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More Fruits and Veggies Will Lead You to a Long Life

Untitled by Luke Michael is licensed under CC0.

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Currently, many health agencies recommend about five servings of fruits and vegetable per day, but a new analysis suggests eating 10 servings per day could add years to a person’s life.

The analysis found that more servings of fruits and vegetables lead to decreased rates of heart attacks, stroke, cancer and early death. Researchers even went so far as to estimate that if everyone at 10 servings per day, 7.8 million premature deaths would be avoided every year.

Researchers did note that there is no direct cause-and-effect link between eating more fruits and vegetables and a longer life.

“Most likely it is the whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables that is crucial in health,” said Dagfinn Aune, study author.

Aune stressed the importance of eating whole plant foods as opposed to taking vitamin or antioxidant supplements.

To read more about the study, please visit “10 Daily Servings of Fruits, Veggies a Recipe for Longevity.”

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Arkansas Sees Flu Cases Rise

Flu Vaccination Grippe by Daniel Paquet is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

marshall islands

In the midst of flu season, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has announced the flu has become “widespread” in the state, meaning the disease has been reported in all areas of the state. As of Feb. 17, 19 people had died from flu-related illnesses, 11 more than the 2015-2016 flu season.

ADH is urging those who have not already gotten this season’s flu vaccine to get it–it is not too late. The vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, particularly those with higher risk for complications like young children or adults over the age of 65.

To find out where the closest location to get a flu vaccine is to you, please visit healthy.arkansas.gov.

To learn more about this season’s flu, including what the current vaccine protects against and symptoms of the illness, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

To learn more about the flu in Arkansas, please visit “Flu Cases on the Rise.”

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

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

Untitled by PublicDomainPictures is licensed under CC0.

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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

Untitled by nosheep is licensed under CC0.

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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

Untitled by Tim Marshall is licensed under CC0.

red hands

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

“Scale” by mojzagrebinfo is licensed under CC0.

measuring tape and a scale

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

“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

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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