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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month; New Mexico Proclaims February is Children’s Oral Health Month

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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, raising awareness for parents and children about how to keep their smiles white and their teeth clean. Recognizing the importance of oral health, especially among children who need to create good habits, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez proclaimed February 2017 as Children’s Oral Health Month for the state.

New Mexico’s Office of Oral Health has been working with dental providers throughout the state to be able to ensure treatment for low-income and/or uninsured individuals.

The New Mexico Department of Health does have several recommendations to help keep your teeth clean:

  • Help kids develop good brushing and flossing habits
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Limit consumption of sugary beverages (the American Dental Association recommends only consuming these beverages with meals)
  • Limit snacks
  • Schedule regular dental visits

To read more about New Mexico’s Children’s Oral Health Month, please visit “The Importance of Good Dental Health.”

To read more about National Children’s Dental Health Month, please visit the American Dental Association’s website.

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Drinking and Painkillers Can Be a Dangerous Combo, Especially Among Seniors

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You may often see a warning not to drink on a painkiller’s prescription label—but what exactly can happen if you do drink alcohol while taking painkillers? Well when strong opioid painkillers are mixed with alcohol, it can cause a serious, potentially deadly respiratory response.

One common side effect, that can be fatal, of opioids is respiratory depression, which is when a person’s breathing becomes shallow and can even temporarily stop. A new study findsthat alcohol can exacerbate this effect.

The study looked at 24 volunteers, half in their 20s, and half over the age of 65 who had not taken opioids previously. They mixed oxycodone (a common prescription drug used to treat chronic pain) and alcohol, and the results showed that older adults were more likely to have repeated episodes of temporarily stopped breathing than the younger participants.

“We hope to increase awareness regarding the dangers of prescription opioids, the increased danger of the simultaneous use of opioids and alcohol, and that elderly people are at an even greater increased risk of this potentially life-threatening side effect,” said Dr. Albert Dahan, study author, in a journal news release.

For more information, please visit “Opioids and Alcohol a Dangerous Cocktail.”

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All of Us Research Program Funding Opportunity for Community Groups

The All of Us Research Program is a large part of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) from the NIH. While many of the research and engagement grants have already been awarded, a new funding opportunity have been opened for community groups to assist with outreach efforts. This opportunity allows nonprofits, other community- and faith-based organizations, minority-serving institutions and school districts, and local governments to apply for funding to create community engagement activities and provide feedback to the research program about community needs and perspectives.

This grassroots engagement could make a huge difference in recruiting populations that have traditionally been excluded from biomedical research. Additionally, priority will be given to applications that reach into geographic target areas. The geographic priority areas include our entire SCR region. Priority 1 geographic areas include Houston, TX; Louisiana; and New Mexico. Priority 2 geographic areas include Arkansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Applications are due on March 24, 2017.

For the full NIH press release please go here: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/all-us-research-program-announces-funding-opportunity-community-partners

For the funding announcement please go here: http://go.usa.gov/x9seA

Note: The informational webinar about the opportunity is Feb 10th. Register here

Observe American Heart Month this February

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A heart means more than just love this February—this month, the United States recognizes American Heart Month, shedding light on heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.; heart disease affects 1 in 4 Americans, and 1 in 3 American women.

The New Mexico Department of Health is just one organization that hopes it can raise awareness for the disease and the risks associated with it. In New Mexico, 4,000 people die annually from heart disease or stroke.

What’s important to know about heart disease is that it can be prevented. Well-known risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, low physical activity, a poor diet, and obesity, among others. Additionally, heart disease risk increases with age, specifically if you’re over the age of 45, or if you have a family history of it.

To kick off American Heart Month, you can wear red tomorrow, Feb. 3 in honor National Wear Red Day.

To read more about American Hearth Month, please visit healthfinder.gov.

To read more about New Mexico’s initiatives for American Heart Month, please visit “New Mexicans Encouraged to Listen to Their Heart.”

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Don’t Fat Shame: You’re Doing More Harm Than Good

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Making fun of a person’s weight, often called “fat shaming,” is probably not going to motivate a person to lose weight. In fact, it will most likely raise their risk of heart disease and other health problems.

Rebecca Pearl, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and study leader, said that the more self-blame and devaluation a person feels when stigmatized, the more likely they are to have health issues.

Previous research has linked weight stigmatization with weight gain and emotional stress but this study found weight stigmatization can go much deeper.

The study looked at 159 obese adults and found out how much they blamed and devalued themselves for their weight. They also looked at how many of them had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that are linked with higher risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and more health problems.

The study found that those who felt the most devaluation and self-blame were three times more likely to have metabolic syndrome than the those with the lowest.

Dr. Rebecca Puhl, deputy director at the University of Connecticut Center for Food Policy & Obesity who co-wrote a commentary that accompanied the study, said to try to avoid self-blame as well as try to avoid blaming friends and family for struggling with weight.

To read more about the study, please visit “The Shame of ‘Fat Shaming.’

