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Archive for the ‘General (all entries)’ Category

American Diabetes Alert Day: Are You at Risk?

Monday, March 27th, 2017

“Cupcakes and donuts from above” by Jakub Kapusnak is licensed under CC0.

little girl

Today is American Diabetes Alert Day, and did you know that diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.–killing more than 75,000 people annually? In honor of this observance, the Oklahoma State Department of Health is encouraging Oklahomans to check their risk of developing diabetes, as well as sound the alarm for the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Oklahoma ranks number 9 in the United States for states with most adults with type 2 diabetes.

Finding out if you are at high risk for developing diabetes is simple; just go to diabetes.org/alertday to take the American Diabetes Association risk test, which is offered in both Spanish and English. If you determine that you or someone you know is at risk, there are plenty of other steps you can take, including becoming involved in the National Diabetes Prevention Program–there are dozens of programs offered through Oklahoma as well as across the nation.

To read more about American Diabetes Alert Day and Oklahoma, please visit “American Diabetes Alert Day: Find Out If You Are At Risk Today.”

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New Blood Test Could Spot Autism in Children

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Untitled by Mi PHAM  is licensed under CC0.

little girl

Researchers have been working on an experimental blood test that could point out autism in children. So far, the test is 98 percent accurate in children ages 3 to 10 in diagnosing if they have autism.

“The test was able to predict autism, regardless of where on the spectrum an individual was,” according to study co-author Juergen Hahn in the MedlinePlus article. The test was also able to indicate the severity of the autism-related condition with good accuracy.

This new test is a stark contrast to the current approach of diagnosing autism, which entails a consensus from a group of medical professionals. The blood test, on the other hand, looks for key metabolism markers in the child.

The study was small, with less than 200 participants, so more research is planned to follow-up on the claims.

To read more about the study, please visit “Could a Blood Test Spot Autism in Childhood?”

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Washing Your Hands Saves Lives

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

“clean hands” by Arlington County is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

washing hands

According to MedlinePlus, you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You may be more familiar with that rule of thumb to sing the “Happy Birthday” song at least two times through before turning off that faucet.

But while we’re admonished to do so, it’s difficult to say what’s actually put into practice even while we know it helps stop the spread of germs. In fact, it can even help stop the spread of superbugs!

How else is it important? The Center for Disease Control has put together some fast facts (and citations) on the importance of handwashing:

  • It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.
  • Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented.
  • A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections.
  • Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%.
  • The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students.

Read more and find additional resources on the Germs and Hygiene MedlinePlus topic page.

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SCR Regional Highlight: Two Louisiana Cities Rank Top Five for HIV Diagnoses

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Views of the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge by Billy Metcalf Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

patient

According to the 2016 America’s Health Rankings report conducted by the United Health Foundation, Louisiana is the second most unhealthy state in the nation, just behind Mississippi. The report uses a number of factors to create these rankings, but it has become increasingly clear over the years that the state’s high diagnoses of new HIV cases is one factor.

According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report leading up to World AIDS Day in 2016, Baton Rouge ranks number one for newly diagnosed HIV cases; New Orleans ranks number three. In Baton Rouge, 44.7 out of every 100,000 people is diagnosed with HIV; in New Orleans, it’s 36.9.

HIV is a virus that weakens a person’s immune system by destroying the cells that fight infection and disease. There is no cure for it. AIDS is a condition that is considered the final stage of HIV. It is most commonly transmitted sexually or through sharing syringes, but can also be spread from mother to child through pregnancy as well as several other less common ways.

To combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic prevalent in the state, the Louisiana Department of Health launched the STD/HIV Program, designed to prevent transmission, ensure the availability of medical services and track the impact.

Unfortunately one of the biggest barriers health officials face is the stigma around the disease and an unwillingness to seek out treatment and report it. Timothy Young, head of the HIV/AIDS Alliance in the Baton Rouge area told The Advocate in a 2015 articlefear of being associated with HIV is so pronounced that more than 25 percent of those who are newly diagnosed with the disease in Louisiana have already progressed to AIDS.”

It’s important for these people to know that HIV/AIDS treatment has only continued to get better and it’s no longer the death sentence it used to be, if you get tested.

To read more about the SHP program, please visit the Louisiana Department of Health’s website.

To read more general information about HIV/AIDS, please visit the CDC’s website.

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Poor Diets Linked to 400,000 U.S. Deaths

Monday, March 13th, 2017

“Healthy breakfast with eggs while camping” by Jakub Kapusnak is licensed under CC0.

patient

March is National Nutrition Month, so it comes at the perfect time that the results from a study are released explaining that a poor diet was a contributor to 400,000 U.S. premature deaths in 2015.

The study suggested that poor diets are caused not only by not avoiding certain things–like trans fat and salt–but also not incorporating other foods, like vegetables, nuts and seeds. Cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death in the U.S., and a poor diet is the top risk factor, according to Dr. Ashkan Afshin, lead researcher from the University of Washington.

