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NEWS
July 14, 2010 | By Jessie Schiewe, Los Angeles Times
With television shows such as "Nurse Jackie" and "Grey's Anatomy" regularly depicting physicians and nurses with substance abuse problems, some patients might begin to wonder whether in real life anyone is monitoring the people who provide lifesaving care. Perhaps not. Or, if workers are being monitored, they're not being monitored closely enough to fit some researchers' way of thinking. A doctor survey study published online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.
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NEWS
July 14, 2010 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
They say that what goes up must come down. But in the U.S., some trends seem to go in only one direction. For instance, the number of Americans who are overweight or obese just keeps growing. As the population ages, so does the number of older people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Could there be a connection? Possibly, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. Researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues around the country examined data from the Women's Health Initiative.
NEWS
July 14, 2010 | By Tami Dennis, Los Angeles Times
About half of all new HIV infections – 45% to be exact – occur among African Americans. To say this makes fighting the disease of crucial importance to that community in particular would be an understatement, and researchers are trying desperately to figure out how to help. Eban may be one way. Eban, or "fence," is a traditional African concept of love, safety and security. And, in a study of African American couples in which one partner had HIV, an intervention program based on this concept reduced risky behaviors associated with HIV and STD transmission.
NEWS
July 14, 2010 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
It's time to update the way Alzheimer's disease and early stages of the illness are diagnosed, according to experts on the disease. Diagnostic criteria for the disease have not been updated since 1984. Preliminary information on new diagnostic criteria was released Tuesday at a meeting of the Alzheimer's Assn. International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Honolulu. The proposed new criteria, which are still under study, would rely on advances in detecting biomarkers for the disease, such as substances found in spinal fluid or appearing on sophisticated brain imaging scans conducted with PET or MRI. Effort is expected to be placed on diagnosing early stages of the disease as soon as possible so that patients can participate in studies to slow the progression or prevent further damage.
NEWS
July 14, 2010 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
The recent history of medications to help people lose weight isn't pretty. Several drugs have been removed from the market for safety problems. And, more recently, some medications in late-stage clinical trials were shelved because of safety problems. The Food and Drug Administration is evaluating the risks and benefits of a drug that is already on the market, sibutramine (Meridia), because of evidence that it might be unsafe for some people with heart disease. Only one other prescription drug, orlistat (Xenical)
NEWS
July 13, 2010 | Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
It's not surprising that the Cato Institute — a think tank devoted to libertarian principles — is complaining about San Francisco's new policy banning Coke, Pepsi and other sugar-sweetened beverages from vending machines on city property. Cato writers are fond of throwing around terms like "food police" and "nanny state" to impugn the efforts of public health officials to, well, improve public health. The vending machine prohibition applies to soda, sports drinks, flavored waters, fruit punch or anything else with added sugar.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 28, 2010 | Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
Public health officials say California's lackluster immunization rates could be a factor in the epidemic spread of whooping cough, a bacterial disease expected to take its largest toll in the state in five decades. California is one of only 11 states that does not require middle school students to receive a booster shot against whooping cough, also known as pertussis, which infects the respiratory system. The state is the only one in the nation to report such a dramatic surge in pertussis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HEALTH
June 23, 2010 | By Karen Kaplan
Among the myriad topics we tackle here at Booster Shots, none seem to invoke more outrage than the so-called soda tax. Now Sheena Iyengar, a social psychology professor at Columbia Business School, tells us why: People simply hate being told what not to do. Soda tax Psychologists have a name for this -- reactance. The power of this emotion was captured in a 1976 study comparing the efficacy of two signs meant to curb vandalism in a public restroom. One politely asked users to refrain from writing on the stalls.
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