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Unplanned Births Associated With Less Prenatal Care and Worse Infant Health, Compared With Planned Births

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Unplanned Births Associated With Less Prenatal Care and Worse Infant Health, Compared With Planned Births
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Compared with women having planned births, those who have unplanned births are less likely to recognize their pregnancy early, to receive early prenatal care or to breast-feed, and are more likely to have low-birth-weight babies, according to “Pregnancy Intentions, Maternal Behaviors and Infant Health: Investigating Relationships with New Measures and Propensity Score Analysis,” by Kathryn Kost and Laura Lindberg. The study examines the associations between U.S. mothers’ pregnancy intentions, their pregnancy-related health behaviors and their infants’ health at birth.

“Almost 40% of the four million annual births in the United States result from an unintended pregnancy,” says study author Kathryn Kost. “Our study found that births from unintended pregnancies are disadvantaged relative to births from intended ones. During and immediately following pregnancy, women with unplanned births are less likely to receive early prenatal care or to breast-feed the infant and are more likely to have infants with poorer health at birth. Enabling women to prevent an unintended pregnancy is a way to improve the health of children.”

15 Minutes to Leave: Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti

March 2, 2015 Comments off

15 Minutes to Leave: Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti
Source: Amnesty International

Five years on from a devastating earthquake in Haiti, tens of thousands of people remain homeless as government policy failures, forced evictions and short-term solutions have failed many who lost everything in the disaster.

The new report, “15 Minutes to Leave” – Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti, documents worrying cases of people being forcibly evicted from temporary, make-shift camps. The report also explores how the influx of development aid that came in the wake of the disaster failed to be transformed into long-term, secure housing solutions.

According to the latest data, 123 camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) remain open in Haiti, housing 85,432 people. While the number of those in camps has reduced significantly since 2010, more than 22,000 households are still without adequate housing.

Conditions in many IDP camps are dire. A third of all those living in camps do not have access to a latrine. On average 82 people share one toilet.

Forced evictions from camps are a serious and ongoing problem. More than 60,000 people have been forcibly evicted from their shelters in makeshift camps since 2010. The vast majority were not offered any alternative locations where they could resettle, pushing them again into poverty and insecurity.

CRS — The Measles: Background and Federal Role in Vaccine Policy (February 9, 2015)

February 20, 2015 Comments off

The Measles: Background and Federal Role in Vaccine Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The earliest accounts of measles date back over 1,000 years. This report presents basic information about this infectious disease, its history in the United States, available treatments to prevent individuals from contracting measles, and the federal role in combatting measles—from funding, to research, to the authority of the federal government in requiring mandatory childhood vaccinations. The report provides additional resources for information on measles and recommendations for vaccination against the disease.

Increase in mercury in Pacific yellowfin tuna

February 20, 2015 Comments off

Increase in mercury in Pacific yellowfin tuna
Source: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Mercury is a toxic trace metal that can accumulate to levels that threaten human and environmental health. Models and empirical data suggest that humans are responsible for a great deal of the mercury actively cycling in the environment at present. Thus, one might predict that the concentration of mercury in fish should have increased dramatically since the Industrial Revolution. Evidence in support of this hypothesis has been hard to find, however, and some studies have suggested that analyses of fish show no change in mercury concentration. By compiling and re-analyzing published reports on yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) caught near Hawaii (USA) over the past half century, the authors found that the concentration of mercury in these fish currently is increasing at a rate of at least 3.8% per year. This rate of increase is consistent with a model of anthropogenic forcing on the mercury cycle in the North Pacific Ocean and suggests that fish mercury concentrations are keeping pace with current loading increases to the ocean. Future increases in mercury in yellowfin tuna and other fishes can be avoided by reductions in atmospheric mercury emissions from point sources. Environ Toxicol Chem 2015;9999:1–4. © 2015 SETAC

Effectiveness of traveller screening for emerging pathogens is shaped by epidemiology and natural history of infection

February 20, 2015 Comments off

Effectiveness of traveller screening for emerging pathogens is shaped by epidemiology and natural history of infection
Source: eLife

During outbreaks of high-consequence pathogens, airport screening programs have been deployed to curtail geographic spread of infection. The effectiveness of screening depends on several factors, including pathogen natural history and epidemiology, human behavior, and characteristics of the source epidemic. We developed a mathematical model to understand how these factors combine to influence screening outcomes. We analyzed screening programs for six emerging pathogens in the early and late stages of an epidemic. We show that the effectiveness of different screening tools depends strongly on pathogen natural history and epidemiological features, as well as human factors in implementation and compliance. For pathogens with longer incubation periods, exposure risk detection dominates in growing epidemics, while fever becomes a better target in stable or declining epidemics. For pathogens with short incubation, fever screening drives detection in any epidemic stage. However, even in the most optimistic scenario arrival screening will miss the majority of cases.

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

February 19, 2015 Comments off

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
Source: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (Committee) submitted the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (Advisory Report) to the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in February 2015. The purpose of the Advisory Report is to inform the Federal government of current scientific evidence on topics related to diet, nutrition, and health. It provides the Federal government with a foundation for developing national nutrition policy. However, the Advisory Report is not the Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy or a draft of the policy. The Federal government will determine how it will use the information in the Advisory Report as the government develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. HHS and USDA will jointly release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 later this year.

FDA issues new draft documents related to compounding of human drugs

February 18, 2015 Comments off

FDA issues new draft documents related to compounding of human drugs
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued five draft documents related to drug compounding and repackaging that will help entities comply with important public health provisions. The draft documents are applicable to pharmacies, federal facilities, outsourcing facilities and physicians.

The new category of outsourcing facilities was created under the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA), enacted by Congress in November 2013 in response to a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that was linked to contaminated sterile compounded drug products. Drugs compounded in an outsourcing facility that meet certain conditions may be entitled to exemptions from certain provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), including the new drug approval requirements and the requirement to label drug products with adequate directions for use. Outsourcing facilities are subject to current good manufacturing practice requirements and inspections by the FDA according to a risk-based schedule.

Drugs produced by compounders that are not registered as outsourcing facilities must meet certain other conditions described in the FD&C Act, or they will be subject to all of the requirements applicable to drugs produced by conventional drug manufacturers.

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