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Am I Statistically Insignificant? US Prevention Task Force Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines in the Media March 10, 2010

Posted by Nina Harrell in Health Communications & Marketing, Healthcare, Prevention.
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The Avon Foundation for Women recently held their National Forum in San Francisco, CA just this week.  Among 300 breast cancer outreach specialists, nurses, scientists and doctors, the room was nearly unanimous in its frustrations concerning the US Prevention Task Force recommendations, which were published at the end of 2009 concerning breast cancer screening guidelines.  Essentially, they recommended that women should begin their mammography screening at age 50 instead of the previously recommended age of 40.  Additionally, they stated that women should only obtain mammograms once every two years instead of annually.  Also of note, they said that breast self-exams were not useful and that women should no longer do them because it caused excess worry and anxiety and led to unnecessary biopsies.

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What is comparative effectiveness and why is it relevant to healthcare reform? March 4, 2010

Posted by mtaliafe in Healthcare, Uncategorized.
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We consider ourselves to be in a scientific society, right? You might be surprised to know that a lot of the science upon which medicine has been built has been conducted in silos. Researchers might investigate drugs in clinical trials, or medical devices in practice. However, the results of these studies as published are more case-based and don’t take into account the other treatment options. Essentially, they often don’t address how the new treatment compares to those already out there, or how it might be used in conjunction with other therapies. Healthcare providers sometimes lack knowledge of which therapies out of all possible treatments are the most effective ones.

The Obama Administration is proposing to spend $286 million in 2011 on comparative effectiveness research (CER) according to Carey and Appleby of the Kaiser Family Foundation. The topic of comparative effectiveness has been often picked up by the media in light of healthcare reform, since it has been identified as one tool to reduce healthcare spending. (more…)

SOS: Free the Condoms March 4, 2010

Posted by Marquita Campbell in Health Communications & Marketing, Healthcare, Prevention, Uncategorized.
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Practicing safe sex using condoms is vital to not only decreasing the new cases of HIV infection in DC but also decreasing the number of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. However, despite their effectiveness, condoms are not always accessible to the people who are most at risk such as teenagers or individuals who live in low-income neighborhoods and/or communities of color.

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Soda Tax for Obesity Prevention – has the time arrived? March 4, 2010

Posted by Sara Imershein MD in Healthcare, Prevention, Wellness.
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A federal excise “soda tax” of one-cent per ounce for sugary beverages has been proposed to lower soda consumption and associated obesity. A secondary benefit would be raising tax revenue to subsidize health care reform for low income Americans, and healthy food options for the poor through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Obesity and overweight are substantial American problems decreasing productivity and increasing the incidence of many medical problems, most noteworthy type 2 diabetes, cardiac disease, and pre-mature death. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation obesity and its medical consequences have cost the American people $100-200 Billion dollars in excess health care costs.
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Your favorite make-up: beauty product or dangerous product? March 3, 2010

Posted by Renee in Healthcare, Prevention, Wellness.
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Millions of people get up everyday and put make-up on, varying amounts and varying products, but many do not leave the house without make-up.  Now personally I have never thought of make-up as a health risk, but it makes sense.  MSNBC published an article titled Your old mascara may spoil your looks: Out-of-date make-up can be a magnet for germs.  This caught my attention.  I don’t wear a lot of make-up and don’t necessarily wear it every day, but thought this was interesting. Keep reading to find out how long you should be keeping your favorite products. (more…)

Nanotechnology-what are the implications for public health? March 1, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Environmental Health, Global Health, Healthcare, Occupational Health.
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There are lots of products showing up on the market touting “nanotechnology” on the label.  The Project on Emerging Technologies has an online nanomaterials database for consumers which reveals there are thousands of “nano” products used in the electronics, automotive, cosmetic, and food and beverage industries. But what does nanotechnology mean and what are its advantages in all these applications? Are there any risks to health and the environment? (more…)

What we know about abortion February 20, 2010

Posted by Sara Imershein MD in Healthcare.
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In 1969 the CDC began data collection on “abortion.”  The medical term abortion refers to ANY pregnancy that ends prior to viability, whether spontaneous or induced, whether a normal pregnancy or abnormal, or even a tubal pregnancy.  The CDC however, uses the political term abortion to refer to the termination of a pregnancy by a licensed, qualified health care practitioner. The Handbook on the Reporting of Induced Termination of Pregnancy, published in 1988 and updated in 1997, uses the correct alternative medical terminology induced termination of pregnancy

read on (more…)

Hypersexual Disorder February 11, 2010

Posted by Ashraf Faden in Healthcare, Mental Health, Prevention, Wellness.
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This is one of the proposed terms, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), to be considered as a mental disorder and to be included in the new completely revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is considered the bible for mental disorders.  As noted in the DSM-5 development website, the criteria for a hypersexual disorder would include:

A.    Over a period of at least six months, recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior in association with four or more of the following five criteria:
(1) A great deal of time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behavior.
(2) Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, irritability).
(3) Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to stressful life events.
(4) Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.
(5) Repetitively engaging in sexual behavior while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others.
B.    There is clinically significant personal distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning associated with the frequency and intensity of these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.
C.     These sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior are not due to the direct physiological effect of an exogenous substance (e.g., a drug of abuse or a medication).

So, what implications might this decision have on public health? (more…)

Teen Pregnancies on the Rise February 8, 2010

Posted by Renee in Healthcare, Prevention, Uncategorized, Wellness.
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A new report from the Guttmacher Institute was released January 26, 2010 with surprising data on teen pregnancy.   According to the report from the Guttmacher Institute approximately 7% of teen girls became pregnant in 2006, which is a 3% rise from 2005.  There is an issue, a problem, whatever term you want to use, but no matter what we call it: teenage girls in the United States are getting pregnant at increasing rates and something needs to change.

Keep reading to find out more about the rise in teen pregnancy. (more…)

Sleep apnea–yet another serious health condition tied to obesity February 4, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Healthcare, Mental Health, Prevention.
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Obesity is in the forefront these days as a serious public health problem. According to CDC, during 2007-2008 about one-third of US adults were considered obese which is defined as:

a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. BMI is calculated from a person’s weight and height and provides a reasonable indicator of body fatness and weight categories that may lead to health problems. Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.”

As if this weren’t enough, obesity is also linked to sleep apnea, a temporary cessation in breathing while sleeping, which deprives the brain of oxygen and causes disturbed sleep and may lead to daytime sleepiness, insomnia and mood disorders, enlarged heart and/or a heart attack or stroke. The quantitative definition of sleep apnea is  “if you stop breathing completely or take less than 25% of a normal breath for a period that lasts 10 seconds or more”.    According to the National Sleep Foundation about 18 million people have sleep apnea. (more…)