Search Results for: antibiotic
Health Insurers Now Providing User-friendly Benefit Guides
Starting this week, health insurers will provide patients with user-friendly guides that clearly explain their benefits. The goal of the new law is to enable “the private insurance market's 163 million beneficiaries to make side-by-side comparisons of plan offerings,” according to Reuters. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a sample benefits form demonstrating the new standardized format. Read more on access to health care.
Inconsistencies in Antibiotic Prescriptions Could Contribute to Increased Resistance
Inconsistencies in how U.S. seniors are prescribed antibiotics could be contributing to increased bacterial resistance, according to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The information was compiled from Medicare records. Seniors in some areas of the country average less than one prescription a year, while others averaged between one and two, suggesting overuse in some areas. "Once you get resistance to those broad spectrum antibiotics, next time you have anything where you really need that, it's not going to be as effective," said Yuting Zhang, the study's lead author. Read more on bacteria.
Task Force Recommends Screening, Intervention to Combat Alcohol Abuse
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that doctors make questions about drinking habits a part of routine patient visits. It is also recommending they provide alcohol abuse counseling. The task force found screening and intervention to be effective public health tactics in adults ages 18 and older. The new recommendations are in line with the task force’s 2004 guidelines, according to HealthDay. "The overarching message is the same as it was back then,” said Michael LeFevre, MD, co-vice chair for the task force. “At least in the adult population, the evidence shows that clinicians can help men and women who are drinking in ways that are not healthy to change those habits." Read more on alcohol.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health published a journal article last week in Science Translational Medicine about how they used genetic testing to determine the source of a bacterial infection, Klebsiella pneumoniae, that killed eleven patients and is highly resistant to antibiotics. To treat the patient they believe initiated the outbreak, who had been transferred from another state but who had the infection when she entered the hospital, doctors used an old antibiotic, colistin, which is rarely used because it can damage kidneys. And to stem the spread, the hospital restored to extreme measures including tearing out plumbing that harbored the infection and regularly testing every patient in the hospital for the infection. The measures worked, but a recent article in the Washington Post highlights reasons why there are so few new antibiotics with reach to treat “superbugs” including a growing lack of interest among pharmaceutical firms because other drugs make more money.
>>Bonus Link: Read a NewPublicHealth post about an antibiotic resistance study by researchers at Extending the Cure, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study found that in the winter time, flu symptoms boost both antibiotic use and resistance.
AHA Identifies Most-Effective Public Health Strategies
American Heart Association researchers have examined more than 1,000 scientific studies to determine 43 of the most effective public health prevention strategies. They include school and workplace interventions; economic incentives to improve access to healthy food; direct mandates and restrictions related to nutrition; local environment efforts; and media and education campaigns. The findings were published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal. “Policy-makers should now gather together and say, ‘These are the things that work—let’s implement many right away, and the rest as soon as possible,’” said Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, chair of the statement writing group. Read more on heart health.
Poor Dental Health May Be Factor in Dementia
A new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows a link between poor dental health and a greater risk of dementia. The study looked at the number of natural teeth, dentures worn, the number of visits to a dentist and other general oral health habits of 5,486 adults with the median age of 81 between the years of 1992 and 2010. The link was especially significant in men. A 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations, stressed the importance of providing good oral health care to vulnerable and underserved populations. Read more on aging.
New Federal Report on the Health, Economic Status of Older Americans
While today’s older Americans are healthier and living longer than those of past generations, increased financial obligations and the rising obesity rate are still major considerations, according to Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being, a new report from the National Institutes of Health. The report looks at 37 key indicators to determine which areas are—and are not—improving for older Americans. By 1930 there will be approximately 72 million Americans age 65 and older, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Read more on older adults.
NYU Study Finds Antibiotic Use in Very Young May Increase Childhood Weight
Infants who received antibiotics before the age of 6 months are more likely to be overweight, according to a new study of more than 10,000 children. The study was published August 21 in the International Journal of Obesity and conducted by the NYU School of Medicine and the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. The researchers were careful to note that the study merely showed a correlation—not causation—and that more study is needed. “We typically consider obesity an epidemic grounded in unhealthy diet and exercise, yet increasingly studies suggest it’s more complicated,” said Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, an associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. “Microbes in our intestines may play critical roles in how we absorb calories, and exposure to antibiotics, especially early in life, may kill off healthy bacteria that influence how we absorb nutrients into our bodies, and would otherwise keep us lean.” Read more on infant health.
CDC Recommends Against Using Popular Gonorrhea Treatment
Infectious disease experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended this week that the antibiotic Suprax (cefixime) no longer be used to treat gonorrhea. The CDC is discouraging use of Suprax because patients are developing resistance to the drug. As first line treatment, the CDC recommends use of the drug ceftriaxone in combination with azithromycin or doxycycline. Read more on sexual health.
Alcohol Ad Violations More Common in Magazines with High Youth Readership
As the youth readership level of a magazine goes up, so too does the likelihood that alcohol advertisements in the publication are in violation of industry standards, according to a new study. The study was conducted by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study looked at 1,261 advertisements for alcopops, beer, spirits or wine that appeared more than 2,500 times in 11 different with youth readership levels of at least 15 percent. CAMY Director and study co-author David Jernigan, PhD said the findings indicate the industry standards should be strengthened. Read more on alcohol.
