Public Health
Public Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. (What is Public Health? Association of Schools of Public Health )

Five Minutes Or Less For Health


Five Minutes Or Less For Health Widget. Flash Player 9 is required.
Five Minutes Or Less For Health Widget.
Flash Player 9 is required.

Soda companies spend big money to influence public health initiatives meant to decrease sugary drink consumption. But policies like taxes on sugary beverages can encourage people to make healthier choices. The beverage industry is doing everything in its power to keep that from happening.

(From Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity)

Asian American Pacific Islander E-cigarette Survey

image

With the recent rise of the popularity of e-cigarettes, it is important to understand its awareness and use amongst youth and young adults. We are looking for 18-25 year olds living in California and is interested in taking a voluntary anonymous survey about this topic; whether users of e-cigarettes or not. We highly encourage Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) to take the survey due to a lack of research and data amongst these populations, nevertheless, this survey is open to anyone who meets the criteria. The survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and all information collected will remain confidential. The study has been approved by the IRB Offices of Stanford University. Please forward the survey link to anyone you know who might be interested in taking the survey.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns please email TobaccoTx@stanford.edu

Please click on this link to begin the survey

https://stanfordmedicine.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0lJ26rHKHcXJF8p

Last day to take the survey is on July 31

(From Health4America Fellows Program at Stanford University, School of Medicine)

nprglobalhealth:

UNICEF Report On Female Genital Mutilation Holds Hope And Woe
Women and girls are less likely to undergo female genital mutilation, or FGM, than 30 years ago. That’s the encouraging news from a UNICEF report on the controversial practice, presented this week at London’s first Girl Summit.
The rate has dropped in many of the 29 countries across Africa and the Middle East where FGM is practiced. In Kenya, for example, nearly half the girls age 15 to 19 were circumcised in 1980; in 2010 the rate was just under 20 percent.
But there’s a sobering side to the report. In countries like Somalia the rate has gone down slightly but is still over 90 percent.
And because the population is growing in parts of the world where the practice takes place, total numbers are on the rise. Unless the rate of decline picks up, another 63 million girls and women could be cut by 2050.
The report is “exciting and worrying,” says Susan Bissell, the chief of child protection at UNICEF. “The population growth will far surpass the gain we’ve been seeing if we don’t step it up.”
The report shows that more than 130 million girls and women have experienced some form of genital cutting or mutilation in 29 countries across Africa and the Middle East.
The practice involves removing, partially or completely, the female genitalia — sometimes just the clitoris, other times also the labia or “lips” that surround the vagina. In extreme cases, the vaginal opening is narrowed by sewing up the outer labia.
In many communities, the custom has long been perceived as a rite of passage into womanhood. Because sexual contact is painful, the practice is also seen as a way to prevent a woman from losing her virginity before marriage. Some see it as ensuring fidelity during marriage, as the procedure eliminates sexual pleasure.
Continue reading.
Graph: This chart tracks the changing rates of female genital mutilation in a sampling of countries — and projects the rate needed to end FGM by 2030. (via UNICEF)

nprglobalhealth:

UNICEF Report On Female Genital Mutilation Holds Hope And Woe

Women and girls are less likely to undergo female genital mutilation, or FGM, than 30 years ago. That’s the encouraging news from a UNICEF report on the controversial practice, presented this week at London’s first Girl Summit.

The rate has dropped in many of the 29 countries across Africa and the Middle East where FGM is practiced. In Kenya, for example, nearly half the girls age 15 to 19 were circumcised in 1980; in 2010 the rate was just under 20 percent.

But there’s a sobering side to the report. In countries like Somalia the rate has gone down slightly but is still over 90 percent.

And because the population is growing in parts of the world where the practice takes place, total numbers are on the rise. Unless the rate of decline picks up, another 63 million girls and women could be cut by 2050.

The report is “exciting and worrying,” says Susan Bissell, the chief of child protection at UNICEF. “The population growth will far surpass the gain we’ve been seeing if we don’t step it up.”

