Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

How Will The Affordable Care Act Affect 15 Million Uninsured Young Adults?

From the Commonwealth news release

New York, NY, October 8, 2010—Young adults continue to represent one of the largest groups of Americans without health insurance, with nearly 15 million people aged 19-29 uninsured in 2009—an increase of more than 1 million over 2008, according to a Commonwealth Fund report released today. However, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is poised to make a significant difference for this population, as up to 12.1 million could gain subsidized insurance once all of the law’s provisions go into effect in 2014

The report, Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act of 2010, by Commonwealth Fund researchers Sara Collins and Jennifer Nicholson, is an update of a May 2010 report, with new numbers reflecting the latest data on the number of uninsured Americans released by the U.S. Census Bureau last month.

According to the report, by 2014, when most of the bill’s provisions will have taken effect, up to 7.2 million uninsured young adults will gain coverage through Medicaid expansions and up to 4.9 million will gain subsidized private coverage through new insurance exchanges. About 1 million uninsured young adults up to age 26 are projected to join their parents’ policies beginning in 2010. The report estimates that 1.8 million uninsured young adults are not legal residents and will not be eligible for federally subsidized health insurance under the new law.

The authors conclude that, “when fully implemented, the ACA will allow young adults of all income levels to undergo a new rite of passage: establishing necessary ties with the health care system, without fear of accumulating medical debt, as they pursue their educational and career goals.”

This report is the fourth in an ongoing series of Commonwealth Fund reports designed to explain how health reform will affect various groups. More on this series, as well as access to the Fund’s new Health Reform Resource Center, can be found atwww.commonwealthfund.org.

 

 

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Kids Can’t Accurately Judge Speed of Approaching Cars: Study

From a November 30, 2010 Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

HealthDay news image

Young children can’t tell the speed of a vehicle 5 seconds away and moving faster than 20 mph

TUESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) — Primary school children cannot accurately estimate the speed of approaching vehicles moving faster than 20 miles per hour, finds a new study.

“This is not a matter of children not paying attention, but a problem related to low-level visual detection mechanisms,” John Wann, lead researcher and a professor in the department of psychology at Royal Holloway College, University of London, said in a university news release.

“So even when children are paying very close attention, they may fail to detect a fast-approaching vehicle,” Wann warned….

….

“These findings provide strong evidence that children may make risky crossing judgments when vehicles are traveling at 30 or 40 mph,” Wann said.

“In addition, the vehicles that they are more likely to step in front of are the faster vehicles that are more likely to result in a fatality,” he added.

“Traveling one mile through a residential area at 20 mph versus 30 mph will only add 60 seconds to your journey time — we encourage drivers to take a minute and save a child’s life,” Wann said.

The study findings were released online Nov. 23 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Psychological Science.


December 2, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

Confusing Labeling Found on Many Nonprescription Kids’ Meds

From a November 30, 2010 Health Day news item

TUESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) — The admonishment to parents to carefully follow the directions on the labels of over-the-counter kids’ medicines may be futile, new research suggests.

The study found that most of the popular cough-and-cold, pain-relieving, allergy and stomach drugs just don’t explain dosing very well to begin with. Nor is there much consistency in product labeling.

“Almost all the products had inconsistencies,” said Dr. H. Shonna Yin, lead author of an early-release study that will be published in the Dec. 15 print issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association….

….

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

Buyer beware: Dangerous levels of lead found in used consumer products

From a December 1, 2010 Eureka news alert



CORVALLIS, Ore. – The problem of toxic lead in used consumer products is extremely widespread and present at levels that are far beyond safe limits, researchers conclude in a new study.

Research reported recently by the Associated Press found that lead and cadmium were present in cartoon character drinking glasses. Now a new study has found that many other items available for purchase throughout the United States – such as toys, home décor items, salvage, kitchen utensils and jewelry – contain surface lead concentrations more than 700 times higher than the federal limit.

The authors of the study were Laurel Sharmer of the State University of New York, Anna Harding of Oregon State University and Steven Shackley of the University of California, Berkeley. Sharmer, the lead author, is now retired and lives in Monmouth, Ore. The results are published in the December issue of The Journal of Environmental Health.

Researchers purchased a collection of used items from second-hand stores, junk shops and antiques stores in Virginia, New York and Oregon. The items included salvaged construction pieces, antique toys, common dishware, jewelry and other collectibles. Many of the items would have significant appeal to children. Before purchase the items were tested in the store using a qualitative swab test. Those that tested positive were purchased….
…The sale of used items in the United States is not regulated by any federal agency and as a result, it is possible that Americans are bringing the lead poisoning hazards of past generations back into their homes,” Sharmer said. “It is very important for consumers to understand that you can’t tell if a product contains lead by looking at it.”…

Used dishware and kitchen utensils should not be used for preparing, serving or storing food. Construction debris and salvage should be considered to have lead until proven safe.

Examples of used items in the study that contained high levels of lead include a salt shaker lid, small red toy teapot, Garfield cup, a red casserole dish, potato ricer, ice cream scoop, Japanese wine cup, Pewter bowl, and a turtle necklace.

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

Biodiversity loss correlates with increases in infectious disease

From the December 1, 2010 Eureka news alert

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Habitat destruction and species extinction may lead to an increase in diseases that infect humans and other species, according to a paper in the journal Nature co-authored by a University of Florida ecologist.

In the paper to be published Thursday, UF biology professor Robert D. Holt and his colleagues reported that by reviewing studies from a wide range of systems, including data from plants, animals and bacteria, they were able to relate dimensions of environmental loss, and in particular species loss, with incidence of infectious disease. The study –- which was led by biologist Felicia Keesing of Bard College –- focused on diseases on the rise, such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease and Hantavirus.

“The general degradation of biodiversity because of land use transformation, combined with climate change, overharvesting, and so forth, is likely to have many perverse consequences for emerging pathogens,” said Holt, a UF Eminent Scholar associated with the Emerging Pathogens Institute. “You have to think both as an ecologist and an infectious disease specialist to grapple with questions like this.”

Some pathogens can flourish under less biologically diverse conditions, such as in areas where top predators or other key species become extinct…

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

   

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