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Zip Code Plays a Large Factor in Life Expectancy

“Photo” by Redd Angelo is licensed under CC0.

Woman WalkingRecently, many news outlets (The New York Times, NPR, Albuquerque Journal, and others) have reported on the importance where you live plays in how long you live. Research has found it can play an even bigger role than genetics. Last week, the American Medical Association Wire shared the experience of Dr. Anthony Iton, senior vice president of healthy communities at the Community Endowment, when he moved to Baltimore for medical school at Johns Hopkins University years ago.

He was appalled at how run-down parts of the city were. He compared East Baltimore to Beirut, asking the upperclassman who was giving him a tour when the war happened there.

“In an ideal world … where you live shouldn’t predict how long you live,” Iton said, “but we do not live in an ideal world. What drives health is beyond just health behaviors and access to the doctor…. There’s a whole host of environmental and social determinants that are actually much more influential on our health trajectories, and we have no organized practice for dealing with them.”

Health Happens Here also released a video in April visually describing just how two zip codes can impact the life expectancy of two individuals. While focused on California, the video’s message rings true to many other areas within the U.S.

To learn more about how where you live determines how long you live, please visit “Death by ZIP code: When address matters more than genetics.”

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Mosquitoes in Miami Beach Carrying Zika

“South Beach, Miami, Florida” by wadester16
is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

 South Beach, Miami, Florida Officials have announced another area in Miami-Dade County, Fla. has mosquitoes which are spreading Zika locally—this time in the popular tourist destination of South Beach, an area of Miami Beach, Fla.

Health officials recently warned visitors and residents to avoid the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami-Dade County, as it was the first area they linked to local transmission of Zika through mosquitoes. This outbreak prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do something it had never done before—advise pregnant woman to avoid the area, marking the first time the CDC had ever advised people to avoid an area in the continental U.S. because of an infectious disease.

With the South Beach outbreak, CDC officials are cautioning the same thing, and advising South Beach visitors to wait at least eight weeks to get pregnant.

Health officials recently got the Wynwood outbreak under control and have cleared 17 blocks so far. And while health officials believe the Zika-carrying mosquitoes are only occupying a 1.5-mile strip of beach, they are worried they won’t be as easy to get rid of in South Beach. For one thing, the area’s high-rises pose a problem for aerial spraying, a method which they used in Wynwood. “In addition, it will be more difficult to convince people to wear long sleeves and pants in a part of the city where people go to spend time on the beach,” NPR reported.

To learn more about the new Zika outbreak, please visit: “New Zika Outbreak Hits Popular Tourist Destination of Miami Beach.”

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The Digital Shift of Libraries

“Photo” by Fabian Irsara is licensed under CC0.

Laptop KeyboardNational Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region – the name is a bit of a mouthful, and what is it exactly? The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) is a network of libraries, information providers, public health agencies, community organizations and more, focused on improving public health by providing U.S. health officials and the U.S. public with equal access to health information.

Specific to the NN/LM SCR, our objectives are to assess, educate, increase access, and advocate. In order to carry out these objectives, NN/LM SCR has been striving to shy away from the traditional thought that a library is a brick and mortar facility and instead is something that can be accessed digitally, anywhere and anytime.

The Library Journal recently published an article about how the library world is shifting – most libraries are trying to add a digital arm if they don’t have one already. In the article, Rachel Fewell, central library administrator at the Denver Public Library, described two groups of people: those who use the library, and those who don’t even think about the library.

“Making libraries more visible on the web has two benefits,” reports the Library Journal. “Improving the service for the ones who are already committed to the library—they use search engines, too—and giving libraries the opportunity to reach those who never—or only sometimes—think about the library.”

Putting library materials online surely won’t hurt any library. If anything, it will make it more successful. It gives people who do use libraries the choice on how they prefer to use it, and it gives those people who wouldn’t physically visit a library the ability to use it from anywhere. Additionally, creating digital libraries is extremely beneficial to those who live in rural communities and may not have immediate access to a physical library.

Digital libraries are especially smart when it comes to increasing access to health information. While the public may not physically visit a library to gain knowledge on health issues affecting them, they are definitely searching the web and reading the news. The NLM has created extensive online databases and repositories available for consumers, clinicians and scientists.

