Thursday, June 16, 2005

Two local(ish) health stories

  1. Philadelphia is launching a mental health web site.
    Philadelphia mental health officials plan to launch an ambitious new Web site today that will allow patients and their relatives to search for treatment options, learn about legislation that could affect them and create their own private medical Web page.
    This is an attempt to centralize information and resources, for both patients and health care providers, to improve the city's mental health. Patients can also keep a confidential record of their own treatment, if desired. The new website already exists and will be available translated into six languages. Check it out:

  2. Merck researchers (based partly in Montgomery County) have announced a new vaccine against the Human Papillomavirus, which causes problems ranging from genital warts to cervical cancer.
    Gardasil protects against four HPV strains that cause cervical cancer, cervical pre-cancers, abnormal Pap tests and genital warts, Merck's testing indicates.

    In clinical tests so far, the vaccine has shown to be 100 percent effective against four types of HPV. Two of the types - called types 18 and 16 - cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers. And types 11 and 6 cause up to 90 percent of all genital warts and have been linked to abnormal Pap smears, which alarm both patients and doctors and lead to unnecessary tests.
    HPV infections is very widespread, and often asymptomatic, so this would probably be a recommended vaccine for all boys and girls of about junior high age (or a bit earlier). Imagine! a preventable cancer.


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