Category Archives: LGBT
AAP Policy Statement Supports Same-sex Marriage
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a new policy statement in the journal Pediatrics in support of same-sex marriage, as well as the right for all to adopt kids and provide foster care. "Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage," said policy statement co-author Benjamin Siegel, MD, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. "The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children.” Added Ellen Perrin, MD, another co-author: "If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it's in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so." Read more on LGBT issues.
1 in 50 U.S. Kids Have Autism
Approximately one in 50 youth ages 6 to 17 had autism from 2011 to 2012, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The share was about 1.2 percent in 2007. The greatest increase was seen in boys an in those ages 14 to 17. Health officials say the increase doesn’t mean autism is becoming more prevalent, but that it is being diagnosed more frequently, according to CBS News. Under the new statistics approximately 1 million U.S. children have autism. Read more on mental health.
Study Links Gulf War Syndrome to Brain Damage
A link has been found between Gulf War Syndrome and damage to the brain, according to a new study in the journal PLOS ONE. James Baraniuk, senior author and professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, said the study clearly demonstrates that Gulf War Syndrome—a collection of symptoms experienced by approximately 250,000 veterans of the 1991 war—is not psychological. Researchers and Georgetown University used fMRI machines to identify “anomalies in the bundle of nerve fibers that interpret pain signals in the brain in 31 Gulf War veterans,” according to USA Today. This quick form of diagnosis could also end up helping people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Read more on the military.
Breast Cancer in Young Women May Be Up Slightly in Past Several Decades
Advanced breast cancer in women ages 25 to 39 may have increased since 1976, according to a new report in The Journal of the American Medical Association. In 2009 there were about 2.9 advanced cased per 100,000 younger women, up from 1.53 per 100,000 in 1976. The researchers say further study is needed to verify the numbers. In the mean time, they recommend that young women see a doctor if the notice lumps or other early indicators, and not simply assume they are too young to develop breast cancer. Read more on cancer.
Cohabitating Same-sex Couples Report Worse Health than Married Heterosexuals, Possibly Tied to Discrimination
Stress and discrimination may be the reason that cohabitating same-sex couples report generally worse health than do married heterosexuals, according to a new report in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. The study looked at how the individuals describe their health, not at their health records. The same-sex male couples were 61 percent more likely to report poor or fair health and same-sex female couple were 46 percent more likely. "Research consistently suggests that 'out' sexual minorities experience heightened levels of stress and higher levels of discrimination, and these experiences may adversely affect the health of this population," said Hui Liu, lead author and an assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University. "It may also be that same-sex cohabitation does not provide the same psychosocial, socioeconomic and institutional resources that come with legal marriage, factors that are theorized to be responsible for many of the health benefits of marriage." Read more on LGBT issues.
Poll: 1 in 5 Americans Know a Victim of Gun Violence
One in five Americans—and 4 in 10 black Americans—know a victim of gun violence, according to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Survey. The poll measured personal experience and concerns about firearms. About 42 percent of Americans are worried about being the victim of gun violence, with racial and ethnic minority groups more likely to be concerned. About 75 percent of Hispanics, 62 percent of black Americans and 30 percent of white Americans say they are worried. Read more on violence.
FDA Proposes Two New Food Safety Rules
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed two new food safety rules to help prevent food-borne illness. Once made final, the rules will become part of the Food Safety and Modernization Act signed into law two years ago. The new rules are available for public comment for the next four months. The first rule would require companies engaged in selling food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing food-borne illness and for correcting any problems that develop. The second rule proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. Read more on food safety.
NIH Developing Health Plan for LGBT Communities
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) LGBT Research Coordinating Committee is developing a plan to “extend and advance the knowledge base” for promoting health in the LGBT community, according to a recent statement from NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD. The plan is based on analysis of The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding, a study commissioned by the NIH and issued in March 2011. Read more on LGBT issues.
Mass. Bill Would Improve Oversight of Compounding Pharmacies
Months after the state of a meningitis outbreak linked to 39 deaths and 656 cases of illness in 19 states, the governor of Massachusetts has introduced legislation that would improve the state’s ability to regulate compounding pharmacies. The source of the outbreak is believed to be tainted steroids produced at the Framingham, Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center. "The regulations that we have in place and governing authority hasn't kept up with an industry that's changed," said Governor Deval Patrick, according to Reuters. Read more on infectious disease.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established three new centers, the Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development, to develop and manufacture medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and medicines used to protect health in emergencies. According to HHS, the centers will be able to bring the countermeasures to the market quickly. The centers were created as public-private partnerships among small biotech firms, academic institutions and large pharmaceutical companies. The centers will be overseen by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Read more on preparedness.
The number of American hospitals striving to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients equally and respectfully is on the rise, according to a report released yesterday by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. The report details the results of the most recent Healthcare Equality Index, an annual survey administered by HRC. This year’s survey found a 40 percent increase in rated facilities, which totaled 407 nationwide. It also found a 162 percent increase in the number of facilities achieving the status of "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality," a special recognition given to facilities earning a perfect rating by meeting four core criteria for LGBT patient-centered care. Read more on LGBT health.
A new survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that more than 50 percent of medical residents report that they have worked at least once when they were sick with flu-like symptoms, and 16 percent said they worked while sick at least three times in the year before the survey. The residents said among their reasons for working while ill were concern of putting a burden on other doctors, and a sense of obligation for their patients. Read more on infectious disease.
