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Antibiotic use in livestock contributes to MRSA’s menace February 22, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Environmental Health, Global Health, Occupational Health, Prevention.
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Recently, CBS’s Katie Couric highlighted a public health problem that keeps resurfacing —the use of antibiotics in livestock to promote growth and the link to antimicrobial resistance in humans.  The well-documented two-part story focused in part on farmers who have contracted life threatening infections such as MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) by working with chickens and pigs  dosed with antibiotics which have, in turn, become breeding grounds for super drug resistant bacteria.

MRSA is one of the most common types of antimicrobial resistant bacterial infections, but there are many others such as E Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter, which are monitored by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These bacterial diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans by different types of exposures including physical contact, and in air, water, and food and are called zoonotic diseases. The report did not discuss the most common ways humans acquire MRSA, such as in hospital settings, or that a new type of MRSA called C-MRSA is increasingly being found in community settings such as athletic facilities.

According to the CBS report:

Drug resistant infections have sky-rocketed over the past two decades, killing an estimated 70,000 Americans last year alone. It’s an emerging health crisis that scientists say is caused not only by the overuse of antibiotics in humans, but in livestock as well. (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…)

Wood Chips, Pea Gravel, Rubber Mats–Playground Safety First! February 10, 2010

Posted by naj24 in Environmental Health, Prevention.
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Did you ever play hide-and-go-seek in your neighborhood playground?  I sure did.  I also remember the merry-go-round that I used to give my cousins fun rides on by spinning them continuously.  I remember climbing the jungle gym, and showing off that I could jump off of it because it was so high. Of course at that age it didn’t occur to me that any serious accidents could come from public playground equipment.  Recently, I looked over the public playground safety checklist offered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), just to see if I was playing in a safe enough environment.  (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…)

Impulsive and Addicted-The challenges of addressing teen texting while driving February 5, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Health Communications & Marketing, Mental Health, Prevention, Social Marketing.

As I drove home one night this week my cell phone rang and I reached over and hastily struggled through my purse to see who was texting me.   When I saw the text message from a friend with some exciting news, I felt a rush. Then the traffic light turned red and I considered texting a quick “Woo Hoo,”  trying to figure out if the timing would work and I wouldn’t be honked at by the cars behind me.  I decided to wait until I was out of heavy traffic to pull over and text her back. But I found it odd that, after about a minute, the urge passed and I realized I could wait another half hour until I got home.

Looking back at that one minute experience, it seems I could almost feel those proverbial twins of conscience as they pulled me to and fro. I like to think that my age and experience gave me a slight edge in resisting the impulse, but what about younger drivers?  A Washington Post article provides recent statistics showing that texting is now responsible for increasing numbers of teenage driving deaths. They also have a link to a graphic video of the horrible consequences of this common activity.


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

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Healthcare, Mental Health, Prevention.

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…)

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, has it come to an end? February 4, 2010

Posted by Ashraf Faden in Health Communications & Marketing, Healthcare, Prevention.

The title summarizes the unnecessary dilemma that many parents have gone through when it came to making the decision on whether to give their children the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine or not.  More than a decade ago, a study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield was published in the Lancet and suggested a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).  Unfortunately, many parents became confused and uncertain when their children’s health risks and benefits were on the table regarding the MMR vaccine.  The proper approach for those parents was to vaccinate their children against these dangerous diseases, which some of them might become deadly, because many studies have shown the safety of the vaccine despite what Dr. Wakefield suggested in his study.

Fortunately, this dilemma might be coming to an end! (more…)

Vehicle deaths major killer in Saudi Arabia! February 2, 2010

Posted by Ashraf Faden in Environmental Health, Global Health, Health Communications & Marketing, Prevention.

According to the Traffic division of the Ministry of Interior in Riyadh, the average annual economic loss related to traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia is estimated at 21 billion Saudi riyals.  That is equivalent to $5.6 billion dollars a year.  In addition, Muhammad Humaidan reported in the Arab News newspaper in an article about traffic accidents in Saudi on December 14, 2009:

The number of people killed in traffic accidents in Saudi roads has risen almost 10 percent to just over 7,000 in the past year, according to Dr. Khaled Al-Eisa, supervisor general of King Abdul Aziz Hospital in south Jeddah. This figure works out at 19.1 death every day and makes the Kingdom’s roads some of the most dangerous in the world.

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in males 16 to 36 years as stated in a briefing on the Country Cooperation Strategy for the World Health Organization (WHO) and Saudi Arabia.  Furthermore, according to the Mortality Fact Sheet of 2006 by WHO, road traffic accidents are the fifth leading cause of death in Saudi Arabia.

Yet, car safety is not exactly strongly enforced in Saudi.

Read more by clicking.. (more…)

Why do you run? January 29, 2010

Posted by Renee in Blogging, Health Communications & Marketing, Prevention, Wellness.

Why do I run? I get asked this all the time.  There are lots of different reasons I run and I’m never really sure how to answer the question, but I started out running for me.  Not in a selfish way, but in a survival sort of way.  It is “me” time, it is my way of coping with life.  I am almost always in a better mood when I get back from a run.  When I run I am just alone in my head, whether I am with a group or running by myself.  Sometimes I clear my head and other times I think about anything and everything.  And I love to be outside, the fresh air is amazing and running makes it so I spend time outside all year round.  Also, I’m actually convinced the treadmill is a torture device.  I know that physical activity is good for me and all of my running has definitely made me healthier, but that was never my big motivator.  Now that’s just me.  There are a lot of people out there who run for a greater purpose, run for a cause.

Take for example, Sarah Stanley, a local DC runner, who released her 2010 project Run Ride Inspire on Friday January 22, 2010.  She has decided to run or ride (or a combination of the two) 50 miles in all 50 states during a five-month period to raise awareness for childhood obesity and the nonprofit Fitness Forward, based in San Francisco, CA.  According to Sarah’s website, Run Ride Inspire, her challenge will begin on March 8, 2010 in California and end sometime in August back in DC.

Keep reading to learn more about the staggering childhood obesity statistics that inspire Sarah’s Run Ride Inspire project: (more…)

Go ahead, get some sun! January 28, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Health Communications & Marketing, Mental Health, Prevention.

During the past few decades health officials have waged a campaign urging us to avoid excessive sun exposure in order to prevent skin cancer. We’ve been told to slather on the sunscreen– the higher the SPF, the better– and stay indoors during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest. Statistics have shown increasing rates of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.  While it makes sense to prevent skin cancer, the advice to avoid the sun may have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction and created a new problem. (more…)