To read more about the digital shift of libraries, please visit: “Making Libraries Visible on the Web.”

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Zika Virus and Blood Transfusions: What Can We Do?

“Blood Drive” by Homecoming at Illinois State
is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Blood DriveFlorida health officials recently confirmed that some mosquitos within the continental United States are carrying Zika virus, therefore making local transmission possible. If someone contracts Zika virus, their symptoms are mild and may not even warrant a visit to the doctor’s office; many times people won’t experience any symptoms at all.

Because the symptoms are so mild, it makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose a person with Zika virus without test results. So now consider this—if a person heads to their local blood drive or blood bank, how can the volunteers who draw the blood ensure a person isn’t infected? When there was a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013, 2.8 percent of blood donors tested positive for the virus.

In order to prevent the risk of donating contaminated blood, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has requested that all blood banks in Miami-Dade County stop collecting blood immediately, as this is where local Zika transmission has occurred so far. The FDA has also released a set of recommendations for other blood banks to follow to decrease the risk of collecting Zika-infected blood. And finally, while not FDA-licensed, two tests have become available in April and June that allow blood to be tested for Zika.

However, the most effective and simple way to prevent the donation of contaminated blood is for those who have traveled to Zika-infected areas to wait to donate blood until they have been cleared by a doctor.

If you’d like to read more on what the CDC is doing to prevent blood donors with Zika from accidentally donating infected blood, please visit cdc.gov.

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NN/LM SCR Introduces Our Health Professions Coordinator: Sarah Miles

Sarah Miles, Health Professions Coordinator We would like to introduce our newest member of the RML Team, Sarah Miles, who will serve as the Health Professions Coordinator for the South Central Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Sarah completed her Masters in Library and Information Science from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in early August 2016, and also has a Masters in East Asian Studies from Harvard Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences. While earning her MLIS, Sarah worked as a Research Services Assistant in the De Paul Library at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas, and as an Access Specialist for Mid-Continent Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to starting her Masters with UIUC, she spent two and a half years teaching English as a foreign language to elementary and middle school students in Seoul, South Korea, with Chungdahm Learning and achieved the position of Assistant Faculty Manager at her location. In Korea, Sarah was also actively involved in curriculum development, staff training, and outreach with Chungdahm.

As Health Professions Coordinator, Sarah will be working closely with health professionals to develop outreach programs and services throughout the South Central Region. She will serve as the liaison in the areas of program planning, evidence based practice, health literacy, and NLM databases, and as the designated coordinator for the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Contact Sarah at sarah.miles@unthsc.edu or 817-735-2236.

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Louisiana Sees Record Flooding Over Weekend

“A Louisiana Welcome” by
Stuart Seeger is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Louisiana

Over the weekend, Louisiana experienced record-breaking flooding from heavy rain that has so far killed at least seven and displaced thousands. Roadways disappeared under water, houses flooded, and residents around the south of the state were forced to evacuate. Mike Steele, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness reported to The New York Times that the effects the flood had on residents, and the response of emergency responders were reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina.

President Barack Obama granted Louisiana’s request for a declaration of emergency Sunday evening, and first responders were working around the clock to ensure the safety of residents. Governor John Bel Edwards said Sunday that more than 20,000 people had been rescued, but any sort of “tally was already out of date,” according to The New York Times.

While most of southern Louisiana is prone to, and used to, heavy rain and at times, flooding, because this sort of downfall is unprecedented, Edwards said the National Weather Service can’t tell anyone what else you can expect or how else to prepare.

To read more about the floods in Louisiana, visit “Thousands Displaced in Storm-Drenched Louisiana.”

If you’d like to find out more about the effects flooding and coastal erosion have had on Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, read our new SCR Regional Highlight series available on the SCR blog.

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Louisiana Flood Emergency Information

In response to the current flooding in Louisiana and other parts of the NN/LM South Central Region, we’ve created a Flooding and Disaster Information Resources webpage with information to help you stay safe during this weather emergency.

If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 817-735-2223 or nnlm-scr@unthsc.edu.

 

SCR Regional Highlight: America’s First “Climate Refugees”

“Isle De Jean Charles” by Karen Apricot
is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Isle De Jean Charles - Blue House

Isle de Jean Charles is a tiny, narrow island deep in the bayous of Louisiana. The single-lane “Island Road” is the only land method of transportation to and from the island but is often impassible during times of high water. It has been the home to the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians for more than 170 years—but not for much longer.

