Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Texting & public health



From the 16 August 2011 posting at Public Health–Research & Library News

According to a story in today’s New York Times, a study conducted by reaserchers from the University of Oxford and the Kenya Medical Research Institute demonstrated that texting treatment tips to healthcare workers increased the number of cases that they handled correctly and six months later, the effect was still there.

“Since each text cost less than a penny, every nurse in rural Kenya could get reminders for $39,000, the study said. That is far cheaper than sending trainers or brochures, neither of which improved care much, the authors said.”

The original report was published in The Lancet.

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Male acts of bravery, risk display honor, increase accidental death

From the 16 August Eureka news alert

Effects of male aggression in response to insult most felt in South, West US states

Los Angeles, CA (August 15, 2011) Men sometimes prove themselves by taking risks that demonstrate their toughness and bravery. Putting yourself in peril might establish manliness, but it can also lead to high rates of accidental death, particularly among men who live in states with a “culture of honor,” according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE).

A culture of honor puts a high value on the defense of reputation—sometimes with violence. It can develop in environments with historically few natural resources, danger of rustling, and low police presence. States with strong cultures of honor in the U.S. are in the South and West, such as South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming. People from honor states tend to respond to reputation threats with higher levels of hostility and violence compared to people from non-honor states, mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest, such as New York, Wisconsin and Ohio.

People who most believe in a culture of honor—who agree that “A real man doesn’t let other people push him around” or that aggression is a reasonable response to being insulted—told the researchers they were quite willing to engage in risky behaviors, such as bungee jumping or gambling away a week’s wages.

This willingness to take risks might well translate into an early death, according to Collin Barnes, Ryan Brown and Michael Tamborski of the University of Oklahoma. They compared the rates of accidental death—by drowning, car wrecks, over-exertion and so on—and found that people in honor states had significantly higher accidental death rates than did people in non-honor states, especially among White men.

Honor cultures are more powerful in rural areas, where the influence of personal reputation is higher than it is in cities. Although honor states had a 14% higher accidental death rate in the cities, they had a 19% higher rate of accidental death in more rural areas, compared to non-honor states. More than 7,000 deaths a year can be attributed to risk-taking associated with the culture of honor in the USA.

“Exposing yourself to potentially deadly situations is proof of strength and courage, and because this proof is such a concern for people living in cultures of honor, they suffer from a higher rate of accidental fatalities,” said the authors.


The article “Living Dangerously: Culture of Honor, Risk-Taking, and the Non-Randomness of ‘Accidental’ Deaths” in Social Psychological and Personality Science is available free for a limited time at: .

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Better chronic pain management

From the 15 August Eureka news item

Pain care management needs to be improved, with health care professionals committing to improve care as well as a retooling of the health care system to help people who are suffering, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only)

According to a recent analysis, chronic pain affects people of all ages, with an estimated 500,000 Canadians aged 12 to 44 years, 38% of seniors in long-term care institutions and 27% of seniors living at home experiencing regular pain.

“Experts agree that much can be done now with newer analgesics, nonpharmacologic techniques such as nerve blocks and physical therapies, as well as spiritual and supportive care,” write Drs. Noni MacDonald, Ken Flegel, Paul Hébert and Matthew Stanbrook. “Availability of quality care for pain is the major problem. Health professionals have not mounted a response commensurate with the magnitude of the problem.”

The authors argue for a broad strategy to help increase pain management expertise, including education, technology, and supported self-care and lay coaching.



August 16, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | 1 Comment

Want to keep your exercise resolutions? New research offers pointers








New research reveals factors that helped some commit to a year-long exercise program.

From the 16 August 2011 Eureka news alert

Sticking with an exercise routine means being able to overcome the obstacles that invariably arise. A key to success is having the confidence that you can do it, researchers report. A new study explores how some cognitive strategies and abilities increase this “situation-specific self-confidence,” a quality the researchers call “self-efficacy.”

“You can apply the concept of self-efficacy to every single health behavior you can think of because in many ways that really is what gets us through the day, gets us through the tough times,” said University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley, who led the research. “People who are more efficacious tend to approach more challenging tasks, work harder and stick with it even in the face of early failures.”

Those lacking self-efficacy often won’t even try to start a new routine, or will quit at the earliest sign of difficulty, McAuley said. “Almost 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out in the first six months,” he said.

All is not lost, however, for those with low self-efficacy, McAuley said. Research has shown that there are ways to increase your confidence in relation to specific goals. Remembering previous successes, observing others doing something you find daunting and enlisting others’ support can increase your self-efficacy enough to get you started. Every step toward your goal will further increase your confidence, he said….

Read the article

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

New definition of addiction: Addiction is a chronic brain disease, not just bad behavior or bad choices

From a 15 August 2011 Science Daily news article

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released a new definition of addiction highlighting that addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioral problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex. This the first time ASAM has taken an official position that addiction is not solely related to problematic substance use.

When people see compulsive and damaging behaviors in friends or family members — or public figures such as celebrities or politicians — they often focus only on the substance use or behaviors as the problem. However, these outward behaviors are actually manifestations of an underlying disease that involves various areas of the brain, according to the new definition by ASAM, the nation’s largest professional society of physicians dedicated to treating and preventing addiction…..

