Daily Rounds: A Help Shop For Pill-Poppers; Healthy Smart Phones For Obama; Kids Fight Back; Hormones And Asthma

Attacking Ailments In Small Doses (The New York Times) — ‘The “help shop,” which offers low-dose drugs for everyday woes, is the idea of Help Remedies, a start-up company that sells minimalist white packets directed at single medical issues like nausea, headache or insomnia. The company, the collaboration of two marketers, is creating quirky scenes including a high-heel wearing model walking on a treadmill to market its “Help, I have a blister” packet of bandages, or a performer sleeping in a store window to drum up interest for its “Help, I can’t sleep” caplets. This week, shoppers and passers-by attracted by the napper, for example, could go inside the temporary pharmacy to investigate its 10 over-the-counter remedies for conditions like body aches and allergies. The store’s team fanned out to polling stations on Tuesday to hand out its headache packets, and then on Wednesday to the nearby Republican National Committee to share nausea relief. Their marketing may be seen as fun and zany, but the company founders, Richard Fine and Nathan Frank, say they have a serious message. “We want people to see that there are simple solutions,” said Mr. Fine, who said his straightforward approach was influenced by his parents, who are medical professors specializing in epidemiology.’

What Health-Minded Smart Phone Users Have In Common With Obama Voters (NPR) — “The bottom line of the Pew report is that cellphone “owners who are Latino, African American, between the ages of 18-49, or hold a college degree are also more likely to gather health information” than other people on their mobile phones. Pew says the various factors are independent, so it’s not just that young people are more likely to have a smartphone, for instance. Each factor can “amplify,” in Pew’s words, the likelihood that people will use their phones to get health information. As you might expect, smartphone owners are even more likely to access health info with their devices than regular old cellphone owners are. When it comes to health apps on smartphones, women were more likely to use them than men. The Pew survey of more than 3,000 people was done in August and early September. Now, let’s review the profile of voters who went for President Obama in a big way, according the data from Edison Research.He dominated among African-Americans, Latinos and Asians. (No Pew breakout for Asians.) Female voters also preferred Obama. The president cleaned up among younger people, getting 60 percent of votes cast by those ages 18 to 29 and a majority of votes from those 30 to 44. Romney claimed a majority among people 45 and up. Among people with at least a college degree, Obama got half the voters, just a tad more than the 48 percent that went for Romney. And, as you’d probably expect, voters who thought health was the most important issue facing the country overwhelmingly went for Obama.”

Canton Schools Consider Training To Confront Columbine-Style Attackers (The Boston Globe) — “For years, the standard instructions to teachers and students if a Columbine- style attacker launched a rampage at their school were the same: lock down and hide. But now, in Canton and in a growing number of schools nationwide, police and school officials are training teachers, staff, and eventually even students that in some cases they should fight against armed attackers. School officials in Canton quietly adopted a program this year called ALICE — alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate – and began training school personnel at Canton High School and Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton. They are trained to make active decisions, such as barricading classroom doors; coordinating on-the-spot evacuations; and, if all else fails, throwing objects and using body weight to topple a shooter.”

Hormones In Menstrual Cycle Affect Asthma (BBC News Health) — “A woman’s menstrual cycle affects the severity of respiratory symptoms, potentially worsening conditions such as asthma, a study suggests. Norwegian researchers studied almost 4,000 women, and found worse symptoms around ovulation. Writing in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, they said it may be possible to adapt women’s medication.”

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