Coastal erosion, severe storms, rising sea levels, and poor oil extraction practices have caused the island to literally sink into the Gulf of Mexico. Current island residents remember when Isle de Jean Charles was 5 miles wide. But with 98 percent of it lost since 1955, the island is now only a mere 1/4 mile in width. Southern Louisiana as a whole, actually, is the fastest disappearing landmass on earth.

Edison Dardar, one of the current residents, explains in The New York Times’ mini-documentary “Vanishing Island” that he remembers when there were 250, maybe even 300 homes, on the island years ago. Since the hurricanes have scared most families off, there are now maybe 20 left. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike severely damaged the infrastructure of the island causing many families to flee.

Since 2010, Chief Albert Naquin and tribal leaders, realizing the island they and their ancestors have called home for almost two centuries won’t be around for much longer, have been trying to create a solution by finding a way to relocate the remaining 77 residents. After working with the Lowlander Center for more than five years, they finally received some good news.

In January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it would grant more than $1 billion in total to 13 communities who have been impacted by major disasters between 2011 and 2013 through the Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition Grant. The grant to assist the community of the Isle de Jean Charles is something new, however. Never before have federal tax dollars been used to relocate an entire community struggling with the effects of climate change. This is a big step for Naquin and island residents — the grant allocates more than $92 million to the state of Louisiana to be split between one other project, the Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments Program.

“Isle De Jean Charles” by Karen Apricot
is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Isle De Jean Charles - Ruined House

Now Naquin and tribal leaders face a new challenge, relocating those residents who still want to stay. Isle de Jean Charles residents have varying views when it comes to resettlement. Some are excited to leave the disappearing island behind; others are afraid they will lose their culture if they move away. While the exact path of resettlement for Isle de Jean Charles is still uncertain, the tribe could relocate as early as 2019.

It’s also important to note that Isle de Jean Charles is not the only community dealing with the consequences of climate change; The New York Times reported that 50 million to 200 million people could be displaced because of climate change by 2050. While Isle de Jean Charles residents may be the first climate refugees, they certainly will not be the last.

To learn more about the Island’s history, visit isledejeancharles.com.

Watch the mini-documentary “Vanishing Island” produced by The New York Times.

To learn more about the Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition Grant, please visit hud.gov.

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Written by Sara Goodwin, NN/LM SCR

NN/LM SCR Introduces Our Social Media Assistant: Sara Goodwin

Sara Goodwin, Social Media AssistantThe NN/LM SCR would like to introduce our newest addition to the RML Team. Sara Goodwin, BA, will serve as the Social Media Assistant for the South Central Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Sara recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism and is the first NN/LM SCR employee to work remotely. She resides in Phoenix, Arizona, and has a passion for social media tactics and digital trends.

In this role, Sara will create daily content for the NN/LM SCR’s Facebook and Twitter channels, as well as posts for the institutes’s blog.

Contact Sara at sara.goodwin@unthsc.edu.

 
 
 
 
 

Brain Responds Differently to Food Cues in Severely Obese Women

Photo by Henrique Félix licensed under CC0.

Woman Eating SoupA recent study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has shown that severely obese women who have just eaten will continue to respond to food cues even though they are no longer hungry. On the contrary, leaner women who have just eaten will not receive these cues from their brain.

The study compared 15 severely obese women to 15 lean women. Researchers took MRI images of the participants’ brains before and after eating. When any person is hungry, their brain will react in a certain way when shown images of food. The study found that once full, the lean woman’s brain no longer reacted to those images—the MRI scans showed the appeal of the food images dropped 15 percent. Obese women’s brains, however, were still excited when viewing those images—the appeal dropped only 4 percent.

“These findings may explain why some people with severe obesity report an underlying drive to eat continually despite not feeling hungry,” said Dr. Puzziferri, who specializes in bariatric and weight loss surgery, in a news release. “In contrast, lean women when full will either stop eating or just sample a food they crave. It’s just not a level playing field – it’s harder for some people to maintain a healthy weight than others.”

To learn more about the study, please visit “Brain activity and response to food cues differ in severely obese women.”

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