Read the article


August 16, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily TV quota of six hours could shorten life expectancy by five years

Family watching television, c. 1958

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From the 15 August 2011 Science Daily article

Watching TV for an average of six hours a day could shorten the viewer’s life expectancy by almost five years, indicates research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The impact rivals that of other well known behavioural risk factors, such as smoking and lack of exercise, the study suggests.

Sedentary behaviour — as distinct from too little exercise — is associated with a higher risk of death, particularly from heart attack or stroke. Watching TV accounts for a substantial amount of sedentary activity, but its impact on life expectancy has not been assessed, say the authors….

Read the article

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Poultry Farms That Go Organic Have Significantly Fewer Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Antibiotic resistance

Image via Wikipedia

From the 14 August 2011 Health News Today article

Antibiotic use in conventional animal food production in the United States has created public health concern because it has been shown to contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can potentially spread to humans. A new study, led by Dr. Amy R. Sapkota of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, provides data demonstrating that poultry farms that have transitioned from conventional to organic practices and ceased using antibiotics have significantly lower levels of drug-resistant enterococci bacteria. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives (online August 10, 2011), is the first to demonstrate lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria on newly organic farms in the United States and suggests that removing antibiotic use from large-scale U.S. poultry farms can result in immediate and significant reductions in antibiotic resistance for some bacteria. …


Read the entire news article

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Hand Sanitizers May Actually Cause Outbreaks Of Norovirus

From the 15 August 2011 Health News Today article

New research has found that hand sanitizers are not as effective as soap and water in health care settings at preventing viral outbreaks. In fact, they may even be responsible for outbreaks of seriously contagious viruses. As a common alternative to using soap and water, hand sanitizers are often regarded as being the most efficient way to cleanse hands.

Read entire news article

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The State of America’s Children – 2011 Report

Children's Defense Fund


From the Children Defense Fund Web site

CDF’s new report The State of America’s Children 2011 finds children have fallen further behind in many of the leading indicators over the past year as the country slowly climbs out of the recession. This is a comprehensive compilation and analysis of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on population, poverty, family structure, family income, health, nutrition, early childhood development, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and gun violence. The report provides key child data showing alarming numbers of children at risk: children are the poorest age group with 15.5 million children—one in every five children in America—living in poverty, and more than 60 percent of fourth, eighth and 12th grade public school students are reading or doing math below grade level.

View this year’s interactive report or download the document.

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health AND statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Why developing trust with your doctor is important

From the 14 August 2011 posting by JEFFREY I. KREISBERG, PHD at

When patients develop this trust, they are more likely to comply with doctors recommendations and therefore get better care. If you passively take in what the doctor tells you, you’re not involved and less likely to be on-board with your treatment and less likely to follow her instructions. So, it was not surprising how doctors responded to a survey from Consumers Report, and reported in the Washington Post, about their professional challenges and about what patients could do to get the most out of their “relationship” with their doctors….

Click here to read the entire KevinMD article


August 16, 2011 Posted by | health care | , | Leave a comment

Drug Shortages?

Resized image of Ritalin-SR-20mg-full.png; squ...

Image via Wikipedia

From a 21 June 2011 Capital Area District Library Blog item

Maybe you’ve seen a little item in the news lately about shortages of important “medically necessary” medicines.  You probably dismissed it as something that doesn’t affect you, however, you might be interested to know that the shortages include cancer drugs, anesthetics used for patients having surgery, injectibles used in emergency treatment, electrolytes, and medicines that many Americans take daily for chronic conditions.  Curious now?

Fortunately, monitoring production supplies and shortages and working closely with U.S. drug makers is one of the important jobs of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  They report that “…the number of drug shortages has tripled over the last six years – jumping from 61 drug products in 2005 to 178 in 2010 – …”  So, as a consumer and patient what can you do?  First of all, be in touch with your medical care provider to assess your individual situation and needs.  Second, take a look at the list of Current Drug Shortages.  If you believe a drug you’re taking is in short supply and isn’t on the list, you can contact the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at drugshortages [at]

You can find this and other Consumer Updates  Also, you can sign up for free email subscriptions to FDA news at

Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian


August 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , | Leave a comment

Some New Health Related US Demographic Resources

Logo for the 2010 United States Census.

Image via Wikipedia

From a 9 August 2011 Health Information Literacy – For Health and Well Being blog item

First Results from the 2010 Census
Initial report from the 2010 Census identifying population change in rural and metro areas. Includes statistics on the increased diversity and ethnicity in the U.S.

Geography of Need: Identifying Human Service Needs in Rural America
Uses American Community Survey five year average county-level data to compare the type and degree of human service needs in metropolitan versus non-metropolitan counties.

State of the States
State profiles of these Federal Food Programs: Demographics, Poverty and Food Insecurity; Federal Nutrition Programs; and State Economic Security Policies.
[Rural Assistance Center Human Services Update]



August 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health AND statistics | , , | Leave a comment

Low ‘Health Literacy’ Hazardous to Your Health

AMMC-Health Literacy Brielle Coronet-May 2010_002

Image by Robin M. Ashford via Flickr

From the 12 August 2011 Health Information Literacy -for health and well being blog item

This study, highlighted in a recent BHIC Blog post, is well known to following of health literacy issues. 
Study found inability to interpret health information linked to poorer outcomes.
By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter
FRIDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) — If you have low “health literacy,” defined as having difficulty understanding medical information, your health may be at risk. In a review of 96 published studies, researchers concluded that low health literacy is linked with many types of poorer health outcomes and poorer use of health services.

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Public Health | | Leave a comment


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