Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

When Housing For The Homeless Allows Alcohol, Heavy Drinkers Imbibe Less

 

Whiskey Jeff

Image by pixieclipx via Flickr

When Housing For The Homeless Allows Alcohol, Heavy Drinkers Imbibe Less

From the 20 January Medical News Today article

 

A study of a controversial housing project that allows chronically homeless people with severe alcohol problems to drink in their apartments found that during their first two years in the building residents cut their heavy drinking by 35 percent.

For every three months during the study, participants drank an average of 8 percent fewer drinks on their heaviest drinking days.

They also had fewer instances of delirium tremens, a life-threatening form of alcohol withdrawal.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Housing for chronically homeless people usually comes with many conditions, including abstinence from drugs and alcohol and compliance with psychiatric and substance abuse treatment. But such requirements can become barriers to staying in housing.

“These individuals have multiple medical, psychiatric and substance abuse problems, and housing that requires them to give up their belongings, adhere to curfews, stop drinking and commit to treatment all at once is setting them up to fail. The result is that we are relegating some of the most vulnerable people in our community to a life on the streets,”

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why People Mispredict Their Behavior In Embarrassing Situations

Why People Mispredict Their Behavior In Embarrassing Situations

From the 18 January 2012 Medical News Today item

Whether it’s investing in stocks, bungee jumping or public speaking, why do we often plan to take risks but then “chicken out” when the moment of truth arrives?

In a new paper* in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder and Carnegie Mellon University argue that this “illusion of courage” is one example of an “empathy gap” – that is, our inability to imagine how we will behave in future emotional situations. According to the empathy gap theory, when the moment of truth is far off you aren’t feeling, and therefore are out of touch with, the fear you are likely to experience when push comes to shove. The research team also included Cornell University’s David Dunning and former CMU graduate student Ned Welch, currently a consultant for McKinsey. …

…”Because social anxiety associated with the prospect of facing an embarrassing situation is such a common and powerful emotion in everyday life, we might think that we know ourselves well enough to predict our own behavior in such situations,” said Leaf Van Boven, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. “But the ample experience most of us should have gained with predicting our own future behavior isn’t sufficient to overcome the empathy gap – our inability to anticipate the impact of emotional states we aren’t currently experiencing.”

The illusion of courage has practical consequences. “People frequently face potential embarrassing situations in everyday life, and the illusion of courage is likely to cause us to expose ourselves to risks that, when the moment of truth arrives, we wish we hadn’t taken,” said George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Knowing that, we might choose to be more cautious, or we might use the illusion of courage to help us take risks we think are worth it, knowing full well that we are likely to regret the decision when the moment of truth arrives.” …

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How You Envision Others Says A Lot About You In Real Life

How You Envision Others Says A Lot About You In Real Life

From the 14 January 2012 Medical News Today item

Quick, come up with an imaginary co-worker.

Did you imagine someone who is positive, confident, and resourceful? Who rises to the occasion in times of trouble? If so, then chances are that you also display those traits in your own life, a new study finds.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have found that study participants who conjured positive imaginary co-workers contributed more in the actual workplace, both in job performance and going above and beyond their job descriptions to help others.

The results showed that your perceptions of others – even ones that are made up – says a lot about what kind of person you really are, said Peter Harms, UNL assistant professor of management and the study’s lead author. Imagining coworkers instead of reporting on how you perceive your actual coworkers produces more accurate ratings of having a positive worldview, he said, because it strips away the unique relational baggage that one may have with the people they know.

“When you make up imaginary peers, they are completely a product of how you see the world,” Harms said. “Because of that we can gain better insight into your perceptual biases. That tells us a lot about how you see the world, how you interpret events and what your expectations of others are.” ….

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment

Only 10 percent of the U.S. population accounted for nearly two-thirds of all health care costs in 2008, and related statistics

English: Total U.S. healthcare spending. 1960 ...

Image via Wikipedia

Old news to many, still worth repeating as we here in the US strive for more equitable access to healthcare for all.
Who pays for healthcare can be very complicated…including issues of justice, fairness, compassion, personal responsibility.
Yes, the debate does get heated often, as there are disagreements about core values and essential beliefs.
Yet I am hopeful that addressing this issue (not sure if it will ever be 100% solved) can serve to further unite us in rethinking community and participating in community. At the risk of sounding trite, we are all in this together, all we have is each other.

AHRQ News and Numbers: Most Health Care Costs Incurred by Few Americans

The press release by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Release date: January 12, 2012

Only 10 percent of the U.S. population accounted for nearly two-thirds of all health care costs in 2008, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The average annual cost for each of these individuals totaled almost $24,000, which includes costs covered by insurance and paid out of pocket. Approximately 45 percent of these individuals remained in this 10 percent of the population in 2009, based on their health expenses that year.

The Federal agency’s analysis of the 10 percent of patients with the highest health care expenses in both 2008 and 2009 also found that:

Nearly 60 percent of these patients were women.
More than 40 percent of patients were age 65 or older, while those age 18 to 29 made up just 3 percent.
More than 80 percent of patients were white, while Asians were the smallest segment at 2 percent.
The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Statistical Brief #354: The Concentration and Persistence in the Level of Health Expenditures over Time: Estimates for the U.S. Population, 2008-2009.

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 173 other followers

%d bloggers like this: