Category: International

Making peace between perfume wearers and asthmatics?

published date
October 13th, 2006 by

Making peace between perfume wearers and asthmatics?

From the BBC (Creating a stink in the name of science), about the work of a professor in Tokyo:

One of the most ambitious devices his team has built is a sophisticated “odour recorder” which can sniff an object and then reproduce its smell using a host of chemicals.

If you present the recorder with a shiny red apple, the electronic nose will take a cursory sniff, analyse the odour and then draw up a recipe of chemicals needed to recreate it.

When you want to replay the scent, the device mixes the ingredients and pumps the smell of apples back at you.

The system is already attracting interest from the scent industry. As the professor excitedly showed off his gadgets, two executives from a large Japanese fragrance firm eagerly watched.

Many but not all perfumes trigger asthma. Since each perfume is made up of tens of ingredients it is likely that only a few of the ingredients are asthma triggers. If a company stocks its odor reproducer only with asthma-safe chemicals it can produce asthma-safe perfumes. Once it becomes clear that some perfumes are asthma safe, there will be a strong incentive for other companies to follow suit.

Thanks to Mickey.

UK doesn’t flinch from making hard choices to control costs

published date
October 11th, 2006 by

UK doesn’t flinch from making hard choices to control costs

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has decided not to cover Alzheimer’s drugs Aricept (donepezil), Reminyl (galantamine), Exelon (rivastigmine) and Ebixa (memantine) for those in the early stages of the disease. The first three can be used for moderate cases and Ebixa was ok’d for more severe cases.

I wonder whether NICE considered whether to allow use in the early stages (when patients still can function) but scrap coverage for moderate patients. It would be an interesting tradeoff to see analyzed. Under that scenario, once a patient progressed to moderate they would lose coverage.

I believe it’s just a matter of time (probably 5 years) before NICE-style decision-making comes to the US.

Underworked docs in the UK

published date
October 11th, 2006 by

Underworked docs in the UK

An article in the Daily Telegraph, Britain will need to hire thousands more “junior” doctors due to European Union work restrictions. The docs can currently work 58 hours per week, but an EU directive will compel a drop to 56 hours in 2007 and 48 hours in 2009. What’s more, time on call must be counted in the total.

There’s such a thing as a doctor working too many hours, but this is ridiculous.