable, unfocused and performing poorly in school?  Again, not enough sleep?  

POSTED: Saturday, August 4, 2012, 2:11 PM

Editor's note: Diane Girardot is sending dispatches from the American Psychological Association conference in Orlando, Fla. from August 2-5.

By Diane Russell Girardot, L.P.C.

Anthony Isacco's friend is a Catholic priest who tells Anthony he has become “hesitant, cautious, and lonely” since sexual abuse by priests and its subsequent cover up in the past decade have exploded in headlines across the world. The parish priest, who can easily spend hours ministering by a parishioner’s hospital bed as part of his job description, admits to his friend to being nervous about wearing his religious collar in public these days.  
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Isacco, a psychologist at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and Ethan Sahker, M.A, presented a study at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference Thursday that flips the negative attention to how a vast majority of Catholic priests have dutifully served God and their parishioners.  

“Where are the stories about their strengths?” asked Dr. Isacco.  His study gathered self-reports from 15 priests ages 29-76 who had been in the priesthood for 6 months up to 50 years in multiple work settings. These reports mirror Dr. Isacco's friend's comments about feeling lonely and stereotyped.  Prior research has focused on the negative aspects of the priesthood within the Catholic church.  This study highlights the group’s strengths, supports, and stressors.

The first strength is their dynamic relationship with God, an under-focused issue, priests rely on to assure them they are not alone with life’s difficulties. “They believe and teach that God carries people through everything,” explained Sahker.  This relationship with God is important, he adds, to contribute to their own overall health and wellness and ability to cope with stressors.  

Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea, PhD, of the Presbyterian Seminary Counseling Center in Charlotte, N.C., presented data from a pilot study on the physical, psychological and spiritual health of Catholic priests and their fitness for duty.  

“They are Devine caretakers,” she said, “that have to comply and believe in the “truth” of their organizational system.  They struggle if they are silent and they struggle if they disagree.”  Dr. O’Dea says the Catholic Church is a kyriarchy, a social/political system of domination that is based on the power and rule of the lord/master/father.  She is outspoken about her belief that the sexual abuse cover ups were a tremendous mistake and a persistent problem.

Asked what positive press they both would like to see, Drs. O’Dea and Isacco agreed that the priesthood is about loving being a priest and doing important work - God’s work.  Isacco said his friend is an extremely good priest who is happy being a parish priest and doing his job.  He wants to feel loved and supported, not just by his parishioners, but by society as well. And he wants his collar to represent the true intentions of its existence - it designates him as a man of God.

About this blog

Check Up covers major health events in our region and offers everything from personal health advice to an expert look at health reform. Read about some of our bloggers here.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section

Michael Cohen id the president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in Horsham.

Daniel Hoffman is the president of Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates (PBRA) in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, a healthcare research and consulting company specializing in key account positioning and messaging.

Michael Cohen
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