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Archive for March 12, 2013

流感A/H5N1疫苗 符合接種對象速施打

(優活健康網新聞部/綜合報導)人用流感A/H5N1疫苗自願接種民眾自今年3月1日起開放施打,接種對象為年滿18歲之參與HPAI H5N1病毒之操作、H5N1流感疫苗生產之實驗室人員、醫護人員、防疫人員、海岸巡、CIQS、禽畜業者、旅客等且未完成接種二劑A/H5N1流感疫苗之成人,懷孕婦女不建議接種。以提昇自身免疫力,並保護國人健康。

依據世界動物衛生組織公佈之資訊,2012年人類H5N1流感病例發生國家包括不丹、孟加拉、柬埔寨、中國、香港、印度、尼泊爾及越南等國家,另2011年發表之系統性文獻回顧探討指出高病原性禽流感在動物與人類之間傳播的主要途徑為與生病動物密切接觸以及接觸污染環境。由於人類感染H5N1流感的傳染途徑係經由吸入或接觸口、眼、鼻黏膜而感染,大陸或流行地區旅遊探親民眾,應注意個人衛生和自我防護,切勿接觸或撿拾禽鳥以避免感染,食用雞、鴨、鵝(含蛋類)需注意完全熟食。

因此南投縣衛生局呼籲符合施打人用流感A/H5N1疫苗自願接種民眾,前往前請攜帶身分證件及健保IC卡,外籍人士需攜帶居留證,至合約院所,其中行政院衛生署南投醫院接種對象須自付掛號費與診察費,疫苗部分免費,而至各鄉鎮衛生所接種者則費用全免。

uho優活健康網 –http://healthy.sina.com.tw/hotnews.asp?aid=24989&HN_Yr=0&HN_Mon=0

水療包治關節炎?醫師:只能緩解疼痛

越冷越不動!退化性關節炎恐加重
(優活健康網新聞部/綜合報導)立冬節氣過完,宣布冬天到來!不少民眾也開始為關節問題憂心不已,就怕退化性關節炎疼痛的噩夢再度影響自己,無不戒慎恐懼!在眾多關節炎治療方式中,目前以水療作為治療退化性關節炎的方式最被民眾廣為討論,對此,台北市立聯合醫院中興院區復健科醫師武俊傑表示,水療是減緩關節負擔及疼痛的方式之一,但必須搭配藥物治療多管齊下才有用。

退化性關節炎是人體老化的現象,好發於年長者身上,主因是隨著年紀增長,關節軟骨變薄且磨損嚴重,導致骨頭僵硬、關節液變少,關節因此出現不可逆的疼痛;常見的治療方式如:藥物治療(非類固醇消炎止痛藥)、熱療復健(如電療、水療)及注射高分子玻尿酸、類固醇,都可幫助患者減緩退化性關節炎所產生的不適症狀。

針對水療可治療退化性關節炎,武俊傑解釋,水療是一種漸進式、輔助減緩關節疼痛的方法,在攝氏32到36度的溫水中做復健運動,藉由浮力原理減少關節負擔和衝擊,帶動關節附近的肌肉伸展產生熱能並促進局部組織循環,以降低疼痛感,但此方法無法立即使患處無痛感,需持續進行2-3個禮拜的運動才能舒緩關節疼痛;另外,水療對於病患復健使用上會有空間、專門師資上的考量,且病患若有傷口或水腫時也不建議使用,因此,目前以水療治療關節炎的比例仍偏低。

網路知名「厝邊藥師阿源爸」表示,一般治療退化性關節炎的方式仍以消炎藥物治療為主,同時也會建議患者搭配有助軟骨保護的藥物,如經衛生署核可的硫酸鹽葡萄糖胺治療,阿源爸解釋,葡萄糖胺是關節的組成物質,相當於關節的潤滑油,適時地補充葡萄糖胺對關節保養有益。

武俊傑呼籲病患,退化性關節炎的治療方式有許多種,並非一定要到水療池才能做物理治療,也可以在家以熱敷、局部泡溫水並緩慢轉動關節處做簡易的關節舒緩;另外,遵循專業醫囑指示治療、復健及適度的用藥,並養成平時正確保護關節的習慣,才是真正治療退化性關節炎的最佳方法。

資料來源:http://www.uho.com.tw/hotnews.asp?aid=22185

UHO優活健康網-http://focus.uho.com.tw/arthritis/news_detail.asp?id=113

香港中大新法檢測腎病者積水

中大內科及藥物治療學系腎臟科主管兼名譽教授李錦滔(左)及副教授關清霞(右),展示可為末期腎病病人檢測體內積水的生物阻抗多頻譜儀器(圖)。(圖:香港明報)

 

體內積水是腎衰竭病人患心血管病的高風險因素,中大率先利用生物阻抗多頻譜技術,為腎衰竭患者檢測體內積水。醫生建議患者減少攝取鹽分及液體,亦可利用澱粉類多糖腹膜透析液幫助清除病人體內積水,從而紓緩病人的血壓和心臟衰竭狀況。

生物阻抗多頻譜技術是以兩個電極連接到的病人的手和腳,測量50個由5至1000千赫的頻率來確定身體的電阻,技術可準確顯示病人體內的水分和細胞外水分。中大內科及藥物治療學系腎臟科主任兼名譽教授李錦滔與副教授關清霞領導的研究團隊,成功以生物阻抗多頻譜技術為122名腎衰竭病人檢測。

無表徵病者七成有積水

在檢測的患者中包括68男54女,平均年齡為60歲,44%患糖尿病,他們都沒有體內積水的表面徵狀。在檢測中,研究人員發現72.1%病人(88人)體內有超過1公升的積水,當中有25名有超過5公升體內積水,而男性患者、糖尿病患者和血壓高的病人,發現有較嚴重的體內積水,醫生並對患者提出改善建議。(明報健康網‧2012.11.23)

星洲網 http://life.sinchew.com.my/node/4580?tid=44

選對食物‧吃出健康快樂

血清素被喻為快樂荷爾蒙,適量的血清素,會讓人較易獲得滿足感,同時降低食慾並改善睡眠。其實血清素是一種大腦神經傳遞物質,與情緒調節有關,血清素功能不足、分泌量不夠或作用不良會造成憂鬱症。一項來自卡迪夫大學(Cardiff University)的研究顯示,經常在早餐時食用麥片,有助於降低唾液皮質醇(壓力荷爾蒙)。這很有可能是麥片內的碳水化合物促進了血清素的分泌,繼而鎮定大腦。本地飲食治療師阿琳娜(Alina Azhar)披露,除了碳水化合物,蛋白質、維生素B及Omega-3脂肪酸也有助於打造好情緒。

近年來,一群來自瑞典卡羅琳醫學院(Karolinsk aInstitute)的科學家,以腦部掃描來偵察男女腦內的血清素水平。研究人員留意被吸收的血清素,即被大腦使用的血清素,發現女性比男性擁有更加多的血清素受體。

身體內的每個細胞表面都有一個受體,這如同一個充電站,負責為細胞充電,並且能讓一些物質如營養物及荷爾蒙進出。

因此一個人快樂與否,不僅僅取決於血清素水平,腦內還要有足夠的受體,不然無法相輔相成。

表面結果,女性腦內擁有較多的血清素受體,似乎是一件令人鼓舞的事,但是真正結果卻是另一回事。瑞典研究人員發現,當細胞缺乏化合物如血清素時,它們會自行增設更多的受體,竭盡所能捕捉每一口“食物”。

女比男更易憂鬱症

因此當女性擁有愈多且持久的血清素受體時,請別太高興,因為這顯示她們在根本上缺乏血清素。其他研究也支持女性比男性更缺乏血清素這項說法。蒙特利爾大學研究指出,男性比女性大腦多出52%的血清素,這可能與男女性荷爾蒙有別相關。

