APHA’s Georges Benjamin talks public health in the New York Times; The Pulmonary Hypertention Association launches an early diagnosis campaign; and b condoms to join forces with Whole Foods. Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, Friday, June 22, 2012.
New York Times — Billions of dollars are in play over health care law
In this small city about an hour from Manhattan, pregnant teenagers, laid-off professionals and day laborers without insurance receive care at a community health center that has been part of the social fabric here for nearly four decades. Because of the sweeping federal health care law passed two years ago, the center, part of the Hudson River HealthCare network, received a $4.5 million grant last month to expand.
ABC — Study links traffic noise and heart attack risk
Ah, traffic. Whether you’re sitting in it, walking near it or breathing in fumes from it, traffic seems to be bad for our health in a lot of ways. Today, researchers in Denmark are reporting on another link between gridlock and health — traffic noise may raise the risk of a heart attack. The researchers found that people who lived with higher levels of traffic noise around their homes had a higher risk. For every 10-decibel increase of noise, the risk of a first heart attack went up by 12 percent. Although previous studies have found some association between traffic noise and heart health, Dr. Mette Sorensen, the study’s lead author, said she was surprised that this study showed such a specific relationship between noise levels and increased heart attack risk.
Pulmonary Hypertension Association — Early diagnosis campaign launched for pulmonary hypertension
Despite rapid progress in treatment for pulmonary hypertension (PH), an incurable lung disease, repeated misdiagnosis causes many patients to receive care only at advanced stages of the illness. In response, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association today launched an early diagnosis campaign to educate healthcare professionals to spot this disease and to refer patients earlier to specialty PH care. The campaign’s website, www.SometimesItsPH.org, presents evidence of the need for early diagnosis, educates professionals and patients about pulmonary hypertension and provides news of the campaign. It also features a 1-minute video about early diagnosis.
Kaiser Health News — ‘Rest of the country should take a good look at the situation in Texas’
Last year, Luis Duran drove almost 200 miles to San Antonio to have a colonoscopy because he didn’t want to wait six months for an opening at a county clinic. A few days later, the doctor in San Antonio – a friend of a friend who had performed the screening for free – called to break the news that Duran, 51, had advanced colon cancer and needed immediate surgery. “I kind of broke down,” recalled Duran, a machine operator whose employer had terminated his health policy. “I said, ‘Doctor, I don’t have insurance, and I don’t have much money, but I won’t refuse to pay. Please help me.'”
Psych Central — Eating disorders don’t discriminate based on age
Although the term “eating disorder” is traditionally associated with behaviors of teenagers and young adults, new research suggests it also pertains to middle-age and older women. Researchers say age is not a barrier to eating disorders, as behaviors such as binge eating and purging occur among women aged 50 and over. Cynthia Bulik, Director of the University of North Carolina Eating Disorders Program, surveyed 1,849 women from across the U.S. She discovered that among women aged 50 and over that 3.5 percent report binge eating, nearly 8 percent report purging, and more than 70 percent are trying to lose weight.
TIME — Study: how soda companies’ social responsibility campaigns are harming your health
In the battle against obesity, public health experts and politicians have recently made sugary soda Public Enemy No. 1. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a citywide ban on all large-sized sugared beverages, and other community leaders are following suit.The soda industry has fought back, arguing that soda is not exclusively to blame for America’s obesity problem, and that soft drinks have been unfairly singled out. “Consumption of added sugars is going down,” Karen Hanretty, vice president of public affairs for the American Beverage Association (ABA), told CNN in April. “Soda consumption has declined, even as obesity has increased. To say that sugar is solely responsible for obesity, doesn’t make sense.”
Wall Street Journal — New bird flu study shows virus’ pandemic potential
In a new experiment showing how the virus that causes bird flu might spark a human pandemic, scientists induced five genetic changes in the bug, transforming it into a type capable of airborne transmission between mammals. The findings signal how the virus, which has killed nearly 60% of about 600 people known to have been infected in more than a dozen countries since 2003, could pose a much greater public-health risk in the future. Two of the mutations the scientists created already circulate in birds and people, and natural evolution could bring about the remaining three, researchers said.
Medical News Today — Apple peel compound protects mice from obesity
A new study in mice finds that ursolic acid, a compound naturally present in apple peel, partially protected the animals against obesity and some of its harmful effects such as pre-diabetes and fatty liver disease. Lead researcher Christopher Adams, of the University of Iowa (UI) in the United States, and colleagues, said although they found ursolic acid increased skeletal muscle and brown fat in the mice, which in turn led to increased calorie burning, they didn’t investigate the underlying biology, and so can’t say if the same would happen in humans. The team writes about the findings in a paper published online in PLoS ONE on 20 June.
Daily Markets — b condoms and Whole Foods Market partner to support community health in honor of National HIV/AIDS Testing Day
b condoms and Whole Foods Market North Atlantic region, today announced that they are teaming up to support local public health non-profits at 28 Whole Foods Market locations across Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and northern Connecticut, in honor of National HIV/AIDS Testing Day. From June 27, 2012, National HIV/AIDS Testing Day until Labor Day, b condoms will donate 50 condoms to select non-profits for each box of b condoms sold at Whole Foods Market locations.