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Saturday, May 07, 2005

DUH! Poor people don't get the best health care

I'm constantly amazed at the things scientific investigators are just discovering - things that anyone who's been around a while could have told them a long time ago and saved a lot of money for other kinds of research. Take this story below, for example:

Depression Largely Untreated in Low-Income Cancer Patients
Just one-fourth of women in new study got drugs or counseling

FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Close to a quarter of minority women with cancer suffer depression, but only about one in 10 of them is diagnosed or treated for it, researchers report.

"Most striking, we saw that only 12 percent of poor minority women were receiving antidepressant medications and only 5 percent met with a counselor or support group. This is in stark contrast to a recent study in which 80 percent of middle- and upper-class white female cancer patients were receiving antidepressants," study author Kathleen Ell, a professor of social work at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, said in a prepared statement.

Ell and her collegues studied 472 women with breast or gynecologic cancer being treated at a large urban public medical center. Nearly 80 percent of the women were Latina. Most were Spanish speaking, foreign-born and insured under Medi-Cal or limited state or local short-term assistance for specific cancer treatments.

Reporting in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the researchers found that untreated depression in minority women with cancer was linked to economic and health literacy barriers.

"Depressed women were significantly more likely to report fears about receiving treatment and side effects, lack of understanding about the treatment being recommended, inability to get all prescribed medications and concerns about lost wages due to illness or medical appointments," Ell said.

Women who were receiving antidepressants were less likely to complain about pain than women not receiving antidepressants, the study found.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about depression and cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Southern California, news release, April 28, 2005

Last Updated: May-06-2005

Murphy supposedly said, "If you ain't got yer health, you ain't got nothin'. " We could add, "If you're not rich, you won't have your health."

Friday, May 06, 2005


Cockroaches are probably the most hated and least understood insect on the planet Earth. Yet there are many of us who admire, study, collect, or cherish them. Cockroaches most commonly used as pets are the larger tropical species such as the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, the Peppered Cockroach (Archimandrita tesselata - see my photos of Tess and one of her offspring), the Costa Rican Giant Cave Cockroach, and the Deaths Head Cockroach. The American and Australian cockroaches make good laboratory research animals and scientists all over the world use them to study everything from DNA to neurology to virology. An example can be seen here. Cockroaches as feeder insects for reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and many other insectivores are growing in popularity over the former favorite, the cricket. They are rich in protein and healthful fatty acids and are actually more healthful eating than chicken. There are some people who savor cockroaches as a gastronomic treat, in fact. I'm told they taste like shrimp. I haven't had the doubtful pleasure of sampling one for myself. But their resemblance to shrimp is not surprising since shrimp and cockroaches are both arthropods. So are crabs and lobster. BTW, my male A. tesselatas were measured by me with the help of a friend very carefully several times. Despite the literature to the contrary, they measured 4 inches long by a little less than 2 inches wide.
It isn't raining all over the world. This storm moving in from the north shows Costa Rica on the left and Panama on the right.

© 2005 Mary Thorman
I promised a photo of Tess' babies. Here is one. Isn't it beautiful? It is still very small. First Instar.

© 2005 Mary Thorman

About Me

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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