Archive for the 'Health, Disability & Mortality' Category

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First, the House prohibited funding for Political Science research; now it’s Economics

The House appropriations bill for Labor, Health & Human Services & Education attempts to eviscerate The Affordable Care Act by snuffing out NIH funding for health economics research. The scientific community reacts in the posts/tweets below:

NEWS ALERT: First, the House prohibited funding for Political Science research; now it’s Economics http://bit.ly/Q9OgWF

The dismal science gets dismal news from the 2013 Labor, Health & Human Services & Education Appropriations bill http://bit.ly/Q9OgWF

National Organizations and Universities Oppose NIH Economic Research Ban
Consortium of Social Science Associations
July 30, 2012

Panel Votes to End Prevention Fund, Cut Economic Studies, Freeze NIH
Jocelyn Kaiser | Science
July 2012

Last week, a House of Representatives panel passed a 2013 spending bill that would freeze the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), impose narrowly targeted cuts and restrictions on agencies that pay for science and health care analysis, and potentially strip $787 million from the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The draft bill, reflecting hostility to the Administration’s 2010 health care law and a desire to trim the Department of Health and Human Services, would wipe out HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a backer of evidence-based medicine. It would also bar NIH from funding about $200 million in economics studies.

In the end, this may all be resolved by a continuing resolution, which will extend funding for six months beyond Oct 1. This would delay final votes and compromises on these controversial appropriations bills.

House appropriations bill targets health economics and evidence-based medicine
Jocelyn Kaiser | ScienceInsider
July 18, 2012
First paragraph says it all:

A flat budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) isn’t the only unpleasant surprise for research advocates in a House of Representatives spending bill released yesterday. The draft bill, which reflects Republicans’ desire to undo the 2010 health care law and trim the Department of Health and Human Services, would wipe out HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the main supporter of evidence-based medicine. The bill also bars NIH from funding economics studies.

U.S. Launches Interactive HIV/AIDS Database on Census.gov

[MONDAY, JULY 23, 2012] The U.S. Census Bureau today launched an interactive global resource on the prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS cases and deaths. The database was developed in 1987 and now holds 149,000 statistics, an increase of approximately 10,800 new estimates in the last year, making it the most complete of its kind in the world. The launch comes as thousands of people worldwide meet in Washington, D.C., for the International AIDS Conference this week.

The resource is maintained by the Census Bureau with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of PEPFAR, said on the launch, “This release of the HIV/AIDS database will expand global access to data that are critical to understanding the epidemic. This information is invaluable for the evidence-based response PEPFAR is championing.”

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said “This database provides the people who need it with quality statistics — supporting the life-saving efforts of our partners at PEPFAR and USAID and the doctors, nurses and public health officials working to reach the end of AIDS.”

The tool is a library of statistics from more than 12,000 articles in international scientific and medical journals, individual countries’ annual HIV/AIDS surveillance reports, and papers and posters presented at international conferences.

The menu-driven access tool permits users to search for statistical information in countries and territories across the world, as well as by subpopulation, geographic subarea (such as urban and rural), age, sex and year (back to 1960).

Statistics for the United States are available separately from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An Overview of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Source: Congressional Budget Office

From the Director’s Blog:

In fiscal year 2011, federal expenditures for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps)—$78 billion—and participation in the program were the highest they have ever been. In an average month that year, about one in seven U.S. residents received SNAP benefits.

In a report issued today, CBO describes the program, its beneficiaries, recent trends in participation and spending, and some possible approaches to changing how it operates. To provide a handy summary of some of the most pertinent information about SNAP, CBO also published an infographic on SNAP.

Report (PDF)
Infographic (PDF)

Global Monitoring Report 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition, and the Millennium Development Goals

Source: The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund

From Press Release:

The developing world’s progress is seriously lagging on global targets related to food and nutrition, with rates of child and maternal mortality still unacceptably high, says the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2012, released today by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Recent spikes in international food prices have stalled progress across several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the report says.

GMR 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition and the Millennium Development Goals reports good progress across some MDGs, with targets related to reducing extreme poverty and providing access to safe drinking water already achieved, several years ahead of the 2015 deadline to achieve the MDGs. Also, targets on education and ratio of girls to boys in schools are within reach.

In contrast, the world is significantly off-track on the MDGs to reduce mortality rates of children under five and mothers. As a result, these goals will not be met in any developing region by 2015. Progress is slowest on maternal mortality, with only one-third of the targeted reduction achieved thus far. Progress on reducing infant and child mortality is similarly dismal, with only 50 per cent of the targeted decline achieved.

