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SCIENCE
February 12, 2014 | By Mary MacVean, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
The executive director of the Eating Recovery Center of California, Jennifer Lombardi, says it was no surprise to her that a contestant on “The Biggest Loser” lost a shocking amount of weight - in this case, Rachel Frederickson dieting to less than half her weight. “I have been waiting anxiously for this moment to arrive,” she said a few days later. Lombardi says the NBC reality show “puts people in the bubble” of constant supervision and grueling workouts to win a prize; Frederickson won $250,000 on Feb. 5, setting off a social media firestorm.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
Influenza-related illness has killed 147 Californians under age 65 this season, including 17 people in Los Angeles County and one in Long Beach, state health officials have confirmed. The toll is unusually high: At the same point last year, only 14 people in that age group had died of the flu, Dr. James Watt of the California Department of Public Health told reporters Friday. Throughout the entire 2012-2013 flu season, the state logged just 106 confirmed deaths. The new fatalities are a sign that this year's flu season continues to be especially severe, even as some indicators of influenza activity, such as hospitalizations for flu-related illness, seem to be plateauing in L.A. County, California and elsewhere across the U.S. "Unfortunately, one of the things we always say about influenza is that it's unpredictable," said Watt, chief of the public health department's Division of Communicable Disease Control.
OPINION
January 12, 2014
Re "L.A. sues to keep oil field near USC closed," Jan. 8 The South Coast Air Quality Management District is not at odds with the city of Los Angeles or any other agency over the Allenco Energy Inc. oil facility. Rather, we are on the same path, working to ensure that Allenco does not reopen until it meets all applicable environmental regulations and no longer poses any potential hazard or nuisance to nearby residents. It was the SCAQMD staff that originally brought this matter to the attention of the L.A. city attorney's office.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 10, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
It may be no surprise to snifflers stuck in doctor's office waiting rooms: The 2013-2014 influenza season appears to be picking up steam earlier than most flu seasons. On Friday, state and Los Angeles County health officials reported "sharp increases" in influenza activity, including illnesses and deaths. "The number of confirmed fatalities is rising rapidly and exceeds what is expected this time of year," said state epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez, of the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
The California Department of Public Health has taken steps to decertify three centers for the developmentally disabled from receiving Medicaid funding for some of their programs after discovering “situations involving immediate jeopardy” to patients, the agency said late Friday. The Porterville, Lanterman and Fairview Developmental Centers had been under review throughout the last year due to “deficient practices” and “chronic systems failures in providing patient care,” the department said in a statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 30, 2013 | By Frank Shyong
Politicians and businessmen mingled amid mint-green tablecloths as cups of locally sourced red butter lettuce salad circulated. The night's keynote speaker, a county public health official, spoke warmly of the restaurant's offerings. It was an unusual restaurant opening for Monterey Park's Garvey Avenue, a largely Chinese immigrant neighborhood populated mostly by ginseng shops and cheap restaurants and bakeries - most of which have B letter grades from the county health inspector.
SCIENCE
November 1, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Two days after the California Department of Public Health released its new form requiring parents who want to exempt their kids from required vaccinations to speak with a doctor, an association of public health officers is voicing concern over an option on the form that allows parents to easily bypass the requirement. A box parents can check allows them to skip talking to their doctor if they vouch that they're "a member of a religion that prohibits me from seeking medical advice or treatment from authorized healthcare practitioners.
SCIENCE
October 31, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Declining to have a child immunized may become more difficult for Californians in 2014. Last year Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2109, which requires parents and a licensed healthcare practitioner to sign a form before a child can be exempted from getting required vaccinations because of personal beliefs. On Wednesday, the state's Department of Public Health made the new Personal Belief Exemption form available. By completing the single-page document, a parent or guardian vouches that the the parent has received from a health practitioner information about the benefits and the risks of immunizations -- or that religious beliefs prohibit seeing an authorized practitioner.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 17, 2013 | Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports
Patricia Buffler Studied causes of childhood leukemia Patricia Buffler, 75, a UC Berkeley researcher who studied childhood leukemia and environmental health, and served as dean of the university's school of public health, died Sept. 26 when she had a stroke in her campus office. Her death was announced by UC Berkeley, where she had been a professor of epidemiology since 1991 and dean of the School of Public Health until 1998. At the time of her death, Buffler was leading the California Childhood Leukemia Study, which she began in 1995 to investigate the relationship between diet, genes, infections and environmental exposures and the development of leukemia, campus officials said.
BUSINESS
October 10, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Food expert Marion Nestle asks whether government-shutdown-mandated furloughs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hampered its response to the salmonella outbreak at Foster Farms. The bacteria traced to three of the firm's California poultry plants have sickened 278 people nationwide, mostly in California. The Heidelberg strain of salmonella appears to be especially virulent. As my colleague David Pierson reported, 42% of victims have been hospitalized , double the normal rate.
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