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October 7, 2009, 8:40 PM CT

Insured African-Americans more likely to use emergency room

Insured African-Americans more likely to use emergency room
Health insurance, and the access it provides to a primary care physician, should reduce the use of a major driver of health care costs: the emergency room.

Yet in a policy brief released recently by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, scientists observed that in California, privately insured African Americans enrolled in HMOs are far more likely to use the ER and to delay getting needed prescription drugs than HMO-insured members of other racial and ethnic groups. The research was funded by the California Office of the Patient Advocate.

It's not that African Americans fail to see their doctors, scientists say. In fact, of all HMO enrollees, African Americans were the most likely to report seeing a doctor in the past year, as per the authors of the brief, "African-Americans in Commercial HMOs Are More Likely to Delay Prescription Drugs and Use the Emergency Room."

Patient income and illness did not predict ER or prescription drug use either. Scientists found greater ER use and delays in getting prescription drugs even among African American HMO enrollees who were generally healthy and had higher incomes.

While the reasons behind the ER use and drug delays among African Americans are the subject of future research, main author Dylan Roby, a research scientist with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said the data suggests that the way health maintenance organizations or their contracted physicians provide care and the way patients respond to that care may create obstacles to timely primary care, as well as foster excessive use of the emergency room and delays in getting needed medications.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 7, 2009, 7:06 AM CT

Many children are exposed to violence and abuse

Many children are exposed to violence and abuse
A newly released study from the University of New Hampshire finds that U.S. children are routinely exposed to even more violence and abuse than has been previously recognized, with nearly half experiencing a physical assault in the study year.

"Children experience far more violence, abuse and crime than do adults," said David Finkelhor, director of the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center and the study director. "If life were this dangerous for ordinary grown-ups, we'd never tolerate it".

The research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The research results are presented in the journal Pediatrics and an Office of Justice Programs/OJJDP bulletin titled "Children's Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey".

UNH scientists asked a national sample of U.S. children and their caregivers about a far broader range of exposures than has been done in the past.

As per the research, three out of five children were exposed to violence, abuse or a criminal victimization in the last year, including 46 percent who had been physically assaulted, 10 percent who had been maltreated by a caregiver, 6 percent who had been sexually victimized, and 10 percent who had witnessed an assault within their family.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 7:16 PM CT

Spirituality in end-of-life care

Spirituality in end-of-life care
Guidelines derived from a recent Consensus Conference, including recommendations on the role of healthcare providers in the assurance of quality spiritual care to patients in a palliative care setting, are published in a comprehensive report in Journal of Palliative Medicine, a peer-evaluated publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com). Journal of Palliative Medicine is the official journal of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and an official journal of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA). The article is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/jpm.

The article, "Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care: The Report of the Consensus Conference," represents the final Consensus Report of a conference sponsored by the Archstone Foundation of Long Beach, CA. As per Joseph F. Prevratil, JD, President and CEO, "The report's recommendations seek to ensure that spiritual care is a fundamental component of quality palliative care, which strives to prevent and relieve suffering for seriously ill patients and their families."

"For the first time we have a practical model for the implementation of inter-professional spiritual care which will result in improved healthcare outcomes for patients," says Christina Puchalski, MD, MS, FACP, Co-Principal Investigator and main author of the Consensus Report, from The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish) at the George Washington University Medical Center.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 8:02 AM CT

Body posture affects confidence

Body posture affects confidence
Sitting up straight in your chair isn't just good for your posture it also gives you more confidence in your own thoughts, as per a newly released study.

Scientists observed that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job.

Conversely, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications.

The results show how our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves, said Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

"Most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people," Petty said. "But it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves. If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you're in".

Petty conducted the study with Pablo Briol, a former postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State now at the Universidad Autnoma de Madrid in Spain, and Benjamin Wagner, a current graduate student at Ohio State. The research appears in the October 2009 issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 7:41 AM CT

Violent upbringing begets domestic violence

Violent upbringing begets domestic violence
A recent study from the latest issue of Personal Relationships shows that individuals who have experienced violence at an early age may have trouble adjusting to healthy, adult romantic relationships and are at a higher risk to experience marital difficulties. The research reveals that early exposure to a violent environment is likely to lead to domestic violence situations during the later part of life. Feelings of insecurity, abandonment anxiety, and intimacy issues are also likely to plague these romantic connections.

Additionally, the dynamics of the way couples react and communicate with each other is also correlation to the likelihood of domestic violence within a relationship. For example, men tend to use violence towards their partner as a means to exert a desire for personal space or avoidance of emotional issues in response to the "clingy" or intrusive behavior of his female partner.

This research highlights the importance of domestic violence prevention efforts starting at the childhood level, within family environments as well as school and community based settings. Moreover, prevention efforts allow the victim to relate long-harbored painful childhood violent experiences and rectify internal representations of self that cause long-term damage to valuable inter-personal relationships and families.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 7:18 AM CT

Impact of Los Angeles fast-food restaurant ban on obesity

Impact of Los Angeles fast-food restaurant ban on obesity
Restrictions on fast-food chain restaurants in South Los Angeles are not addressing the main differences between neighborhood food environments and are unlikely to improve the diet of residents or reduce obesity, as per a new RAND Corporation study.

Scientists from RAND Health observed that the South Los Angeles region has no more fast-food chain establishments on a per capita basis than other parts of the city, but rather a number of more small food stores and other food outlets.

