Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News release] How to get smarter on pills for senior

From the ScienceDaily article

Date:March 23, 2015
Source:Thomas Jefferson University
Summary:Cancer patients over the age of 65 often take multiple drugs, which can interfere with cancer treatment. A new study shows that currently used tools to prevent over-medicating senior cancer patients need improvement.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | health care | | Leave a comment

[Book Review] ‘On Becoming a Teen Mom’ examines life events that lead to teen pregnancy

“The researchers found that many of the youngest teen mothers didn’t want to have sex with the fathers, but did anyway because they did not know how or didn’t feel they could say “no.” ”

The above sentence really gave me pause. I always felt I could say no, and did. And was respected for it.
Granted I was raised in a stable home and was told I was going to college at age 5 (OK, exaggerating a bit!). Although the boys in grade school had roles we girls didn’t at Catholic school in the 60’s (altar servers, crossing guards), I never felt inferior to them, deep down.  If circumstances were different…wondering how I would have faced challenges in many areas…

From the 24 March 2015 EurkAlert!

If Diane could reverse time, she never would have slammed the door–an act of teen frustration and ongoing family conflict that finally got her kicked out of her mother’s house.

Thus began a cascade of events that, a few years later, led to her pregnancy at age 19.

Diane is one of 108 teenage moms interviewed about their lives and pregnancies in On Becoming a Teen Mom: Life Before Pregnancy (University of California Press, 2015), a new book by Case Western Reserve University sociologists Mary Patrice Erdmans and Timothy Black that focuses on life events resulting in teen motherhood, revealing some realities behind the statistics.

The general perception is that teen pregnancy is a social problem, like drug addiction and crime, and that it is on the rise, said Erdmans, associate professor of sociology.

In fact, the number of births to teen moms has dropped 44 percent between 1991 and 2010, and down another 10 percent in 2012-13 from the previous year (the most recent reporting years) for moms age 15 to 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Erdmans and Black, also an associate professor of sociology, along with a team of interviewers, traveled throughout Connecticut over two years, collecting the life stories of first-time mothers, 108 of whom were teen moms. The mothers discussed what it was like in their families, neighborhoods and school while they were growing up. They talked about their relationships, the pregnancy and the decision to have a child.

“We now have a picture of what’s happened in these mothers’ lives before they became pregnant,” Erdmans said, “portrait that differs from general perceptions about teen pregnancy that tend to focus on the consequences of early childbearing.”

The authors address several myths about teen births:

  • Teen births are a cause of poverty. They found most teen mothers were living in poverty before they became pregnant.
  • Teen mothers will drop out of school. They found many teen mothers had dropped out or disengaged from school long before they became pregnant, while those doing well in school tended to stay and graduate.

One-fourth of the teen mothers from all socio-economic levels told stories of sexual abuse when they were young.

Others spoke of wanting to be accepted by peers, rebelling from extremely strict parents and a lack of knowledge about conception and contraceptives.

The researchers found that many of the youngest teen mothers didn’t want to have sex with the fathers, but did anyway because they did not know how or didn’t feel they could say “no.” They kept and raised their babies, even in cases where the pregnancy resulted from rape.

Their stories call attention to preventing pregnancies by improving unsafe neighborhoods, lowering high rates of urban poverty and overcoming systematic gender inequalities that rob women of their ability to say “no” at any point in a relationship, the researchers conclude.

Erdmans points out that many teen pregnancies could be prevented, beyond using birth control and abortions, by having better schools from first grade on.

Many teen moms, especially from inner cities, were unprepared for the academic and social challenges of high school. They reported getting pregnant within two years after quitting high school.

..

 

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

[News release] Are our schools damaging children’s eyes?

From the 24 March 2015 EurkAlert!

Over the last 30 years, short sight, or myopia, has become a global health problem. The most dramatic rise has been in Singapore, Taiwan, China’s cities and elsewhere in East Asia. Rates can be as high as 80-90 per cent among children leaving secondary schools in the region. As many as a fifth of them have severe myopia and so are at high risk of eye problems in later life. In Western countries rates are increasing; although not as rapidly as in East Asia.

The Myopia Mystery

Compensating for myopia using a corrective lens.

Compensating for myopia using a corrective lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cause of myopia, and the means to prevent it, are unclear despite more than 150 years of scientific research. Many theories have been put forward to explain why children’s eyesight gets worse as they go through school. Too much close work is one of the more popular ones, while heredity is another. Both have been hotly debated down the years.

Is Myopia Like Rickets?

The new study compares the history of school myopia with the bone disease rickets. During the 17th century, rickets was common among children in England and then reached epidemic levels through northern Europe and North America. In some cities, 80 per cent of children were affected. The remedy proved elusive until the 1920s, when scientists found that a lack of sunlight, resulting in vitamin D deficiency, was the cause of rickets. Myopia, like rickets, is a seasonal condition which seems to get worse in the winter. Recent research on myopia has revived an old theory from the 1890s, that school children who spend more time outdoors have lower levels of myopia. However, unlike rickets, low ambient light levels rather than low vitamin D levels seem to be the deciding factor in myopia.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

[News release] Population Could Outpace Water by Mid-Century

From the 23 March 2015 Duke University news release

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Population growth could cause global demand for water to outpace supply by mid-century if current levels of consumption continue. But it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened, a Duke University study finds.

Using a delayed-feedback mathematical model that analyzes historic data to help project future trends, the researchers identified a regularly recurring pattern of global water use in recent centuries. Periods of increased demand for water — often coinciding with population growth or other major demographic and social changes — were followed by periods of rapid innovation of new water technologies that helped end or ease any shortages.

Based on this recurring pattern, the model predicts a similar period of innovation could occur in coming decades.

“Researchers in other fields have previously used this model to predict earthquakes and other complex processes, including events like the boom and bust of the stock market during financial crises, but this is the first time it’s been applied to water use,” said Anthony Parolari, postdoctoral research associate in civil and environmental engineering at Duke, who led the new study.

“What the model shows us is that there will likely be a new phase of change in the global water supply system by the mid-21st century,” Parolari said.

“This could take the form of a gradual move toward new policies that encourage a sustainable rate of water use, or it could be a technological advancement that provides a new source of water for us to tap into. There’s a range of possibilities,” he said.

Data on global water use shows we are currently in a period of relatively stagnant growth, he said. Per-capita water use has been declining since 1980, largely due to improved efficiency measures and heightened public awareness of the importance of conserving Earth’s limited supply of freshwater. This has helped offset the impacts of recent population growth.

“But if population growth trends continue, per-capita water use will have to decline even more sharply for there to be enough water to meet demand,” he said. The world’s population is projected to surge to 9.6 billion by 2050, up from an estimated 7 billion today.

“For every new person who is born, how much more water can we supply? The model suggests we may reach a tipping point where efficiency measures are no longer sufficient and water scarcity either impacts population growth or pushes us to find new water supplies,” Parolari said.

Water recycling, and finding new and better ways to remove salt from seawater, are among the more likely technological advances that could help alleviate or avoid future water shortages, he said.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[On the light side, this seems to be going viral] What if restaurants billed like hospitals?

The article has more on this “bill”.

From the 5 March 2015 Pulse article

‘what if restaurants billed like hospitals?’ Here’s what he came up with.

hospitalreciept2

March 25, 2015 Posted by | health care | | Leave a comment

   

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