Decline in NIH funding leaves U.S. science industry in peril; National Underage Drinking Prevention Day; getting outside could prevent allergies; and why the Affordable Care Act helps the economy, according to a California study. Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, Monday, May 21, 2012.

United for Medical ResearchNew report: Declining NIH investment threatens U.S. global competitiveness
A new report released this morning shows that the United States’ leadership in the global life sciences industry is under threat due to a constant dollar decline in NIH biomedical research funding and intensifying global competition from countries such as China, Germany, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In recent years, these countries have both expanded their financial support for biomedical research and enacted policies to enhance their biomedical innovation ecosystems. Download the full report, Leadership in Decline: Assessing U.S. International Competitiveness in Biomedical Research.

Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionCDC: Half of overweight teens have heart risk
Half the nation’s overweight teens have unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels that put them at risk for future heart attacks and other cardiac problems, new federal research says. And an even larger proportion of obese adolescents have such a risk, according to the alarming new numbers.

Daily IowegianNational Underage Drinking Day is May 21
Though we have made progress in the fight to reduce underage drinking, our Nation continues to suffer a range of unacceptable and costly health and social problems, including traffic fatalities, suicides, physical and sexual assaults, brain impairment, alcohol dependence, youth academic problems, and alcohol and drug poisonings. To end these heartbreaking consequences, we must act by promoting rigorous enforcement measures and effective substance abuse prevention programs. On National Underage Drinking Prevention Day, we recommit to preventing tragedy before it strikes by ensuring that our family members and friends stay safe, sober, and alcohol-free while they are under the legal drinking age.

Southern California Public RadioReport: Obama health care plan would be good for California’s economy
A newly released study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) contradicts claims that health care reform will hurt California’s economy. The report, released Sunday, suggests the federal Affordable Care Act will create tens of thousands of jobs in the Golden State — and mostly in Southern California. The 28-page report by BACEI, a public-private organization that advocates for businesses, considered each provision of the Affordable Care Act and measured its potential effect on California’s economy. The study concludes that for the year 2010, had the health care reform law been in place, it would have generated nearly 100,000 new jobs in California and it would have injected more than $4 billion into the state’s economy.

The RecordAllergy sufferers need to get outdoors more
A new study has found that Amish children living on farms have one of the lowest incidences of allergies and asthma. That farm children experience less allergies and asthma isn’t a new discovery, however. Other studies have also found that those who grow up on farms tend to be healthier in this respect. The occurrence is known as the farm effect. Some believe that a large part of this lack of allergies is due to spending time outdoors among different microbes and bacteria… allowing the body to become accustomed to and better handle environmental allergens that result in runny noses, itchy eyes, sneezing and wheezing for many.

Washington PostFather: Georgia woman who’s been battling flesh-eating bacteria is now breathing on her own
The father of a young Georgia woman fighting a flesh-eating bacteria says his daughter is now breathing on her own. Aimee Copeland was taken off of a ventilator for several hours, representing the latest milestone in her recovery, said her father, Andy Copeland. Aimee “is breathing completely on her own! How cool is that?,” her father wrote late Sunday on his blog, where he’s been providing regular updates on the 24-year-old’s condition.

USA TodayLung cancer screening guidelines updated
New lung cancer screening guidelines from three medical groups recommend annual scans but only for an older group of current or former heavy smokers. The advice applies only to those aged 55 to 74. The risks of screening younger or older smokers or nonsmokers outweigh any benefits, according to the guidelines.

FOX NewsSleep apnea can raise risk of cancer, studies indicate
Two new studies indicate that people who suffer sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing cancer. Due to be presented in San Francisco this week at an American Thoracic Society conference, the findings have been touted as “striking” by researchers, the New York Times reported. Scientists say sleep apnea — a widespread disorder suffered by 28 million Americans, which disrupts breathing and causes snoring — is linked to low blood oxygen levels. That lack of oxygen can trigger the development of tumors.