Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

U.S. Launches Interactive HIV/AIDS Database on


AIDS 2012 logo


From the July 23 2012 US Census press release

The U.S. Census Bureau today launched aninteractive global resource on the prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS cases and deaths. The database was developed in 1987 and now holds 149,000 statistics, an increase of approximately 10,800 new estimates in the last year, making it the most complete of its kind in the world. The launch comes as thousands of people worldwide meet in Washington, D.C., for the International AIDS Conference this week.

The resource is maintained by the Census Bureau with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of PEPFAR, said on the launch, “This release of the HIV/AIDS database will expand global access to data that are critical to understanding the epidemic. This information is invaluable for the evidence-based response PEPFAR is championing.”

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said “This database provides the people who need it with quality statistics — supporting the life-saving efforts of our partners at PEPFAR and USAID and the doctors, nurses and public health officials working to reach the end of AIDS.”

The tool is a library of statistics from more than 12,000 articles in international scientific and medical journals, individual countries’ annual HIV/AIDS surveillance reports, and papers and posters presented at international conferences.

The menu-driven access tool permits users to search for statistical information in countries and territories across the world, as well as by subpopulation, geographic subarea (such as urban and rural), age, sex and year (back to 1960).

Statistics for the United States are available separately from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


July 24, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Some Types of Multitasking Are More Dangerous


In a new study that has implications for distracted drivers, researchers found that people are better at juggling some types of multitasking than they are at others.

Trying to do two visual tasks at once hurt performance in both tasks significantly more than combining a visual and an audio task, the research found.

Alarmingly, though, people who tried to do two visual tasks at the same time rated their performance as better than did those who combined a visual and an audio task — even though their actual performance was worse…

Participants who gave audio directions showed a 30 percent drop in visual pattern-matching performance. But those who used instant messaging did even worse — they had a 50 percent drop in pattern-matching performance.

In addition, those who gave audio directions completed more steps in the directions task than did those who used IM.

But when participants were asked to rate how well they did on their tasks, those who used IM gave themselves higher ratings than did those who used audio chat…


July 24, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Safety | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog with additional resources/related articles] Focus on screening tests


[Reblog from HealthNewsReviewBlog, 20 July 2012]
I’m off to the Rockies next week to speak at and participate in The Rocky Mountain Workshop on How to Practice Evidence-Based Health Care at the invitation of Dr. Andy Oxman of theNorwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services in Oslo.

This is the 14th annual workshop but this will be my first. I’ve always heard wonderful things about it from past participants – journalists, policymakers and public health professionals.

One of this year’s workshop themes will be screening tests – which any reader of this blog knows is a favorite topic of mine.

The organizers state:

The five-day workshop is an intense, hands-on learning experience that uses a small-group, problem-based approach to learning.

One of the small groups, supported by the NIH Office of Disease Prevention, will focus on using evidence to inform and improve reporting, policy decisions, public health decisions, clinical and personal decisions about screening.

Meantime, on the topic of screening, I finally read Alan Cassels’ book, “Seeking Sickness:  Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease.“  Alan published the Canadian equivalent of our project – the Canadian Media Doctor site. He’s let that project gather some dust while he works on other things like this book.  I can’t quite seem to ever find time for my book idea because I’m so married to this site.  Maybe he’s wiser. It seems impossible to do both.

Related Resources



July 24, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment


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