Full report (PDF)
Overview (PDF)
See publication website for related materials

Reproductive Health

Childbirth is Taking Longer, Study Finds
Nicholas Bakalar | New York Times
March 31, 2012

Changes in labor patterns over 50 years
S.K Laughon, D.W. Branch, J. Beaver, and Jun Zhang | American Journal of Obstretrics and Gynecology
In press, available March 10, 2012

Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?
Elizabeth Weil | New York Times
March 30, 2012

Investing in America’s Health

A State-By-State Look At Public Health Funding And Key Health Facts
By: Jeffrey Levi, Laura M. Segal, Rebbeca St. Laurent, and Albert Lang
Source: Trust for America’s Health

From publication website:

Investing in disease prevention is the most effective, common-sense way to improve health. It can help spare millions of Americans from developing preventable illnesses, reduce health care costs, and improve the productivity of the American workforce so we can be competitive with the rest of the world.

Tens of millions of Americans are currently suffering from preventable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. And, today’s children are in danger of becoming the first generation in American history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.

For eight years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has supported the Trust for America’s Health in releasing an annual Investing in America’s Health report to examine public health funding and key health facts in states around the country.

Where you live should not determine how healthy you are. But, we’ve found that disease rates vary dramatically from city to city and region to region – and funding for public health and disease prevention programs also vary dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood, community to community, city to city and state to state.


Full report (PDF)

Individual community reports

Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General

From Executive Summary:

This Surgeon General’s report examines in detail the epidemiology, health effects, and causes of tobacco use among youth ages 12 through 17 and young adults ages 18 through 25. For the first time tobacco data on young adults as a discrete population has been explored. This is because nearly all tobacco use begins in youth and young adulthood, and because young adults are a prime target for tobacco advertising and marketing activities. This report also highlights the efficacy of strategies to prevent young people from using tobacco.

After years of steady decrease following the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998, declines in youth tobacco use have slowed for cigarette smoking and stalled for use of smokeless tobacco. The latest research shows that concurrent use of multiple tobacco products is common among young people, and suggest that smokeless tobacco use is increasing among White males.

Publication webpage
Full report (PDF)

The Impact of Mental Health Treatment on Low-Income Mothers’ Work

By: Pamela J. Loprest and Austin Nichols
Source: Urban Institute

Abstract:

This study analyzes the impact of mental health problems and mental health treatment on low-income mothers’ employment, using the 2002 National Survey of America’s Families. We find that all mothers, low-income mothers, and low-income single mothers in very poor mental health are significantly less likely to work. Instrumental variables regressions show that mothers receiving mental health treatment are significantly more likely to work. These findings suggest that mental health problems are an important barrier to work among low-income women and that access to treatment for these problems can substantially improve the probability of work for this group.

Full text (PDF)

Telomere length and Longevity

Telomere length in early life predicts lifespan
Britt J. Heidinger, Jonathan D. Blount, Winnie Boner, Kate Griffiths, Neil B. Metcalfe, and Pat Monaghan
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
January 9, 2012

[Abstract]

Coverage in the popular press
Telomeres and Lifespan
Gunnar De Winter | Science 2.0
January 10, 2010

Telomere length in birds predicts longevity
Heidi Ledford | Nature
January 9, 2012

Romantic Attraction and Adolescent Smoking Trajectories

Romantic Attraction and Adolescent Smoking Trajectories
By: Michael Pollard, Joan S. Tucker, Harold D. Green, David P. Kennedy, and Myong-Hyun Go
Source: Addictive Behaviors, 36(12)

Abstract:

Research on sexual orientation and substance use has established that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals are more likely to smoke than heterosexuals. This analysis furthers the examination of smoking behaviors across sexual orientation groups by describing how same- and opposite-sex romantic attraction, and changes in romantic attraction, are associated with distinct six-year developmental trajectories of smoking. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health dataset is used to test our hypotheses. Multinomial logistic regressions predicting smoking trajectory membership as a function of romantic attraction were separately estimated for men and women. Romantic attraction effects were found only for women. The change from self-reported heterosexual attraction to lesbian or bisexual attraction was more predictive of higher smoking trajectories than was a consistent lesbian or bisexual attraction, with potentially important differences between the smoking patterns of these two groups.

Full article (PDF – UM Campus access only)