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Posts

April 03, 2014

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3:17 PM | A Primer on HIV Treatment as Prevention
Kate Klein, MPH candidate As I write, HIV experts are meeting at the The International HIV Treatment as Prevention Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Treatment as prevention has become the new and exciting avenue that advocacy, behavior change, and clinical HIV practitioners have embraced in recent years to combat transmission.  But what does the general public […]
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2:56 PM | E-cigarettes: Is Liquid Nicotine Safe?
The debate over e-cigarettes has been heating up. Are the smokeless, battery-powered, nicotine-dispensing devices a gateway to smoking for young people or a helpful way for smokers to quit? Public health experts can be found on both sides of the debate. An article in the New York Times on February 22 cited two leading figures, [...]
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1:23 PM | Don’t be a Nutrition Statistic: Vitamin D, Bones, and More
The first identified biological role of vitamin D in calcium absorption and deposition. Of course, calcium is also essential to build bones and teeth. Because of the complex regulation of vitamin D and its metabolites, researchers have wondered if our bodies might conserve vitamin D during periods of low calcium intake. If so, vitamin D requirements could be affected by dietary calcium intake. Cashman and colleagues conducted a 15wk, randomized placebo-controlled double-blind (RCT) study with […]
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12:16 PM | Boycott! Don Blankenship’s propaganda film about Upper Big Branch disaster
Don Blankenship is marking the 4th anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster with a propaganda film. Boycott it!
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12:00 PM | Online Support Groups and Suicide
Every year, more than six million people lose a loved one through suicide. These bereaved by suicide are at relatively high risk for mental illnesses including suicide. The social stigma attached to suicide often makes it difficult to talk about...            Related StoriesCan Rituals Help Us Deal With Grief?Can Dementia Be Linked To Smoking Cessation?Understanding Hoarders 
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9:55 AM | ‘Cultural approach’ needed in public health improvement
The Chief Medical Officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, writes together with CCHSR and RAND Europe researchers in The Lancet today, arguing that to address current and emerging population health challenges we need a new approach that builds on past experience and places creating a ‘culture for health’ at its core. The paper link is: ...read more
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9:29 AM | Making patient experience surveys useful: Improving care by asking about what went wrong, as well as what went right
How can we make patient experience surveys more useful for improving care?   Should we ask about what went wrong (as well as what went right), in order to learn where improvements are most needed? Driving improvements in care: Making patient surveys useful Patient surveys are an important part of the quest to measure, manage, ...read more
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8:33 AM | What do patient experience, genome-wide association studies and randomised controlled trials have in common? A blog about p-values
As far as I understand, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been a very successful approach to looking at huge numbers of possible associations of genes with different medical problems.  The approach is broadly “hypothesis free” without specific prior reasons to think that any single genetic change out of the millions considered might be associated.  This ...read more

April 02, 2014

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11:54 PM | Australia still has an egg problem: farm linked to 220 Salmonella illnesses fires 5 workers, back in business
Ash Lewis was limp in his mother’s arms. The three-year-old boy had been sick for several days, in and out of the family doctor’s surgery and up all night with diarrhea. That Sunday he had been happily playing on the … Continue reading →
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11:10 PM | Several hospitalized: E. coli linked to Oklahoma State Fairgrounds
The Oklahoma Health Department is investigating several cases of E. coli sickness with one thing in common, the State Fairgrounds. Several people who attended the Oklahoma Youth Expo between March 12-21 have been hospitalized with the illness. Officials at the … Continue reading →
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10:10 PM | A Montreal cafe that won’t let you poop
This past weekend Sprudge.com editors Zachary Carlsen and Jordan Michelman traveled to Montreal, Quebec as speakers at the first Barista Nation event of 2014. And discovered a cafe policy so shocking, so out of the ordinary that it demands sharing … Continue reading →
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8:34 PM | Food Safety Talk 58: Where’s my wallet?
Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or … Continue reading →
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8:09 PM | The longterm business impacts of an outbreak
Beyond the tragic longterm effects on health for the victims of an outbreak, issues associated with foodborne illness incidents can taint a business for a long time. Jack-in-the-box, Odwalla, Castleberry’s and others may have changed their processes and practices but … Continue reading →
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5:59 PM | Riding the epidemic curve to glory, Gram-negative edition
Dan has discussed "riding the epidemic curve to glory" before. This is the phenomenom that occurs when a bundle of interventions is started just as an outbreak is entering the “downhill” part of the epidemic curve. Thus, the outbreak would have ended on its own, even without intervention, yet the hospital epidemiologist and their recommended interventions are incorrectly given credit for the success. This effect has only minor importance when looking at a single hospital outbreak. […]
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1:08 PM | “No dust, no silica”: OSHA Silica Hearings Week #2
A high-road employer and lower-wage workers spoke in the second week of public hearings on OSHA’s proposed rule to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica.
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11:26 AM | Meta-Analyses of Vitamin D and the Nuances of Nutrition Research
In the British Medical Journal today, two articles attempt to synthesize research into vitamin D and a variety of different health outcomes (lead authors are Chowdhury, Theodoratou)  and there is a comment by Welsh and Sattar in the same issue. While the collation of research seems like a good idea at the outset, allowing us to see the forest rather than looking at the individual trees, the approach is perhaps not ideal for nutrients, and also fails to capture differences in the study […]
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1:07 AM | Seven million enroll in private health plans thanks to ACA
Millions of people have gained health-insurance coverage through federal and state exchanges, direct purchases from insurers, and Medicaid expansions.

