Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Could Cutting Urban Blight Reduce Teen Murders? [news release]

From the 7 March 2016 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia news release

Analyzing the immediate neighborhood surroundings of teenaged homicide victims, Philadelphia researchers found that neglected conditions — vacant lots, poor street lighting, fewer parks and less-traveled thoroughfares — were in much greater abundance compared to neighborhoods where adolescents were safer. Without attributing cause and effect, the new study adds to previous research suggesting that modifying specific outdoor features with low-cost improvements may foster community interaction and potentially reduce youth violence in cities.

2565207319_ccf343e244_b

https://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/2565207319 Garry Knight Homeless In Clink Street
A couple walk past a young homeless man in London’s Clink Street.

“Homicide is a leading cause of death in U.S. adolescents and young adults, especially among African Americans, but the factors influencing violence are complex,” said corresponding author Alison J. Culyba, MD, MPH, an adolescent medicine specialist and epidemiologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “Large-scale violence-prevention programs addressing poverty and educational disparities are absolutely necessary, but may require long-term investment to yield results. We focused on a different level — modifiable features of the built environment that might be factors in violence risk.”

Culyba and her CHOP co-authors collaborated with researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, led by epidemiologist Charles C. Branas, PhD, the senior author and director of the Penn Injury Science Center.

The study appeared today in JAMA Pediatrics.

“One theory that resonated with a lot of the things we found points to the importance of busy streets in promoting outdoor activity, interaction and cohesion in communities, which could potentially deter street violence,” said Branas, who has led several previous studies suggesting that urban parks and greening vacant lots encourage people to become invested in maintaining their neighborhoods and may reduce violent crime.

Both Culyba and Branas stress that this study does not show that street features and other elements cause or reduce homicide. Rather, they say, street lighting, pedestrian infrastructure, public transit, parks and vacant lot greening may be promising targets for future research to discover whether such interventions may provide social and health benefits.

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March 8, 2016 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Study tracks 30 years of Newark murders as ‘infectious disease’

Related article

New Jersey city copes with grinding reality of killing (National Catholic Reporter)

Two sentences really stood out…
“they realized that they had to replace a fundamental and often-asked question, “Why did you do that?” with another, “What happened to you?””
“Putthoff said that behavior that has protected the youth amid the effects of poverty and abuse — the knowledge of friends and families killed, mothers beaten and the constant threats of homelessness and hunger — doesn’t work in other surroundings.”

AVC Triad

Homicides in Newark have spread through the city over the past 30 years like an infectious disease and can be tracked and treated like a public health issue with prevention, inoculation and treatment, according to a study by Michigan State University.

1180 Raymond Blvd., Newark, NJ

The study, among the first to track murder through the lens of medical research, is part of a widening trend among local leaders and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to treat violent crime like a medical condition.

Newark native Jesenia Pizarro and April Zeolis, professors of criminal justice at Michigan State, analyzed the 2,366 homicides that occurred in Newark between 1982 to 2008 and tracked how and where they spread throughout the city.

Their report, titled “Homicide as Infectious Disease,” said the clusters originated in the Central Ward and moved south and west. Like other diseases, homicide clusters have a source, a mode of transmission and…

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January 2, 2013 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Higher Minimum Legal Drinking Ages Linked To Lower Rates Of Suicides And Homicides Later In Life

Drinking age by country

Drinking Age By Country

From the 17 November 2011 Medical News Today article

Prior to the 1984 passage of a uniform drinking-age limit of 21 years in the U.S., many states permitted the legal purchase of alcohol at age 18. These lower drinking ages have been associated with several adverse outcomes such as higher rates of suicide and homicide among youth. A new study of individuals who were legally permitted to drink before the age of 21 has found they remain at elevated risk for suicide and homicide as adults, particularly women born after 1960.

Results will be published in the February 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“After prohibition, most states had a drinking age of 21,” explained Richard A. Grucza, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine, and corresponding author for the study. “In the late 1960s and early 1970s, as voting rights were extended to people as young as 18, and people of that age were also being drafted to serve in Viet Nam, a lot of states lowered their drinking ages. But by the late 1970s, we saw spikes in DUI-related deaths among young people and states began to revert to a drinking age of 21. The 1984 federal act was really just a completion of change that was already underway.” …..

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November 17, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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