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Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality

April 28, 2015 Comments off

Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality
Source: PLoS ONE

Racial disparities in health are well-documented and represent a significant public health concern in the US. Racism-related factors contribute to poorer health and higher mortality rates among Blacks compared to other racial groups. However, methods to measure racism and monitor its associations with health at the population-level have remained elusive. In this study, we investigated the utility of a previously developed Internet search-based proxy of area racism as a predictor of Black mortality rates. Area racism was the proportion of Google searches containing the “N-word” in 196 designated market areas (DMAs). Negative binomial regression models were specified taking into account individual age, sex, year of death, and Census region and adjusted to the 2000 US standard population to examine the association between area racism and Black mortality rates, which were derived from death certificates and mid-year population counts collated by the National Center for Health Statistics (2004–2009). DMAs characterized by a one standard deviation greater level of area racism were associated with an 8.2% increase in the all-cause Black mortality rate, equivalent to over 30,000 deaths annually. The magnitude of this effect was attenuated to 5.7% after adjustment for DMA-level demographic and Black socioeconomic covariates. A model controlling for the White mortality rate was used to further adjust for unmeasured confounders that influence mortality overall in a geographic area, and to examine Black-White disparities in the mortality rate. Area racism remained significantly associated with the all-cause Black mortality rate (mortality rate ratio = 1.036; 95% confidence interval = 1.015, 1.057; p = 0.001). Models further examining cause-specific Black mortality rates revealed significant associations with heart disease, cancer, and stroke. These findings are congruent with studies documenting the deleterious impact of racism on health among Blacks. Our study contributes to evidence that racism shapes patterns in mortality and generates racial disparities in health.

See: The most racist places in America, according to Google (Washington Post)

New topical fire report: Fire Risk in 2011

April 27, 2015 Comments off

New topical fire report: Fire Risk in 2011 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The risk from fire is not the same for everyone. In 2011, 3,415 deaths and 17,500 injuries in the U.S. were caused by fires. These casualties were not equally distributed across the U.S. population and the resulting risk of death or injury from fire was more severe for some groups. This topical fire report explores why different segments of society are at a greater risk from fire.

Suicide Postvention in the Department of Defense

April 27, 2015 Comments off

Suicide Postvention in the Department of Defense
Source: RAND Corporation

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has been struggling with increasing rates of suicide among military personnel for the past decade. As DoD continues to implement new programs and examine its policies in an effort to prevent military personnel from taking their own lives, it is important to assess its current responses to suicide and to identify opportunities to enhance these programs and policies. Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence on how best to respond to suicides, how to ensure that surveillance activities are managed appropriately and that loss survivors are given sufficient support to grieve, how additional suicides can be prevented, and how to honor and respect the decedent and his or her loved ones. At the same time, there are many resource guides intended to provide recommendations for organizations (mostly schools) in responding to suicides. A review of the existing scientific evidence on postvention (responses to prevent additional suicides in the aftermath of a suicide) and guidance for other types of organizations provides potential insights for DoD, however. Complemented by the perspectives of those most intimately touched by military suicide — the family and friends of those who have died — these sources may help DoD formulate its guidance in a practical and sensitive way.

Drug-poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin: United States, 2000–2013

April 23, 2015 Comments off

Drug-poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin: United States, 2000–2013
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Vital Statistics System (Mortality)

  • From 2000 through 2013, the age-adjusted rate for drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin nearly quadrupled from 0.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2000 to 2.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2013. Most of the increase occurred after 2010.
  • The number of drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin was nearly four times higher for men (6,525 deaths) than women (1,732 deaths) in 2013.
  • In 2000, non-Hispanic black persons aged 45–64 had the highest rate for drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin (2.0 per 100,000). In 2013, non-Hispanic white persons aged 18–44 had the highest rate (7.0 per 100,000).
  • From 2000 through 2013, the age-adjusted rate for drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin increased for all regions of the country, with the greatest increase seen in the Midwest.

Rail Safety Efforts Miss Leading Cause of Fatalities, CRS Insights (April 2, 2015)

April 21, 2015 Comments off

Rail Safety Efforts Miss Leading Cause of Fatalities, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

As it debates reauthorization of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA08; P.L. 110-432), Congress is focusing on steps to prevent train derailments and collisions. Such incidents often receive extensive publicity and cause harm to bystanders, such as the residents of Mount Carbon, WV, who were forced to evacuate after a train carrying crude oil derailed and burned on February 16, 2015.

Far less attention has been devoted to trespassing, although it is a much greater cause of rail-related fatalities than derailments and collisions combined. Since 2005, nearly three-fifths of deaths in rail incidents have been pedestrian trespassers (see Figure 1; note that the trespassing deaths in the figure do not include suicides).

Measuring the Risks and Causes of Premature Death: Summary of a Workshop (2015)

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Measuring the Risks and Causes of Premature Death: Summary of a Workshop (2015)
Source: Institute of Medicine

Measuring the Risks and Causes of Premature Death is the summary of two workshops conducted by The Committee on Population of the National Research Council at the National Academies to address the data sources, science and future research needs to understand the causes of premature mortality in the United States. The workshops reviewed previous work in the field in light of new data generated as part of the work of the NRC Panel on Understanding Divergent Trends in Longevity in High-Income Countries (NRC, 2011) and the NRC/IOM Panel on Understanding Cross-National Differences Among High-Income Countries (NRC/IOM, 2013). The workshop presentations considered the state of the science of measuring the determinants of the causes of premature death, assessed the availability and quality of data sources, and charted future courses of action to improve the understanding of the causes of premature death. Presenters shared their approaches to and results of measuring premature mortality and specific risk factors, with a particular focus on those factors most amenable to improvement through public health policy. This report summarizes the presentations and discussion of both workshops.

An explanation and analysis of how world religions formulate their ethical decisions on withdrawing treatment and determining death

March 31, 2015 Comments off

An explanation and analysis of how world religions formulate their ethical decisions on withdrawing treatment and determining death
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Introduction
This paper explores definitions of death from the perspectives of several world and indigenous religions, with practical application for health care providers in relation to end of life decisions and organ and tissue donation after death. It provides background material on several traditions and explains how different religions derive their conclusions for end of life decisions from the ethical guidelines they proffer.

Methods
Research took several forms beginning with a review of books and articles written by ethicists and observers of Bön, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous Traditions, Islam, Judaism, Shinto and Taoism. It then examined sources to which these authors referred in footnotes and bibliographies. In addition, material was gathered through searches of data bases in religious studies, general humanities, social sciences and medicine along with web-based key word searches for current policies in various traditions.

Results
Religious traditions provide their adherents with explanations for the meaning and purpose of life and include ethical analysis for the situations in which their followers find themselves. This paper aims to increase cultural competency in practitioners by demonstrating the reasoning process religions use to determine what they believe to be the correct decision in the face of death.

Conclusion
Patterns emerge in the comparative study of religious perspectives on death. Western traditions show their rootedness in Judaism in their understanding of the human individual as a finite, singular creation. Although the many branches of Western religions do not agree on precisely how to determine death, they are all able to locate a moment of death in the body. In Eastern traditions personhood is not defined in physical terms. From prescribing the location of death, to resisting medical intervention and definitions of death, Eastern religions, in their many forms, incorporate the beliefs and practices that preceded them. Adding to the complexity for these traditions is the idea that death is a process that continues after the body has met most empirical criteria for determining death. For Hinduism and Buddhism, the cessation of heart, brain and lung function is the beginning of the process of dying—not the end.

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