An overseas potentate was troubled by severe peripheral vascular disease (PVD). His local doctors recommended amputation. The desperate prince flew to London to visit Harley Street’s finest specialist. “Doctor, doctor, they say they’ll have to cut my leg off.” The specialist roared with laughter. “That’s ridiculous, my dear chap. Leave it alone for another week and it will drop off of its own accord.” (after Bagehot)
Italy’s doctors have banned “designer babies.” After injecting women with the frozen sperm of dead husbands and sperm donors, fertility specialists began engineering “designer babies” from sperm donors screened for their looks, intelligence or social status. The new code of ethics which went into effect recently prohibits doctors from engaging in biogenetic practices.
Foundation Health, a California-based health insurer, unveiled a new private-health insurance scheme in Britain called Mednet, which aims to provide health care through a network of hundreds of moonlighting National Health Service doctors. Mednet’s long-term goal, says Jackie Wiggins, Foundation Health’s British-based chief executive, is to provide services directly to the NHS itself. She believes Foundation could provide surgery and other services when NHS hospitals temporarily find themselves short of capacity, enabling Mednet to meet unexpected surges in demand or to cut waiting lists.
Hiroshi Nakajima, MD, PhD, of the World Health Organization, reminds us that tuberculosis infects 8 million new victims a year, kills 3 million people a year, infects one-third of the world’s population, and probably can no longer be controlled in the industrialized countries unless it is sharply reduced as a health threat in the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The United Nations was chartered on October 24, 1945 in San Francisco with 51 original members to maintain iternational peace and security and to encourage international cooperation in solving international economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems. This October 125 of the current 185 nation members will come to SF to celebrate the 50th anniversary. One success of the UN with the least amount of funds has been the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) chartered in December 1946. It had significant impact on the prevention and treatment of certain diseases and facilitating surplus food shipments for starving children throughout the third world. Because of its efforts, 80% of the world’s children are now vaccinated against six basic diseases. Of equal importance, now 75% of the world’s children are able to start school.
The UN charter has been on display behind bullet proof glass at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. It was never exposed to sunlight in transit from New York. There are 186 flags lining the two gallery UN exhibit which continues through the month of June. In addition to the original arm chair from the de Young, there are items from the Truman Library, the New York headquarters, the White House, and other collectors who loaned items, including The San Francisco Chronicle, the morning after the signing, which actually occurred on June 26, 1945.
The FDA my soon concede that billions of Chinese have been right for 5,000 years: Acupuncture works. There are 9,000 practicing acupuncturists in this country, fully a third are MD’s. Last November, Xiao-Ming Tian, MD, and other leading acupuncturists gathered together their best evidence and sent the 500-page document off to the Food & Drug Adm with a formal request that their needles be approved as safe and effective medical devices. A decision may come as early as this month. If approved, this will be the first time the agency had given its stamp of approval to a medical device rooted in a theory totally outside that of mainstream medicine. Bruce Pomeranz, a physiologist at the U of Toronto, found that the needles cause the release of endorphins which then reduce pain… Now we know why when we stick ourselves with a needle, our headache or backache disappears. And I always just thought our Betz cells were being diverted.