World
Medical error third leading cause of death in US: Experts
New York : Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer, experts have said.
 
While accurate data on deaths associated with medical error is lacking, recent estimates suggest a range of 210,000 to 400,000 deaths a year among hospital patients in the US.
 
Using studies from 1999 onwards - and extrapolating to the total number of US hospital admissions in 2013 - the researchers calculated a mean rate of death from medical error of 251,454 a year.
 
Comparing their estimate to the annual list of the most common causes of death in the US, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests that medical error is the third most common cause of death in the US.
 
"Although we cannot eliminate human error, we can better measure the problem to design safer systems mitigating its frequency, visibility, and consequences," the researchers said in the article published in the journal The BMJ.
 
Death certificates in the US have no facility for acknowledging medical error, lamented the researchers Martin Makary and Michael Daniel from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
 
Currently, death certification in the US relies on assigning an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death - so causes of death not associated with an ICD code, such as human and system factors, are not captured.
 
The researchers suggested three strategies to reduce death from medical care - making errors more visible when they occur so their effects can be intercepted, having remedies at hand to rescue patients, and making errors less frequent by following principles that take human limitations into account.
 
For instance, instead of simply requiring cause of death, they suggest that death certificates could contain an extra field asking whether a preventable complication stemming from the patient's medical care contributed to the death.
 
Another strategy would be for hospitals to carry out a rapid and efficient independent investigation into deaths to determine the potential contribution of error.
 
Measuring the consequences of medical care on patient outcomes "is an important prerequisite to creating a culture of learning from our mistakes, thereby advancing the science of safety and moving us closer towards creating learning health systems," the researchers noted.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Beware! Herbal remedies don't guarantee safety
New York : Overturning a common perception that herbs are safe because they have been used for many years, researchers have warned that long-term use of herbal remedies is no guarantee of their safety as many herbs may contain toxic or carcinogenic substances.
 
In a commentary published in the journal EMBO reports, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Stony Brook University discussed scientific evidence showing that the plant Aristolochia can cause aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). 
 
People with this condition experience interstitial nephritis, renal failure and cancers of the urinary track.
 
In Taiwan, according to the national prescription database, between 1997 and 2003, eight million people were exposed to herbal products containing Aristolochia, the authors remarked.
 
Studies of patients with renal failure and cancer in Taiwan and China show that tens of millions of people in those countries are at risk of AAN.
 
In genetically susceptible people, consuming Aristolochia can lead to the formation of complexes between aristolactam, a compound in Aristolachia, and DNA in renal tissues. 
 
These complexes lead to mutations in the TP53 tumour suppressor gene, which in turn initiate the process toward kidney cancer. Additional studies have shown that this process may also lead to the development of cancer in the liver and the bladder, researchers Donald Marcus, professor emeritus at Baylor and Arthur Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, explained.
 
Although Aristolochia has been used as a herbal remedy for more than 2,000 years, "the intrinsic toxicities were not recognised, owing, in large part, to the latency period between exposure and the onset of symptomatic disease, and, in part, to genetic determinants that confer susceptibility to only approximately five percent of those exposed to this herb", said the authors. 
 
The long-term scientific study of AAN revealed the association of the disease with Aristolochia.
 
"The history of Aristolachia indicates that other herbs that have been used for a long time may also have toxic and/or carcinogenic compounds," said the authors.
 
"It is prudent to assume that many herbs may contain toxic or carcinogenic substances that can cause subsequent health problems for humans," they noted.
 
Other herbal products and traditional medicines are responsible for severe adverse events in Africa and Asia, but in these cases epidemiological data are lacking, said the researchers suggesting that herbal remedies may be an overlooked global health hazard.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Bullet train fare 1.5 times higher than AC 1st Class
New Delhi : The Ministry of Railways has proposed a tariff for the upcoming bullet train service between Mumbai and Ahmedabad that will be 1.5 times more than the first class AC fare prevailing now, parliament was informed on Wednesday.
 
In Duronto Express, for example, the current AC 1st Class fare between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is Rs.2,200. This means, for the 508-km run between the two cities -- via a dedicated, high-speed corridor -- the fare will be around Rs.3,300. 
 
In Japan, a similar, 550-km run between Tokyo and Osaka on the Shinkansen, as the bullet train network there is called -- and on which the Indian service is being modelled -- costs around Rs.8,500.
 
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said the first phase of the Indian network will have a maximum design speed of 350 km per hour and an operating speed of 320 km per hour.
 
The ministry expects around 36,000 daily users per day both ways by 2023, going up to 186,000 by 2053. "The total journey time of the fast train will be 2.07 hours and of trains stopping at each station will be 2.58 hrs," Sinha said.
 
The ministry has planned a total of 12 stations for the train -- Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. "The total completion cost will be approximately Rs.97,636 crore," the minister said.
 
"Further, it has been decided to undertake a feasibility study between Delhi-Nagpur as part of the New Delhi-Chennai corridor through government-to-government cooperation with China," he said in his answer to the question posed by G. Hari of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
 
In a debate in the Lok Sabha last week, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had brushed aside criticism of bullet trains being an expensive proposition for the country, saying the government had managed to secure a soft loan of Rs.1 lakh crore from Japan at a mere 0.1 percent interest.
 
"The technology to be used for bullet trains will help improve the services of normal trains and the integration of signalling system," said Prabhu, wondering if a "deliberate misinformation" campaign was going on against the introduction of such trains.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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