Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Pain in Infancy Alters Response to Stress, Anxiety Later in Life

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

From the 30 October 2013 ScienceDaily article

 

Early life pain alters neural circuits in the brain that regulate stress, suggesting pain experienced by infants who often do not receive analgesics while undergoing tests and treatment in neonatal intensive care may permanently alter future responses to anxiety, stress and pain in adulthood, a research team led by Dr. Anne Murphy, associate director of the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University, has discovered.

n estimated 12 percent of live births in the U.S. are considered premature, researchers said. These infants often spend an average of 25 days in neonatal intensive care, where they endure 10-to-18 painful and inflammatory procedures each day, including insertion of feeding tubes and intravenous lines, intubation and repeated heel lance. Despite evidence that pain and stress circuitry in the brain are established and functional in preterm infants, about 65 percent of these procedures are performed without benefit of analgesia. Some clinical studies suggest early life pain has an immediate and long-term impact on responses to stress- and anxiety-provoking events.

The Georgia State study examined whether a single painful inflammatory procedure performed on male and female rat pups on the day of birth alters specific brain receptors that affect behavioral sensitivity to stress, anxiety and pain in adulthood. The findings demonstrated that such an experience is associated with site-specific changes in the brain that regulate how the pups responded to stressful situations. Alterations in how these receptors function have also been associated with mood disorders.

The study findings mirror what is now being reported clinically. Children who experienced unresolved pain following birth show reduced responsiveness to pain and stress.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here

 

 

October 31, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , | Leave a comment

[Journal Article] The “Nasty Effect:” Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies

From the 13 February 2013 article at The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Abstract- Uncivil discourse is a growing concern in American rhetoric, and this trend has expanded beyond traditional media to online sources, such as audience comments. Using an experiment given to a sample representative of the U.S. population, we examine the effects online incivility on perceptions toward a particular issue—namely, an emerging technology, nanotechnology. We found that exposure to uncivil blog comments can polarize risk perceptions of nanotechnology along the lines of religiosity and issue support.

Full text of the article available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcc4.12009/full

 

October 31, 2013 Posted by | Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Richer countries have safer roads

This brought back memories of a road accident in Liberia back in 1980. It was late at night in a rural area.  Three of us (all sober!) were returning home after a Christmas get-together.  The main highway (a dirt road, barely two lanes) was unlit, as all rural roads are, even if they are main highways.  The driver swerved to avoid an accident, an oncoming car was straddling the middle of the road (not uncommon).  Our Chevy truck rolled over at least twice down a steep embankment. I was nearest to the door on the passenger side. My leg went out the open window. The truck landed on its side, and my leg was pinned underneath the truck.

A bus stopped. Several passengers came down the embankment. By that time Ann (a fellow Peace Corps volunteer) who was in the middle, and the driver (a Malaysian ex-pat who was managing a nearby farm) had got out the truck.  They raised the truck, and I pulled my numb leg out out. Miraculously my leg was not broken. (Could it be the gravel absorbed the shock?)
I did have some nasty gashes on the inside of my right thigh, and it was bleeding some.  The window had only been partially rolled down.  So the glass had shattered and ripped some of my flesh.

Somehow I got up the embankment with help.  We went into the bus, which did a U-turn and took us to the hospital, about 10 miles away.  Found out later, this was the second time the bus had stopped to pick up an accident victim and transfer them to a hospital. No ambulances in the country that I know of.  [Just realized, we never gave the bus driver any money to cover his expenses, or properly thanked anyone, some of the passengers probably had two hours tacked on to their travel time.]

Anyways, I got stitched up (about 34 in the leg, another 8 or so around my right elbow). Thankfully no complications. Although when I do go hiking, I have to use a walking stick when going downhill.  Word traveled fast about the accident in the Peace Corps community. Several weeks later I got a letter from the Peace Corps nurse (at HQ- 120 miles away) to get down to her office.  Didn’t want to go, I was healing fine,  and it meant a 5 hour taxi ride over bumpy dirt roads, but went anyway where I got chewed out royally.  Well, I got X-rayed. Confirmed nothing was broken, and the other tests also confirmed what I knew – that I was OK.  The nice thing- Peace Corps paid for my travel and medical expenses when I went down to HQ.

From the 29 October 2013 Michigan News press release

ANN ARBOR—Wealthier nations, whose residents own a majority of the world’s vehicles, have the lowest roadway fatality rates, say University of Michigan researchers.

In a new study on road safety in 170 countries, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute found that the average fatality rate per million vehicles is 313 in high-income countries, 2,165 in middle-income countries and 6,040 in low-income countries.

Further, the average percentage of pedestrian deaths out of all roadway fatalities is lower in high-income nations (21 percent) compared with middle-income (31 percent) and low-income (35 percent) countries.

Using data from the World Health Organization on countries with populations of at least 100,000, Sivak and Schoettle examined differences in road safety based on gross national income per person: high (more than $12,275), middle ($1,006 to $12,275) and low (less than $1,006).

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“The goal was to identify relevant commonalities that may assist in the creation of road-safety policies common to countries at a similar level of development,” Sivak said.

The researchers also found income-level effects for 31 aspects related to institutional framework, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users and post-crash care.

According to the results, low-income countries are less likely to have national road-safety strategies; standard vehicle regulations; laws on the installation of safety belts, airbags and electronic stability controls; laws on the use of safety belts, child restraints, motorcycle helmets and mobile phones; strict driver penalty systems; effective drunk driving enforcement measures; universal emergency access phone numbers; and policies to promote walking, cycling and public transport.

Interestingly, maximum speed limits on rural roads and near schools tend to be lower in low-income countries, but the effectiveness of speed-limit enforcement is higher in high-income countries.

Related Links:

October 31, 2013 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[Reblog] Gun Safety: A Public Health Perspective

Trigger lock fitted to the trigger of a revolver

Trigger lock fitted to the trigger of a revolver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gun Safety: A Public Health Perspective.

“statistics show that the likelihood of accidentally being shot and killed in a home with guns is much higher than in one without, or with the guns locked”

“people may claim they need assault rifles in case the government comes after them; if the government does come after them, however, it will use weapons that will overwhelm anything that a private citizen would own.”

From the 30 October 2013 blog item at charlettelobueno

The recent outbreak of mass shootings, including one that occurred on October 21 at a junior high school in Sparks, Nevada, has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun ownership and Americans’ right to bear arms. How can incidents such as the recent one in Nevada, and the shooting that happened last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., be prevented in a country where the right to own a gun is constitutionally guaranteed?

The first step is addressing gun safety from a public health standpoint, using a multi-pronged approach, similar to that used to reduce the number of car accident fatalities, said Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Such an approach involves making guns safer and educating gun owners and establishing strict licensing standards and conducting thorough background checks. Public awareness campaigns about gun safety and more careful consideration of how gun violence is portrayed in popular media such as video games, movies and TV are also necessary.

A multifaceted approach is required because neither guns nor humans exist in a vacuum. A relationship exists between a human and a gun, much the way it exists between a human and a car, said Don Ihde, distinguished professor of philosophy at Stony Brook University. Ihde explained that humans plus technology, and the range of interactions that can occur between them, determine what patterns of behavior will occur.

The article continues under the headings of Safer Guns, Educating Owners, and Raising Awareness

Here is an audio clip from her interview with Dr David Hemenway:

https://soundcloud.com/clobuono13/charlottelobuonodavidhemenwa

October 31, 2013 Posted by | Public Health, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

   

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