Tuesday, May 31, 2011

GSK and funding for global health initiatives

A recent article in the New York Times how GlaxoSmithKline announced that it will use 20% of its profit made in poor countries to finance health care initiatives. Some examples of supported projects include a chain of clinics in Rwanda and the support of building classrooms and dormitories at a training center for midwives in Cambodia.

Monday, May 30, 2011

More Sleep May Cut Kids' Risk of Obesity

According to a recent Health Day article, a New Zealand study that followed 244 children as they grew from 3 -7 years old found that when children slept more, there BMI's were reduced and there was a significant drop of their risk of being overweight. The study revealed that children got an average of 11 hours worth of sleep per day. Those who consistently slept less had a higher BMI by the time they turned 7 years old.

The study was published in the online version of BMJ on May 26th.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

1 in 5 young adults has high blood pressure

A post on the CNN Health blog discusses a new study that shows that close to 1 in 5 adults has high blood pressure. Harris and her team followed more than 14,000 kids since 1995 from their adolescence into adulthood. At the most recent 2008check-in, Harris found that close to 37% were obese and participants had a high rate of high blood pressure.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

U.S. immigrants and weight gain

A recent article on MSNBC.com shares the findings of a new study that indicate that some
mmigrants are known to put on weight after their move to the U.S. , with some approaching obesity levels within 15 years. The study focused on Asian-American and White college students. During the study, researchers found that children of immigrants are often embarrassed to eat foods associated with their home country in front of others. As a way to fit-in, the participants in the study sometimes chose Americanized food choices like hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches - which contain much more calories than the food consumed in their home countries.

The study is scheduled to be published in June in the journal Psychological Science.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Doctor’s Push for Single-Payer Health Care in Vermont

A recent article in the New York Times tells of how Dr. Deb Richter came to Vermont to achieve a tough goal - a single-payer healthcare system ran and paid for by the government. Thanks to her persistence, the governor of Vermont is signing a bill that puts Vermont on the road to the system she has fought for over the last 12 years. All 620,000 of the state's residents would be eligible for the coverage and a 5-member board (appointed by the governor), will determine pay rates for doctors, what should be covered, etc.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Grass-roots school advocacy

A recent article in the New York Times tells the story of how grass-roots school advocacy groups that are funded by the Gates Foundation are making impact in the education field. The activities that are funded range from those who are advocating change to the current educational system that included challenging the teacher seniority system and the use of student scores to evaluate teachers.

The president of the foundation's United States program, Allan Golston, said "We’ve learned that school-level investments aren’t enough to drive systemic changes." In 2009, the foundation ended up spending $373 million on education and devoted $78 million to advocacy. Over the next five to six years, Mr. Golston indicated that the foundation is ready to spend $3.5 billion more on education.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

$25 Computer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation

I came across an interesting story about a $25 computer created by David Braben. The device has a HDMI connection at one end to allow it to be connected to a TV and a USB connection to plug in a USB keyboard/mouse. I visited Braben's Raspberry Pi Foundation and uploaded the image of this device so that you can see what it looks like. According to the Foundation's website, the plan is to develop, manufacture, and distribute the ultra-low cost device for use in teaching computer programming to children. Braeben expects to have this technology available for sale in about a year's time.

Imagine the kind of impact this device can have on children and education. What are your thoughts on this?

Infant Deaths Drop After Midwives Undergo Inexpensive Training

According to an article in the New York Times, a study published in the journal of Pediatrics has shown that a small pilot project that focused on training midwives in Zambia program was cost-effective and saved approximately 97 infants at a cost of $208 per life. Midwives at 18 Zambian clinics were taught a basic course in newborn care and covered simple interventions like cleaning and warming a newborn.

The study was paid for by the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Study: Immigrant Hispanics less stressed, healthier

According to a recent article on CNN, immigrant Hispanics are less stressed and healthier than American-born Hispanics. The study, published in the Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, found that in addition to education and income disparities, higher levels among Hispanics and African-Americans leads to worse health outcomes among those populations.

he study was conducted by Harvard School of Public Health researchers using data from 3,105 adults in the Chicago Community Adult Health Study.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Study pushes to expand "prediabetes" label

According to a recent report in the journal Diabetes Care, having normal blood sugars is no guarantee to developing Type II diabetes in the future. In fact, the Italian study found that those that are at the high end of the normal blood sugar range are twice as likely to develop the disease as those in the low end - which means the current accepted normal range may be too wide.

