Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Older lesbians, gays have higher rates of chronic disease, mental distress, isolation

Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures

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Older lesbians, gays have higher rates of chronic disease, mental distress, isolation

From the March 29 2011 Eureka news alert

ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2011) — Members of California’s aging lesbian, gay and bisexual population are more likely to suffer from certain chronic conditions, even as they wrestle with the challenges of living alone in far higher numbers than the heterosexual population, according to new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Half of all gay and bisexual adult men in California between the ages of 50 and 70 are living alone, compared with 13.4 percent of heterosexual men in the same age group. And although older California lesbians and bisexual women are more likely to live with a partner or a family member than their male counterparts, more than one in four live alone, compared with one in five heterosexual women.

A lack of immediate family support may impact aging LGB adults’ ability to confront statistically higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, poor mental health, physical disability and self-assessed fair or poor health, compared with demographically similar aging heterosexual adults.

The study, which draws upon three cycles of data from the biennial California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), underscores the importance of considering these unique needs and chronic health conditions in providing health care and social services to the estimated 170,000 self-identified aging LGB adults in California — a population that will double in size over the next 20 years.

“Many aging LGB Californians do not have biological children or strong family support,” said Steven P. Wallace, the lead researcher on the project. “Organizations that serve these communities need to take this into account and consider outreach and support mechanisms that enable these individuals to maintain their independence and ability to age safely and in good health.”

The policy brief, “The Health of Aging Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults in California,” includes the first data published on aging LGB adults based on a large statewide population. And among a population whose health needs are too often associated only with HIV and AIDS, the study offers the first insights about broader health conditions and trends….

Click here for the rest of the news article

Click here for the free online report

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s Most Distressed Areas, Including The Gulf Coast States And Washington, D.C., Threatened By Emerging Infections Of Poverty

America’s Most Distressed Areas, Including The Gulf Coast States And Washington, D.C., Threatened By Emerging Infections Of Poverty

From the March 29 2011 Medical News Today item

Neglected infections of poverty are the latest threat plaguing the poorest people living in the Gulf Coast states and in Washington, D.C., according to Dr. Peter Hotez, Distinguished Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at The George Washington University and President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, in an editorial published in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases on March 29th.

Hotez explains that current post-hurricane conditions in the Gulf coast states coupled with the BP oil disaster and extreme levels of poverty make these areas extremely vulnerable to neglected infections of poverty. Conditions such as dengue hemorrhagic fever and other vector borne neglected infections, like Chagas disease and cutaneous leishmaniasis, as well as non-vector borne neglected infections like trichomoniasis and toxocariasis, are affecting the people living in the region. Additionally, Hotez notes that Washington, D.C. is also among the worst U.S. cities in terms of life expectancy and health index, meaning its residents suffer from the lowest incomes, lowest educational attainment, and shortest life expectancy. Despite the fact that these conditions are triggers for neglected infections of poverty, no surveillance data currently exists to reflect their prevalence. Even trichomonaisis, which is extremely common in Baltimore, MD., has not been tracked.

Because these infections are serious problems that perpetuate poverty, I am extremely concerned about the welfare of the people in these regions. [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]

Click here for the rest of the news article

Click here for the full text of the journal article written by Dr. Hotez, America’s Most Distressed Areas and Their Neglected Infections: The United States Gulf Coast and the District of Columbia

 

 

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeing And Experiencing Violence Makes Aggression ‘Normal’ For Children

Seeing And Experiencing Violence Makes Aggression ‘Normal’ For Children

From a March 30 Medical News item

The more children are exposed to violence, the more they think it’s normal, according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science(published by SAGE). Unfortunately, the more they think violence is normal, the more likely they are to engage in aggression against others.

Researchers asked nearly 800 children, from 8 to 12 years old, about whether they had witnessed violence at school, in their neighborhood, at home, or on TV. They also asked the participants if they had been a victim of violence with questions like “How often has somebody hit you at home?” The survey also measured responses to whether aggression was appropriate, such as in the statement: “Sometimes you have to hit others because they deserve it.” The final section of the questionnaire measured how aggressive the child was, based both on their own report and what their classmates said about them.

Six months later, they surveyed the children again, asking the same questions. This allowed them to test whether witnessing violence – or being a victim of it – led to higher levels of aggression half a year later.

The schoolchildren who had witnessed violence were more aggressive. Witnessing violence also had a delayed effect – observing violence at the first phase of the study predicted more aggression six months later, over and above how aggressive the children were in the beginning.

The same effect occurred for being a victim of violence. Victimization at the first phase of the study was associated with more aggression six months later, even given the high levels of aggression at the study’s start.

The increased aggression was caused in part by a change in how the children thought that violence was normal. Seeing violence – at home, school, on TV, or as its victim – made it seem common, normal, and acceptable. Thinking that aggression is “normal” led to more of it.

