Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Report] Lifetime Job Demands, Work Capacity at Older Ages, and Social Security Benefit Claiming Decisions

From the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College  

We use Health and Retirement Study data linked to the Department of Labor’s O*Net classification system to examine the relationship between lifetime exposure to occupational demands and retirement behavior. We consistently found that both non-routine cognitive analytic and non-routine physical demands were associated with worse health, earlier labor force exit, and increased use of Social Security Disability Insurance. The growing share of workers in jobs with high levels of cognitive demand may contribute to growth in DI use.

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Brace Yourself: Study Finds People Can Use Different Strategies to Prepare for Stress

From the 18 February 2015 University of North Carolina press release

A pilot study from North Carolina State University finds that people are not consistent in how they prepare mentally to deal with arguments and other stressors, with each individual displaying a variety of coping behaviors. In addition, the study found that the coping strategies people used could affect them the following day.

The findings stem from a pilot study of older adults, which is the first to track the day-to-day coping behaviors people use in advance of stressful events.

“This finding tells us, for the first time, that these behaviors are dynamic,” says Dr. Shevaun Neupert, lead author of a paper describing the study and an associate professor of psychology at NC State. “This highlights a whole new area for researching the psychology of daily health and well-being.

“And these are behaviors that can be taught,” Neupert adds. “The more we understand what’s really going on, the better we’ll be able to help people deal effectively with the stressors that come up in their lives.”

“The findings tell us that one person may use multiple coping mechanisms over time – something that’s pretty exciting since we didn’t know this before,” Neupert says. “But we also learned that what you do on Monday really makes a difference for how you feel on Tuesday.”

Some anticipatory coping behaviors, particularly outcome fantasy and stagnant deliberation, were associated with people being in worse moods and reporting more physical health problems the following day. Stagnant deliberation is when someone tries, unsuccessfully, to solve a problem. Outcome fantasy is when someone wishes that problem would effectively solve itself.

However, stagnant deliberation was also associated with one positive outcome. Namely, stagnant deliberation the day before an argument was correlated with fewer memory failures after the argument.

The researchers also looked at plan rehearsal and problem analysis as anticipatory coping strategies. Plan rehearsal involves mentally envisioning the steps needed to solve the potential problem, and problem analysis is actively thinking about the source and meaning of a future problem. The researchers found that the use of these strategies changed from day to day, but the changes in these strategies were not related to well-being the next day. They were also not related to the way that people responded to arguments the next day.

“This was a pilot study, so we don’t want to get carried away,” Neupert says. “But these findings are very intriguing. They raise a lot of questions, and we’re hoping to follow up with a much larger study.”

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment


From the Insurance Information Institute

(another table on accident risks at the above link)


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for nearly 600,000 fatalities in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Influenza and pneumonia ranked ninth in 2010, accounting for some 50,000 fatalities. However, pandemic influenza viruses have the potential to be far more deadly. An estimated 675,000 Americans died during the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, the deadliest and most infectious known influenza strain to date.


Age-adjusted death rate (1)
Cause of death Number of deaths, 2011 2010 2011 (2) Percent change
Heart disease 596,339 179.1 173.7 -3.0%
Malignant neoplasms (tumors) 575,313 172.8 168.6 -2.4
Chronic lower respiratory diseases 143,382 42.2 42.7 1.2
Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) 128,931 39.1 37.9 -3.1
Accidents (unintentional injuries) 122,777 38.0 38.0 (3)
Alzheimer’s disease 84,691 25.1 24.6 -2.0
Diabetes 73,282 20.8 21.5 3.4
Influenza and pneunonia 53,667 15.1 15.7 4.0
Kidney disease 45,731 15.3 13.4 -12.4
Intentional self-harm (suicide) 38,285 12.1 12.0 -0.8
Septicemia 35,539 10.6 10.5 -0.9
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 33,539 9.4 9.7 3.2
Hypertension (4) 27,477 8.0 8.0 (3)
Parkinson’s disease 23,107 6.8 7.0 2.9
Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids 18,090 5.1 5.3 3.9
All other causes 512,723 NA NA NA
Total deaths 2,512,873 747.0 740.6 -0.9%

(1) Per 100,000 population; factors out differences based on age.
(2) Preliminary.
(3) Less than 0.1 percent.
(4) Essential (primary) hypertension and hypertensive renal disease.

NA=Not applicable.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics.

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Additional Resource
Health Statistics Resources (


February 19, 2015 Posted by | Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

[Press release] New possibilities for curing cancer

From the 17 February 2015 Concordia University press release

A Concordia study has unveiled the massive potential of a natural chemical
Lithocholic acid, a bile acid produced in the liver, is particularly effective in killing cancer cells.
Lithocholic acid, a bile acid produced in the liver, is particularly effective in killing cancer cells.

Montreal, February 17, 2015 — Where can you find the next important weapon in the fight against cancer? Just do a little navel-gazing. New research from Concordia confirms that a tool for keeping the most common forms of cancer at bay could be in your gut.

In a report published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vladimir Titorenko, a professor of biology at Concordia, and his colleagues show that lithocholic acid, a bile acid produced in the liver, is particularly effective in killing cancer cells.

For the study, the research team tested thousands of chemicals found in the body with the help of a robot and discovered more than 20 that could delay the aging process, something inevitably linked to cancer.

Most effective was lithocholic acid. When entering a cancer cell, the acid goes to “energy factories” called mitochondria and then sends molecular signals that lead to the cells’ demise.

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

50 Shades of Normalization Part Two: the Cinema & Marketing to Teens

Lady Diction

In the winter of 1986 when I was just sixteen years old, I viewed Nine 1/2 Weeks (Directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke) at a local movie theater.  I was on a date with a boy I only liked platonically, which I’d have to explain later in the car, and was fascinated by the power dynamics and BDSM in the movie. The film, based on Elizabeth McNeill’s non-fiction book, Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair, explores the brief sexual relationship between characters Elizabeth and John. I still vividly recall images from the movie: Kim’s bowler hat, the refrigerator and milk scene, the watch scene, and Kim Basinger crawling across the floor for money.

Were these healthy images for a sixteen year old girl to see? Perhaps not. At the time, I thought the relationship was romantic and cried when the couple…

View original post 839 more words

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


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