Monday, July 13
In our national edition, we have pointed out that the plan for a national health database would expose patients to illegal or improper prying by government (including law enforcement), potential employers or insurance companies. All they would need was the proper medical cover. Supporting this thesis is the note in the story below that "Mental health diagnoses, substance abuse treatment and HIV status are not included." If the system is truly secure, why should these be excluded? How can one be sure for whom the inquiring doctor is really working when the data is tapped? The fact that the exemption is noted indicates that it is already a concern.
Fierce Health IT - The state of
The two-year program, known as HealthInfoNet, attempts to prove that giving providers a real-time stream of electronic patient information can lower costs and improve quality of care. The state also expects to use the system to track outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the H1N1 swine flu, Lyme disease and tuberculosis.
The system already houses information on 400,000
Bangor Daily News - The primary goal is to allow a doctor in Portland, for example, to treat an unfamiliar patient from Presque Isle with ready access to that patient's updated medical information such as chronic illnesses, allergies, prescription medications, recent laboratory and imaging test results, surgeries and more.
Mental health diagnoses, substance abuse treatment and HIV status are not included.
Patient information from participating clinical sites was added to the HealthInfoNet system starting in December. The information is added and updated unless individual patients "opt out" - formally decline inclusion. Culver said information about HealthInfoNet - and how to opt out - continues to be provided in waiting rooms, at registration desks and in other patient areas.
"Our goal has been to make consumers aware, to provide them with enough facts to make a good decision about whether this is for them or not," Culver said. The decision to opt out can be exercised at any time, he added.
"If you wake up tomorrow and tell us you don't want to be in, we remove any clinical data that's already there and block any new data from going in," he said. About 2,000 Mainers have opted out of the system so far.
At the federal level, the Obama administration has dedicated $2 billion for state-level projects such as HealthInfoNet. . .
Science Daily - Global warming may exact a toll on salt marshes in
Pannes are waterlogged, low-oxygen zones of salt marshes. Despite the stresses associated with global warming, pannes are "plant diversity hotspots," according to Keryn Gedan, a graduate student and salt marsh expert at
Gedan and her adviser, Mark Bertness, chair of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Brown, decided to find out how global warming may affect pannes. In a series of experiments published in Ecology Letters, the pair subjected plots of forb pannes to air as much as 3.3 degrees Celsius (about 6 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the surrounding area.
They found that the plants in the test plots responded initially by growing more but then began a rapid die-off. As they died, they were replaced by a salt marsh grass, Spartina patens. At two sites - Nag Creek (Prudence Island, Rhode Island), and Little River (
The researchers believe the forbs disappeared due to changes in the plant-water balance in the zone. What that means, Gedan explained, is the warmer air causes the forbs to take in more water, thus making the area less waterlogged and more hospitable to an invasion by Spartina patens, which prefers less water-soaked conditions.
"The forbs basically engineer themselves out of their habitat by making it more favorable for their competitor," said Gedan, the paper's lead author.
In New England, pannes range from
THE RETURN OF JOHN CACOULIDIS
Tux Turkel, Portland Press Herald - The new owner of the Portland Press Herald properties in
Cacoulidis has been heavily involved in
Mark Peters, Portland Press Herald, 2004 - In his mind, John Cacoulidis returns to
When he bought a nine-story office building in downtown
His American dream, however, has been viewed by some in southern
This conflict was clear last week when a Canadian energy company announced it wants to build the state's first liquefied natural gas terminal on an island Cacoulidis owns in
Three years ago, he got similarly negative reaction when he proposed twin 41-story hotel towers on
Greg Boulos, a partner in CB Richard Ellis/The Boulos Company, who is Cacoulidis' real estate representative locally, described his client as "a lightning rod for controversy."
Cacoulidis came to
The island now includes a road network, artificial lakes, a stable with 14 stalls, a chapel, tea room, helicopter pad and mansion. Cacoulidis lives on the island part time, splitting his time between
Cacoulidis said he is confused at times that he does not get more of a welcome in
Al Diamon, Portland Phoenic, 2004 - Cacoulidis, a wealthy
Next Cacoulidis and his wife complained about the property taxes they paid for their private island off
Lyme disease is up 72% in
WABI - The owner of a topless coffee shop that burned down wants permission to build a replacement shop. Donald Crabtree owns the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Vassalboro. It was destroyed in an arson fire last month.
Lynne Williams, former State Chair of the Maine Green Independent Party, and a Bar Harbor attorney, will formally declare her candidacy for Governor on July 15 in
New Agenda - Williams favors wind energy farms in urban areas but opposes them in rural areas. She believes that wind farms actually do more damage to the wildlife and the ecosystem than intended. Her strongest opponent has been the company First Wind. . . She believes the decentralization of power and giving the communities and individuals more independence control over their lives; this independence will lead to both economically and ecologically sound choices.
As of June,
Two Maine builders of classic yachts
Peaks Island now has a taxi
Trout Unlimited Camp
Dealing with mosquitoes
PS: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME
So far as we know, female horseshoe crabs are as wild in Maine as in Delaware
Louisa Jonas, NPR - On the Delaware Bay shore, there's a swinging party that's been taking place for millions of years.
If you're a female horseshoe crab, then it's your night. You'll swim to shore, meet a special someone and he'll clasp onto the back of your shell. You and he will crawl onto the beach together, where you'll spawn at high tide under the light of the full moon.
But the mate attached to your shell is not your only tryst. On this night, you will mate with up to 13 males, all at the same time. Thousands of horseshoe crabs will pile on top of one another, glistening shells covering the beach for miles.
"We just love the whole phenomena of how once a year, for a season, they do this incredible mating on the beach," Keith Rutter says. "I don't know how anybody can watch this and not get excited about nature and science and how things work in the world."
Rutter and his family didn't travel from
Horseshoe crabs are weird, like armadillos of the sea. Their shells look like armored helmets and their tails resemble swords. And then there are the eyes. They have 10 of them - including one on that spiked tail that helps them tell time. Their strange design is time-tested; they haven't evolved much for more than 400 million years. We're talking before the dinosaurs - before flying insects, even.
Scientists call horseshoe crabs living fossils. Master generalists, they've survived asteroids, volcanoes and ice ages. But on the beach, there's no such thing as safe sex. About 10 percent of crabs die upside down when they can't right themselves during spawning. . .
In one sitting, each female lays about 4,000 tiny green eggs that look like clumps of pesto in the sand. In a few weeks, only the luckiest of eggs will hatch and billions of eraser-sized horseshoe crab babies will wash into the bay.
Recent surveys suggest that the horseshoe crab population may be stabilizing, and everyone here hopes this latest count will show an increase in spawning. The crabs themselves are certainly doing what they can; even after the tide recedes, a few determined, solitary males patrol the beach, still scanning the deserted sand for a mate.
MORE EXOTIC CREATURE SEX
Having recently covered the sex life of porcupines and horseshoe crabs, we can't avoid including Ogden Nash's analysis of turtles:
The turtle lives twixt plated decks
Which practically conceals its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile