Hepatitis C outbreak attributed to employee drug misuse; Justice Scalia brings broccoli into Supreme Court healthcare debate; comparative study shows big difference in stress levels over time; and doctors admit to unprofessional behavior in hospitals. These stories and more topping public health headlines today, June 14, 2012.
New York Times – How Broccoli Landed on Supreme Court Menu
Broccoli, of all things, came up in the Supreme Court during arguments over the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s health care legislation. If Congress can require Americans to buy health insurance, Justice Antonin Scalia, could it force people to buy just about anything — including a green vegetable that many find distasteful? Even those who reject the broccoli argument appreciate its simplicity. Whatever the Supreme Court rules, Mr. Rivkin and his libertarian allies have turned the decision into a cliffhanger that few thought possible.
CNN News – 10,000 germ species live in, on healthy people
Scientists have long known that the human body coexists with trillions of individual germs, what they call the microbiome. Until now, they’ve mostly studied those that cause disease. But no one knew all the types of microbes that live in healthy people or where, and what they do. Our bodies are thought to be home to about 10 bacterial cells for every human cell, but they’re so small that together microbes make up about 1 percent to 3 percent of someone’s body mass, explained Dr. Eric Green, director of NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute. That means a 200-pound person could harbor as much as 6 pounds of bacteria. There are about 22,000 human genes. But the microbes add to our bodies the power of many, many more — about 8 million genes, the new project estimated.
Fox News – Employee drug misuse probable cause of hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire lab
An employee misusing drugs is the most likely cause of an outbreak of hepatitis C among patients who were treated at the Exeter Hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, New Hampshire’s public health director said Wednesday. Dr. Jose Montero would not comment on the specific employee suspected of causing the outbreak or say whether law enforcement is involved, but he said drug diversion generally involves someone using a syringe to inject themselves with medication meant for patients and then re-using the syringe on patients.
Kaiser Health News – Doctors Admit To Unprofessional Behavior In Study At 3 Chicago Hospitals
Working in a real hospital isn’t usually as dramatic as is portrayed in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy or House, MD, but a new study has identified unprofessional behaviors to which hospital-based doctors most frequently admit, including badmouthing fellow doctors and finding medical excuses to get out of having to care for patients.
Science Blog – Learning about spatial relationships boosts understanding of numbers
Children who are skilled in understanding how shapes fit together to make recognizable objects also have an advantage when it comes to learning the number line and solving math problems, research at the University of Chicago shows.
Philly.com – The forward-thinking, life-saving Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Getting booze in Pennsylvania is a hassle. Most states don’t operate this way but Pennsylvania has since 1933, when the heavy-handed, state-run system was established to suppress alcohol consumption in the wake of the 21st Amendment and prohibition reform. Irksome as the current system is, and illogical as it may seem, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control (aka “state stores”) might be a public health blessing in disguise—something that state lawmakers should consider as they contemplate the recent by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) to privatize and revamp the state’s alcohol control system.
Kaiser Health News – Team USA Goes For The Gold – And For Electronic Records
The U.S. Olympic Committee is digitizing health records this month for the athletes who will be competing in London, as well as for about 3,000 other athletes who have been seen by USOC doctors in recent years. Some say this step is a sign that electronic medical records have made it to the big time.
USA Today – Fatherhood could alter men’s behavior
While many studies in the past decade have shown that a father’s involvement can improve a child’s well being, newer research finds that becoming a father affects the men, too. New fathers exhibit hormonal changes and, in turn, alter their behavior, which suggests that having children influences men in far-reaching ways. We’re finding that (fatherhood) does have mental health, well-being and actual physical health benefits,” says David DeGarmo, a research scientist at the non-profit Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene.
USA Today – Stress levels increased since 1983, new analysis shows
You may have felt it, but now a scientific analysis of stress over time offers some proof that there’s more stress in people’s lives today than 25 years ago. Stress increased 18% for women and 24% for men from 1983 to 2009, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who analyzed data from more than 6,300 people. It’s considered the first-ever historical comparison of stress levels across the USA.