Monday, February 28, 2011

Mobile dental clinic brings care to poor children

A recent article in the Washington Post describes a mobile dental van project that helps poor children receive dental care. Named in honor of 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, who died of an infection that spread from his tooth to his brain, the three-chair mobile clinic along with volunteer dentists provide dental care to poor children. With the mobile clinic not meant to be a regular site for dental care, 47 "Dentists in Action" have volunteered to provide follow-up care and "dental homes" to children without places to go for regular visits. Teams of school nurses and counselors have also been set up in 20 of Prince George's poorest schools to work with parents.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Roundup

Here are a list of articles/videos published within the last 7-10 days:

1. Home temperature, sleep loss tied to obesity, Reuters/Yahoo News, February 23, 2011
Brief Intro:"When the researchers looked at a number of environmental factors, they found that sleep habits were related to the risk of becoming obese. For each hour of sleep people typically got each day, the odds of their becoming obese declined by 30 percent -- even with other factors like physical activity level and TV watching taken into account. "

1. Say goodbye to textbooks in schools?, February 21, 2011 (Video)
Brief Intro: "The iSchool initiative is hoping to spur a digital movement that could revolutionize the American education system."

1. Bill seeks to drug test food stamp those receiving food stamps, WMUR9, February 23, 2011
Brief Intro:"A bill under debate in Concord would force recipients of food stamps to be subject to drug testing."

1. Indiana lawmakers pass immigration curbs like Arizona, Reuters/Yahoo News, February 23, 2011
Brief Intro: "The measure, passed on Tuesday night by a vote of 31-18, would allow state and local police to ask a person stopped for infractions like traffic violations for proof of legal residency if the officer has a "reasonable suspicion" they may be in the country illegally.

Another provision would call for, with some exceptions, the use of English only in public meetings, on Web sites and in documents. The bill still needs to be adopted by the state's House of Representatives, where opponents say they will now turn."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Podcast Interview with Laura Soto-Barra (Communicating/Marketing)

This month, I interviewed Laura Soto-Barra, the senior librarian at National Public Radio (NPR). In this podcast, she provides excellent insight into how librarians can communicate their value to their organization and market the value of the library and their services.

Listen to the WAV file or the MP3 version.

In addition, Laura has suggested a resource called the Journalist's Toolbox. The site provides links and brief descriptions of informational resources that cover topics from agriculture to women's issues. This is one resource that readers should add as a ready reference resource.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Michigan approves plan to close half of Detroit schools

According to an article published on CNNMoney, Michigan has approved a proposal that calls for the closing of 70 Detroit public schools by 2014, leaving only 72 public schools open. As a result, high school class sizes are expected to jump to 60 students per class over the next few years. Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager of the Detroit Public Schools acknowledges the current plan will drive parents and students away from the school system, which may translate into an additional financial squeeze. A spokesman for Mr. Bobb, stated that for every student that leaves the system, this means $7,660 less in state aid that they will receive.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Diet: High Fiber to Combat Death and Disease

According to an article published in the New York Times, a study of almost 400,000 people aged 50-71 has shown a strong link between a high-fiber diet and longevity. The study found that those in the high-fiber diet group were less likely to die of cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory disease. The diet was also associated with fewer cancer deaths in men, but not women.

You can read the study abstract in the February 14th online issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Study provides scientists insight on how cancer and diabetes levels may be reduced

According to an article on Yahoo News, a group of Ecuadoreans with Laron syndrome have helped scientists learn of a mutation that has kept them relatively free of diabetes and cancer. According to the study, it seems that those afflicted with Laron syndrome have low levels of an insulin-like growth factor (IFG1). The participants in the study were followed for 22 years and none of the study members developed diabetes and only one developed cancer.

According to Valter Longo, one of the study's authors, if the deficiencies in IFG1 are extendable to everyone else, "then you could, with a drug that was already available, reduce the incidence of cancer and diabetes". While this might sound good, Felipe Sierra, director of the Division of Aging Biology at the National Institute on Aging, cautions against getting one's hopes up. He warns that everything is inter-related in our bodies and that changing these complex insulin-growth pathways may result in additional complications.

You can read more about the study results in the February 16th issue of Science Translational Medicine

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Roundup

Here is a listing of articles published within the last 2 weeks:

1. Many kids who drink get liquor from home: Report, HealthDay/Yahoo News, Feb. 17, 2011

Brief Intro:"About 5.9 percent of 12- to 14-year-olds have used alcohol in the past month," said Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. "That's a pretty large number."

"And almost all of these kids got that alcohol for free," he said.

In fact, about 45 percent got alcohol from a parent or other family member or they took it from their home without permission, Delany added."

2. Calorie labels don't affect kids' fast-food choices, Health Day/Yahoo News, Feb. 15, 2011

Brief Intro: "Researchers who studied menu choices at four fast-food restaurant chains before and after mandatory labeling took effect in New York City said the legislation did little to lower calorie consumption.

