Insight News

Feb 08th


Pertussis: New Vaccine Recommendations

Despite the availability of Tdap, a vaccine designed as a booster for adolescents and adults, pertussis cases have been increasing in Minnesota as in other parts of the country, such as California. Minnesota is in its third year of a peak pertussis wave, with more than 1,000 cases reported each year in 2008–2010. This is about 20 cases per 100,000 people in Minnesota.

In an effort to combat this persistently high level of pertussis (or whooping cough), state and federal health officials are urging physicians and their patients to make wider use of a pertussis booster vaccine called Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis).

Minnesota dentists extend helping hand to children in need

Free dental care will be given to an estimated seven thousand children facing barriers to care through the Give Kids a Smile program on Fri., Feb. 4 and Sat., Feb. 5. Minnesota dentists across the state will open their clinic doors to provide service. This unique program matches thousand of volunteer dental professionals with children to make sure they get the treatment they need.

“We don’t want reduced government services, a family job loss or change in insurance to stand in the way of children getting the dental care they need,” said Dr. Tim Flor, president of the Minnesota Dental Association and a practicing dentist in Waseca, Minn. “Sadly, tooth decay is the number one disease in children and low-income children face unnecessary barriers to care.”

Colonoscopy Prep App for iPhone and Android Smartphone

Colonoscopy Prep App for iPhone and Android SmartphoneColonoscopy Prep Assistant, as its name suggests, is an app that supports a patient during the colonoscopy procedure preparation when a patient is required to ingest a liquid laxative. The app tracks the number of glasses completed and time between glasses, notifying the patient when it's time to drink their next glass. It is available free for iPhone and the Android Smartphone.

Procedure preparation apps can offer significant benefits to patients and providers. Arun Swaminath, Associate Director of the IBD Center at Columbia University Medical Center, says "Thorough bowel preparation allows me to identify the smallest polyps or cancers. In addition, good prep shortens the procedure's duration, making it safer for patients. Strict adherence to prep instructions allows for the highest quality colonoscopy."

Wal-Mart Launches Initiative to Make Food Healthier and Healthier Food Affordable

The five points of the star that marks Wal-Mart’s new stellar initiative to provide its customers with healthier and more affordable food choices were announced Jan 20, at THEARC in Southeast Washington DC in the presence of First Lady Michelle Obama.

1.    Reformulating thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015: Reduce sodium by 25% and added sugars by 10%, and remove all remaining industrially produced trans fats.
2.    Making healthier choices more affordable:, Will be done through a variety of sourcing, pricing, transportation and logistical initiatives that will drive unnecessary costs out of the supply chain. Also the price premium on key ‘better-for-you’ items, such as reduced sodium, sugar or fat products will be eliminated
3.    Developing strong criteria for a simple front-of-package seal: This will help consumers instantly identify truly healthier food options such as whole grain cereal, whole wheat pasta or unsweetened canned fruit
4.    Providing solutions to address food deserts: Sores will be built in underserved communities that are in need of fresh and affordable groceries
5.    Increasing charitable support for nutrition programs: Consumers will be educated about healthier food solutions and choices.

Number of adverse health events in MN hospitals

Total events increased from 301 to 305

The number of adverse events in Minnesota hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and community behavioral health hospitals increased from 301 in 2009 to 305 in 2010, according to a report released today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The seventh annual adverse health events report summarizes the number and types of events that occurred between October 7, 2009, and October 6, 2010, in the roughly 200 facilities covered by the adverse health events reporting law. The 305 events were reported by 60 hospitals and two surgical centers.

Hennepin program targeting youth tobacco use in communities of color loses funding

Hennepin program targeting youth tobacco use in communities of color loses fundingTobacco-related disease is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 1,200 Americans every day and 5,000 Minnesotans each year. The implications related to tobacco use continue to be a huge concern, especially in terms of health care costs. According to the 2010 Healthcare Costs and Smoking report, smoking was responsible for $2.87 billion in excess medical care in Minnesota in 2007—a per capita cost of $554 for every man, woman and child in the state. $2.87 billion could buy our state five brand new Target Fields or pay four years of tuition for 57,000 students.

Despite these humongous figures staring at us, the Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council (NWHHSC) recently received notification that its Tobacco-Free Youth (TFY)-Start Noticing program will not receive funding in 2011, ending a program that has worked since 2007 to prevent youth tobacco use by countering tobacco industry tactics to hook kids.

Einstein's equation and weight management

Popular diets highlight carbohydrate, protein or fat as the best way to lose weight. However, a 2009 Harvard School of Public Health report reveals that a comparison of overweight participants assigned to four different diets over a two-year period showed that reducing calories achieved weight loss regardless of which of the three nutrients was emphasized.

This confirms the observation in the National Academy of Sciences 2005 Dietary Reference Intake manual that a certain amount of calories are required for a person to maintain a certain weight.
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