The Atlantic — New health rankings: Of 17 nations, US is dead last
We’ve known for years that Americans tend to be overweight and sedentary, and that our health care system, despite being the priciest in the world, produces some less-than-plum results. Health nerds who closely follow the news may even have known that we live shorter lives than people in other rich nations, and that infants in the U.S. die from various causes at far higher rates. But a fresh report, out Wednesday, tapped vast stores of data to compare the health of affluent nations and delivered a worrisome new message: Americans’ health is even worse than we thought, ranking below 16 other developed nations. “The news is that this is across the lifespan, and regardless of income,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, who was not an author of the study. “A lot of people thought it was underserved populations that were driving the statistics — the poor, the uninsured. They still are a big part of our challenge, but the fact that even if you’re fairly well-to-do you still have these problems shatters that myth.”
NBC News — Parents have power to prevent teen binge drinking
Parents of teen girls got alarming news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week in a new report that showed that 1 in 3 high school girls reports drinking alcohol, 1 in 5 reports binge drinking, and 27 percent of high school senior girls say they’ve indulged in bingeing behavior. However, amid all the somber statistics there’s some good news, especially for parents who want to protect their teens from the hazards of excessive alcohol consumption. Experts say that parents play a pivotal role in controlling teen binge drinking, and they can do a lot to prevent teens from engaging in this risky behavior. Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks during a two- to three-hour period. It’s a problem for all teens, but especially for girls because they process alcohol differently from males, and they tend to be smaller than the boys. Female drinkers are more susceptible to both the long- and short-term effects of bingeing — problems like heart and liver disease, cancer, and stroke risk, as well as unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. According to the CDC, binge drinking causes more than half of the estimated 23,000 excessive alcohol-related fatalities among women and girls in the US every year.
CBS News — Sleep doctor on sleep aid morning after: “Like driving drunk”
The FDA released new dosing guidelines for Ambien and other popular sleep aids containing zolpidem, the active ingredient in many sleep medications. The government agency will now require the recommended dose for women to be cut in half, from ten milligrams to five milligrams, and suggests that doctors consider doing the same for men. New studies indicate that women metabolize the drug differently and the drug stays in their system longer. Patients can face a higher risk of injury due to morning drowsiness. An estimated 40 million Americans regularly use prescription sleep aids.
Tampa Bay Business Journal — Flu outbreak could have economic impact
The current flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in a decade and the runny noses and aching heads are having an economic impact nationwide. Seasonal flu outbreaks typically cost U.S. employers $10.4 billion in direct costs associated with care, NBC News said. The indirect costs, which include missed work and decreased productivity, are much greater.
Radiology – Comparison of Digital Mammography Alone and Digital Mammography Plus Tomosynthesis in a Population-based Screening Program
A new landmark study that finds using 3D mammography screening significantly increases the detection of invasive breast cancers by 40 percent. Published in the journal Radiology, the study is the first peer-reviewed research comparing 3D mammography technology* with traditional 2D mammography.
Kaiser Health News — A guide to health insurance exchanges
It seems like a simple idea: create new marketplaces, called exchanges, where consumers can comparison shop for health insurance, sort of like shopping online for a hotel room or airline ticket. But, like almost everything else connected with the health law, state-based insurance exchanges are embroiled in politics. Some Republican governors have refused to set up any exchanges. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both Republicans, say that the law gives states “little actual authority” over the exchanges even if they run them and they lack information about the alternatives. If done well, proponents say, exchanges could make it easier to buy health insurance and possibly lead to lower prices because of increased competition. But, if designed poorly, experts warn, healthy people could avoid the exchanges, leaving them to sicker people with rising premiums.