- Speaking to delegates at the AIDS 2014 Conference, Singer and activist Bob Geldof took donors to task for their “preposterous reluctance to fund the last mile,” calling it a disgrace.
- Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, one of the main doctors in Sierra Leone treating Ebola patients has been reported to have caught the virus. He has been put in isolation and is being treated by Doctors Without Borders.
- Women and girls are less likely to undergo female genital mutilation, or FGM, than 30 years ago. That’s the encouraging news from a UNICEF report on the controversial practice, presented this week at London’s first Girl Summit.
- Many American kids don’t realize they’re overweight or obese, but knowing can help them change, according to a new CDC report.
- Michael Farrell, head of the troubled CDC anthrax lab has resigned after some anthrax leaving the lab was found not to have been deactivated.
- Researchers have found some evidence of a connection between the use of a nicotine patch by pregnant women and ADHD in their children.
- Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah has created a new PAS against gun violence. The “Chicago Stand Up” PSA campaign urges Chicagoans to put down the guns and stand up for peace.
- Dr. Steve Whitman, who served as Chicago Department of Public Health’s Director of Epidemiology for many years, died Sunday. After leaving CDPH, Dr. Whitman directed the Sinai Urban Health Institute, where his groundbreaking research fully documented alarming differences in breast cancer mortality among African American women compared to white women in Chicago and other cities across the nation.
- A multi-disciplinary team of scientists from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Chicago investigated how lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, increase inflammation in the body during colon cancer. The results were published in Science and Translational Medicine.
- A new Northwestern Medicine study, lead by Dr. Seema Khan, investigated a gel form of tamoxifen, that when applied to the breasts of women with noninvasive breast cancer reduced the growth of cancer cells to the same degree as the drug taken in oral form but with fewer side effects that deter some women from taking it.
- Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has been selected to join a new research network funded by the American Heart Association (AHA) to promote cardiovascular health and prevent death from heart disease and strokes. The AHA has awarded the center a four-year $3.7 million grant for this work.
- Among the victims of the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down this past week was Joep Lange, a prominent AIDS researcher.
- “After malaria is controlled, what’s next?” Science blog The Mermaid’s Tale discusses this question and talks about the different mindsets needed for malaria control vs. elimination.
- Many scientists have signed an open letter calling for reforms of Europe’s Human Brain Project, a large-scale neuroscience initiative. Here’s why.
- Where do we get our ideas about stress and where it comes from? A lot of them come from research that was heavily influenced by the tobacco industry.
- A recent study finds that organic food is healthier for you – it contains more antioxidants.
- Why do we have blood types? A long-form Mosaic article explores what they are for.
- Getting a diagnosis for rare diseases has been made a little bit easier by genome sequencing. But there are plenty more difficulties along the way.
- How exactly does gastric bypass surgery provide benefits to patients? Through weight loss? Changes in metabolism? Alterations in the bacteria that line the gut? We’re still not entirely sure.
- The upcoming movie Lucy contains the premise that humans only use 10% of their brains, which is a commonly thrown-around figure. However, this idea is very misguided.
- Kids who play outside after school are more likely to be in shape, a new study shows.
- Some people seeking treatment for substance addiction may not get the care they need, because of an obscure Medicare law.
- After adopting a Medicare expansion proved to be more costly than expected, the Cook County health system is facing a $63.5 million deficit by the end of the year.
- Niacin, a drug prescribed to fight heart attack and stroke, may not provide any benefit while increasing risk of death, according to a new study and an accompanying editorial by NU cardiologist and chair of the Department of Preventative Medicine, Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones.
- NU professor Dr. Seema Khan and colleagues have released a study indicating that the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen may have fewer side effects when used as a gel.
- Dr. Shyam Prabhakaran, NU neurology professor, was interviewed on Chicago Tonight regarding strokes in women.
- NPR has posted an interesting blog piece on the work that Partners in Health and others are doing to prevent the spread of the most deadly strains of TB in Russian prisons.
- This week the WHO announced that scabies will join the list of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Affecting nearly 130 billion people per year, scabies is an itchy, highly contagious skin disease caused by an infestation by the itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei.
