Sunday, January 4, 2009

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Obama volunteers seek new missions

Scores of Lowcountry supporters who volunteered to help elect Barack Obama now are figuring out how to advance the issues he pushed on the campaign trail. Unlike the presidential campaign, which had a set timetable and a specific goal, this new grassroots effort is open-ended and always evolving. It's bringing new faces and voices to the table and hopes to influence not only Obama's national and global agenda, but also state and local issues.

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Health forum decries current care methods

McClellanville â€" More than 30 consumers and health care professionals gathered last week to tackle a daunting question: What is the biggest problem with the nation's health care system? Their answer was succinct: There is no system. Fragmentation and inefficiency are endemic, the group said. One participant described a revolving door of medical clinics, hospitals and private physicians. And no one knows what the others are doing.

Study questions diabetes approach

Two out of three people with diabetes will die from a heart attack or stroke. For years, doctors were unsure if pushing blood sugar down to normal levels could reduce this cardiovascular risk. A seven-year Veterans Affairs study, appearing in the January issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests there are no benefits for a certain population â€" namely, older patients who have had diabetes for a long time and have trouble with low blood sugar.

Thrifty approach serves family well

So far the Carters are OK. Like a lot of Lowcountry families, they're holding on, carefully, amid the economic meltdown. Amy, who works for a medical billing company, and Jason, who runs Got Bugs, his own pest control company, haven't had to cut back on too many things. They live in Indigo Fields, a North Charleston subdivision of custom-built homes on the Ashley River. They have two children, Taylor, 15, and Brandon, 8.

Hundreds sign petition

Jose Aguirre has been a United States citizen since 1996, but he's concerned about two Mexican relatives who are in the country illegally. "They could be deported and I want to keep them here," he said. Aguirre was one of hundreds of area Latinos who are citizens or legal residents who showed up Saturday at the International Longshoreman's Association Hall in Charleston for an immigration forum and to sign a petition in support of their undocumented family members.

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