"We didn't notice a change in calories purchased before and after labeling [went into effect]," said study leader Dr. Brian Elbel, assistant professor of medicine and health policy at the New York University School of Medicine and Wagner School of Public Service."

3. 5 Americans: How health care law affects them, AP/Yahoo News, Feb. 4, 2011

Brief Intro:"At a critical time for the nation's new health care legislation, The Associated Press revisited several Americans who first shared their health stories a year ago. Reporters asked: How has the law affected their lives, and how do they see the health care debate now roiling Washington?

1. Incoming LA superintendent announces foundation, AP/Yahoo News, Feb. 18, 2011

Brief Intro"The incoming superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District said Thursday he is forming a new foundation to attract philanthropic donations to help fund the ailing school district.

The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, based on a similar foundation in New York City, will allow donors to choose exactly what they wish their money to benefit, John Deasy announced during a speech at the Rand Institute in Santa Monica. The interest on investments in the fund will be used for various educational projects of the donors' choice and donors will receive an annual report card on the social return of their investment, Deasy said."

2. Obama's budget proposes a significant increase for schools, New York Times, Feb. 14, 2011

Brief Intro:"President Obama proposed a 2012 Department of Education budget on Monday that would, if approved, significantly increase federal spending for public schools, and maintain the maximum Pell grant — the cornerstone financial-aid program — at $5,550 per college student."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Schools Facing Cuts if Lunches Aren’t Paid For

According to an article in the New York Times, New York city school principals are being encouraged by their Education Department to collect overdue lunch money or have it docked from their school budgets. This situation isn't just unique to New York. A school district in Albuquerque started serving cold sandwiches and milk to students whose parents had not paid what they owed. In Louisiana, some districts did not feed children with overdue accounts at all until the state legislature passed a law that required these children to at least be fed a snack. For students that were fed a snack at least three days in a row, districts were directed to notify child welfare authorities.

A September survey of the School Nutrition Association showed that during 2009-2010, 34% of school districts saw an increase from the previous year in the number of meals not paid for.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

State officials pursue private support for public school reform initiatives

According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois School Superintendent, Christopher Koch, hopes to raise about $80 million in private support and grants in the next four years to support reforms. Illinois lawmakers enacted 5 reform bills in support of the state's Race to the Top bid. Now, in a bid to meet the new law requirements, schools are courting private support to cover the costs associated with the mandated changes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Overweight Kids Who Exercise Improve Thinking, Math Skills: Study

According to a recent article in HealthDay, when overweight/sedentary kids begin to exercise regularly, their ability to think, plan and do math improves. The study took a look at 171 children aged 7-11 who were assigned to groups that did 20 minutes, 40 minutes and no vigorous exercise at all. The researchers found an increase of 3.8 points of scores on cognitive planning skills for children who exercised 40 minutes per day. Increases for those that exercised 20 minutes a day were smaller.

You can review this report in the January issue of Health Psychology.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Obestiy and school lunches

According to a recent article in the New York Times, researchers who studied more than 1,000 sixth graders in several southeastern Michigan schools found that those who regularly had the school lunch were 29% more likely to be obese than those who brought their lunch from home. BY contrast, spending 2+ hours a day in front of the TV or playing video games increased obesity by 19%.

The paper was published in the December issue of American Heart Journal. You can read the abstract here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Roundup

Here is a list of articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days:

1. Does ADHD come from foods?,, February 3, 2011
Brief Intro:"A team of scientists from the Netherlands set out to demonstrate in a study, published in the Lancet, that there could be a connection between what children eat and their ADHD-like behaviors. They go as far as to say that the standard of care for ADHD should include a restricted diet."

2. Starting solid foods early linked to obesity risk,, February 7, 2011
Brief Intro:"Babies raised on formula who start eating solid foods before they are 4 months old may be more likely to become obese than those who start later, suggests a new study."

3. Processed food linked to lower kids' IQs,, February 7, 2011
Brief Intro:"The study authors suggest their study found some evidence that when 3-year-old children eat a diet rich in foods that are high in fat, high in sugar and are processed, their IQ may find a small decrease in their IQ five years later. On the flip side, this new study suggests eating a healthy, nutrient rich diet may be associated with a small increase in IQ."

1. Counting by race can throw off some numbers,, Feburary 7, 2011
Brief Intro:"In the process, however, a measurement problem has emerged. Despite the federal government’s setting standards more than a decade ago, data on race and ethnicity are being collected and aggregated in an assortment of ways. The lack of uniformity is making comparison and analysis extremely difficult across fields and across time."

1. Schools use celebrity wake-up calls to battle truancy,, February 10, 2011
Brief Intro:"If the phone rings one morning and you hear a cheery “good morning” from Magic Johnson on the other end of the line or the R&B singer Trey Songz telling you to “get your education,” don’t hang up and roll over, bury yourself under your blanket and go back to sleep. This is no prank call. It’s the city’s latest attempt to get students who persistently skip class to start showing up more often.