- Humanosphere has published a stark graphic, showing the difference in gun deaths between the U.S. and the rest of the world.
- After two incidents, federal health officials announced Friday that they had temporarily closed the flu and anthrax laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
- Sad news to report – the “Mississippi baby,” thought to have been cured to HIV as an infant is now showing signs of infection, according to new reports.
- According to a recent vote by the Berkeley City Council, those considered poor (making less than $32,000 per year) will be entitled to free marijuana related to their treatments so that no one goes without medical care.
- AIDSVu, a new project out of Emory University, presents fascinating graphics of the spread of HIV throughout the U.S., including Chicago.
- The Chicago Department of Public Health has been named “Public Health Department of the Year” by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Way to go CDPH!
- MedCity News presents a report on the $56 million dollars of the Affordable Care Act funds that have been given to new Illinois health initiatives.
- Northwestern’s homepage is currently featuring a special highlight of global health programs available to Northwestern undergraduates through the global health minor.
- Northwestern Medicine doctor George Chiampas is quoted about the work doctors are doing to track the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team players health.
- Because of the work of Daniela Ladner, MD, MPH, FACS, on geographic allocation disparities over time of kidneys for transplantation, there is a call for policy changes that could be implement to improve this system.
- When researchers studying ways to solve global food issues needed a cheap, modular, transparent material in which to grow plants for their experiments, they turned to Legos.
- A new test that can diagnose tuberculosis much more quickly than other methods has been developed by scientists at Stanford University.
- People infected with malaria give off odors that attract more mosquitos, a new study finds. This may help researchers develop new ways of detecting people who have been infected.
- A large-scale analysis of vaccines found that the benefits far outweigh the risks.
- You may have heard by now about the study released by Facebook showing that your emotions could be manipulated by your newsfeed. An article in Wired discusses whether this constitutes Human Subjects Research and whether or not proper approval was obtained.
- Why are some teens more likely to end up binge drinkers than others? A newly-developed computer algorithm uses multiple variables to predict who will have alcohol problems.
- Discover Magazine talks about some new ways technology is being used to promote health, from a smartphone app to monitor mental illness to monitoring seniors’ activity through their energy use.
- How can we get a more accurate picture of drug use in a city? Look in the sewers.
- Sneezes travel even farther than we thought – up to eight feet!
- Dong-Pyou Han, a former scientist at Iowa State University, pleads not guilty to faking data in an AIDS study.
- Researchers studying the flu virus at the University of Wisconsin – Madison didn’t initially comply with new US biosecurity rules, even though their study falls under the category used to describe research that may pose a public health risk.
- “People don’t want to think about us,” said Dr. Paul Scalise, chief of medicine at the Hospital for Special Care. “I don’t want to think about us, either.” The New York Times profiles long-term acute care hospitals.
- Michelle Obama is fighting against Republicans in the House of Representatives who are considering a bill that would allow school districts that are strapped for money to opt out of the standards that require healthier foods to be served in schools.
- Science writer Holly Dunsworth takes inspiration from Alysia Montano, who just competed in the US Track and Field Nationals while 34 weeks pregnant.
- 30 minutes of exercise provides cognitive benefits, but this effect decreases when you exercise for longer periods of time.
- In a newly published study in Nature magazine, researchers predict the spread of A H7N9 Avian Flu Virus by looking at poultry markets throughout Asia as a way to understand how the virus will spread.
- An oral vaccine for cholera called Shanchol, invented in Vietnam and produced in India, provided 86 percent protection in Guinea, West Africa, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found.
- The newly formed coalition, the World Alliance Against Antibiotic Resistance (WAAAR) or L’alliance contre le développement des bactéries multi-résistantes (AC2BMR), has called for urgent action by lawmakers to declare antibiotics a cultural heritage deserving legal protection.
- Adding a newer test to digital mammograms can increase the detection rate for breast cancer and decrease nerve-racking false alarms, in which suspicious findings lead women to get extra scans that turn out normal, a study found.
