Boston.com – UN warns food prices rising in Ebola-hit countries
Food in countries hit by Ebola is getting more expensive and will become scarcer because many farmers won’t be able to access fields, a U.N. food agency warned Tuesday.
An Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,500 people, and authorities have cordoned off entire towns in an effort to halt the virus’ spread. Surrounding countries have closed land borders, many airlines have suspended flights to and from the affected countries and seaports are seeing less traffic, restricting food imports to the hardest-hit countries. Those countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — all rely on grain from abroad to feed their people, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

The Wall Street Journal – U.S. eating habits improve, except among poor, study shows
Americans’ eating habits have improved—except among the poor, evidence of a widening wealth gap when it comes to diet. Yet even among wealthier adults, food choices remain far from ideal, a 12-year study found.
On an index of healthy eating where a perfect score is 110, U.S. adults averaged just 40 points in 1999-2000, climbing steadily to 47 points in 2009-10, the study found.
Scores for low-income adults were lower than the average and barely budged during the years studied. They averaged almost four points lower than those for high-income adults at the beginning; the difference increased to more than six points in 2009-10.

The Washington Post – Medicare statement on ALS speech-generating devices
A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said last week that coverage rules relating to speech-generating devices are being reviewed but that no change or reinterpretation will reduce access for ALS patients who need them.

USA Today – Report: 21 states don’t meet emergency standards for kids
Dropping your child off at day care or seeing them onto the school bus can be difficult — but what are your plans if the unthinkable happens?
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia do not meet emergency planning standards for schools and child care providers, according to a new report from Save the Children. However, for the first time this year, more than half of states — 29 — reach the non-governmental disaster relief organization’s standards in its laws and regulations.
In an accompanying poll, Save the Children found that 69% of parents mistakenly believe their protections are in place.

The Boston Globe – E-cigarettes should be used as last resort to quit
Electronic cigarettes present a conundrum for public health officials. On the one hand, they contain fewer — or perhaps even none — of the cancer-causing substances found in tobacco products “which presents an opportunity for harm reduction if smokers use them as substitutes for cigarettes,” according to the American Heart Association in a new recommendation issued last Monday. The group recommended that doctors should counsel patients to use e-cigarettes when other smoking cessation approaches fail. On the other hand, teens who would never dream of smoking regular cigarettes have been puffing away on vaporized nicotine from e-cigarette cartridges — and some may eventually turn to regular cigarette use as a result.