Tag Archives: Public Health

'Powerful effect of exercise' against Alzheimer's

Exercising for 150 minutes each week may be the best treatment for Alzheimer’s, according to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Public Health conducted the study, which reveals that exercise could improve cognitive function in people at risk of Alzheimer’s by improving the efficiency of brain activity… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Medical News Today

Community Gardeners Less Likely To Be Overweight

People who are involved in community gardening tend to have a considerably lower body mass index than their non-gardening counterparts, a team from the University of Utah reported in the American Journal of Public Health. Previous studies had shown that community gardeners provide both nutritional and social benefits to neighborhoods, lead author Cathleen Zick explained…

From: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/259442.php

California failed to spend $455M on water projects, EPA says

California has failed to spend $455 million of federal money meant to improve water infrastructure in the state, while thousands of people rely on groundwater laced with nitrates and other contaminants, federal regulators said Friday.

The state has received more than $1.5 billion for its Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund over the past 15 years, but has failed to spend a large part of it in a timely manner, according to a noncompliance letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the state’s public health department. The amount is the program’s largest unspent sum in the nation, the EPA said.

The fund gives out loans to public and private water systems for drinking water infrastructure improvements, including treatment facilities, pipelines and other projects. In recent years, California has received an estimated $80 million in federal money annually for the fund. The state provides a 20 percent match and manages the loan repayments which helps replenish the fund.

“It’s really unacceptable,” EPA‘s regional administrator, Jared Blumenfeld, said of the unspent funds. “It’s not like there is a lack of projects. It’s a lot of money in this day and age.”

The $455 million includes money that has been committed to projects but has not been spent because the projects are not shovel-ready, said Blumenfeld. But because the money is already committed, other water systems that are in need cannot apply for it, he said.

The EPA also found that California also lacks a good system of financial oversight and accountability for the fund. As a result, the state did not accurately calculate revenue from ongoing loan repayments into the fund, the EPA said, meaning an additional $260 million is available for water projects.

In response to the EPA, Department of Public Health director Ron Chapman wrote in a letter, “I acknowledge the seriousness of the notice and will take all steps necessary to address the compliance issues identified in the letter.”

The state has 60 days to come up with an improvement plan — or the EPA may suspend future payments.

By the end of 2012, the EPA said California has disbursed 63 percent of its federal safe drinking water funding, while the national average was 81 percent.

Part of California’s struggle to spend the money, Blumenfeld said, is that the state prefers funding projects from medium and large water systems that are years away from being launched. He said the state should make more money available to smaller communities that are in immediate need — especially those struggling with contaminated drinking water.

More than half of California’s population relies on a drinking water supply contaminated by arsenic, nitrates and other contaminants, though most communities blend or treat their water to make it safe, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.

Nitrate contamination of drinking water is one of the most pervasive problems, especially in California’s agricultural heartland and will intensify in coming years, according to a University of California, Davis study released last March.

The study — covering the Salinas Valley and Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties — found

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/national/~3/uW2PfZ4pcFM/

Exclusive Breastfeeding For More Than 4 Months Lowers Mother-To-Infant HIV Risk

HIV-infected mothers who exclusively breastfeed for more than the first four months of life have a lower risk of transmitting the virus to their babies through their milk. The finding came from scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine

From: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/259332.php

Google Searches For Mental Illnesses May Be Tied To Seasons, Study Suggests

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Google may give us information on more than just flu outbreaks and diet trends — a new study shows it also demonstrates how our interest in certain mental disorders differs by season.

The study, which was led by John W. Ayers from the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University, shows that Google searches about mental disorders followed seasonal patterns. According to this research, mental disorders could be more correlated with the seasons than initially believed.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. With the help of Google’s public database of queries, the scientists assessed mental health searches in the United States and australia from 2006 to 2010. Then the researchers grouped the mental conditions, which included attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and suicidal ideation.

Read More…
More on Photo Galleries

From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/mental-health-seasons-google_n_3046147.html

Covidien and VIDA Diagnostics Collaborate to Expand Minimally Invasive Treatment of Lung Disease

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Covidien and VIDA Diagnostics Collaborate to Expand Minimally Invasive Treatment of Lung Disease

Combined use of market-leading diagnostic technologies opens door to treatment options

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Covidien (NYS: COV) , a leading global provider of healthcare products, today announced an agreement with VIDA Diagnostics, a pioneer in quantitative pulmonary imaging analysis software. Under the agreement, Covidien will distribute VIDA‘s Apollo® pulmonary imaging software services.

“We are committed to improving patient outcomes. The combination of our technologies results in a powerful, minimally invasive, more informative imaging solution for areas of the lung not accessible by traditional bronchoscopy and for patients who cannot tolerate more invasive procedures,” said Michael Minette, Vice President, Interventional Lung Solutions, Covidien. “This collaboration brings together two companies dedicated to the early detection, evaluation and treatment of pulmonary disease.”

