Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Why Do More People Die During Economic Expansions?

St Annes Nursing Home

St Annes Nursing Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the April 2012 brief at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

  • When economic times are good, deaths in the United States increase.
  • Previous research suggests that a likely culprit is poorer health habits tied to greater job demands.
  • However, the increase in mortality is largely driven by deaths among elderly women in nursing homes.
  • These nursing home deaths may reflect increased shortages of caregivers during economic expansions.

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Public Health, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Impact Of Socioeconomic Factors On The Racial Gap In Life Expectancy

While I believe there that there is no simple cause-effect explanation for life expectancy, there are striking correlations (as income levels) that need to be addressed to promote justice for all of us…

From the 11 April 2011 article at Medical News Today

Differences in factors such as income, education and marital status could contribute overwhelmingly to the gap in life expectancy between blacks and whites in the United States, according to one of the first studies to put a number on how much of the divide can be attributed to disparities in socioeconomic characteristics.

A Princeton University study recently published in the journal Demography reveals that socioeconomic differences can account for 80 percent of the life-expectancy divide between black and white men, and for 70 percent of the imbalance between black and white women.

Numerous existing studies on the topic have found that mortality differences are associated with certain socioeconomic disparities, but have not determined to what extent the life expectancy gap can be explained by such contrasts, noted author Michael Geruso, a doctoral student in Princeton’s Department of Economics. …

 

April 11, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Income Disparity Makes People Unhappy

From the 13 June 2011 Medical News Today article

Many economists and sociologists have warned of the social dangers of a wide gap between the richest and everyone else. Now, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, adds a psychological reason to narrow the disparity – it makes people unhappy.

Over the last 40 years, “we’ve seen that people seem to be happier when there is more equality,” says University of Virginia psychologist Shigehiro Oishi, who conducted the study with Virginia colleague Selin Kesebir and Ed Diener of the University of Illinois. “Income disparity has grown a lot in the U.S., especially since the 1980s. With that, we’ve seen a marked drop in life satisfaction and happiness.” The findings hold true for about 60 percent of Americans-people in the lower and moderate income brackets. …

…The conclusions: That grim mood cannot be attributed to thinner pocketbooks during periods of greater inequality-though those pocketbooks were thinner. Rather, the gap between people’s own fortunes and those of people who are better off is correlated with feelings that other people are less fair and less trustworthy, and this results in a diminished sense of wellbeing in general.

June 14, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

Bloomberg News Launches Consumer Comfort Index

Bloomberg News Launches Consumer Comfort Index

From the February 15, 2011 news release

NEW YORK — Bloomberg News announced today the launch of the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, [latest table here] a weekly, random-sample survey tracking Americans’ views on the condition of the U.S. economy, their personal finances and the buying climate. The survey, formerly sponsored by ABC News since 1985, will be released on a weekly basis beginning Thursday, February 17 at 9:45am ET on the Bloomberg Professional service and subsequently on Bloomberg.com.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is produced by Langer Research Associates of New York. Each release includes results among 1,000 randomly selected adults, with breakdowns available by age, race, sex, education, political affiliation and other groups. The Index has significant long-term correlations, including on a time-lagged basis, with a variety of key economic indicators.

In addition to its three measures of current sentiment, the Consumer Comfort data include a monthly gauge of economic expectations, based on the share of Americans who say the economy is getting better, getting worse or staying the same. The first expectations results will be included in this week’s release.

“The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is a natural extension of Bloomberg’s continued commitment to the most comprehensive reporting of the U.S. economy,” said Matthew Winkler, Editor-in- Chief of Bloomberg News.

“The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index provides a rich, ongoing source of intelligence on Americans’ views of economic conditions,” said Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates. “We’ve tracked these attitudes in representative, national surveys on a weekly basis continuously for 25 years. Combining that expertise with Bloomberg’s depth in financial data and news reporting is ideal for Bloomberg’s news and data clientele.”