這也是為何女性比男性更易患上憂鬱症,每4名女性當中,就有1人接受憂鬱症治療,而男性則是10人中有1人患病,有研究指血清素的分泌影響甚大。當年研究人員就是在血清素這個基礎上,研發出抗憂鬱劑─選擇性血清素再吸收抑制劑,以提高大腦的血清素水平。

除了藥物,某些食物也能促進快樂荷爾蒙的釋放,卡迪夫大學研究提出了碳水化合物對血清素的影響。阿琳娜解釋,碳水化合物分為複合及簡單這兩種類型,前者稱為好碳水化合物,能長時間供應能量,同時附加維生素、礦物質及纖維營養效益。它常見於麥片、全麥麵包、全麥餅乾、糙米、澱粉質蔬菜、豆類及豆莢。後者為坏碳水化合物,能在甜品、糕點、果醬及甜飲如果汁及罐裝飲品中找到。

“坏碳水化合物會為身體堆積卡路里,毫無營養效益,因此最好是在餐後當甜點吃,而非充作日常零食享用。”

營養干預可輔治憂鬱症

在憂鬱症女性身上,普遍存有營養不良及飲食不當的弊病。阿琳娜強調,在治療這類病患時,不應只重視藥物及心理輔導,其實也應從生理健康著手,而營養干預已被視為憂鬱症治療的輔助因素。雖然飲食對憂鬱症的效益,並沒有直接或在臨床上表現出來,但是良好的營養狀態對整體健康而言極之重要。

“請時時保持營養均衡,確保所攝取的食物涵蓋纖維性碳水化合物、適量的精益蛋白質(lean protein)、一些富含維生素和礦物質的蔬果,以及健康的不飽和脂肪,目的不是為了它的治療效益,而是汲取它所產生的營養。”

她說,若有需要,女性也可服用含有多元維生素如綜合維生素B及Omega-3脂肪酸的保健品,或在醫生的監測下服用。

此外,有些添加了維生素B特別配方的麥片,也具有抗壓功效,因為細胞在釋放能量以抵禦壓力時,必需用到維生素B。

如果麥片也涵蓋鎂,那是最好不過的事,因為鎂在遇到壓力時,就像維生素B那樣,很快會被身體消耗以製造能量,如果鎂不足,身體一樣無法良好抗壓,繼而觸動坏情緒。

蛋白質助趕走壞心情

飲食治療師阿琳娜披露,高蛋白質飲食也有助於擊退坏情緒,不過它也許需要碳水化合物的加持,才能發揮更好的功效。

“蛋白質不只蘊藏在動物肉類、家禽肉、魚、雞蛋、海鮮、牛奶及奶製品,同時也收納在植物性食品如大豆類及豆莢。”

她說,適量攝取蛋白質對身體有益,大前提是要把脂肪去除,食用時以瘦肉為主;在選擇牛奶或乳酪時,請考慮健康的低脂或脫脂類型。

“某些蛋白質食物讓人感到快樂,這是因為它們含有大量的色氨基酸(tryptophan),後者是身體用來製造血清素的一種氨基酸。色氨基酸是一種必需脂肪酸,這意味著身體無法自行製造,而必須經由外界攝取。當蛋白質被分解時,血液里的色氨基酸和其他氨基酸會互相競爭進入大腦,有時即使大量補充含有色氨基酸的蛋白質食物,但是只有少部份能突圍而出,對血清素的提昇沒有太大的幫助。”

心情差不鼓勵吃甜食

因此她提醒,大量食用含有色氨基酸的食物,不一定能保證腦內的血清素會上升,因為血清素的分泌過程並不是直接經由單用飲食而發生。

不過有文獻指出,碳水化合物的多加攝取,或許能改善這個競爭機制。碳水化合物能刺激胰島素的分泌,斷絕其他氨基酸在血液中與色氨基酸的競爭,繼而允許更多的色氨基酸進入大腦,轉化為有鎮靜作用的血清素,幫助人們更好地休息、睡眠、恢復腦力及儲積精力。

或許這能解釋為何女性比男性更愛啃含有碳水化合物的巧克力,尤其是在來月經前或更年期前,即雌激素水平特別低的情況下,此舉更加明顯,她們以攝取碳水化合物來展開自我治療,借以踢走坏情緒。