In observance of Pride Month, recognizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services has announced several new initiatives:
- Later this year, HealthCare.gov will allow LGBT consumers to identify health insurance policies available to them that include coverage of domestic partners.
- More demographic surveys will collect and report sexual orientation and gender identity data.
- New and existing health profession training programs will be encouraged to include LGBT cultural competency information.
At least one in five Americans has one or more untreated cavities, and Non-Hispanic Blacks and Mexican Americans account for a large proportion of those not receiving care for their cavities, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. Untreated cavities were significantly more prevalent in Mexican-American and non-Hispanic black children and adolescents (23%), compared with non-Hispanic white children and adolescents (13%).
Other findings include:
- Adults between ages 20 and 64 were more than twice as likely to have untreated cavities if they were living in poverty (42% vs. 17%).
- Among adults, nearly 90 percent of whites had had dental restoration, compared to 68 percent of Mexican-Americans and 73 percent of non-Hispanic blacks.
Read more on health disparities.
“They said he was a geek, he was worthless and that he should go and just hang hisself, and I think he just got to the point where enough was enough” – spoken by Kirk Smalley, father of Ty, in the forthcoming documentary, Bully. Ty, 11, hanged himself in 2010.
An astonishing thirteen million kids face bullying each year according to government surveys, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the United States. Bullying’s effects can impact every aspect of a child’s life from grades to self-esteem and, as Ty’s story shows, even the desire to live. The new documentary Bully, set to hit theaters across the U.S. on March 30, offers an intimate look at how bullying has affected five children and their families.
Parents and schools have been invited to sign on to a Twitter Town Hall on bullying to be hosted TODAY by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. EST. Follow the conversation using the hashtag #vetoviolence, or by following the CDC Injury Center on Twitter. The Town Hall will feature experts from the CDC, the Anti-Defamation League, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Department of Education.
Even small amounts of physical activity will help reduce heart disease risk, and the benefits increase as the amount of activity increases, according to a research review published in the journal Circulation.
Families are increasingly relying on public health insurance plans to provide coverage for their children, according to a new report from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. The researchers say the switch is tied to job losses, coverage changes to private health insurance plans, and expanded access to public plans, and that the trend is particularly pronounced in rural and inner-city areas. The report is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Rates of syphilis in the U.S. have been on the rise since 2001, especially among young men who have sex with men and among Black and Hispanic men who have sex with men, according to a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reopened the comment period for its 2007 proposal on labeling foods as “gluten-free,” prior to issuing a final rule, according to a news release. The comment periods ends by early October. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. The disease damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food; about 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease.
Nine out of 10 Americans who are addicted to tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs started using the addictive substances before age 18, according to a new report Adolescent Substance Use: America’s #1 Public Health Problem from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
The Department of Health and Human Services has announced new draft standards for collecting and reporting data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status. Public comments on the draft guidelines can be submitted until August 1. The agency also announced plans to collect health data on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. The goal of both efforts is to help researchers, policy makers, health providers and advocates identify and address health disparities in these communities.
Motivational text messages more than double the odds that smokers will be able to give up cigarettes, according to a new study in The Lancet. The study included close to 6,000 British smokers who were assigned either to a group that received motivational text messages—such as how to avoid weight gain while giving up cigarettes-- or to one that received non motivational messages, such as confirming contact information. Close to 11 percent of the motivational message group gave up smoking; about 5 percent of the other group gave up cigarettes.
At least 115 million people in the U.S. are impacted by pain at an annual cost of at least $560 million, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The report found that many pain incidents are preventable and could be better managed if public and private organizations worked together to better deal with pain management and prevention.
Students who report being gay, lesbian or bisexual are more likely than heterosexual students to engage in unhealthy risk behaviors including tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual risk behaviors, suicidal behaviors, and violence, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers analyzed data from youth risk behavior surveys conducted between 2001–2009 in seven states and six urban school districts.
The United States is bracing for a rough hurricane season, and budget cuts in disaster preparedness have some experts concerned.
Nearly one in five people with diabetes frequently miss hours of works each month because of low blood sugar episodes, according to a new study in the journal Value of Health. The study was based on a survey of over 1,000 people with diabetes in the U.S., Great Britain, France and Germany.
“Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” is a new campaign from the March of Dimes to encourage women having healthy pregnancies to let labor to begin on its own, rather than schedule a C-section. March of Dimes officials say that the campaign wants to dispel the myth that it's safe to schedule a delivery before 39 weeks of pregnancy without a medical need. Only 25 percent of women know a full-term pregnancy should last at least 39 weeks, according to research published in the December 2009 issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The updated Guide for HIV/AIDS Clinical Care, published in January 2011, is now available online. The guide is a comprehensive directory for health professionals treating patients with HIV/AIDS. Information in the guide includes updates on testing, patient assessment and medications.
Support May Help Curb Suicide Among Gay Youths (Healthday)
Gay youths are much less likely to attempt suicide when they live in communities where they feel they have some support, either through gay/lesbian groups at school or simply because more same-sex couples live in the area, new research has found.
Surgical patients with do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders appear to be at higher risk for poor surgical outcomes, according to a report published online today by the Archives of Surgery
Half of Team-Sport Injuries Preventable (Healthday)
About 10 percent of the 38 million American kids participating in sports each year are treated for a sports-related injury, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about half these injuries are preventable.