This agreement enables Covidien to offer a unique combination of market-leading technologies from VIDA and Covidien’s i-Logic™ lung navigation system. i-Logic provides pulmonary physicians and other clinicians with enhanced detail for the minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment planning of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and other lung diseases.

Lung cancer is a public health issue that affects more than 370,000 Americans and represents a $14 billion expense each year, according to the American Lung Association. COPD, also known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is the third leading cause of death in the United States and adds $18 billion in annual healthcare spend. Asthma has an annual direct healthcare spend of $56 billion a year in the United States.

The i-Logic system uses advanced Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy® technology to extend beyond the capabilities of the bronchoscope to distant regions of the lungs not accessible through traditional bronchoscopy. The i-Logic system enables physicians to locate previously inaccessible small lung lesions for diagnostic testing and enhancing treatment options. The Apollo platform provides more precise analyses of imaging data for more objective insights on patient diagnoses and treatment options.

“The integration of quantitative pulmonary image analysis with innovative devices and therapies is an emerging requirement to obtain effective outcomes in patients with lung disease,” said Scott Ferguson, M.D., Associate Professor and Director of Interventional Pulmonology in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; who has worked as a consultant to Covidien. “Together, VIDA and Covidien, leaders in their specialized fields, provide a more unified, comprehensive

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/11/covidien-and-vida-diagnostics-collaborate-to-expan/

Booz Allen Hamilton Recognizes National Public Health Awareness Week

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Booz Allen Hamilton Recognizes National Public Health Awareness Week

MCLEAN, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Booz Allen Hamilton today announced its support and promotion of National Public Health Week from April 1-7, 2013. The awareness week, organized by the American Public Health Association (APHA), highlights the importance of supporting public health systems and calls attention to the health issues affecting our nation.

The continued rise of health care costs and the burden of health issues on communities places an even greater focus on the return on investment (ROI) from supporting a strong public health system. This year’s awareness week theme is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money” and hundreds of organizations are contributing to the conversation around advancements in public health and the future of our nation’s health.

A new infographic designed by Booz Allen illustrates the impact of public health and advancements and potential of future investments. The infographic tells the story of the economic and social impact of chronic disease and the ROI from investing in public health:

  • Chronic diseases cause seven in 10 deaths in the United States.
  • Each year, chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes account for about 75% of the $2.2 trillion spent on medical care.
  • Investing just $10 per person each year in community-based public health efforts could save the nation more than $16 billion within five years.

Click to tweet: Booz Allen Infographic – Investing in Public Health

Booz Allen is committed to supporting increased awareness of public health challenges and the solutions that can save lives and contribute to healthier communities,” said Susan Penfield, Booz Allen Executive Vice President and lead for Booz Allen‘s health business. “We are using our capabilities in informatics, health analytics, cloud computing, and communications to support our clients’ missions to improve preventive care and identify efficiencies in public health systems.”

Penfield described one example where Booz Allen teamed with Mercy Hospital System to find out whether analysis of past medical records could help manage dangerous, hard-to-treat infections.

“Based on our research, Mercy instituted new medical protocols with immediate impact,” Penfield said. “In the first 9 months, mortality rates for severe cases of sepsis were cut in half and mortality rates for patients with septic shock dropped by 30 percent.”

Grant McLaughlin, Booz Allen …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Transgender Women 49 Times More Likely To Have HIV, Study Says

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Transgender women were 49 times more likely to have HIV compared to a reference population, according to a new study on transgender women and HIV.

Led by Dr. Stefan Baral, director of the key populations programs in the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, a team of researchers conducted a review and meta-analysis of studies assessing HIV infection among transgender women in 15 countries over the span of about a decade and compared it to adults of similar reproductive age in those populations.

Data were only available in countries “with male-predominant HIV epidemics,” including six Asia-Pacific countries, five Latin American countries, three European countries and the United States.

Read More…
More on LGBT

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

How Helping Others Lose Weight Could Save You Money

By Keith Speights, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Do you know someone who needs to lose weight? Helping them do so could end up saving you money over the long run. What’s more, even helping a total stranger lose weight could save you money as well. How can this be true? We first need to take a look at Medicare. 

Nearly 1.5% of every dollar you make goes to the federal health care program. If you’re self-employed, you kick in twice as much because you must pay the employer’s portion also. And if you fit in Obamacare’s high income classification, you’ll tack on another 0.9%. 

But you’re really paying even more for Medicare. Of the $530 billion received by the federal program in 2011, $223 billion came from the general Treasury fund and only around $196 billion derived from payroll taxes. The government actually spent $550 billion — more than it received. That total amounts to a little over $12,000 spent per enrollee.