The report shows that more than 130 million girls and women have experienced some form of genital cutting or mutilation in 29 countries across Africa and the Middle East.

The practice involves removing, partially or completely, the female genitalia — sometimes just the clitoris, other times also the labia or “lips” that surround the vagina. In extreme cases, the vaginal opening is narrowed by sewing up the outer labia.

In many communities, the custom has long been perceived as a rite of passage into womanhood. Because sexual contact is painful, the practice is also seen as a way to prevent a woman from losing her virginity before marriage. Some see it as ensuring fidelity during marriage, as the procedure eliminates sexual pleasure.

Continue reading.

Graph: This chart tracks the changing rates of female genital mutilation in a sampling of countries — and projects the rate needed to end FGM by 2030. (via UNICEF)

nprglobalhealth:

Globe-Trotting Virus Hides Inside People’s Gut Bacteria
New viruses are a dime a dozen.
Every few months, we hear about a newly discovered flu virus that’s jumped from birds to people somewhere in the world. And the number of viruses identified in bats is “extraordinary and appears to increase almost daily,” scientists wrote last year in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
But a virus that has been quietly hiding inside millions of people on three continents — and never been noticed before? That doesn’t come along often.
Scientists at San Diego State University have discovered what may be the most common and abundant virus in the human gut. And yet, the tiny critter, called crAssphage (oh yes, there’s a story behind that name), has eluded researchers’ radar for decades.
Here’s the cool part: The virus doesn’t just hang out in our intestines naked and alone, scientists report Thursday in the journal Nature Communications. Instead, the virus takes up residence inside gut bacteria — specifically insideBacteroides, a group of microbes that have been linked to obesity and diabetes.
So the system is almost like a Russian nesting doll: The virus lives inside the bacterium, which lives inside our gut.
The new virus doesn’t make us sick, but it may be involved in controlling weight through its effect on Bacteroides. "We suspect this virus is very important in regulating the number of these bacteria [the Bacteroides] in the intestine,” says computational biologist Robert Edwards, who led the study.
Edwards and his colleagues found the virus in fecal samples from people across the U.S., Europe, Korea and Japan. “But we think the virus is likely found worldwide,” he tells Goats and Soda. “We’ve basically found it in every population we’ve looked at. If we tested Africans, we think we’d find it in them, too.”
Continue reading.
Illustration: We are all Russian nesting dolls: Our intestines house many bacteria, which house many viruses. These so-called bacteriophages are likely as important for our health as the bacteria they live in. (Lisa Brown for NPR)

nprglobalhealth:

Globe-Trotting Virus Hides Inside People’s Gut Bacteria

New viruses are a dime a dozen.

Every few months, we hear about a newly discovered flu virus that’s jumped from birds to people somewhere in the world. And the number of viruses identified in bats is “extraordinary and appears to increase almost daily,” scientists wrote last year in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

But a virus that has been quietly hiding inside millions of people on three continents — and never been noticed before? That doesn’t come along often.

Scientists at San Diego State University have discovered what may be the most common and abundant virus in the human gut. And yet, the tiny critter, called crAssphage (oh yes, there’s a story behind that name), has eluded researchers’ radar for decades.

Here’s the cool part: The virus doesn’t just hang out in our intestines naked and alone, scientists report Thursday in the journal Nature Communications. Instead, the virus takes up residence inside gut bacteria — specifically insideBacteroides, a group of microbes that have been linked to obesity and diabetes.

So the system is almost like a Russian nesting doll: The virus lives inside the bacterium, which lives inside our gut.

The new virus doesn’t make us sick, but it may be involved in controlling weight through its effect on Bacteroides. "We suspect this virus is very important in regulating the number of these bacteria [the Bacteroides] in the intestine,” says computational biologist Robert Edwards, who led the study.

Edwards and his colleagues found the virus in fecal samples from people across the U.S., Europe, Korea and Japan. “But we think the virus is likely found worldwide,” he tells Goats and Soda. “We’ve basically found it in every population we’ve looked at. If we tested Africans, we think we’d find it in them, too.”