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New Research Shows Breast Cancer Precursor Treatment Causes Women to Live Longer

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pink ballonsDuctal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer and is non-life-threatening. However, DCIS can actually be a precursor to worse breast cancer later on. It can increase the risk of developing invasive breast cancer; patients are at a higher risk of developing a new breast cancer than a patient who has never had any breast cancer before.

The study, conducted in the Netherland on more than 10,000 women for an average of 10 years, found that those who were treated for DCIS had a 10 percent less chance of dying from any cause than the general population. That may sound confusing—if you were treated for DCIS, you are 10 percent more likely to live a longer life than someone who never had DCIS, and therefore never received treatment for DCIS.

Specifically, researchers found that women who were treated were much less likely to die from digestive, respiratory, and circulatory diseases, and other types of cancer. This study is particularly important because DCIS treatment includes radiotherapy, which can cause damage to nearby organs

More and more people are becoming aware they have DCIS because it is something that shows up in breast cancer screenings—so more women are able to get treated if they have this form of cancer.

For more information on the study, please visit “Women treated for precursor of breast cancer can expect to live as long as other women.”

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NNLM SCR Introduces Our Consumer Health Coordinator: Debbie Montenegro

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The NNLM SCR is pleased to welcome Debbie Montenegro to the RML. Debbie will serve as the Consumer Health Coordinator and liaison to the State of Texas.

Prior to this position, Debbie worked as a Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Analyst for Baylor Scott & White Health, Library Manager for a nursing school, and Chemistry teacher. Debbie also worked at a public library while obtaining her Master of Science in Information Science degree at UNT, with a Health Informatics Specialization. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from SMU. Debbie has been published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging and in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

She is excited to join the NNLM SCR. Please feel free to contact her for projects to bring health related information to your patrons.

Contact Debbie at Debbie.Montenegro@unthsc.edu or 817-735-2469

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January is Birth Defects Prevention Month

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yawning babyJanuary is Birth Defects Prevention Month and several states in our region want to inform residents about what can be done. In the U.S., birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies and cause 1 in 5 infant deaths every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN).

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), in partnership with NBDPN, hopes to raise awareness for infections like cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can cause birth defects.

CMV is a common infection which affects more than half of U.S. adults by age 40 and which often doesn’t make those who are infected ill. However, if a pregnant women gets the infection, it can spread to the unborn child, called congenital CMV. Only about 1 in 150 babies is born with congenital CMV; however, 1 in 5 of these babies will experience long-term health problems, such as hearing loss, vision loss or cerebral palsy, among others.

Pregnant women will often contract CMV from young children, which is passed through saliva or urine. Regular hand washing, as well as not sharing utensils or cups is a good way to prevent spreading CMV.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (TSDHS) on the other hand promotes a more general approach to Birth Defects Awareness Month, sharing information related to the 2017 theme: “Prevent to Protect: Prevent Infections for Baby’s Protection.” Tips include properly preparing food, seeing a doctor regularly, protecting oneself from Zika-carrying mosquitoes and maintaining good hygiene.

To read more information about National Birth Defects Month, please visit NBDPN’s website.

To read more information from OSDH, please visit “Prevent to Protect: Prevent Infections for Baby’s Protection.”

To read more information from TDSHS, please visit “January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.”

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Asthma Can Be More Serious for African-Americans; New Research Suggests Why

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Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition in which a person’s airways are always inflamed that can make it difficult to breathe, can be a much more serious condition for people who are black than those that are white. In fact, people who are black are 2 to 3 times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than people who are white.

New research is suggesting that the difference in airway inflammation affects a patient’s response to treatment. It was just recently that scientists discovered that airway inflammations vary among different races.

Researchers analyzed samples of coughed-up fluid of 1,000 asthma patients and looked for the white blood cell eosinophils. They found that people who are black are more likely to have eosinophilic airway inflammation, which may make it more difficult for them to control their asthma.

To read more about the study, please visit “Airway Differences May Explain Why Asthma Can Be More Serious for Blacks.”  

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New Mexico Sees Four Cases of Whooping Cough

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New Mexico is seeing its largest cluster of whooping cough cases in infants since 2013. So far, four infants from Eddy, Curry, Rio Arriba and San Juan have a confirmed case. The cases have all been reported in infants under six months old.

“Whooping cough is very contagious and can cause serious cough illness―especially in infants too young to be fully vaccinated,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher in a New Mexico Department of Health news release. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent your child from getting it.”

Whooping cough, scientifically known as pertussis, is highly contagious. It is characterized by uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it hard to breathe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. After a bout of coughing, the person often has to take large, deep breaths, creating the “whooping” sound. Anyone can get whooping cough, but it is extremely dangerous and can be fatal to those less than a year old.

Whooping cough is spread by coughing or sneezing, and those who are infected can be contagious for up to two weeks after the cough starts.

Whooping cough is best prevented by getting the vaccine. Infected persons can be treated through antibiotics—early diagnosis and treatment is very important.

To read more about whooping cough in New Mexico and how to prevent it, please visit the New Mexico Department of Health’s website.

To read more general information about whooping cough, please visit the CDC’s website.

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