Superbug bacteria proves difficult to fight in hospitals; Prevention and Public Health Fund helps California town address high rates of cancer; and a study shows the possibility of predicting instances of high flu outbreak.  Read these public health news stories and more for Nov. 29, 2012.

USA Today – Deadly ‘superbugs’ invade U.S. health care facilities
The doctors tried one antibiotic after another, racing to stop the infection as it tore through the man’s body, but nothing worked.
In a matter of days after the middle-aged patient arrived at University of Virginia Medical Center, the stubborn bacteria in his blood had fought off even what doctors consider “drugs of last resort.”
The man died three months later, but the bacteria wasn’t done. In the months that followed, it struck again and again in the same hospital, in various forms, as doctors raced to decipher the secret to its spread.

NPR – The Hidden Costs Of Raising The Medicare Age
Whenever the discussion turns to saving money in Medicare, the idea of raising the eligibility age often comes up.
“I don’t think you can look at entitlement reform without adjusting the age for retirement,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC’s This Week last Sunday. “Let it float up another year or so over the next 30 years, adjust Medicare from 65 to 67.”
It’s hardly surprising that the idea keeps finding its way into the conversation. That same increase is already being phased in for Social Security. Even President Obama reportedlyhad the idea on the table during his informal negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner during the summer of 2011.

Forbes – Prevention Fund helps rural California county fight cancer, promote health
Before you can improve the health of a community, you need to understand its problems. So when Tuolumne, a small county in central California that includes parts of Yosemite National Park, was awarded a $237,000-a-year federal grant last year from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the first step Health Officer Todd Stolp took was to dive into existing data. The second was to gather his own.
Stolp knew there was a high incidence of cancer so he pored over numbers collected by the California Health Department. They showed that Tuolumne had the state’s highest rate of breast cancer, was near the top of the list in lung and bronchus cancers and had higher than average rates of melanoma, bladder and prostate cancer.

The Gazette – Cuts now will prove costly to health
In communities across the country, we are seeing more people change the way they care for their health by limiting tobacco use, eating healthier and becoming more physically active with the support of public health programs. Yet, these advances are being dangerously compromised by recent and pending budget cuts. The current system is a patchwork of services, programs and regulatory authorities that is not designed for optimal performance nor funded for sustainability and success. Federal, state and local health departments are being asked to do more with less. The capacity for health professionals to prevent and respond to the most pressing health challenges or simply provide basic public health and preventive services is in grave danger.

Huffington Post – In Indianapolis, green economy takes root
Once considered one of the most conservative cities in the country, and known largely for its industrial manufacturing history, Indianapolis may seem like an unlikely leader in the movement to create more vibrant, healthy, equitable communities.
In fact, the city is nurturing a promising green economy that serves as a model for the rest of the country. Today, Indianapolis is home to innovative projects that are sprouting green jobs in everything from storm water management and tourism to recycling and energy efficiency. Meanwhile, the neighborhoods hit hardest by decades of blight are creating their own solutions, building their own green businesses, and coming back stronger than ever.

Red Orbit – Study looks at possibility of flu forecasting
Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health recently revealed that they have developed a new computer model that is able to predict high points during influenza outbreaks, adapting methods seen in weather forecasting to provide real-time, web-based predictions on infections of influenza.
The findings were recently featured in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.