The 2007 issue of the “Hispanic Americans and Health” bibliography series is now available and includes references to over 1000 articles culled from searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL (nursing and allied health) and PsycINFO. The bibliography includes articles added to the databases from approximately August 2006 through July 2007. The “Hispanic Americans and Health” series has been published by the UTHSCSA Libraries since 1979. The bibliography is available at http://www.library.uthscsa.edu/basics/hisbib.cfm. Older bibliographies in the series are available through this link as well.
Staying Well. Connected.
Hispanic Americans and Health Bibliography, 2007
The dengue threat
The Express-News reported this weekend that the CDC is encouraging South Texas health professionals “to become aware of the diagnosis of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever [DHF]“, based upon a new confirmation by the CDC that at least one case from the 2005 outbreak of dengue in Brownsville was actually contracted within Brownsville itself, not in Mexico or elsewhere. The article suggests CDC epidemiologists are concerned about sharp increases in the incidence of dengue and particularly of the more serious DHF across Mexico, including in Tamaulipas, since 2000. The mosquito that spreads dengue, Aedes aegypti, lives in Texas, thus providing a possibility that the disease could move across the Mexican border and take hold in South Texas. [See also: CDC MMWR for 9 August 2007.]
Another recent Express-News article described local research in progress at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research that is working toward development of vaccines for dengue; other recent news [English | Spanish] describes a clinical trial currently underway in Puerto Rico. However, progress cannot come too soon for thousands of victims of current outbreaks in Honduras, Puerto Rico and elsewhere  .
Para los de la Tercera Edad
The Spanish language uses a unique expression of respect and appreciation to refer to seniors — it refers to them as being of “la Tercera Edad” (“the Third Age”), i.e. what follows childhood and middle-age.
Here’s something new para los de la Tercera Edad: the US National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, now offers accurate, up-to-date information on health issues affecting Hispanic seniors, online and in Spanish. The new Spanish-language content, located at http://www.nia.nih.gov/Espanol/, is designed to be user-friendly and wide-ranging, including tips on choosing a doctor and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as well as information on diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes.
Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day, September 18
September 18, 2007 is Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day. It is the day to encourage those you love to visit a health professional — or at least make an appointment to visit one. Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day encourages individuals to see a health care professional on or around September 18, 2007, or make an appointment for the near future. The focus on a single day generates greater understanding of the importance of regular health screenings while at the same time focus on those populations that tend to have the least access to health care.
Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day is nationally promoted by Closing the Health Gap, as part of the Department of Health and Human Services‘ efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities and promote the goals of Healthy People 2010.
Health Information National Trends Survey
Last week, the National Cancer Institute (NCI, a part of the National Institutes of Health) released Cancer Communication: Health Information National Trends Survey 2003 and 2005 [full text PDF], a report based on data from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), a survey done every other year by NCI. Findings showed that among Americans seeking health information in general or information about cancer specifically, the Internet remains a frequent first source — however, trust in online health information has declined, while trust in information received from healthcare professionals has increased. Major findings are summarized in this press release.
A pair of resources for patients
Two recent articles highlighted some resources that may provide helpful support for patients going through difficult illness experiences. The first was a post on an knowledge management blog I follow that recommended a new blog called In Sickness and In Health, “a place for couples going though an illness experience – to find resources and advice, hear stories, and discover support. Whether the illness is chronic or acute, the result of disease or accident, couples can learn strategies for coping with the changes illness brings into our relationships and our worlds.” Blog host Barbara Kivowitz brings her personal experiences as a psychotherapist and as a patient with chronic pain syndrome to her writing.
The second was an article in today’s McAllen Monitor that describes the McAllen chapter of Us Too, a support group and resource for men with prostate cancer and their families. The article indicates the McAllen chapter meets monthly and now has about 50 members, including founder Bob Wright of the South Texas Health System and McAllen mayor Richard Cortez, both prostate cancer survivors.
More on traveling to Mexico for health care
As a follow up on my earlier post about Texans traveling to Mexico for health care, here are two additional recent articles: one from KENS-5 San Antonio (15 August), another from the Washington Post (18 June). Although both focus on dental care, the Washington Post article refers to a couple of interesting-sounding studies that deal with health care and border residents:
In a recent University of Texas study, 86 percent of low-income El Paso residents surveyed — half of whom were illegal immigrants — said they receive medical care or buy prescription drugs from Mexico. Similarly, a study published in the Pan-American Journal of Health [sic] found that more than 37 percent of uninsured New Mexico border residents get medical care in Mexico.
The second study referred to there appears to be the following:
Escobedo LG, Cardenas VM. Utilization and purchase of medical care services in Mexico by residents in the United States of America, 1998-1999 [Utilización y compra de servicios médicos en México por personas que viven en los Estados Unidos de América, 1998-1999]. Pan American Journal of Public Health May 2006;19(5):300-305.
I have not yet identified the University of Texas study referred to in the Washington Post article.
Texas has highest percentage of uninsured: Census Bureau
Today the US Census Bureau released the Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006 report [PDF]. As shown in Table 8 on page 25 of that report (page 32 of the PDF), Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people of any US state, using a three-year average of 2004-2006 data — 24.1%, or over 5.5 million Texans. Census Bureau press release here.
NINDS Announces Effort to Promote Stroke Awareness in the Hispanic Community
From the press release: “The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced the launch of a new community education program, which broadens the Institute’s national stroke education campaign Know Stroke. Know the Signs. Act in Time. to promote stroke awareness among Hispanics in the United States. The program’s key component is a toolkit, Ataque cerebral: conozca los síntomas y actúe a tiempo, that can be used by promotores de salud (lay health educators) in charlas (health talks) to educate their communities about the signs of stroke and the importance of calling 911 promptly to receive appropriate medical treatment.”
Contraband toys as a public health risk
The recent recall of Mattel toys due to high lead content has garnered a lot of public attention, to be sure — but recalls are impossible in cases where the toys themselves are smuggled, pirated or contraband. A recent article from Inter Press News Service cites business estimates and studies suggesting that over half of the toys on the market in Mexico are contraband or illegal copies, a figure the article sets at 25% for Brazil and in a similar range for other countries across Latin America. Even as Latin American countries try to set higher standards for quality and safety for imported products such as toys, they acknowledge that the possible safety threat posed by contraband items is difficult for them to address. Read the story from Tierramérica in English or in Spanish.