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What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use?

October 10, 2014 Comments off

What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use? (PDF)
Source: Addiction

Research in the past 20 years has shown that driving while cannabis-impaired approximately doubles car crash risk and that around one in 10 regular cannabis users develop dependence. Regular cannabis use in adolescence approximately doubles the risks of early school-leaving and of cognitive impairment and psychoses in adulthood. Regular cannabis use in adolescence is also associated strongly with the use of other illicit drugs. These associations persist after controlling for plausible confounding variables in longitudinal studies. This suggests that cannabis use is a contributory cause of these outcomes but some researchers still argue that these relationships are explained by shared causes or risk factors. Cannabis smoking probably increases cardiovascular disease risk in middle-aged adults but its effects on respiratory function and respiratory cancer remain unclear, because most cannabis smokers have smoked or still smoke tobacco.

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Ebola — Information for Healthcare Workers (CDC)

October 9, 2014 Comments off

Ebola — Information for Healthcare Workers
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Includes sections on:

  • Diagnosis/Testing
  • Specimen Collection, Transport, Testing, and Submission
  • Transportation/Monitoring/Movement
  • Protecting Healthcare Workers
  • U.S. Healthcare Settings
  • Preparedness and Response
  • African Healthcare Settings

The economic impact of the 2014 Ebola epidemic : short and medium term estimates for West Africa

October 9, 2014 Comments off

The economic impact of the 2014 Ebola epidemic : short and medium term estimates for West Africa
Source: World Bank

The 2014 outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa has taken a devastating human toll. Although the outbreak originated in rural Guinea, it has hit hardest in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in part because it has reached urban areas in these two countries, a factor that distinguishes this outbreak from previous episodes elsewhere. As of October 3, 2014, there had been 3,431 recorded deaths out of 7,470 probable, suspected, or confirmed cases of Ebola. This report informs the response to the epidemic by presenting best-effort estimates of its macroeconomic and fiscal effects. Any such exercise is necessarily highly imprecise due to limited data and many uncertain factors, but it is still necessary in order to plan the economic assistance that must accompany the immediate humanitarian response. The goal is to help affected countries to recover and return to the robust economic growth they had experienced until the onset of this crisis. This document presents the World Bank’s preliminary estimates of the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for 2014 (short term impact) and 2015 (medium term impact). Section 2 presents a single set of 2014 estimates for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, based on available data on current economic activity as well as assumptions about the short-term impact. It also presents current data on the limited current impacts on other countries in the region.

CDC — Enterovirus D68 in the United States, 2014

October 9, 2014 Comments off

Enterovirus D68 in the United States, 2014
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The United States is currently experiencing a nationwide outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory illness.

From mid-August to October 8, 2014, CDC or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 664 people in 45 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Learn about states with confirmed cases. This indicates that at least one case has been detected in each state listed but does not indicate how widespread infections are in each state.

Enteroviruses commonly circulate in summer and fall. We’re currently in middle of the enterovirus season, and EV-D68 infections are likely to decline later in the fall.

NIH — Ebola Outbreak 2014: Information Resources

October 8, 2014 Comments off

Ebola Outbreak 2014: Information Resources
Source: Disaster Information Management Research Center (National Library Medicine)
Includes:

  • U.S. Federal Organizations
  • U.S. Organizations
  • International Organizations
  • National Government (non-U.S.) Web Sites
  • Free Resources from Publishers for Medical Responders
  • Biomedical Journal Literature and Reports
  • Ebolavirus Information Sources
  • Situation Reports
  • Training
  • Social Media
  • Maps
  • Health Resources for the Public
  • Multi-Language Resources

Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response, CRS Insights (October 1, 2014)

October 6, 2014 Comments off

Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On September 16, 2014, President Obama announced a major increase in the U.S. response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Department of Defense (DOD) submitted requests to Congress to make excess Overseas Contingency Operations funds appropriated for FY2014 available to support this effort. The requested funds would be used to provide humanitarian assistance, including:

  • transportation of DOD and non-DOD personnel and supplies;
  • coordination of delivery of supplies from both DOD and non-DOD sources such as isolation units,
  • personnel protective equipment, and medical supplies;
  • construction of 17 planned Ebola treatment units;
  • and, training and education in support of sanitation and mortuary affairs functions to limit the spread of the Ebola outbreak.

Proximity to Natural Gas Wells and Reported Health Status: Results of a Household Survey in Washington County, Pennsylvania

October 3, 2014 Comments off

Proximity to Natural Gas Wells and Reported Health Status: Results of a Household Survey in Washington County, Pennsylvania
Source: Environmental Health Perspectives (CDC)

Background:
Little is known about the environmental and public health impact of unconventional natural gas extraction activities including hydraulic fracturing that occur near residential areas.

Objectives:
To assess the relationship between household proximity to natural gas wells and reported health symptoms.

Methods: We conducted a hypothesis generating health symptom survey of 492 persons in 180 randomly selected households with ground-fed wells in an area of active natural gas drilling. Gas well proximity for each household was compared to the prevalence and frequency of reported dermal, respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and neurological symptoms.

Results:
The number of reported health symptoms per person was higher among residents living 2 km from the nearest gas well (mean 1.60 ± 2.14, p=0.02). In a model that adjusted for age, gender, household education, smoking, awareness of environmental risk, work type, and animals in house, reported skin conditions were more common in households 2 km from the nearest gas well (OR= 4.1; 95% CI: 1.4, 12.3; p=0.01). Upper respiratory symptoms were also more frequently reported in persons living in households less than 1 km from gas wells (39%) compared to households 1-2 km or >2 km from the nearest well (31 and 18%, respectively) (p=0.004). No equivalent correlation was found between well proximity and other reported groups of respiratory, neurological, cardiovascular, or gastrointestinal conditions.

Conclusion:
While these results should be viewed as hypothesis generating, and the population studied was limited to households with a ground fed water supply, proximity of natural gas wells may be associated with the prevalence of health symptoms including dermal and respiratory conditions in residents living near natural gas extraction activities. Further study of these associations, including the role of specific air and water exposures, is warranted.

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