|October 7, 2019
This Week's Public Health Updates from the AMA
The AP (10/5, Perrone) reported experts on tobacco policy are concerned that the current crackdown on e-cigarettes may send some vapers back to smoking. Experts say many vaping products have been marketed as smoking cessation tools, so if their availability is limited, some users may resume smoking. The article quoted several experts discussing the potential consequences of the current crackdown and the possible unintended consequences.
Newsweek (10/4, Gander) reported, “Transgender people who have gender-affirming surgery are less likely to need mental health treatment,” researchers concluded after examining “data collected between 2005 and 2015 from a Swedish population register linked to a national healthcare database,” then assessing “the available information on the 2,679 individuals diagnosed with gender incongruence.” The findings were published online Oct. 4 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The New York Times (10/4, McNeil) reported public health experts are worried that the U.S. may be in for a particularly bad flu season following “an unusually early and fairly severe flu season this year” in Australia. As a result, public health officials are urging Americans to receive flu shoots “as soon as possible.”
The Wall Street Journal (10/4, Campo-Flores, McKay, Subscription Publication) reported there are many hepatitis A outbreaks across the U.S. Since hepatitis A outbreaks started in 2016, there have been 30 states that reported cases, totaling over 26,000 and including 268 deaths.
The Wall Street Journal (10/4, McKay, Subscription Publication) reported the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on Friday that the U.S. has managed to hold on to its measles-elimination status, despite an outbreak in New York state. Had that outbreak, which began in October 2018, lasted for more than a year, the status would have been removed.
The New York Times (10/3, Grady) reports there have been 1,080 cases of vaping-related lung illness, including 18 deaths, according to the CDC. The article says symptoms of vaping-related lung illnesses including coughing, troubles breathing, as well as fever, nausea, and vomiting. The article adds that while “the exact cause” remains unknown, many affected “have vaped THC,” while some have vaped THC and nicotine, and others say they have only vaped nicotine.
The AP (10/3, Stobbe) reports there have been cases reported in all states except Alaska and New Hampshire. Physicians “say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury.”
The Wall Street Journal (10/3, Abbott, Subscription Publication) reports that the birth rate for twins in the U.S. is on the decline for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The NPR (10/3, Vaughn) “Shots” blog reports that data published recently from the National Center for Health Statistics show “twin births declined in the U.S. by 4% from 2014 to 2018.” According to the article, “the leading theory for the trend reversal is that fertility treatments – generally thought to have caused the twin boom in the first place – have gotten more sophisticated.”
Reuters (10/3, Rapaport) reports, “People with a positive outlook on life may be less likely than pessimists to experience events like a heart attack or stroke, and they may live longer,” researchers concluded after examining “data from 15 studies with a total of 229,391 participants who were followed for an average of about 14 years.” The data revealed that the “most optimistic people were 35% less likely than the least optimistic to have cardiovascular events like heart attacks or strokes, and 14% less likely to die for any reason.” The findings were published in JAMA Network Open.
The New York Times (10/3, Sheikh) reports a study “found that fungi can make their way deep into the pancreas,” and “in mice and human patients with pancreatic cancer, the fungi proliferate 3,000-fold compared to healthy tissue.” Moreover, “one fungus in particular may make pancreatic tumors grow bigger.” The study showed “one particular fungus was the most abundant in the pancreas: a genus of Basidiomycota called Malassezia,” and “Malassezia was not only abundant in mice that got pancreatic tumors, it was also present in extremely high numbers in samples from pancreatic cancer patients.” The findings were published in Nature.
The Wall Street Journal (10/3, Abbott, Umlauf, Moriarty, Subscription Publication) reports thousands of schools in the U.S. have measles immunization rates below 95%, the level needed to stop the disease from spreading. The article says that the majority of schools have rates of at least 90%, while some schools have rates close to 50%.
CNN (10/3, Lamotte) reports research indicates “a link between a baby’s congenital heart defects and their prospective parents’ drinking before conception.” The study revealed that “compared to non-drinkers, fathers who drank during the three months before conception were 44% more likely to have babies born with congenital heart disease.” If the would-be fathers “were binge drinkers, which was defined as downing five or more drinks per session, there was a 52% higher likelihood their baby would have a congenital heart defect.” For potential moms “who drank or binge-drank before conception, there was a 16% higher risk for their babies, compared to not drinking,” the study found.
According to Newsweek (10/3, Gander), “men shouldn’t drink alcohol at least six months before conceiving, and women should quit drinking up to one year prior to getting pregnant to prevent their child from having congenital heart diseases,” the study revealed. The findings were published online in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Reuters (10/3, Carroll) reports researchers found that head and neck melanomas are “relatively rare,” but their incidence has increased “by more than 50% over two decades” in North America. The findings were published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.< Previous Article | Next Article >
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