阿琳娜不認同女性以甜食來治療坏情緒,“糖果、甜品、碳酸飲料等毫無營養,如果經常食用,久而久之會不經意地取代原有的營養正餐,對健康造成不良影響。”

Omega-3有效調節情緒

飲食治療師阿琳娜提出,Omega-3脂肪酸(尤其是長鏈式EPA及DHA)對情緒及行為調解有著一定的效益。研究顯示,這些脂肪酸可能有份參與大腦神經傳遞物質如血清素的調節工作。

她說,大腦化合物是左右人類情緒、積極性及解壓能力的關鍵因素,當它(神經傳遞物質及荷爾蒙)出現不均衡時,會提高同半胱胺酸效應,並造成維生素B群尤其是葉酸、B6及B12的不足。

“研究證實,血清中低維生素B、高同半胱胺酸水平的人士,比較容易憂鬱,同時對抗憂鬱劑的反應較弱。”

她提醒,如果公眾缺乏Omega-3及維生素B這兩種營養,每週最好吃兩三份富含Omega-3的魚類如三文魚、金鎗魚、沙丁魚,抑或以營養品方式補充,同時食用含有維生素B的動物肉類、奶製品、深色綠葉蔬菜及加強配方的麥片。(光明日報/良醫‧文:唐秀麗‧2013.03.11)星洲網

http://life.sinchew.com.my/node/4577?tid=41

Review of healthcare financing will involve fundamental shifts: Health Minister

A patient rests on a hospital bed

A patient rests on a hospital bed

 

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the review of the country’s healthcare financing system will be extensive, involve fundamental shifts, and will take more than a year to complete.

Speaking in Parliament during the Health Ministry’s Budget debate on Tuesday, he said while managing costs and ensuring that Singapore is effective in the way it delivers care, there is also the need to enable patients to pay for their portion of the cost.

Thus, the first major shift is to increase the government’s share of national spending — so as to provide Singaporeans with greater assurance that care will remain affordable and accessible.

The government will take on a greater share of national spending, from the current one-third to about 40 per cent and possibly even further, depending on various factors such as demographics, and the ability to manage healthcare costs and target the subsidies, Mr Gan said.

He believes this will help to reduce the impact of rising healthcare costs on Singaporeans, especially for those in the lower- and middle-income bracket.

During the review, the ministry will explore how it can provide more financial support in a targeted way for specialist outpatient care, primary care, preventive healthcare, dialysis and long-term care, so as to reduce the share that patients have to pay.

Mr Gan said: “How we spend the additional money is crucial. Today, the bulk of our subsidies go towards hospitals, where the cost per episode is high. As our population ages, delivery of healthcare will increasingly extend beyond hospitals.”

The second major shift is on Medisave. Mr Gan said the ministry has been expanding Medisave use progressively since 2006, so as to include outpatient treatments for chronic diseases, as well as selected vaccinations and medical screenings.

Now Singaporeans can use up to S$400 per Medisave account to pay for these treatments each year.

“Medisave has been sized primarily to pay for subsidised care in the inpatient setting. As we grow old, we are more likely to require hospitalisation, and each hospital stay is longer,” said Mr Gan.

“If we allow unrestricted use of Medisave, many of our elderly may not have sufficient Medisave for their needs in the future. However, we do exercise flexibility for cases with exceptional circumstances,” he added.

Mr Gan is confident that if the government calibrates carefully and puts in place some safeguards, a greater flexibility can be allowed in the use of Medisave to reduce out-of-pocket costs without jeopardising the future.

So the ministry will review Medisave policies to see how to have greater flexibility in its use.

Mr Gan said: “We raised the cap on the use of Medisave for chronic diseases from S$300 to S$400 last year. Can we raise it further? Should we expand the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) to include more diseases? Should we allow Medisave to be used for outpatient treatments beyond the CDMP?

“How do we prioritise the different needs, to ensure that Medisave will not be depleted? How do we ensure that providers focus on necessary and cost-effective treatments, so that each Medisave dollar is well spent? These are issues that need to be addressed in the review.”

