Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on September 15, 1990 · Page 10
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 10

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
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Saturday, September 15, 1990
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Page 10
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Page 10 — Wednesday, September 17, 2003 NATION ,3uftiana (Sazettc Medicinal root a'hot market' By SCOTT CHARTON Associated Press Writer COLUMBIA, Mo. — American Indians and folk medicine practitioners swear by the root of black cohosh as a natural source of relief from the symptoms of menopause, ranging from fa-' tigue to hot flashes. • With recent research linking estrogen-progestin hormone supplements with breast cancer and heart disease, the market demand for natural alternatives such as black cohosh is rising — and that could mean opportunity for farmers. Andy Thomas, a horticulturist by training and a scientific detective in practice, tends thousands of black cohosh samples in "shade houses" at the University of Missouri's agricultural research station near Mount Vernon. "There's still a lot we don't know about black cohosh, and we are searching for the answers," Thomas said. "We just think our farmers ought to be able to grow it better, with the right guidance." Commercial cultivation of black cohosh is rare, and small- scale at that. It's a member of the buttercup family, and the flowers grow wild in a swath extending from Missouri across the southeastern United States, usually no more than about 10 flowers to a patch, Thomas said. The root has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Within the last year, federally funded studies have concluded Native Americans and hill-country herbalists were on to something. Researchers at Columbia University and The George Washington University examined the re- Medical privacy laws per investigations The black cohosh plant's roots are used medicinally, and Andy Thomas is trying to figure out how farmers in Missouri might help meet the demand commercially. (AP photo) . suits of 29 independent studies on alternative treatments for hot flashes and found that only black cohosh appeared to work. That review, published last November in the Annals of Internal Medicine, noted that "neither the identity of active compounds nor the mechanism of action of black cohosh is known." It also said black cohosh usually hasn't been used on a long-term basis, and that no clinical trials have lasted longer than six months. Dr.Wulf Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society and a gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said the Missouri research — growing black cohosh and analyzing it—could benefit patients yearning for more information. "The far bigger and most important issue is how is it tested in humans for safety and efficacy/' Utian said. It is sold in various commercial permutations. At Clover's Natural Market in Columbia, Bruce Topping said his shelves have a variety of black cohosh capsules — a pinch of the flower root blended with other components — and "it is a popular seller." Clover's gets $8.50 for a container with 100 capsules, each about 500 milligrams. Rieva Lesonsky, editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine, said the Missouri research is targeting a slice of the baby-boom market on the upswing. The magazine estimates more than 4,000 boomers start menopause each day. "The more people harvest it, the more frequently you'll see it outside of health food stores and the more demand grows," Lesonsky said. "It's a hot market." ByMATTAPUZZO Associated Press Writer HARTFORD, Conn" —"Sgi. Andrew Gallagher knew the 9-year- old boy was hospitalized; but that was about all. The Stamford police investigator .tried to reason with a nurse: H&was investigating a car accident: tie needed to know the boy's condition. Not a chance, he was told. The hospital could not even confirm the boy was in the building. So Gallagher drove to the hospital, 45 minutes away, figuring a uniformed officer would have better luck in person.A Yale-New Haven Hospital security guard stopped him in the lobby and said Gallagher needed to see a hospital attorney in another building. This is life under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a sweeping overhaul of the federal health care privacy laws that took seven years to craft. Since the law took effect in April, some investigators who once had easy access to hospital emergency rooms have found even the most basic information hard to come by. .A small-town Kansas police chief says he could not verify the whereabouts of two patients, even though both were wanted for murder. Nurses in South Carolina refused to tell a detective whether a shooting victim was alive and said that even if he was he could not be questioned without his family's approval; Privacy advocates say police have the same access to information as before the law took effect and can get anything they need with a warrant. But police, predict it is only a matter of time until* a case falls apart or a sus- SGT. ANDREW GALLAGHER ... Hampered by HIPAA ... pect escapes because of bureaucratic roadblocks. HIPAA specifically allows hospitals to release information if police believe a crime has been committed. But legal experts say the new rules are so dense and the threat of liability so great that most hospitals are choosing silence in the name of HIPAA. "I said, 'Do you want somebody who has just been charged with first-degree murder walking around your city after walking out of your hospital?'" Great Bend, Kan., Police Chief Dean Akings remembers asking a nurse in May, while trying to locate two suspects wounded in a shoot-out. Akings said the nurse responded: "That's our problem." A hospital is the first stop for many police investigations. Medical records can pinpoint a suspect — or clear one. Family and friends gather at the victim's bedside, all but lined up to be interviewed while their memories are fresh. Witnesses and suspects who might disappear tomorrow can be found in a hospital emergency room. Before HIPAA, access to these sources was not a legal question because health care privacy was not spelled out. Now that it is a matter of law, hospitals are guarding information that used to flow freely. "In staff training, you're told that if you don't know the answer, if you don't know whether you can answer, send them to so- and-so. Send it back upstream for someone else," said Kimberly Greaves, a Georgia health care attorney who provides HIPAA training and advice to doctors and hospitals. Still, she predicted that both sides will get used to the new rule. The HIPAA coordinator at Yale- New Haven Hospital declined to comment for this story, saying she needed to review the questions with other departments. Gallagher said . Yale-New Haven's attorney eventually reached the 9-year-old's mother, who agreed to be interviewed. He said he has no idea what would have happened if she had declined. Peter Swire, who served as former President Bill Clinton's counselor on HIPAA policy and helped craft key parts of the law enforcement exceptions, said patients are getting the benefit of the doubt that investigators used to enjoy. If police find that frustrating, he said, they can get a warrant for a patient's arrest or for any evidence they need. "Many people don't want to talk to police, and we have due process before they have to talk," Swire said. Study: Monkeys have sense of fairness ByALEXDOMINGUEZ Associated Press Writer Humans aren't the only ones who hate a bum deal, it turns out. In a recent study, brown capuchin monkeys trained to exchange a granite token for a cucumber treat often refused the swap if they saw another monkey get a better payoff — a grape. Instead, they often threw the token, refused to eat the piece of cucumber, or even gave it to the other capuchin after viewing the lopsided deal, said Emory University researcher Sarah Brosnan. She said the results indicate man and monkey may have inherited a sense of fairness from an evolutionary ancestor. "This implies we evolved this way," said Brosnan, whose work with colleague Frans B.M. de Waal is reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. The trait may have helped species cooperate and survive, Brosnan said. But Charles Janson, who studies capuchins at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and was not involved in the research, suggested the monkeys' behavior may have been learned in captivity, rather than inherited as an evolutionary adaptation. Brosnan said she doubted the behavior was learned, saying most animals "cannot learn doings which they do not naturally do in the wild." "More importantly, however, learning behavior requires that individuals get rewarded for performing a specific behavior," Brosnan said. "In our test, the subject actual- ly received less reward for refusing to exchange." The researchers, at Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center, studied five female monkeys, testing them two at a time. When both monkeys were given a cucumber slice after handing over the token, they completed the trade 95 percent of the time. But when one was given the tastier grape for the same amount of work, the rate of cooperation from the other monkey fell to 60 percent. And when one didn't have to do anything to get a grape, the other made the trade for the cucumber only 20 percent of the time. The refusal to make the exchange increased as the experiment went on, the researchers reported. "They were not happy with me," Brosnan said, although she later added that she couldn't really know what the monkeys' emotions were. The scientists concluded that capuchins apparently measure rewards in relative terms, comparing their rewards to those available, as well as their efforts to those of others. Small and highly animated with faces that resemble wizened old men, the tropical forest- dwelling capuchins were chosen for the experiment because they often share food. Brosnan, who said she is now conducting similar studies with chimpanzees, noted that the capuchin that got the grape didn't react at all to the unjustness of the situation. 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M.S. i 101 I Water St., Indiana 724-349-6462 Free Parkinfl DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN THE GAZETTE'S ONLINE READERS POLL CONGRATULATIONS TO BOYER CHIROPRACTIC FROM INDIANA FIRST. KATHY DELLA-PENNA, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OFFICER FOR INDIANA FIRST BANK, CONGRATULATES JAMIE AND CHRISTINA BOYER ON THE OPENING OF THEIR NEW PRACTICE. THE NEW FACILITY IS LOCATED AT 3 SOUTH LYTLE STREET, ELDERTON.. For the kind of personalized service your business deserves, see the professionals at Indiana First Bank. Whether it's for a new loan or line of credit to expand your business, or for deposit services aimed at helping you control the costs of financial services, Indiana First is committed to helping Indiana County prosper. Member FD1C LENDER INDIANA FIRST BANK A TEAM OF FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS WORKING FOR You Visit us at www.infirstbank.com Downtown Office: 935 Philadelphia St. Indiana, PA 15701 • Phone 724.349.2810 Townfair Center Office 475 S. Ben Franklin Rd. 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