“The study results suggest that nearly half of heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease) deaths in the United States might be prevented with improved diets,” according to Afshin in the MedlinePlus article.

The study results stress that a healthy diet is not only avoiding certain foods–you have to take care that you are making sure to eat others. The study was even able to estimate what percent of the deaths were from too much or too little of certain foods, like 12 percent of the deaths probably could have been avoided had the people eaten more vegetables.

The good news is it’s never too late to change your diet.

To read more about the study, please visit “Bad Diets Tied to 400,000 U.S. Deaths in 2015.”

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Patient Safety Awareness Week 2017

Monday, March 13th, 2017

“A closeup…” by Penn State is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

patient

This week is Patient Safety Awareness Week hosted by the National Patient Safety Foundation! And while this week awareness is particularly high, the National Patient Safety Foundation encourages all healthcare professionals to treat every day like Patient Safety Day.

Patient safety is a public health issue according to the National Patient Safety Foundation’s United for Patient Safety campaign–1 in 10 patients will develop a health care acquired condition during hospitalization, and 44,000 to 98,000 patients per year will die due to a medical error.

National Patient Safety Week is the start of a yearlong effort highlighting important patient safety issues through information dissemination, discussions and events. One initiative during this week is for healthcare professionals to wear a patient gown in order to step into the role of a patient. You can also tune in tomorrow at 2 p.m. PST for a complimentary webcast of “The Voice of the Patient and the Public.”

SCR’s Brian Leaf wrote a post on the importance of patient safety and questions to ask a doctor; read it here.

To find out more about Patient Safety Awareness Week, please visit United for Patient Safety’s website.

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Hearing Loss Predicted to Grow Tremendously by 2060 in U.S.

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Untitled by Joel Mwakasege is licensed under CC0.

back of head

According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins Medicine, hearing loss among the U.S. population could jump from 44 million in 2020 to 73.5 million by 2060; the 2060 number would comprise 23 percent of the adult American population, compared to 15 percent in 2020. And in 2060, 55 percent of adults with hearing loss will be over 70.

This sort of growth for this health condition is unprecedented, according to Neil DiSarno, chief staff officer of audiology at American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The most common cause of hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. To prevent this, it is recommended that people should lower their earphone volume and to limit exposure to firearms, fireworks and loud noises you may hear at work.

And besides just not being able to hear as well, hearing loss has other effects on a person as well. Older adults who have hearing loss are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and have a higher risk of falling. There also appears to be evidence between hearing loss and mental decline.

To read more about hearing loss increasing, please visit “Hearing Loss May Double in United States by 2060.”

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SCR Regional Highlight: University of Arkansas assists displaced Marshall Islands community

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The Marshall Islands – Majuro – Window by Stefan Lins is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

marshall islands

In the Pacific Ocean near the equator and just west of the international dateline, there is a small country known as the Marshall Islands, which has a population of 53,000 inhabitants. Somewhat similarly, if you head to Springdale, Arkansas, located in the northwest corner of the state, you will find not only the Consulate of the Marshall Islands, but the largest community of Marshallese Americans in the continental U.S., with an estimated population between 6,000 and 14,000.

The Marshall Islands have become a place of despair and great poverty. It was the site of 67 nuclear tests that occurred over a 12-year period; in 1956, the Marshall Islands was called “the most contaminated place on Earth” by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

In 1986, after the war had ended, the Marshall Islands became their own fully sovereign nation, but also became a U.S. Associated State, receiving assistance from the U.S., and also allowing Marshallese to travel and work within the U.S. without a visa. Springdale, Arkansas became the best immigration option after the first Marshallese to arrive, John Moody, sent back word about jobs available at Tyson Foods, where the company is headquartered.

And while 1,000s of Marshallese traveled halfway across the world to to escape the poverty and health issues, they are still plagued by diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, some of which stem from the nuclear tests, but others that occurred after the fact; like how U.S. food aid to the Marshall Islands came in the form of processed items, which have contributed to the diabetes among the population as well as obesity.

Besides having a general distrust for health professionals, causing them not to seek medical treatment, many Marshallese also have no way to afford it, as the U.S. rescinded Medicaid and Medicare following the original 1986 agreement, leaving many without any form of health insurance.

But there is some hope for the Marshallese in Springdale, Arkansas. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library has begun a program to assist those displaced Marshallese, in part through funding by NNLM SCR. By teaching classes to Marshallese health workers and raising awareness for the health literacy information available, UAMS hopes to be able to eventually improve the overall health of the Marshallese of Northwest Arkansas. It will just take time.

To read more about the Marshallese population in Springdale, please visit “For Pacific Islanders, Hopes and Troubles in in Arkansas.”

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

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

“Breast Cancer Awareness” by ~Pawsitive~Candie_N is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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

Monday, January 30th, 2017

debbie-montenegro

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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