Facebook launches an organ donation sharing tool; new studies out today say women with a family history of breast cancer should have their first mammogram at age 40 and not be concerned about false positives associated with route screening; feeding antibiotics to livestock could promote antibiotic resistant bacteria and threaten public health. Those stories and more topping public health news today, Tuesday, May 1, 2012.
Las Vegas Sun – Parties tap student loan issue for political advantage
The bill slashed funding from the health care law’s new Prevention and Public Health Fund, defined by the American Public Health Association as a fund “to fight obesity, curb tobacco use, increase access to preventive care services, as well as to help state and local government respond to public health threats and outbreaks.” (The White House adds that most of the beneficiaries of the fund would be women.) Not surprisingly, Nevada’s lawmakers have sided according to their political affiliations.
ABC News – Organ Donation: Friends Saving Lives
Facebook is about connecting and sharing — connecting with your friends, family and communities, and sharing information with them about your life, work, school and interests. On any given day more than half a billion people share billions of stories, updates and photos. What has amazed us over the past eight years is how people use these same tools and social dynamics to address important issues and challenges in their communities. Last year in Missouri, Facebook users tracked down and returned treasured mementos to families who thought they’d lost everything in the Joplin tornado. In Japan, people used Facebook to locate family and friends following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Smaller acts of kindness happen millions of times a day on Facebook.
USAToday – Number of painkiller-addicted newborns triples in 10 years
The number of babies born addicted to the class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers has nearly tripled in the past decade, according to the first national study of its kind. About 3.4 of every 1,000 infants born in a hospital in 2009 suffered from a type of drug withdrawal commonly seen in the babies of pregnant women who abuse narcotic pain medications, the study says. It’s published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
LATimes – Pair of studies may offer clarity on mammograms
After several years of upheaval over the best way to conduct breast cancer screening, researchers are working to find clarity over when women should begin getting mammograms, how often and at what cost. A pair of new studies clears up some of the uncertainty by finding that women who have a mother or sister diagnosed with breast cancer, or those who have unusually dense breast tissue, should have their first test at age 40 and repeat the exam at least once every other year. For these women, who face at least twice the average risk of developing breast cancer in their 40s, the benefits of routine screening between the ages of 40 and 49 outweigh the risk of false alarms and unnecessary work-ups that might otherwise put them at greater risk than doing nothing, researchers report in Tuesday’s edition of Annals of Internal Medicine.
USAToday – Patients admitted for observation can face steep drug bills
Sudden chest pains landed Diane Zachor in a Duluth, Minn., hospital overnight, but weeks later she had another shock — a $442 bill for the everyday drugs she also takes at home, including more than a half dozen common medicines to control diabetes, heart problems and high cholesterol. “I just couldn’t believe some of these prices they charge,” said Zachor, 66. “It’s just atrocious.” For the price she was charged for her insulin during her 18-hour stay at St. Luke’s Hospital, Zachor would have enough to cover her out-of-pocket expenses for a three-month supply under her private Medicare Advantage plan. The tab for one water pill to control high blood pressure could buy a three-week supply. And the bill for one calcium tablet could purchase enough for three weeks, when she gets them over the counter from a national chain pharmacy.
Politico – Antibiotics in agriculture threatens public health
The Food and Drug Administration concluded in 1977 that feeding antibiotics daily to healthy livestock, chickens and hogs could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria, capable of infecting people. Instead of addressing this growing public health threat, the FDA dragged its feet for more than three decades. But a federal judge ruled in March that the agency must finally take action. The court ordered the FDA to withdraw approval for the use in animal feed of two antibiotics important for human health.
AIDS.gov – May Is Hepatitis Awareness Month
Every May, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our public health partners across the nation observe Hepatitis Awareness Month. This year, we are very pleased to be marking this observance during a time of increased awareness about and collaboration around viral hepatitis –due in large part to the work of our federal partners over the past year on the implementation of the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.