April 01, 2014

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8:51 PM | Parents baffled by doll that literally poops rainbows
As a father of five daughters, I’ve always tried to introduce some activity into their routine to balance all the girly stuff. Sure Sorenne wears a pink sweater, but she plays hockey. She’s also really into human anatomy videos on … Continue reading →
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3:52 PM | High school email-an-expert projects: Respond or ignore?
I have been experiencing a sharp uptick in high school projects that are apparently titled: "Email questions to some random expert on the internet" lately. Is anyone else getting these? Do you respond? In what depth?
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3:30 PM | Perspective on CDC Autism Findings
The recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on increasing autism prevalence has created concern among parents, headlines in the media and enough questions to warrant additional exploration. The findings from 2010 data show that autism now affects 1 in 68 children, up 30 percent from the last analysis, released two years ago, [...]
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3:07 PM | Post #3 What to Look for in a School-Program-Department-Advisor - My PhD Process: How I Survived a PhD in the Biological Sciences and Succeeded Afterward
One of the most important things I tell aspiring MS or PhD students is to be extremely aware of the school, program, department, and advisor that you choose. I guess this sort of holds up for undergraduates, or law students, or med students to some extent as well, but let's focus here!Me, Lance Presser discussing something important (of course).As I was finishing my undergraduate at North Dakota State University (NDSU), I had a fairly high opinion of my abilities, having spent a lot of […]
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12:21 PM | How Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease?
Achieving adequate intakes of omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for prevention of cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids have various biological effects: they are structural cell membrane components, they are involved in the production of messenger molecules in the immune system, and they regulate the expression of a number of genes. All of these effects have been linked to reduction in cardiovascular disease. A new study looks at the mechanisms behind how omega-3 fatty acids reduce risk […]
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12:00 PM | British Doctor Goes Undercover to Expose Gay "Cures"
Dr. Christian Jessen is a medical doctor and one of the stars of the British television program, Embarassing Bodies. Well known for educating the public on medical conditions that might be "too embarassing to share with their doctors", the 36-year-old...            Related StoriesThe Problem With PainDoes Caregiving Cause Psychological Stress? Researchers Say It DependsThird Trial Underway in Psychologist Murder 
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8:59 AM | Possible foodborne illness at Minn. Lion’s Club
The Minnesota Department of Health is, according to the Brainerd Dispatch, investigating possible foodborne illnesses after some people got sick after a Nisswa Lion’s Club meeting. The March 24 Lion’s club meeting was conducted at the Nisswa Community Center. Food … Continue reading →
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8:46 AM | Safer eggs: new technique uses radio waves to zap Salmonella
According to the Department of Agriculture, about one out of every 20,000 chicken eggs produced in the U.S. has a high risk of being contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Not all kinds of Salmonella are harmful, but some are, notably S. … Continue reading →
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7:43 AM | Listeria lurks: Judge shuts down Brooklyn fish processing plant
A federal judge has ordered the shutdown of a Brooklyn fish processing plant that has been plagued for years by Listeria. Judge Roslynn Mauskopf stuck a harpoon in New York City Fish, granting the government’s request for a permanent injunction … Continue reading →
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7:15 AM | Porcine plasma? Feed is suspect in spread of deadly pig virus
Scientists and regulators investigating the mysterious spread of a deadly virus plaguing the U.S. pork industry are stepping up their scrutiny of what the nation’s hog herd eats. With a dearth of solid leads, investigators are exploring whether something in … Continue reading →
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1:41 AM | 2 minutes per day (or, Still beating that dead horse, contact precautions edition)
Regular readers know that we’ve long been posting about the unintended adverse consequences of contact precautions, most recently yesterday with Mike’s post on the added associated costs. A research letter was published online today in JAMA Internal Medicine, reporting results of a time-motion study of interns (using RFID badges) to compare time spent with isolated versus non-isolated patients. You guessed it, the interns visited the isolated patients less often and for shorter […]

March 31, 2014

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6:29 PM | Blame the consumer – norovirus on cruise lines edition
The first official norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship this year, according to Jim Walker of Cruise Law News, involved the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Norwegian Star.  The outbreak occurred during a cruise from January 5-19, 2014. The virus sickened 130 of … Continue reading →
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5:30 PM | Cell tower workers: Six deaths in 12 weeks
Twelve weeks into 2014, six cell tower workers have died on the job – incidents that caused a total of 7 fatalities. OSHA has called the industry's safety record "unacceptable" and announced increased focus on tower work safety. But this history of catastrophic and fatal incidents goes back nearly 20 years. What's needed to effect change?
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