Mr Gan said the third shift is on the role of insurance. He explained that to stretch the health dollar and to give Singaporeans greater peace of mind, there is a need to enhance the role of insurance schemes like MediShield and ElderShield.

But there is a need to do this carefully to guard against over-servicing and over-consumption, both of which will lead to rising costs and higher premiums for all.

So the ministry will study how it can shift the balance towards greater insurance coverage, without driving up demand and consumption, and allow insurance to carry a larger share of healthcare funding.

Mr Gan said: “MediShield is designed to be a catastrophic insurance primarily for larger inpatient bills. As we review how we can strengthen insurance coverage, we will also examine whether it should remain so, or if we can expand it so that it can offset a higher proportion of costs while keeping premiums affordable.

“We will also have to address Singaporeans’ concerns about exceptionally large bills that go beyond the current cap on MediShield claims.”

He stressed that the subsidy and 3M framework — involving Medisave, MediShield and Medifund — has served the people well so far. But there is a need to further strengthen this as the healthcare needs of the population evolve over time.

Mr Gan said the major review of the health financing framework, which was initiated in 2012, will take some time.

However, a few immediate changes to keep healthcare affordable will be made. Mr Gan said the Ministry of Finance will be topping up the Medifund capital sum by S$1 billion.

This will increase the annual Medifund assistance by at least 20 per cent to S$120 million, to help more needy patients with their healthcare bills.

Mr Gan said: “From April 1, 2013, we will extend Medifund assistance to patients at the National Dental Centre. In addition, Singaporean mothers who face difficulty paying for their antenatal care and delivery can also be assisted by Medifund.

“By June 2013, we will also extend Medifund to the polyclinics, including dental services there. This will provide some relief for needy patients with recurring bills for their chronic conditions.”

From April 1, the ministry will add 17 new drugs onto the Standard Drug List and the Medication Assistance Fund. These drugs include second generation insulin products and insulin penfills to help lower the cost for diabetic patients. This is expected to cost the government S$5 million a year.

The Health Ministry said it will also absorb the fee of about S$3 that is charged to institutions for each Medisave claim that patients make.

Healthcare costs a concern among Singaporeans: MOH

The Health Ministry held two sessions of the “Our Singapore Conversation”, engaging many Singaporeans — including patients — to hear their views. From this, four main concerns emerged.

Firstly, Singaporeans are concerned over rising healthcare costs, said Mr Gan.

Currently, the country spends about four per cent of the GDP on healthcare — around US$1,700 per person — which is similar to what Hong Kong spends. Over time, Singaporeans can expect national healthcare spending to continue to rise as the country’s population ages.

“So what drives healthcare costs? First, cost of the same treatment goes up over time, due to rising cost of manpower, supplies, and so on. This is the usual inflation,” said Mr Gan.

“Next, as we age and our health deteriorates, we will spend more on healthcare. On average, annual expenditure on hospitalisation, after subsidy, for a 65-year-old is three times that of a 45-year-old.

“The third reason — and a key one — is that healthcare is getting significantly better and more accessible. We have adopted more advanced medical treatments and technologies that achieve better outcomes for patients, and these have become more common over time.”

The second concern of Singaporeans is how much out-of-pocket cash they have to pay. Thirdly, the concern of incurring exceptionally large healthcare bills.

Thus, Mr Gan said the ministry will carefully explore how it can provide Singaporeans with greater assurance against very large out-of-pocket payments.

The fourth feedback received was that many Singaporeans have said that while there are many help schemes, they do not know how to get the help they need.

Mr Gan said that the starting point is for every Singaporean to take ownership of his health, to live healthily, seek treatment early, and make informed choices in seeking treatment. For this reason, it is important to preserve the principle of co-payment, but at the same time ensuring that it remains affordable.

Government to ramp up infrastructure on healthcare

By 2020, there will be 4,100 more acute and community hospital beds, 400 more than what was announced in 2012.

