February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, which is sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA.org). The month helps raise awareness about oral health in children and teens. The ADA provides free promotional materials and program planning kit to promote Children’s Dental Health Month.
Staying Well. Connected.
February: National Children’s Dental Health Month
FDA gives warning over Texas fish
The FDA issued warnings on Tuesday after a spate of recent ciguatera fish poisoning cases in people who ate fish caught in or near the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary off the Texas coast. People should not eat snapper, hogfish, or grouper caught within ten miles, or barracuda, amberjack, or other wide-ranging species caught within fifty miles of the sanctuary — either by commercial or recreational fishermen.
The FDA’s advisory can be found online at http://www.fda.gov/bbs /topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01790.html
Part of ACCORD trial stopped for safety
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute stopped part of a large, ongoing clinical trial of diabetes and cardiovascular disease a year and a half early due to safety concerns. Participants in the “intensive” blood glucose lowering treatment arm of the study are being moved to the less-intensive “standard” treatment arm after early data reported 54 extra deaths in the more intensive part of the study.
The ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) study includes more than 10,000 adults with type 2 diabetes who are at especially high risk for heart attack and stroke. It is being carried out at 77 sites across the US and Canada; none of the study sites are in Texas.
The media kit from today’s press conference is available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/heart/other/accord/.
$390,000 Appropriated for Hispanic Health Research Center
A $390,000 federal appropriation will support the UT School of Public Health – Brownsville’s Hispanic Health Research Center and its Cameron County Hispanic Health Cohort of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. A press release from UT School of Public Health notes: “These vital funds will allow us to continue this important program dedicated to obtaining accurate information on the health status of people in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, particularly with regard to obesity, diabetes and mental health. It allows us to measure the impact accurately and to gain support for development and implementation of effective community-wide interventions” (Joseph B. McCormick, M.D., regional dean and James H. Steele Professor at the UT School of Public Health Brownsville Regional Campus).
New Report on the Impact of Underinsurance on Mortality
In early January, the Urban Institute released a report, Uninsured and Dying Because of It: Updating the Institute of Medicine Analysis on the Impact of Uninsurance on Mortality detailing the range of consequences (including death) for Americans living without health insurance. This new report updates a 2002 report from the Institute of Medicine that sought to estimate the number of deaths that result from the lack of insurance.
New Report of Racial/Ethnic Disparities in US Children
A study published earlier this month in Pediatrics highlights disparities in medical and oral health among children in the United States.
“Certain disparities are particularly marked for specific minority groups, and appreciation of these noteworthy disparities may be useful for clinicians, health systems, and policy makers addressing the needs of diverse populations. More than one third of Latino children had suboptimal (not excellent or very good) health status, and more than one half had suboptimal condition of the teeth, the highest proportions of any group, and Latino children had approximately double the adjusted odds of white children of suboptimal health status and teeth condition. As has been documented in several other studies over 3 decades, Latino children had the highest prevalence of being uninsured, at 21%, and double the adjusted odds of uninsurance compared with white children. Approximately one third of Latino children had no usual source of medical care and one-third encountered a problem getting specialty care, and Latino children had significantly greater adjusted odds than white children of no usual source of medical care, not getting all of their needed prescription medications, and having problems getting specialty care.”
Read today’s article in the Valley Morning Star on the research activities at the Regional Academic Health Center Edinburg Campus.
Some folk remedies have extremely high lead content
This recent article from the Brownsville Herald took an AP report regarding high lead content of certain folk remedies, and combined it with local reporting on sources of lead poisoning in the Valley. The article centered on a specific incident in Houston to report on several dangerous folk remedies which all contain extremely high levels of lead, including:
- A generally Mexican folk remedy called greta, a yellow or bright orange powder that may be mixed with olive oil when given to treat diarrhea or stomach upset (“empacho“)
- Another generally Mexican folk remedy called azarcón (also known as coral, maría luisa, rueda, alarcón or liga), a orange powder which may also be mixed with olive oil and given to treat stomach ailments like empacho
- A generally Dominican folk remedy called litargirio, a yellow or peach-colored powder traditionally used for a variety of purposes including as a deodorant, foot fungicide, and burn or wound treatment
- A number of ayurvedic remedies common in South Asian immigrant communities, including ghasard and mahayogaraj gugullu
According to the article, nearly 20% of lead poisoning cases in Harris County are blamed on traditional medicines.
Although Brownsville Herald reporter Melissa McEver was unable to find any local retail stores that acknowledged selling greta or azarcón, the national version of the story (see this version from the AP) reported that Harris County investigators had found that some storekeepers would keep such remedies “behind the counter,” bringing them out only for known customers. McEver did, however, quote a Region 11 DSHS official who indicated that pottery and ceramic dishes were found to be a source in many local cases of lead poisoning.
Australian study suggests that weight-loss surgery works better than medical therapy in newly diagnosed diabetic patients.
A recent study (JAMA. 2008;299(3):316-323) suggests that weight-loss surgery works much better than standard medical therapy as a treatment for Type II diabetes in obese people. The randomized controlled trial, conducted between December 2002 and December 2006, studied 60 patients with a recent diagnosis of diabetes. Remission of diabetes was achieved in 73% of the patients treated with laparoscopic adjustable gastic banding vs 13% of the patients receiving standard therapy. Study authors recognize that the results need confirmation through larger trials with a more diverse population and with longer term follow-up.
Free On-Line Training Available
The Health Resources and Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has created an on-line training course entitled, “Unified Health Communication 101: Addressing Health Literacy, Cultural Competency, and Limited English Proficiency”. It is a five module course designed for public health care professionals to better their patient communication skills. It teaches the factors that limit the ability of health care professionals to communicate with patients, and ways to overcome these limitations to make for a more complete and successful patient visit.
The course is divided into five modules, for which credit (CEU/CE, CHES, CME, CNE) may be earned.