|August 26, 2019
This Week's Public Health Updates from the AMA
Study suggests “red flag” laws may play a role in efforts to prevent mass shootings
CNN (8/19, Howard) reports that preliminary research suggests the “‘urgent’ and ‘individualized’ intervention” of “extreme risk protection order laws, colloquially known as ‘red flag’ or ERPO laws,” may “play a role in efforts to prevent mass shootings.” Among “21 cases that involved someone who had or soon would have access to firearms and ‘made a clear declaration of intent to commit a mass shooting’ or exhibited behavior suggesting such an intent,” researchers found that the “orders ‘allowed for immediate intervention to reduce firearm access, in most instances because of timely reports from threatened parties and members of the public,’ the researchers wrote.” Researchers in the study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, “added that they ‘make no claim of a causal relationship’ and that ‘further evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of ERPO policies in California and other jurisdictions where they have been enacted would be helpful.’”
The Washington Post (8/19, Jamison) reports, “The findings arrive amid a national debate on the most effective – and politically feasible – measures to avert acts of large-scale gun violence.”
Resurgence of measles raises fears that polio could make a comeback too
STAT (8/19, Branswell) reports that “for the people who have long worked to eradicate” polio, “the resurgence of measles has become a cautionary tale – both useful and unsettling – of why the polio campaign must push on across the finish line. Failure to do so could have dire consequences.” The article says, “The effort to eradicate polio is nearly two decades past its original target date for completion, and there are concerns about what could happen if funding dries up or the political will to persevere towards the elusive goal erodes.”
The New York Times (8/23, Richtel) reported public health officials announced that “a person in Illinois has died from a mysterious lung illness apparently associated with an unknown vaping product.” The article said “this is the first death of someone whose symptoms have been linked in the last two months to vaping.” The article added that there have been “about 190 cases of vaping-related sicknesses, some resulting in severe lung damage” in 22 states. During a joint news conference, the FDA, CDC, and Illinois state government did not disclose the identity of the deceased.
The Washington Post (8/23, Sun) reported the person who died “had recently used an e-cigarette and was hospitalized with severe lung illness.” The article said, “The death appears to be the first among a spate of mysterious lung illnesses now under investigation by state and federal health officials in connection to vaping – at least 193 cases in 22 states, many in teens and young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Reuters (8/23, Lavietes) reported health officials are trying to identify the products used by the sick people to see if they can find a common cause.
Women with type 2 diabetes may face more sleep problems during menopause, study suggests
Reuters (8/23, Crist) reported a small study suggests that “women with type 2 diabetes may face more sleep issues and more severe sleep troubles during menopause than peers without diabetes.” In a group of “164 middle-aged women who completed a survey, those with diabetes averaged 10 sleep-related symptoms while those without diabetes averaged about 7 – and symptoms were rated as more severe by women with diabetes.” Overall, Reuters added, “About half of menopausal women with type 2 diabetes report sleep-related symptoms, compared to a quarter of midlife women without diabetes, [one researcher said].” The findings were published in Menopause.
Newsweek (8/25, Gander) reports a study in mice by researchers at City of Hope National Medical Center suggests that “people with diabetes could be more likely to develop cancer because of how high blood sugar levels affect DNA.” Study authors think that “a higher level of blood glucose appears to spike how much damage DNA suffers,” and that “too much glucose in the blood also made DNA strands more prone to breaking, and stood in the way of it being repaired.” The findings were presented at the American Chemical Society Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition.
USA Today (8/24, Hines) reported, “A strain of Salmonella Newport in some beef in the United States and in some soft cheeses in Mexico has been found to be resistant to antibiotic treatment, according to a release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Friday.” The CDC had “reported the results of a study conducted on Salmonella Newport that was not responding to two oral agents that are frequently recommended to treat Salmonella infections.” Since first being discovered, the strain has “been detected on multiple occasions in cecal and beef samples along with a mix of queso fresco and Oaxaca cheese in the United States and Mexico.”
CNN (8/22, Kim) reports a study “links a lower risk of early death to higher levels of physical activity at any intensity in middle-aged and older people.” The research shows “the risk of death for participants was approximately five times higher for those who were inactive compared to those who were the most active.” The findings were published in BMJ.
HealthDay (8/22, Preidt) reports the researchers “analyzed data from eight studies that included more than 36,000 adults, aged 40 and older, who were followed for an average of almost six years.” Moreover, “the researchers also found that spending 9.5 hours or more each day sitting was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of early death.”
The New York Times (8/22, McNeil) reports that researchers have found that “giving people an inexpensive pill containing generic drugs that prevent heart attacks – an idea first proposed 20 years ago but rarely tested – worked quite well in a new study” published in The Lancet, “slashing the rate of heart attacks by more than half among those who regularly took the pills.” According to the Times, “The pill in the study, which involved the participation of 6,800 rural villagers aged 50 to 75 in Iran, contained a cholesterol-lowering statin, two blood-pressure drugs and a low-dose aspirin.”
The AP (8/22) reports that all participants “got advice on healthy lifestyles and half also were given polypills.” Researchers found that “after five years, 6% of those in the pill group had suffered a heart attack, stroke or heart failure versus 9% of the others,” which “worked out to a 34% lower risk with the polypill, and a 22% lower risk after researchers took into account other heart drugs that participants were taking.” Participants “who took the polypill most faithfully, at least 70% of the time, had even bigger reductions in heart risks.”
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