Beyond 2020, the ministry is also planning to build four new acute hospitals in areas where demand is likely to grow.

Mr Gan said: “We are currently studying regional demographic profiles to identify the likely locations of these new hospitals, and we will reveal our infrastructure plans closer to 2020.”

There are currently seven public acute hospitals in Singapore. They include Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

In the short-term, two new facilities will open this year. One of them is the new Medical Centre at the National University Hospital (NUH), which will open by July 2013.

Mr Gan said this will allow NUH to expand its specialist outpatient clinics and day surgery operating theatres. The building will also house the National University Cancer Institute.

The other new facility is the National Heart Centre, which will allow for expansion in cardiac services.

In the medium-term, several hospitals will start operations. The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will begin to serve patients from end-2014, while community hospitals in areas like Jurong and Sengkang will also be ready between 2015 and 2020.

Mr Gan also announced plans for new polyclinics. By 2017, polyclinics will be opened in two new towns — Jurong West and Punggol.

He added that there will be four new polyclinics by 2020, and another six to eight more by 2030.

To provide more patients with convenient access to support services, the government will set up three more Community Health Centres this year. They will be located in Bedok, Jurong East and Tiong Bahru.

As for the healthcare workforce, the ministry is increasing the training capacity of health institutions with a S$50 million boost this year.

It has also launched a new branding campaign for nursing and allied health jobs.

Mr Gan said: “In the past year, our healthcare professional workforce grew by 3,700, or about eight per cent. We are on track to growing our professional workforce to meet the healthcare needs of our population, as outlined in Healthcare 2020. Our priority continues to be to grow our local healthcare manpower supply.”

He added that the workforce will also be supplemented with training by overseas professionals.

-CNA/ac – http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1259447/1/.html

Nursing home licensing standards to be enhanced: Dr Khor

A nursing home in Singapore (file photo)

A nursing home in Singapore (file photo)

 

SINGAPORE: An enhanced set of nursing home licensing standards will be introduced by 2015.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor said an industry-led committee will be reviewing standards and identifying areas that can be enhanced.

There will be more specific standards set in various aspects of clinical care — such as oral hygiene, continence management and falls prevention. The social aspects of nursing home care will also be looked into. These include respecting residents’ dignity and caring for their emotional well-being.

The committee will also add new standards on organisational excellence, covering areas of human resource and financial management.

The Health Ministry is also engaging Singaporeans to remake nursing homes. The ministry is tapping on architects’ creativity to build nursing homes that are not just clinical care facilities, but modern homes for seniors to recuperate.

For new nursing homes, the government is planning to design them to be aesthetically pleasing, yet functional.

Dr Khor said: “An example is the future nursing home in Jurong East. Instead of a squarish residential block, the architect ‘breaks up’ the mass to create a more interesting form.

“Green balconies are injected in between the towers, making the whole development more visually pleasing to the surrounding community. This will not look out of place within a residential area.”

“Beyond the hardware, we are evolving our nursing homes to be eldercare hubs that can benefit a wider community of seniors and their caregivers. Where space allows, we will expand their suite of services beyond nursing home care to include day care and other services for caregivers.”

However, Dr Khor acknowledged that some seniors prefer to be cared for outside of the nursing home. Thus, the Health Ministry will step up its efforts to develop home-care services to support caregivers.

It will be convening an industry-led committee to review and chart new standards and strategies for home care development.

The committee will recommend a common system to assess the care needs of home care patients, set common standards for home care and identify new home care services that can be developed.

The government also recognises that looking after a family member can be stressful and tiring. Thus, the Health Ministry is working to make respite services more accessible and affordable, said Dr Khor.

The ministry is starting a pilot project, by working with a few nursing homes to set aside some beds for caregivers who need temporary reprieve.

Dr Khor also revealed that the Senior’s Mobility and Enabling Fund, which was announced in Budget 2013, supports seniors who want to live independently in the community.

The application process for subsidies under the fund will be simplified. Any senior living in a three-room flat or smaller will automatically qualify for a 90 per cent subsidy for devices that cost less than S$350.