- On Tuesday the American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy asserting that doctors should tell parents to read aloud to their infants from birth to improve brain development.
- Chicagoans must be doing something right! The City of Chicago reports life expectancy has climbed to 77.8 years, growing twice as fast as the rest of the U.S. over the past twenty years.
- Mayor Emmanuel, with the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, announced the launch of PlayStreets 2014, which will host 140 events over the summer to get families active.
- The City of Chicago Department of Public Health is conducting mosquito tracking and abatement in an effort to curb West Nile Virus and other vector borne viruses.
The second edition of the Northwestern Public Health Review is here! Below, find an overview of this edition’s articles.
Celeste Mallama and Osefame Ewaleifoh
We are delighted to welcome you to the second edition of the Northwestern Public Health Review (NPHR). We have come a long way since our first issue, and it has been an exciting journey. Among other things, we have started a highly active public health blog (http://nphr.wordpress.com/), hosted the first ‘Public Health Matters’ reception, and started a growing public health bookshelf that highlights new and innovative public health works (http://www.publichealth.northwestern.edu/nphr/bookshelf.html). Perhaps most significantly, we have grown from two student editors to a diverse and dynamic editorial board consisting of 18 students and faculty members, drawn from various programs across the university. Working together, we pledge to continuously bring you the most insightful and engaging public health stories and perspectives. Read on…
Inside the Journal:
Prisons As Insane Asylums
by Arvin Akhavan
This article explores the growing need for jails to operate as mental health facilities.
Social Networks and Text Messaging in Public Health
by Ekkehard Beck and Benjamin Armbruster
At the frontier of prevention interventions, a study of social network analysis to visualize and model existing real-world networks.
Northwestern’s Project Rishi: Health Interventions in Charnia
by Srivarshini Cherukpalli
A founding member of Northwestern’s RISHI chapter, currently a senior undergraduate, describes the work she and her colleagues have done in India.
Milestones in Public Health: Public Safety Trends
by Osefame Ewaleifoh
Advances and critical turning points that exemplify the consequence of highly impactful multi-disciplinary approaches to public health.
New Rationale for Treatment as Prevention
by Adina Goldberger
Cost-effective HIV management strategies from the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). Our blog post contributes to this piece.
The Affordable Care Act and Public Health
by Neil Jordan, PhD, and Philethea Duckett, MPA
We highlight some of the features of the ACA that directly or indirectly target public health.
Sleep as a Pubic Health Issue
by Nelly Papalambros
Sleep and circadian rhythms are often overlooked, and it is time for their debut as a public health issue. Our blog post contributes to this piece.
The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission
by John Phair
Dr. John Phair reflects on his time at the ABCC.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road Ahead
by Sarah Jane Quillin
Avenues to curb texting & driving in the US. Our blog post contributes to this piece.
Responsible Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects
by Lewis M. Smith
Historical lessons and public health implications.
An Interview with Dr. Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH.
About This Issue’s Cover Art
by Kate Lamy
Reflections on this month’s cover design from the artist.
If you would like to check out the NPHR volume one, you can find it here.
- As Ebola continues to ravage West Africa, with over 330 deaths so far, Doctors Without Borders is calling for increased assistance from the international community.
- The White House announced that the US will impose visa restrictions on Ugandans it believes have been involved in human rights violations, including gay rights.
- Dr. Arnold S. Relman, longtime outspoken editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, passed away this week at 91 years old.
- The CDC reports that 75 employees were exposed to live anthrax bacteria that they’d believed was deactivated. So far, none of the employees have reported any reaction.
- The Labor Department issued a proposed rule stating that any employee is eligible for leave to care for a same-sex spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to White House officials, regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes their marital status.
- Microsoft, after years of development, may be coming out with a health focused smart watch using it’s HealthVault health data platform, which uses light to measure the biometrics of the user.
- After plastic particles were found in Lake Michigan, Illinois became the first state to ban microbeads, a common ingredient in facial and hand cleansers.
- After difficulties reconciling different electronic records systems, Alexian Brothers Health Systems, out of Arlington Heights, has suspended its effort to launch a new Medicare system.