Continue reading.

Illustration: We are all Russian nesting dolls: Our intestines house many bacteria, which house many viruses. These so-called bacteriophages are likely as important for our health as the bacteria they live in. (Lisa Brown for NPR)

Asthma and the Environment
  Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways that carry oxygen in and out of the lungs. If a person has asthma, the inside of these airways is irritated and swollen. Asthma can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. For some people, asthma symptoms only appear when they are exposed to something that irritates their breathing. Others have a kind of asthma that makes breathing difficult all of the time.
Asthma attacks have been linked to exercise, respiratory infections and exposure to environmental factors such as allergens, tobacco smoke, and indoor and outdoor air pollution. Asthma attacks can be reduced by taking medication and avoiding exposure to known triggers.
A number of studies have reported associations between air pollution exposures and asthma. For example, researchers have found an association between increased hospital admissions for asthma and particulate matter, an outdoor air pollutant.
(From CDC)

Asthma and the Environment

  Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways that carry oxygen in and out of the lungs. If a person has asthma, the inside of these airways is irritated and swollen. Asthma can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. For some people, asthma symptoms only appear when they are exposed to something that irritates their breathing. Others have a kind of asthma that makes breathing difficult all of the time.

Asthma attacks have been linked to exercise, respiratory infections and exposure to environmental factors such as allergens, tobacco smoke, and indoor and outdoor air pollution. Asthma attacks can be reduced by taking medication and avoiding exposure to known triggers.

A number of studies have reported associations between air pollution exposures and asthma. For example, researchers have found an association between increased hospital admissions for asthma and particulate matter, an outdoor air pollutant.

(From CDC)

Neighbourhoods with more fast-food restaurants linked to higher BMIs among residents: Ontario study
ORONTO — Neighbourhoods with a high number of fast food restaurants are no place for the weight conscious, a new study suggests.
The research reveals that the average body mass index of Canadians living in areas with a high density of fast food outlets is higher than the average BMI of people who live in neighbourhoods with more full-service restaurants.
The work was conducted by scientists at the University of Western Ontario, in London, and published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
Some earlier studies done in the United States have revealed similar findings, as have a couple of small studies looking only at children in two different centres in Canada. The authors say this paper is the first to show the possible link in the Canadian adults based on individual-level data.
And they say the finding could be used to justify government action, whether that’s zoning bylaws aimed at restricting the density of fast food outlets or requiring fast food restaurants to post calorie counts for the food items they serve.
(More on National Post, Toronto, Canada)

Neighbourhoods with more fast-food restaurants linked to higher BMIs among residents: Ontario study

ORONTO — Neighbourhoods with a high number of fast food restaurants are no place for the weight conscious, a new study suggests.

The research reveals that the average body mass index of Canadians living in areas with a high density of fast food outlets is higher than the average BMI of people who live in neighbourhoods with more full-service restaurants.

The work was conducted by scientists at the University of Western Ontario, in London, and published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

Some earlier studies done in the United States have revealed similar findings, as have a couple of small studies looking only at children in two different centres in Canada. The authors say this paper is the first to show the possible link in the Canadian adults based on individual-level data.

And they say the finding could be used to justify government action, whether that’s zoning bylaws aimed at restricting the density of fast food outlets or requiring fast food restaurants to post calorie counts for the food items they serve.

(More on National Post, Toronto, Canada)

(From American College of Gastroenterology)
nprglobalhealth:

Legalizing Prostitution Would Protect Sex Workers From HIV
If prostitution were legal around the world, the transmission of HIV among female sex workers would go down by at least a third, according to a paper presented at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
That would be a huge step forward. “Sex workers face a disproportionately large burden of HIV,” the paper notes.
Goats and Soda spoke to Dr. Kate Shannon, director of the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative of the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in British Columbia, and lead author of the paper published in the July 22 journal The Lancet.
What led you to do research on HIV and female sex workers?
This is part of a larger series of research on sex workers and HIV that also looked at transmission among male and transgender sex workers.
Why has the criminalization of prostitution made sex workers more vulnerable to HIV infection?
We see across many settings that criminalization leads to more violence. Policing practices displace sex workers, sending them to more hidden places where they’re less safe and where they lose the ability to negotiate conditions, such as condom use.
It seems counterintuitive: A greater police presence in the sex trade leads to more violence and less safety for sex workers. How does that happen?
From our review, we see that policing efforts include bribes, confiscating condoms, police harassment, forced detainment and abuse. And where sex workers experience violence, or fear violence, they’re more likely to have to do things like jump into vehicles quickly [for sex] with a reduced ability to negotiate condom use.
Continue reading.
Photo: Masked Indian sex workers protest alleged police atrocities in Bangalore last year. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

nprglobalhealth:

Legalizing Prostitution Would Protect Sex Workers From HIV

If prostitution were legal around the world, the transmission of HIV among female sex workers would go down by at least a third, according to a paper presented at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

That would be a huge step forward. “Sex workers face a disproportionately large burden of HIV,” the paper notes.

Goats and Soda spoke to Dr. Kate Shannon, director of the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative of the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in British Columbia, and lead author of the paper published in the July 22 journal The Lancet.

What led you to do research on HIV and female sex workers?

This is part of a larger series of research on sex workers and HIV that also looked at transmission among male and transgender sex workers.

Why has the criminalization of prostitution made sex workers more vulnerable to HIV infection?

We see across many settings that criminalization leads to more violence. Policing practices displace sex workers, sending them to more hidden places where they’re less safe and where they lose the ability to negotiate conditions, such as condom use.

It seems counterintuitive: A greater police presence in the sex trade leads to more violence and less safety for sex workers. How does that happen?

From our review, we see that policing efforts include bribes, confiscating condoms, police harassment, forced detainment and abuse. And where sex workers experience violence, or fear violence, they’re more likely to have to do things like jump into vehicles quickly [for sex] with a reduced ability to negotiate condom use.

Continue reading.

Photo: Masked Indian sex workers protest alleged police atrocities in Bangalore last year. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief Ebola doctor contracts the deadly virus
The doctor leading the fight against the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has contracted the virus, according to government officials.
Sheik Umar Khan has been admitted to a hospital in the Eastern province of Sierra Leone and is undergoing treatment.
The 39-year-old doctor is considered a national hero and is credited for treating scores of people suffering from the virus.
Health Minister Miatta Kargbo said she would “do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives.”
Ebola is spread by a virus that is initially transmitted from wild animals; it has a high fatality rate and no cure. The virus kills up to 90 percent of those infected, however patients have a better chance of survival if the virus is detected early on.
According to the United Nations, 630 people have died since the virus was detected in Guinea in February and the virus has spread across borders and into several West African countries like Liberia. Symptoms of Ebola include high fever, vomiting, internal and external bleeding as well as diarrhea.
Khan seemed aware of the risks involved with dealing with Ebola, telling Reuters late last month “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life.”
He also said “Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease.”
(From PBS NewsHour)

Chief Ebola doctor contracts the deadly virus

The doctor leading the fight against the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has contracted the virus, according to government officials.

Sheik Umar Khan has been admitted to a hospital in the Eastern province of Sierra Leone and is undergoing treatment.

The 39-year-old doctor is considered a national hero and is credited for treating scores of people suffering from the virus.

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo said she would “do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives.”

Ebola is spread by a virus that is initially transmitted from wild animals; it has a high fatality rate and no cure. The virus kills up to 90 percent of those infected, however patients have a better chance of survival if the virus is detected early on.

According to the United Nations, 630 people have died since the virus was detected in Guinea in February and the virus has spread across borders and into several West African countries like Liberia. Symptoms of Ebola include high fever, vomiting, internal and external bleeding as well as diarrhea.

Khan seemed aware of the risks involved with dealing with Ebola, telling Reuters late last month “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life.”

He also said “Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease.”

(From PBS NewsHour)