As Medicare spending grows, more money will be needed. Guess who’s going to pay up? All of us. However, if the spending could somehow be controlled, taxpayers should be able to hang on to more of their hard-earned dollars. That’s where a new study comes into play.

Dr. Kenneth Thorpe — a former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and current chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health — led the research team that conducted a study published recently in Health Economics Review. This study found that more than $12,000 per patient could be saved over a 10-year period by helping Medicare beneficiaries lose weight. That comes to as much as $144 billion.

The problem is in actually achieving that weight loss. Bariatric surgery can cost at least $18,000. That wipes out all of the estimated savings. Intensive behavioral therapy, or IBT, for weight loss is much less expensive, but it isn’t enough for many obese individuals. Is there another option? Thorpe and his colleagues suggest that combining IBT with new weight-loss drugs could hold the key to helping Medicare beneficiaries lose weight and thereby reducing spending.

Currently, two weight-loss drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. VIVUS markets Qsymia. Arena Pharmaceuticals stands ready to begin selling Belviq once the Drug Enforcement Administration finalizes scheduling of the obesity drug. Another company, Orexigen Therapeutics , hopes to receive approval for Contrave and launch the drug commercially in 2014. The problem for those who think one or more of these drugs could help with lowering Medicare costs is that the program doesn’t reimburse patients for taking any of them. Not a dime.

The FDA agreed that Qsymia and Belviq are safe enough for the public. Clinical studies found both drugs to be effective in helping patients lose weight. Even one of the studies that the government used as a basis for its decision to reimburse for IBT concluded that combining weight-loss drugs with …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Winners Live Longer — Or Do They? (STUDY)

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Research has long linked socioeconomic factors such as income and education with better health and longevity. But no one has been sure whether this connection occurred because of greater access to resources or the simple glow of high social status relative to others. Scholars have dubbed the latter “relative deprivation.”

Wanting to delve deep into this issue, a team of investigators at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health led by Dr. Bruce Link studied Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, Emmy Award winners and former presidents and vice presidents, comparing each to nominated losers in the same competition or election. The result: There were no consistent advantages for winners. Sometimes the link between winning and longevity was positive. But sometimes it was negative and sometimes it was even nonexistent.

Even so, the specifics revealed a lot, suggesting that access to resources and opportunity are more important than relative status. The findings have been published online in the American Sociological Review. In a press release, Link and his associates revealed the following effects of winning vs. losing in the three groups:

Read More…
More on Health Post50

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

NYC mayor to target teens wearing loud earbuds

Now listen up, if you can.

Mayor Bloomberg — who has already cracked down on smoking, junk food, trans fats, salt and super-sized drinks — is embarking on a new crusade: preventing New Yorkers from going deaf.

Hizzoner’s health officials are planning a social-media campaign to warn young people about the risk of losing their hearing from listening to music at high volume on personal MP3 players, The New York Post has learned.

“With public and private support, a public-education campaign is being developed to raise awareness about safe use of personal music players . . . and risks of loud and long listening,” said Nancy Clark, the city Health Department‘s assistant commissioner of environmental-disease prevention.

The campaign, which will cost $250,000, is being financed through a grant received from the Fund for Public Health, the Health Department‘s fund-raising arm.

The Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign will target teens and young adults, conducting focus-group interviews and using social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Click for more from the NY Post.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Body of Canadian woman found in hotel water tank

Canadian tourist Elisa Lam had been missing for about two weeks when officials at the historic Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles found her body in a water cistern on the hotel roof.

Guest complaints about low water pressure prompted a maintenance worker to make the gruesome discovery Tuesday, and officials were trying to determine if the 21 year old was killed or if her death was just a bizarre accident.

The discovery of Lam’s body called into question the safety of the hotel’s water. She was found in one of four cisterns that provide guests with water for washing and drinking. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials issued a do-not-drink order while a lab analyzes the hotel water, said Terrance Powell, a director coordinating the department’s response. The results of the lab tests were expected to be released Thursday.

Powell said the likelihood of contamination is minimal given the large amount of water the body was found in, but the department is being extra cautious.

LAPD Sgt. Rudy Lopez called Lam’s death suspicious. Before she died, hotel surveillance footage showed her inside an elevator pushing buttons and sticking her head out the doors, looking in both directions.

Lam, of Vancouver, British Columbia, traveled alone to Los Angeles on Jan. 26 and was last seen five days later by workers at the 600-room hotel near Skid Row.

The cisterns are on a platform at least 10 feet above the roof. To get to the tanks, someone would have to go to the top floor then take a staircase with a locked door and emergency alarm preventing roof access.

Another ladder would have to be taken to the platform and a person would have to climb the side of the tank. Lopez said there are no security cameras on the roof.

Lam intended to travel to Santa Cruz, about 350 miles north of Los Angeles. Officials said she tended to use public transportation and had been in touch with her family daily until she disappeared.

