Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Pollution, Crime, and Education by Mike the Mad Biologist (And a Somewhat Related Mental Health Study)

This short blog entry points to examples of how there is most likely links between air pollution and brain development and function. For example a recent study indicates schools in areas of high air pollution have higher rates of absenteeism. Crime rates have gone down in areas where lead removal was a high priority.

While it can be argued there is no cause and effect in these cases, correlations do warrant further study.

Past blogs here have included articles on the interconnection between healthy environments and healthy people. In my humble opinion, it just makes sense that if one lives in surroundings with high risk factors, one will develop conditions and diseases one is predisposed to (and perhaps more!).

A related article in the professional literature examines the links between mental health and neighborhoods.While it does not address pollution, it does have a similar holistic approach in considering the many factors which may affect a person’s health and well being.

The authors conclusion-

This study has shown that for people living in deprived areas, the quality and aesthetics of housing and neighbourhoods are associated with mental wellbeing, but so too are feelings of respect, status and progress that may be derived from how places are created, serviced and talked about by those who live there. The implication for regeneration activities undertaken to improve housing and neighbourhoods is that it is not just the delivery of improved housing that is important for mental wellbeing, but also the quality and manner of delivery.

January 30, 2012 Posted by | environmental health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Communicating Health Risk Is A Risky Task For FDA

 

Ritalin

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Communicating Health Risk Is A Risky Task For FDA

From the 23 January Medical News Today article

The impact of efforts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to notify the general public and health care providers about unanticipated risks from approved medications has been “varied and unpredictable,” according to a systematic review of published studies about FDA warnings and alerts over the last 20 years.

Although some communication efforts had a strong and immediate effect, many had little or no impact on drug use or health behaviors and several had unintended consequences, researchers report in the journal Medical Care. …

…The FDA has several standard tools to disseminate new evidence about drug safety. These include “Dear Healthcare Provider” letters to prescribers*, “public health advisories” and “Safety Alerts” targeting the general public, and “black box warnings”** added to a label when a drug’s risks may be particularly severe or affect a large population. Despite numerous studies examining single alerts, advisories and label changes, no prior study has systematically examined the effect of these risk communications….

[Article summarizes the effectiveness of 4 categories of communication]

…Part of the problem, the authors emphasize, is the challenge of communicating complex risk messages to a large, diverse audience. “The most effective communications were the simplest, those that were specific, where alternatives were available, and where the messaging was reinforced over time,” said Stacie Dusetzina, PhD, lead author from Harvard Medical School.

 

Read the entire Medical News Today article

*No direct links to “Dear Healthcare Provider” letters at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/HealthProfessionals/default.htm
However, individual letters can be found through using search engines, as a recent one for the drug Promacta

**Recent black box warnings are listed at Drug Safety Communications . If a drug has a black box warning, it will be part of its label. Drug information by name of drug is located at Drugs@FDA.

January 30, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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