Those outlets are more likely to be the source of high-calorie snacks and soda consumed substantially more often by residents of South Los Angeles as in comparison to other parts of the city, as per the study published online by the journal Health Affairs

"The Los Angeles ordinance may have been an important first by being concerned with health outcomes, but it is not the most promising approach to lowering the high rate of obesity in South Los Angeles," said Roland Sturm, the study's main author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "It does not address the main differences we see in the food environment between Los Angeles neighborhoods nor in the diet of residents."

The Los Angeles City Council in August 2008 approved a ban on opening or expanding fast-food restaurants in an area of the city known as South Los Angeles. The ordinance focused on fast food restaurants characterized by "excessive signage, little or no landscaping, large expanses of surface parking, drive-through windows, multiple driveways, parking lots fronting the street" and argued that the low-income region had a higher concentration of fast-food establishments than more-affluent sections of the city.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 7:12 AM CT

How your ethnicity and diabetic risk are related?

How your ethnicity and diabetic risk are related?
Fat and muscle mass, as potentially determined by a person's ethnic background, may contribute to diabetes risk, as per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Obesity, a worldwide health concern, is linked to increased insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of obesity is increasing in all populations across the globe, yet past research has observed that body fat distribution varies widely among different ethnic groups. Scientists in this study investigated which ethnic groups were most likely to be at increased risk for diabetes due to higher total body fat and lower muscle mass.

"We know certain ethnic backgrounds show significant differences in amounts of body fat and lean mass," said Scott Lear, PhD, of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada and main author of the study. "What we didn't know, until now, is if these differences are correlation to insulin levels and insulin resistance, and therefore lead to an increased risk for diabetes. Our findings indicate they are".

In this study, scientists measured insulin levels and compared the amount of total body fat to lean mass in 828 men and women of Aboriginal, Chinese, European and South Asian origin to determine how differences in fat mass and lean mass appears to be correlation to insulin levels and insulin resistance in each group. Of the four ethnic groups studied, South Asians were found to have both higher fat mass, lower muscle mass and greater insulin levels, placing them at increased risk for insulin resistance and diabetes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 7:09 AM CT

Why HIV is more prevalent in African Americans?

Why HIV is more prevalent in African Americans?
HIV prevalence among African Americans is ten times greater than the prevalence among whites. This racial disparity in HIV prevalence haccording tosisted in the face of both governmental and private actions, involving a number of billions of dollars, to combat HIV. In the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examine factors responsible for the stark racial disparities in HIV infection in the U.S. and the now concentrated epidemic among African Americans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 45% of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2006 occurred among non-Hispanic blacks. Among the 13,184 adolescents and young adults in The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study, HIV seroprevalence was almost 0.5% among blacks 20 times that of whites.

While individual-level sexual behaviors can contribute to the disparity in HIV prevalence, these observed differences in individual behaviors do not fully explain the marked racial differences in HIV infection prevalence. Even when comparisons are stratified by education, poverty index, marital status, age at first sexual intercourse, lifetime number of sex partners, history of male homosexual activity, illicit drug use, injection drug use, and HSV-2 antibody positivity, HIV prevalence among African Americans exceeds that of whites, typically substantially.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 1, 2009, 6:52 AM CT

Trauma patients who were intoxicated before their injuries

Trauma patients who were intoxicated before their injuries
Trauma patients who were intoxicated before their injuries were more likely to survive than trauma patients who suffered similar injuries but were sober at the time, as per a research studyreported in the October edition of the American Surgeon that was conducted by scientists at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed).

The scientists surveyed 7,985 trauma patients of similar age and with similar injuries to determine if the consumption of alcohol previous to injury affected outcome. The study found 7 percent of the sober patients died in comparison to just 1 percent of the patients who had been drinking.

"This study is not encouraging the use of alcohol," said Christian de Virgilio, MD, LA BioMed's principal investigator for the study. "It is seeking to further explore earlier studies that had found alcohol may improve the body's response to severe injuries. If alcohol is proven to improve the body's response to traumatic injury, it could lead to therapys that help patients survive and recover more quickly".

Alcohol consumption is already known to be one of the leading causes of accident and injury, with a prior study finding it contributes to about one-third of all trauma-related deaths. Prior studies found trauma patients who had abused alcohol for a long period of time had lower survival rates. But recent studies also found alcohol consumption may protect against death by changing the chemical response to injury.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 1, 2009, 6:50 AM CT

Don't let him eat sweet everyday

Don't let him eat sweet everyday
Children who eat sweets and chocolate every day are more likely to be violent as adults, as per new research.

A study of almost 17,500 participants in the 1970 British Cohort Study observed that 10-year-olds who ate confectionary daily were significantly more likely to have been convicted for violence at age 34 years.

The study, reported in the recent issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, is the first to examine the long-term effects of childhood diet on adult violence.

Scientists from Cardiff University observed that 69 per cent of the participants who were violent at the age of 34 had eaten sweets and chocolate nearly every day during childhood, in comparison to 42% who were non-violent.

This link between confectionary consumption and violence remained after controlling for other factors.

The scientists put forward several explanations for the link. Lead researcher Dr Simon Moore said: "Our favoured explanation is that giving children sweets and chocolate regularly may stop them learning how to wait to obtain something they want. Not being able to defer gratification may push them towards more impulsive behaviour, which is strongly linked to delinquency."

The scientists concluded: "This association between confectionary consumption and violence needs further attention. Targeting resources at improving children's diet may improve health and reduce aggression".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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