Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Report] DEATH RATES FROM MAJOR CAUSES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2010-2011

From the Insurance Information Institute

(another table on accident risks at the above link)

HEALTH RISKS

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.

DEATH RATES FROM MAJOR CAUSES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2010-2011

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.

View Archived Tables

 

Additional Resource
Health Statistics Resources (jflahiff.wordpress.com)

 

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

[Reblog] Marijuana’s Clinical Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties

Marijuana’s Clinical Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties.

From the Director’s comments

Jerome Groopman, M.D., Harvard University Medical School, notes there is recent clinical evidence regarding marijuana’s health risks, benefits, tradeoffs, as well as uncertainties. Dr. Groopman, who often writes about biology, health, and medicine for lay audiences, adds the supporting evidence on all sides is important in view of current efforts to make marijuana legal for medicinal and/or recreational use across the U.S.

Currently, marijuana is available for medicinal use in 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Colorado now permits the sale of marijuana for recreational use (in small quantities). The state of Washington also will permit the sale of marijuana (or cannabis) for recreational use (also in small quantities) for the first time this spring.

Dr. Groopman, an internist, reports two systematic reviews (involving about 6,100 patients with a variety of medical conditions) suggest marijuana is useful to treat a number of diseases and conditions including: anorexia, nausea and vomiting, glaucoma, and irritable bowel disease. Marijuana also is clinically useful to treat: muscle spasticity, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, and symptoms of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

However, Dr. Groopman emphasizes there is a tradeoff of health risks versus benefits from marijuana use — similar to other medical drugs and procedures. For example, he notes current evidence suggests marijuana’s clinical risks include: decreased reaction time, reduced attention and concentration, a decline in short term memory, and an ability to assess external risks.

Dr. Groopman, who is a member of the Institute of Medicine, adds one study found marijuana impaired the performance of pilots on a flight simulator for as much as 24 hours. Similarly, Dr. Groopman notes studies on drivers suggest a strong association between cannabis and collisions. He adds research suggests drivers who use marijuana are two to seven times more likely to be responsible for accidents compared to motorists who do not use drugs or alcohol.

In addition, Dr. Groopman reports some evidence suggests a statistical association between marijuana use and the development of schizophrenia and other psychosis later in life. Dr. Groopman reports these findings are based on meta-analyses (from studies of the health records of young persons in Sweden, New Zealand, and Holland, who did and did not smoke marijuana).

Dr. Groopman explains the latter research does not suggest there is a causal link between marijuana use and psychosis’ development. Dr. Groopman, who has published five books about health and medicine, argues the state of current evidence suggests a need for more definitive research (via double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled approaches) to better assess the possible relationship between marijuana and psychosis’ development.

Moreover, Dr. Groopman notes there is some evidence that marijuana is associated with possible addiction and compulsive cravings that foster user dependence. Nevertheless, he reports other street drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, seem to retain comparatively higher risks of user addiction and dependence than marijuana.

Dr. Groopman continues the current evidence is somewhat equivocal about marijuana’s impact on pain reduction. He writes (and we quote): “While chronic pain seems amenable to amelioration by marijuana, its impact on reducing acute pain, such as after surgery, is minimal’ (end of quote).

Overall, Dr. Groopman explains if the arguments of marijuana’s critics and supporters are assessed through a clinical research perspective, some positions may not be supported by a robust evidence-base, some positions may be one-dimensional, and others might or might not be sustained. He concludes (and we quote): ‘.. as more studies are conducted on marijuana for medical or recreational uses, opponents and enthusiasts may both discover that they were neither entirely right nor entirely wrong’ (end of quote).

The essay, which includes a review of recent books about marijuana’s health risks and benefits, can be found at: nybooks.com.

Meanwhile, a website (from the National Institute on Drug Abuse) devoted to the topic whether marijuana is or is not medicine is available in the ‘related issues’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s marijuana health topic page. Some tips for parents about teen and adult marijuana use (also from the National Institute on Drug Abuse) are found in the ‘overviews’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s marijuana health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov’s marijuana health topic page also provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. Links to relevant clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the ‘clinical trials’ section. You can sign up to receive updates about marijuana and health as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.

To find MedlinePlus.gov’s marijuana topic page type ‘marijuana’ in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page. Then, click on ‘marijuana (National Library of Medicine).’ MedlinePlus.gov also has health topic pages on drug abuse and substance abuse problems.

Marijuana Small Amount

Marijuana Small Amount (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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May 10, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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