The campaign, appropriately named “Wake Up! NYC,” rolls out next week. It will focus on the 6,500 students who have been absent for 10 or more school days in a single year and attend one of the 25 schools whose principals volunteered to join the effort. If it yields results, it will be expanded citywide, where roughly 250,000 students miss at least one month of school in a given year, officials said."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parents Seek More Action on PCBs in Schools

Brief Intro:"Last month, Mr. Ghiraldi and hundreds of other parents kept their children home from school for four days after tests showed that lighting ballasts — the devices that regulate electric current for fluorescent lights — were leaking the highly toxic chemical compounds known as PCBs onto the light fixtures and floor tiles."

You can read more of this article by visiting the New York Times website.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Concierge Medical Care With a Smaller Price Tag

According to an article in the New York Times, Dr. Tom Lee, is trying a new method of primary care delivery that involves a concierge type experience that he believes will help lower the costs associated with health care. The founder of One Medical Group, Dr. Lee, has been able to deliver concierge medical services at a cost of about $200 a year. He states,“We’ve designed the model so that on average we’ll do fine, no matter how often people come in,” he said. “Independent of the people we see, our cost structure is lower, and because it’s lower we can care for any demographic.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Health Care Is High Among Web Searches

According to a short blog post in the Health section of the New York Times, four in five Internet users have searched the Web for health care information - according to a Pew Internet Project survey. Women were the biggest seekers for health information and 66% of web users looked for information about a disease or medical problem.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Governors Get Advice for Saving on Medicaid

According to a New York Times article, the Obama administration told governors on Thursday how they can save money on their Medicaid programs by selectively and judiciously reducing benefits, attacking fraud and curbing use of expensive prescriptions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Roundup

Here is a listing of articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days:

1. Bill Gates gives another $100 million to fund polio vaccination, PC World, February 2, 2011
Brief Intro:"At last week's World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Gates pledged an additional US$100 million to a global effort that seeks to wipe out wild polio virus transmissions by the end of next year."

2. Americans not doing enough to control cholesterol and blood pressure, All Headline News, February 2, 2011
Brief Intro:"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two out of three U.S. adults with high cholesterol and half of those with high blood pressure are not being treated properly.

Heart attacks, strokes and other vascular diseases kill about 800,000 Americans every year. Of these, 150,000 are younger than 65 years old. Cardiovascular disease costs the United States about $300 billion every year.

3. California ranks near bottom in kids' health care, SFGate, February 2, 2011
Brief Intro:"The study, by the Commonwealth Fund, ranked the state 44th in comparison with the other 49 states and the District of Columbia. The study found California especially inadequate in delivering affordable care for children. The scorecard was based on 20 measures, including access to care, prevention and treatment."

4. EPA to set limits on chemicals in drinking water,, February 2, 2011
Brief Intro:"The Environmental Protection Agency will set a limit on the amount of the chemical perchlorate, as well as other "toxic contaminants," in drinking water, it announced Wednesday.

The national regulation on perchlorate will reverse a 2008 decision made by President George W. Bush's administration, the agency said in a statement. It comes after EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson ordered agency scientists to review "the emerging science of perchlorate."

1. Readers debate the concept of race,, January 31, 2011
Brief Intro:"Is race an imaginary category that should be thrown out? “Yes,” proclaimed many readers who commented on Susan Saulny’s article about the increasing number of Americans who identify as mixed-race. "

2. More young Americans identify as mixed-race,, January 29, 2011
Brief Intro:"The crop of students moving through college right now includes the largest group of mixed-race people ever to come of age in the United States, and they are only the vanguard: the country is in the midst of a demographic shift driven by immigration and intermarriage.

3. Census shows big gains for U.S. minorities,, February 3, 2011
Brief Intro:"U.S. racial minorities accounted for roughly 85 percent of the nation's population growth over the last decade — one of the largest shares ever — with Hispanics accounting for much of the gain in many of the states picking up new House seats."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Aurora schools begin to provide dinner to low-income students

WGN covered a story that tells how Aurora schools have begun to provide dinner to some low-income students. Dubbed a 'super snack', about 50 students receive a nutritionally balanced meal to students who will then engage in tutoring and after school work. Children who receive the meals say that it helps them focus on their work as they are able to focus on their school work instead of their hunger.

You can learn more by watching this clip from WGN.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Documentary of Interest: Katrina's Children

This documentary takes a look at the effect of Hurricane Katrina from the children of New Orleans who lived through it. The children talk about the storm, the experience at the Super Dome and their experiences in the new towns they were evacuated with their families to.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Federal Research Center Will Help Develop Medicines

An article in the New York Times describes plans for a federal drug development research center that will help create medicines.

Brief Intro: "The new effort comes as many large drug makers, unable to find enough new drugs, are paring back research. Promising discoveries in illnesses like depression and Parkinson’s that once would have led to clinical trials are instead going unexplored because companies have neither the will nor the resources to undertake the effort."