About Bloomberg Bloomberg is the world’s most trusted source of information for financial professionals and businesses. Bloomberg combines innovative technology with unmatched analytics, data, news, and display and distribution capabilities, to deliver critical information via the Bloomberg Professional service and multimedia platforms. Bloomberg’s media properties span television, radio, digital and print, making up one of the world’s largest news organizations with more than 2,300 news and multimedia professionals at 146 bureaus in 72 countries.

About Langer Research Associates Langer Research is a custom research firm specializing in survey design, management and analysis. Based in New York, Langer Research is the primary news polling provider for ABC News and produces in-depth surveys and data analysis for other media, foundation, business and government clients. Field work services for the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index are provided by SSRS/Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa.

Editor’s note: While this index is an economic indicator, it seems very likely that one’s views on the economic climate and personal finances will influence health related decisions (as purchasing preventative and needed medicines, healthier but higher priced foods, and more).

February 22, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

Most New Jersey residents see global health as critical to state’s economy

Most New Jersey residents see global health as critical to state’s economy
R&D a key to creating jobs, improving health, building public-private partnerships

From the February 15, 2011 Eureka news alert

WASHINGTON—February 16, 2011—Despite the unpredictable economy, nearly three-quarters (73%) of New Jersey residents think spending money on research to improve health globally is important to jobs and incomes in the state, according to a new statewide poll commissioned by Research!America. The poll data will be released today at a meeting in Washington, DC, of prominent global health research and development (R&D) experts and New Jersey business, academia and nonprofit leaders. This is part of a six-state effort by Research!America.

According to the poll, most of the New Jersey population (94%) thinks it is important for their state to be a leader in health R&D, and in fact, the state is currently third in the country for total investment in this area. New Jersey is home to 17 of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceuticals, medical technology and diagnostic companies. These companies contributed nearly $30 billion to the state’s economy and accounted for more than 55,000 New Jersey jobs in medicine, research, public health and education in 2009 alone. They also are providing solutions for some of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and dengue fever.

Former Congressman and Research!America Chair John Edward Porter said, “Global health research is one of New Jersey’s best investments, in which the state’s private sector plays a leading role. On the other hand, New Jersey is ranked 11th in population but is 18th in peer-reviewed federal research grants, which provide the basis on which private industry builds much of its applied research and its products. This is a growth opportunity for New Jersey. I urge the state’s leaders to further strengthen their commitment to global health R&D in New Jersey.”

Porter added, “Working to treat and prevent disease around the world not only fuels our economy and creates jobs here, but also allows some of the world’s best minds to come together here to enrich our science and our society and to improve health everywhere.”

One of the most successful approaches to moving global health R&D forward has been public-private partnerships—which often consist of joint endeavors between technology or pharmaceutical companies, universities and nonprofits. They can yield groundbreaking results.

Case in point: Research led By David Alland, MD, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)—together with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the manufacturing company Cepheid—spawned a new diagnostic test that tells whether a person has tuberculosis and whether it is a drug-resistant strain of the deadly disease in under two hours. Current tests, in use for over a century, can take up to three months. This new rapid TB test has been endorsed by the World Health Organization and is expected to revolutionize the way TB is treated around the world.

New Jersey residents (91% according to the poll) believe these types of partnerships are important for developing new treatments and cures, and 73% think it is important for New Jersey to offer incentives for companies to invest in research to improve health globally.

“These product development partnerships have paved new paths in global health research and created new jobs and new businesses, so it is gratifying to see that they have strong public support in New Jersey. This should send a clear message to local and national policy makers about the need to make further R&D investment a top priority,” said Mary Woolley, Research!America president and CEO.

The poll also finds that:

  • 94% say infectious diseases like the flu, tuberculosis and SARS will pose some level of threat to the U.S. in the next few years, and 79% say Americans should worry about diseases like malaria, dengue fever and cholera that mostly affect poorer countries.
  • 91% of the state’s residents are concerned about drug resistance and say it is important to conduct global health research to prevent the problem worldwide.
  • 88% are concerned about U.S. troops overseas being exposed to global health diseases, and 86% say American civilians benefit from health research conducted by the U.S. military.
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To learn more about global health R&D investment in New Jersey, visit www.researchamerica.org/uploads/NewJerseyFactSheet.pdf.

 

 

 

 

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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