The $65-a-night Cecil Hotel was built in the 1920s and refurbished several years ago. The hotel is on Main Street in a part of downtown where efforts at gentrification often conflicts with homelessness and crime. It had once been the occasional home of infamous serial killers such …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Water tested after body found in LA hotel tank

British tourist Michael Baugh and his wife said water had only trickled for days as they brushed their teeth, showered and drank from the taps at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, but they could not have imagined the disturbing reason.

The body of a Canadian woman was later discovered at the bottom of one of four cisterns on the roof of the historic hotel near Skid Row. The tanks provide water for hotel taps and would have been used by guests for washing and drinking.

“The moment we found out, we felt a bit sick to the stomach, quite literally,” Baugh said.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials were expected to release the results of tests on the water on Thursday.

When the body was discovered on Tuesday, they issued a do-not-drink order while a lab analyzes the water, said Terrance Powell, a director coordinating the department’s response. The disclosure contradicts a previous police statement that the water had been deemed safe.

Powell said the water was also used for cooking in the hotel; a coffee shop in the hotel would remain closed and has been instructed to sanitize its food equipment before reopening.

“Our biggest concern is going to be fecal contamination because of the body in the water,” Powell said. He said the likelihood of contamination is “minimal” given the large amount of water the body was found in, but the department is being extra cautious.

Powell said the hotel hired a water treatment specialist after the department required it to do so to disinfect its plumbing lines.

A call to the hotel was not returned.

The remains of Elisa Lam, 21, were found by a maintenance worker at the 600-room hotel that charges $65 a night after guests complained about the low water pressure.

Police detectives were working to determine if her death was the result of foul play or an accident.

LAPD Sgt. Rudy Lopez called it suspicious and said a coroner’s investigation will determine Lam’s cause of death.

Before she died, hotel surveillance footage …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Alcohol Plays A Huge Role In Cancer Deaths In The U.S.

We have known for years that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and smoking can lead to lung cancer. Now a new report reveals that drinking alcohol is responsible for 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. The findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, outline the cancer risks linked to alcohol use… …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Medical News Today

11 Massachusetts pharmacies closed after inspections prompted by meningitis outbreak

State officials have ordered 11 pharmacies to completely or partially shut down their operations after a series of unannounced inspections prompted by a deadly nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis.

The Department of Public Health inspections were conducted across the state over the past several months at 40 sterile compounding pharmacies, which custom-mix solutions, creams and other medications in doses or forms that generally aren’t commercially available.

The outbreak of meningitis, an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, was discovered in Tennessee in September and has killed 45 people and sickened more than 600 nationwide. It was caused by a contaminated steroid, used mainly to treat back pain, that was linked to the Framingham-based New England Compounding Center, which has since closed. The inspections began last fall.

Besides the 11 cease-and-desist orders, public health inspectors said, another 21 pharmacies were cited for minor deficiencies that have since been corrected or are being addressed.

“While these results are troubling, this process has led to significant corrective measures and increased compliance,” Public Health interim Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith said Tuesday.

Pharmacies that have been shut down must submit plans, take corrective actions including renovations if necessary and then pass re-inspections before they can begin producing drugs again. Of the 11, eight have submitted corrective plans.

Inspectors said they found evidence one of the pharmacies was operating as a sterile compounding pharmacy despite an earlier statement saying it wasn’t. The pharmacy was cited with having noncompliant clean room engineering controls and sterile compounding practices and insufficient personnel training and environmental monitoring.

Officials said another pharmacy was shut down for “issues with the storage of chemotherapy drugs” while a third was told to stop production of sildenafil citrate, which is sold as Viagra, after inspectors found it had produced the drug using improper components.

Another of the pharmacies ordered to stop sterile compounding has locations in Rhode Island and New Hampshire, and inspectors have notified the pharmacy boards in those states.

Compounding pharmacies traditionally fill special orders placed by doctors for individual patients, turning out small numbers of customized formulas each week. They typically are overseen by state pharmacy boards.

In the last two decades some compounders, like the NECC, have grown into large businesses that ship thousands of doses of drugs to multiple states.

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat who has been conducting a congressional investigation into compounding pharmacies, said he plans to reintroduce a bill designed to step up federal oversight of the industry.

“Even the strongest state standards will do little to solve the problem if Congress does not also hold compounding pharmacies everywhere to high safety and health standards,” he said in a statement.

Smith said the results of the inspections show the need for more resources to ensure oversight of the facilities.

Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, has proposed $1 million in new state spending to help the Board of Pharmacy hire more than 30 new full-time workers including inspectors.

The board has recently issued regulations requiring sterile compounding pharmacies to report their volume and distribution for the first time.

Patrick also has filed legislation that would mandate a special license for sterile compounding, set new fines and create whistleblower protections.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News