“Exposure to violence can also increase aggression regardless of whether at home, at school, in or in the virtual world of TV, regardless of whether the person is a witness or a victim,” the authors wrote. “People exposed to a heavy diet of violence come to believe that aggression is a normal way to solve conflict and get what you want in life. These beliefs lower their inhibitions against aggression against others.”

Notes:

The research team was headed by Izaskun Orue of University of Deusto in Spain, and included Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, and researchers from The Netherlands and Germany.

The article “Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Hurt: Longitudinal Effects of Exposure to Violence on Children’s Aggressive Behavior” in Social Psychological and Personality Science is available free for a limited time here.

Source:
Ashley Wrye
SAGE Publications

 

 

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults

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Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults


Source:  US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From the March 24 report:

This new report, Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults – Closing the Gap, calls attention to the use of potentially lifesaving preventive services by our nation’s growing population of adults aged 65 years and older. By presenting and interpreting available state and national self-reported survey data, the Report aims to raise awareness among public health and aging services professionals, policy makers, the media, and researchers of critical gaps and opportunities for increasing the use of clinical preventive services, particularly among those who are currently underserved.

Older Americans have long been recognized as having unique social, economic, and health needs. Since the passage of the landmark Medicare Act in 1965, numerous policies and programs have evolved to support and improve the health and quality of life for adults aged 65 and older. The most recent addition is the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which addresses coverage for clinical preventive services with a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) rating of an A or B, immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and numerous additional wellness benefits for older adults. Recently issued rules to implement the legislation call for Medicare to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for previously covered preventive services in January 2011.1 The new law also entitles Medicare beneficiaries to a free annual wellness visit that includes a schedule of recommended preventive services. Additionally, a few states have already eliminated co-pays for some cancer screenings and more are poised to do so.

The USPSTF recommends a range of clinical preventive services for older adults. In 2006, these services were ranked by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities (NCPP), a nonpartisan organization of business, nonprofit and government leaders convened by the Partnership for Prevention. Using innovative evidence-based methods, the NCPP identified 25 clinical preventive services that have the biggest impact on health and are most cost effective. The majority of these services are relevant to older adults aged 65 and older. Of the six top services, three are specific to this age group including colorectal cancer screening and influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations.


Flahiff, editor of this blog, strongly believes preventative health measures can reduce need for prescription drugs (and the                  side effects which may come from their use)

Excerpt from this previous posting

Drugs are chemicals. And you’re putting something in your body. You need to know what it is.” [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]

If you keep adding drugs to your daily routine, talk to your doctor about whether you can cut back on others, so that you are only taking the minimum necessary amount, she said. Read all the material that comes with medicines, and tell someone immediately if you start to feel unwell. “If something doesn’t feel right, talk to your doctor, talk to your pharmacist.” [Flahiff’s emphasis]

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rising reports of bad reactions to drugs

Rising reports of bad reactions to drugs

From the March 28 2011 Health Day news item   By Alison McCook

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Official reports of negative reactions to prescription drugs have increased dramatically over the last decade, according to a new study.

In a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database launched in 1969, researchers found that over half the reports of “adverse events” suspected to be caused by a particular drug or device date from just the past 10 years.

The FDA currently receives about half-a-million such reports of health problems, and even deaths, associated with medical products each year. In 2000, they came in at a rate of nearly five for every 10,000 office visits in which at least one prescription was written. By 2005, that rate had risen to nearly seven per 10,000 visits, according to the new analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of reports coming in grew steadily by more than 11 percent every year. By 2010, they added up to 2.2 million reports — 55 percent of the entire database total.

Study author Dr. Sheila Weiss-Smith of the University of Maryland in Baltimore cautioned that the number of reports does not equal the true number of negative reactions to drugs.

Manufacturers are required to report to the FDA any health problem they suspect stems from one of their products, but for doctors, patients, lawyers, and anyone else who reports these reactions, it’s entirely voluntary, she told Reuters Health.

It’s hard to estimate how many negative reactions to drugs actually occur, Weiss-Smith noted. Some experts suggest official reports represent one-tenth of the number of actual negative reactions, but she said she doesn’t trust that figure. “We just don’t know. We don’t know what percentage of events actually gets reported.”…
…More people are taking drugs, and for longer times, which increases the potential for bad reactions, and negative interactions between drugs, she said….

…Negative reactions can occur from a variety of drugs, and patients need to take steps to protect themselves, Weiss-Smith urged. “Drugs are chemicals. And you’re putting something in your body. You need to know what it is.” [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]She recommended that everyone tell their doctors what they are taking, and try to go to one pharmacy, “so someone can keep track of all the different things,” preventing negative interactions.