You can read more about these findings here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Roundup

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

1. Environmental toxins cost billions in childhood disease, Time, May 4, 2011:
Brief Intro: "In a new study in Health Affairs, Trasande and Liu have included autism and attention deficit disorder in the mix, and they now estimate that environmental disease in children costs some $76.6 billion. "That's over 3% of total health care costs," says Trasande. "The environment has become a major part of childhood disease."

2. Healthy hospitals initiative launches in Michigan, Crain's Detroit Business, May 4, 2011:
Brief Intro:"Christine Eagle, Beaumont's clinical nutrition manager, said that for the past several years, the hospital system has increased the amount of fresh food it prepares. The healthy-food program will expand those efforts to cut back on processed meals."

1. Race seems to play role in colorectal cancer screening, Health Day, May 5, 2011:
Brief Intro:"Elderly black and Hispanic Americans are less likely than whites to get colorectal cancer screening, even though Medicare has expanded coverage for screening tests such as colonoscopy and fecal occult blood test, a new study has found."

1. Bill would help Texas charter schools for at-risk students, New York Times, May 5, 2011:
Brief Intro:"Recovery charter schools in Texas serve about 18,000 students who have performed poorly at traditional public schools, according to state data from the 2009-10 school year. Many have skipped too many classes or used too many drugs to graduate on time. Others have gotten pregnant or have emotional problems or learning disabilities. Recovery charters offer a second chance."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Podcast: Interview with Dr. Ronald Andersen

For this month's podcast, I interviewed Dr. Ronald Andersen who is the Wasserman Professor Emeritus of Health Services and Sociology at UCLA School of Public Health. This podcast provides an excellent overview of health disparity,the underserved, and issues associated with access to medical care.

You can listen to the podcast (WAV) here:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/onlinefiles/Interviews/Andersen_Podcast_WAV.wav or as an MP3 here:https://s3.amazonaws.com/onlinefiles/Interviews/Andersen_Podcast_MP3.mp3

Dr. Andersen also provided other resources that may be of interest to podcast listeners:
1) The latest version of the Model:Ronald Andersen, Pamela Davidson, 2007 – Improving Access to Care in America: Individual and Contextual indicators in Ronald Andersen, Thomas Rice and Gerald Kominski (eds.) Changing the U.S.Health Care System: Key Issues in Health Services Policy and Management (3rd. ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 3-31.

2) A review of national surveys of health services and origins of the Behavioral Model:
RM Andersen, 2008 -"National health surveys and the behavioral model of health services use." Medical Care, Jul;46(7):647-53

3) An online annotated bibliography on access to health care recently prepared for Oxford University Press: Ronald Andersen. Access to Health Care.” In Oxford Bibliographies Online :Public Health. Ed. Lawrence Green. New York: Oxford University Press, February, 2011.

Shared appointments -A new way of developing healthcare?

A recent article on MSNBC discusses a new way some doctors are interacting with patients who have been diagnosed with chronic diseases such as Parkinson's and diabetes. Instead of a regular 15-minute visit one-on-one with the patient, the doctor meets with patients as a group for sessions that may last for 90+ minutes.

As an example of how this technique works, doctors who hold group sessions for those afflicted with Parkinson's believe that they learn more about their patients as they can see how they interact with other group members - giving the doctor more information about the patient than what would have been received during a one-on-one interaction. In diabetic patient groups, patients share their own experiences with the disease while learning how to properly manage it. When one patient in a particular group warned others to make sure they follow their regimen as she had ignored hers and lost most of her toes, her doctor said that what that patient said had a much stronger impact on the group than what he could have said all day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The education of shelter students

A recent article in the New York Times details how one school in Orange County Florida were working to educate their students, including those that live in the area's homeless shelters. The children in this story lived in a shelter run by the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. In fact, 256 of the 751 at the coalition's shelter were children and in Orange County, 2,953 homeless children attend the area's schools.

The story goes into some detail as to how Fern Creek school has had a proven track record of success when it comes to its students, many of which are affected by poverty. These reasons for success, according to Patrick Galatowitsch, the school's principle:

1. Class size - Florida has mandatory class-size limits.
2. Talented, experienced teachers.
3. Firm yet caring discipline.