- Professor Teresa Woodruff’s groundbreaking work on the importance of gender in medical research, is explored in a recent article in the Chicago Sun Times.
- In a disturbing new study, Professor Linda Teplin found that delinquent children are much more likely than their nondelinquent peers to die violently later in life. Worse are girls who end up in juvenile detention, dying at nearly five times the rate of the general population.
Kate Klein, MA, MPH
Want to hear something scary? In 2011 at least one quarter of all car crashes involved cell phones ….one quarter! Furthermore, 78% of teens and young adults say they have read an SMS message while driving . These are scary statistics for everyone. A momentary lapse of attention on the part of a driver will impact everyone around them with devastating results.
These effects can be seen portrayed dramatically in ads to raise awareness about cell phone use and driving. The Texting and Driving Prevention campaign by the Ad Council, the office of the State Attorneys General and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has produced a series of chilling videos, one showing a group of laughing teens in a car – the driver texting – while they come upon a mother and child crossing the street . It’s a video one could barely watch without cringing. Many other entities, both government and civil society, are also producing advertisements aimed at scaring drivings into putting down the cell phones.
In addition to these behavior change campaigns, most states have passed laws to ban cell phone use while driving. Thirty-seven states and DC ban all cell phone use by teen or novice drivers, and eighteen states and DC ban any cell phone use for school bus drivers . Penalties for cell phone use range from $20 in California to $10,000 in Alaska . In 2012, the the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed a law banning anyone with a Commercial Drivers License from using cell phones will driving. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones face a maximum penalty of $11,000 .
So the question is, do these laws and ad campaigns do the trick? Are people using their cell phones less? One study, conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an insurance industry group, looked at accident rates before and after cell phone bans took effect in New York, the District of Columbia, Connecticut and California. Overall, the results were discouraging. Accident claims did not change after the cell phone bans took effect compared with states that do not have a cell phone ban .
As for advertisements, as part of its anti-texting & driving campaign, AT&T conducted a survey and found that 97% of teenagers know texting while driving is dangerous, however it also revealed that 89% of teenagers felt pressured to respond to a text message within one minute.
So if laws aren’t working, and advertisements aren’t working, what can be done? One place to start is with Sarah Jane Quillin’s article in the recently released Northwestern Public Health Reivew. Her article “Keep your Eyes on the Road Ahead: Avenues to Curb Texting & Driving in the US” presents a fascinating look at this health issue and ways we can try to tackle the problem. Find her article, and others, in the new issue at http://www.publichealth.northwestern.edu/nphr/.
- The West Africa Commission on Drugs has just released a report that recommends decriminalizing drug use, and instead treating it as a public health issue.
- A large genetic study of Mexicans showed that there is a huge amount of genetic diversity within the population.
- Brazil is trying to tackle the obesity epidemic by giving people free access to gyms. Catherine de Lange explains why this solution may help fight health inequalities.
- A new study has shown that heart attacks may be caused by stress hormones disrupting layers of bacteria on the arteries.
- The Epoch Times discusses how industries such as Big Tobacco and the sugar industry tend to produce scientific studies that support their products, at the expense of public health.
- Eating more protein may help lower your stroke risk, a new meta-analysis finds.
- Although the Supreme Court ruled that Myriad Genetics’ patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are not valid, the company still holds most of the data about mutations in these genes. Now, a year after the court case, more data is entering the public domain.
- Having fragmented ecological areas, which we often see in our modern world, may increase the spread of disease.
- Scientists studying energy and climate change are increasingly moving towards studying human behavior, in an effort to understand how to encourage people to use less energy.
- The child of a Holocaust survivor discusses her participation in a study which found that the children of people who survive traumatic events may be more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression.
- Discover Magazine discusses websites that help connect patients and researchers.
- NPR’s Science Friday discusses the routines that patients need to undergo before having surgery, and explains why many of them may not be necessary.
- A piece in the Guardian argues that public health research needs to proceed more quickly in order to save more lives.
- A new report shows that the average life expectancy for Chicago citizens is rising dramatically!