If you keep adding drugs to your daily routine, talk to your doctor about whether you can cut back on others, so that you are only taking the minimum necessary amount, she said. Read all the material that comes with medicines, and tell someone immediately if you start to feel unwell. “If something doesn’t feel right, talk to your doctor, talk to your pharmacist.” [Flahiff’s emphasis]

Are you looking for information about a drug? to use for consultations with your health care provider?
Please use reputable resources that strive to provide unbiased information.
Pharmacists are great sources of information. Practicing pharmacists are college graduates (many with Master’s degrees) that are state licensed. Many give free information at their place of business, they seldom ask if you are one of their customers!!

Also, don’t forget librarians as your personal, professional guides to information in print and online resources.
Contact your local public, academic, or medical library. Many medical and academic libraries, especially those state funded, give at least some assistance to the public. Call ahead. You may be pleasantly surprised!

And, as always, contact me( jmflahiff who virtually resides at yahoo.com)

Some examples of good drug information Web sites

Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information (from a MedlinePlus page)

Prescription and over-the-counter medication information contains answers to many general questions including topics as what a drug is used for, precautions, side effects, dietary instructions, and overdoses. From the American Society of Health System Pharmacists

Herb and supplement information includes information on uses based on scientific evidence as well as safety and potential interactions with drugs, herbs, and supplements. From Natural Standard, an independent group of researchers and clinicians.


Drugs and Supplements (sponsored by the Mayo Clinic)

Somewhat lengthy drug and over-the-counter medicationinformation with these sections: description, before using, proper use, precautions and side effects. From Micromedex, a trusted source of healthcare information for health professionals. 

Herb and supplement information includes information on uses based on scientific evidence as well as safety and potential interactions with drugs, herbs, and supplements. From Natural Standard, an independent group of researchers and clinicians.

Drug Information Portal

A good central source of drug information by the US government (the National Institutes of Health). It links you to information on over 12,000 drugs from trusted consumer drug information sources, the US Food and Drug Information, and LactMed (summary of effects on breastfeeding), It also gives any summaries from medical and toxicological articles (however, some whole articles may not be for free on the Internet).


March 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

CPSC Warns: As Button Battery Use Increases, So Do Battery-Related Injuries and Deaths

CPSC Warns: As Button Battery Use Increases, So Do Battery-Related Injuries and Deaths

United States Consumer Product Safety Commission

From the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) March 23rd news release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Small, coin-sized batteries can be found in products in nearly every home in America. From the flashlight sitting on the table, to the remote control next to the TV, “button batteries” as they are commonly referred to, are in thousands of products used in and around the home. Young children and senior adults are unintentionally swallowing the button batteries and in some cases, the consequences are immediate and devastating.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Toby Litovitz of the National Capital Poison Center, found that button battery-related incidents resulting in severe injury and fatality have increased sevenfold since 1985. The majority of reported incidents involve 20 mm diameter, or larger, 3 volt batteries. Occasionally, a swallowed battery will pass through the intestine. Most often, however, batteries that become lodged in the throat or intestine can generate and release hydroxide, resulting in dangerous chemical burns.

Incidents most often involve children younger than four years old and senior adults. In the majority of incidents, children gain access to batteries directly from games, toys, calculators, remote controls and other items commonly left within a child’s reach. Senior adults have swallowed button batteries used in hearing aids after mistaking them for pills.

Parents often are unaware that a child has swallowed the button battery, which makes it difficult to diagnose the problem. In fact, in the recent study, more than 60 percent of reported incidents initially were misdiagnosed. Symptoms resemble ailments common in children, such as an upset stomach and fever, and in some incidents, there are no symptoms at all.

“These incidents are preventable and CPSC is working to get ahead of this emerging hazard quickly,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Our consumer awareness efforts and outreach to the electronics industry are under way.”

CPSC has reached out to the electronics industry and battery manufacturers, urging them to develop warnings and industry standards to address this issue.

CPSC recommends the following steps to prevent unintentional battery ingestion:

  • Discard button batteries carefully.
  • Do not allow children to play with button batteries, and keep button batteries out of your child’s reach.
  • Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children.
  • Never put button batteries in your mouth for any reason as they are easily swallowed accidentally.
  • Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed button batteries mistaken for pills or tablets.
  • Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child’s reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment.
  • If a button battery is ingested, immediately seek medical attention. The National Battery Ingestion Hotline is available anytime at (202) 625-3333 (call collect if necessary), or call your poison center at (800) 222-1222.

How much do you know about button batteries? Take this quiz (pdf) to find out.

movie icon Watch a video clip about the hazard of button batteries (in “streaming video” format)

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054. To join a CPSC e-mail subscription list, please go tohttps://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

 

Related Article

 

 

 

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | | Leave a comment

   

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