Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Guide to Biostatistics (MedPage Today)

Don’t know a randomized control study from a descriptive study? Keep forgetting the difference between sensitivity and specificity in diagnostic testing?

MedPage today has a great 4 page guide with definitions and diagrams in these areas

  • Study designs (as research classifications and terminology)
  • Descriptive statistics (as measures and terms)
Related Resources

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

A Year of Living Dangerously: A Review of Natural Disasters in 2010

A man, who lost relatives in the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, visits the mass grave site in Titanyen on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince March 21, 2011.

A man, who lost relatives in the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, visits the mass grave site in Titanyen on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince March 21, 2011.

The entire Brookings Report A Year of Living Dangerously: A Review of Natural Disasters in 2010 may be found here.

From the Web site

APRIL 2011 —

Almost 300 million people were affected by natural disasters in 2010. The large disasters provided constant headlines throughout the year, beginning with the devastating earthquake in Haiti followed one month later by the even more severe—but far less deadly—earthquake in Chile. In the spring, ash spewing from volcano Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland paralyzed flights for weeks in the northern hemisphere. Early summer witnessed the worst Russian wildfires in history while a few months later, the steadily rising floodwaters in Pakistan covered 20 percent of the country. In sum, it was a terrible year in terms of natural disasters causing havoc and destruction around the globe. However, many of the largest disasters barely made headlines in the Western press….

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change Psychology, Coping And Creating Solutions

Mean surface temperature change for the period...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 19 April 2011 Medical News Today article

Psychologists are offering new insight and solutions to help counter climate change, while helping people cope with the environmental, economic and health impacts already taking a toll on people’s lives, according to a special issue of American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association’s flagship journal.

[The May-June issue is not yet online, as of 19 April 2011, the articles are by paid subscription only.
For information on how to get medical/scientific articles for free or at low cost, click here]

Climate change “poses significant risks for and in many cases is already affecting a broad range of human and natural systems,” according to the May-June issue’s introductory article, “Psychology’s Contributions to Understanding and Addressing Global Climate Change.” The authors call upon psychologists to increase research and work closely with industry, government and education to address climate change.

The role psychologists can play may be different from what many people expect. “Psychological contributions to limiting climate change will come not from trying to change people’s attitudes, but by helping to make low-carbon technologies more attractive and user-friendly, economic incentives more transparent and easier to use, and information more actionable and relevant to the people who need it,” wrote Paul C. Stern, PhD, of the National Research Council.

In the United States, “motor vehicle use and space heating are the most significant causes of climate change and therefore the most important targets for emissions reduction,” according to Stern’s article, “Contributions of Psychology to Limiting Climate Change.”….

…The issue updates and builds upon the findings and recommendations of APA’s 2009 Task Force report, Psychology and Global Climate Change: Addressing a Multi-faceted Phenomenon and Set of Challenges


April 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Study Finds High-Deductible Health Plans Pose No Special Risks To The Medically Vulnerable

From a 19 April 2011 Medical News Today article

People who are medically vulnerable – those with low incomes or chronic health problems – who enroll in high-deductible health plans are at no more risk for cutting back on needed health care than other people who enroll in the plans, according to a new RAND Corporation study. [Abstract, for suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here] …

…The project examined the first-year experiences of more than 360,000 families nationwide who enrolled in high-deductible health plans offered by their employers from 2003 to 2007. The study, conducted with consulting firm Towers Watson, was published online by the journal Forum for Health Economics & Policy.

“One important issue is whether high-deductible health plans will leave low-income and chronically ill patients with inadequate access to health care,” said Amelia Haviland, lead author of the study and a statistician at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “We did not find greater cut backs for medically vulnerable families. The evidence suggests that non-vulnerable families, low-income families and high-risk families are equally affected under high-deductible plans.”

High-deductible and consumer-directed health plans have been gaining favor as one way to help control health care costs. By 2009, about 20 percent of Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage were enrolled in such plans. A 2010 survey found that more than 54 percent of large employers offered at least one high-deductible health plan to their employees. …
…Medical spending declined among all families enrolled in high-deductible and consumer-directed health plans, relative to similar families in traditional plans, with the reductions among medically vulnerable families generally being similar to that seen among other families, according to researchers.

Researchers note that the medically vulnerable families studied all had a member working full time with benefits and the results here may not hold for families with less financial stability, and in addition that similar reductions may have different health or economic impacts for these vulnerable families. …

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | 1 Comment


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