Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, Peace Corps Mobilize Against Malaria In Africa

Countries which have regions where malaria is ...

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From the 27 April 2011 Medical News Today article

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams and U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, announced an enhanced collaborative effort to reduce the burden ofmalaria in Africa.

Peace Corps is collaborating with the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by USAID and implemented together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to help African governments further reduce the burden of malaria in 14 countries across sub-Saharan African where Peace Corps and PMI have a presence. ..

…Peace Corps volunteers demonstrate a spirit of sacrifice, dedication and knowledge of the local setting that comes from living with and serving local populations,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. “Volunteers’ access and cultural sensitivity combined with PMI’s expert guidance presents unique opportunities to reach people in rural Africa with malaria interventions.”

Peace Corps and PMI will work with the respective National Malaria Control Programs to develop a clear set of activities and a scope of work for the Malaria PCVs. Activities in which PCVs could undertake includes:

– Assisting with national malaria bednet distribution campaigns;

– Helping support implementation of a malaria intervention, such as indoor residual spraying, or assisting with training activities;

– Designing and conducting behavior change communication efforts, including working with community groups and local organizations;

– Advising on monitoring, evaluation and surveillance, including assistance with analysis and mapping of malaria data; and

– Participating with operations research activities.

Editor’s Note:  I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa from 1980-81. At that time the malarial strains in West Africa were not as virulent as they are today. Three times I forgot to take my weekly anti-malarial. Sure enough, two days later I came down with a mild case of malaria…but was back teaching the next day.

Peace Corps celebrates 50 years of service to our country and the world this year.
For more information about the Peace Corps, go to 

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Greater Health Risk Than Benefit Of Guns In The Home

From the 27 April 2011 Medical News Today article

Despite the fact that nearly one-third of American households have a firearm, studies show that having a gun in the home poses a household a greater health risk than a potential benefit. A new study released in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (published by SAGE) examined scientific research on both sides of the debate to put hard numbers to this on-going discussion.

Author David Hemenway studied the various risks of having a gun in the home, including accidents, suicide, homicide, and intimidation. Additionally, the benefits of having a firearm in a household were also examined and those benefits included deterrence, and thwarting crimes (self-defense). From this in-depth look, it was concluded that homes with guns were not safer or deter more crime than those that do not. In fact, it was found that in homes with children or women, the health risks were even greater.
“There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes, and it appears that a gun in the home may more likely be used to threaten intimates than to protect against intruders,” wrote Hemenway. “On the potential benefit side, there is no good evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in.”

The article entitled “Risks and Benefits of a Gun in the Home” from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine is available free for a limited time here.

[If the article is no longer free, click here for suggestions on how to get the article for free or at low cost]

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Safety, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Study Shows That A Cluttered Brain Doesn’t Remember

A person making crossword puzzles.

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From the 20 April 2011 Medical News Today item

Lapses in memory occur more frequently with age, yet the reasons for this increasing forgetfulness have not always been clear. According to new research from Concordia University, older individuals have reduced learning and memory because their minds tend to be cluttered with irrelevant information when performing tasks. Published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, these findings offer new insights into why aging is associated with a decline in memory and may lead to practical solutions. …

[An abstract of the article may be found here,

for suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here ]

…For those who are having trouble remembering, Blair suggests that focusing and reducing mental clutter may help. “Reduce clutter, if you don’t, you may not get anything done.”

Keeping a mind clutter-free can be more difficult as people age, especially during periods of stress when people focus on stressors, yet Blair says relaxation exercises can help de-clutter the brain. What’s more, the brain continues to function optimally into old age when it is mentally stimulated by learning a new language, playing an instrument, completing crossword puzzles, keeping an active social life and exercising. …




April 28, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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