Dr Khor said: “We will expand subsidies beyond mobility devices to cover other assistive devices. Seniors can receive subsidies for more items such as motorised wheelchairs, commodes, geriatric chairs and pressure-relief mattresses. The fund will also cover spectacles and hearing aids.”

The enhanced fund can also be used to subsidise transport costs for more seniors who are community-ambulant.

-CNA/ac – http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1259432/1/.html

Activists fault WHO report on Fukushima radiation

Activists fault WHO report on Fukushima radiation

 

Activist physicians on Monday accused the World Health Organization of downplaying the health impact of nuclear fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

In a New York symposium marking the two-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in Japan, the physicians took issue with WHO’s conclusion in a recent report that it did not expect a significant surge in cancer in Japan or elsewhere due to radiation leaks.

“It’s a report that was meant to reassure people who, almost certainly, many will develop leukemia and cancer,” said Helen Caldicott, a prominent anti-nuclear activist whose foundation, the Helen Caldicott Foundation, co-sponsored the symposium, along with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“What is going to happen is there will be a high incidence of cancer and leukemia and genetic disease,” due to the leaks, she said.

The WHO report drew criticism from Japanese government officials because it projected an increase in some cancers among those living near the plant.

Japanese officials said the report was based on faulty assumptions and would unnecessarily upset residents.

But Caldicott said the report, released Feb 28, understated the problem because of key issues it either “ignored” or “glossed over.”

For one, she said, WHO did not take actual radioactive emissions into account, relying on estimates.

The UN health body also did not examine the effects on children comprehensively, including what the impact would be of eating radiation-contaminated food over a lifetime.

The agency also did not closely examine the impact on workers at the Fukushima plant or on people from the area who evacuated through the plume of radiation that came from the plant, she said.

“As a physician, I abhor what they’ve done,” Caldicott said.

The two-day conference at the New York Academy of Medicine marked the anniversary of the 9.0-magnitude subsea earthquake and tsunami which rocked Japan on March 11, 2011, leaving nearly 15,881 people dead and 2,668 others still unaccounted for.

The quake and tsunami deeply damaged the cooling systems of the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing partial meltdowns in several units and spilling radioctive particles into the air and sea nearby.

Monday’s symposium featured presentations from biologists, epidemiologists and other scientists on the health effects of nuclear accidents.

Caldicott cited one survey done by a Fukushima medical organization that showed 42% of 100,000 children sustained thyroid abnormalities, such as a cyst or a nodule. The survey showed three children with thyroid cancer and seven additional cases of suspected cancer.

She said data showed that three times as much radioactive xenon, and possibly three times as much cesium, escaped at Fukushima as at Chernobyl, the nuclear plant in the Ukraine that released huge amounts of radioactive particles into the atmosphere after an explosion and fire in 1986.

The WHO report did conclude that the cancer risk was higher for certain groups of local people in Fukushima.

That includes a projected 7% increase in leukemia among males exposed as infants, over what would have normally been, and a 6% higher occurrence of breast cancer among women exposed as infants.

The occurrence of thyroid cancer in females over a lifetime could rise by as much as 70% over the normal rate.

But for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the WHO said, “the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated.”

Steven Starr, a program director at the University of Missouri, presented data from Chernobyl that showed, 14 years later, that 40 percent of high school graduates suffered chronic blood disorders and malfunctioning thyroids.

Starr predicted similar problems in Fukushima.

Maurice Enis and Jaime Plym, two U.S. Navy quartermasters, told the symposium that they experienced the effects of radiation poisoning after servingon a search and rescue mission near Fukushima after the disaster.

Enis complained of loss of energy, hair loss and the appearance of some lumps on his body.

Plym said her menstrual cycle has been thrown off due to exposure to radioactive materials. They said troops were kept in the dark about the severity of the nuclear incident at Fukushima.

The two have joined a lawsuit with 115 current and former U.S. military personnel against the nuclear plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, that alleges TEPCO misrepresented the depth of problems at the plant.

read more: –http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/activists-fault-who-report-on-fukushima-radiation

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