SAMHSA Awards $11M to Treat Substance Abuse in Pregnant and Postpartum Women
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded up to $11 million in grants under the Service Grants Program for the Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women (PPW). There are seven total grants to be utilized over the next three years. They will go toward improving substance abuse treatment, prevention and recovery support services for pregnant women, new mothers and their minor children. “This program offers vital help and hope to women at a crucial time in their lives and in the lives of their children,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde in a release. “By including families in the supportive services that are being provided for these women, we acknowledge that people with substance use disorders are more than just their addictions.” Read more on substance abuse.
Although a June study in Pediatrics noted a recent drop in antibiotics prescribed for infants, children and adolescents relative to past years, prescriptions continue to be high in winter months and may lead to increased antibiotic resistance, according to a new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Research on the link between flu and a rise in antibiotic prescribing in the winter was conducted by Extending the Cure, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio, to research and examine solutions to antibiotic resistance.
The Clinical Infectious Diseases study found that increases in prescription sales for two popular groups of antibiotics during flu season led to a rapid increase, one month later, in resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli) in hospitals, as well as a rise in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA), linked to the seasonal increase in antibiotic prescriptions.
In a recent op-ed published in Modern Healthcare, Ramanan Laxminarayan, study author and director of Extending the Cure, offered recommendations to help decease use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, such as giving all healthy people age 6 months and up the flu shot—because if fewer people experience flu symptoms, fewer people will receive unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.
“It’s time to start viewing antibiotics as a natural resource that can be depleted with overuse, much like oil or other natural resources, and which must be conserved so these resources are there for us when we need them,” says Laxminarayan.
>>Read a related Q&A with Ramanan Laxminarayan, executive director of Extending the Cure, where he talks about the need for a shift in social norms around parents asking for antibiotics for their children when it may not be needed.
>>Bonus Link: Read a policy brief from Extending the Cure about strategies to reduce doctor’s over-prescribing of antibiotics including education programs, incentives and mandating appropriate prescribing.
>>New Study: A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that adding data on circulating infections to electronic health records helps reduce antibiotic overuse by giving doctors real-time data to inform diagnosis on viral or bacterial infections.
Fewer antibiotic prescriptions were dispensed by pharmacies for kids 17 and younger but prescriptions for ADHD drugs were up, according to a study by Food and Drug Administration researchers and published in Pediatrics. The researchers reviewed outpatient retail prescription databases. In addition to decreases in antibiotic prescriptions for children, the study also found decreases in allergy, pain and depression drugs as well as a 42 percent drop in cough and cold medicines for kids. The FDA issued an advisory in 2008 against using cough and cold drugs in very young kids.
In addition to increases in ADHD drugs, the study found higher rates of asthma drugs and contraceptives. Read more on prescription drugs.
A new study in Pediatrics looks at the practice of delaying infant vaccinations, which experts say can increase the risk of communicable disease outbreaks. The study found that in 2009, about 9.5 percent of parents in the Portland, Ore., area did not consistently follow the recommended vaccine schedule for infants and children up to nine months old, up from 2.5 percent in 2006. Children whose parents delayed shots had more visits to providers for shots, fewer total shots, and did not generally catch up later with the recommended vaccination schedule.
The researchers say negative media attention about vaccine safety likely contributed to the increase in parents delaying or limiting the number of immunizations, and say there are no known benefits to delaying vaccines in infants. Read more on vaccines.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced new regulations requiring railroads to install signs at rail and train pathway crossings with toll-free phone numbers the public can use to alert railroad companies to unsafe conditions, such as malfunctioning warning signals, vehicles stuck on the tracks or other emergencies. The new rules take effect by 2015. Railroads receiving the calls will contact local law enforcement for immediate action and must take steps to correct any confirmed problems. According to DOT, there are about 200,000 public and private rail crossings in the nation. Read more on safety.
A survey by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health finds that inmates at two New York state prisons regularly misuse common pharmaceutical products such as antibiotic cream as shaving cream, skin lotion and lip balm. The researchers say the misuse of the products can result in antibiotic resistance, especially because methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has increased at correction facilities and could also pose a risk in the community when prisoners are released. Read more on antibiotic resistance.
Having a feeling of purpose in life may help to protect against heart attacks among older American adults with coronary heart disease, according to a new study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. In the study, researchers surveyed more than 1,500 older adults with coronary heart disease and followed up after two years to investigate the association between purpose, which is typically conceptualized as a person’s sense of directedness and meaning in life, and the occurrence of a heart attack.
The study found a significantly reduced risk of heart attack among participants who reported a higher sense of meaning. The study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio to explore Positive Health, an emerging concept that looks at whether in addition to health risks, people also have health assets which can be strengthened to produce a healthier life. Read more on heart health.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning health care professionals and patients about a counterfeit version of Avastin, a drug that treats several kinds of cancer, which may have been purchased and used by some medical practices in the U.S. The counterfeit version is labeled as Avastin, but does not contain the medicine's active ingredient. According to the FDA, 19 medical practices in the U.S. purchased unapproved cancer medicines from Quality Specialty Products (QSP), a foreign supplier that may also be known as Montana Health Care Solutions.
The only FDA-approved version of Avastin for use in the United States is marketed by Genentech (a member company of Roche). The FDA-approved version does not include the Roche logo on the packaging or vials. The FDA recommends that practices that have obtained products from Volunteer Distribution and QSP stop using them and file a report with the FDA.
Treatment with the antibiotic amoxicillin for patients with inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses doesn’t result in a significant difference in symptoms compared to patients who received a placebo, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study is important because antibiotics are commonly used to treat this condition even though there is limited evidence supporting their effectiveness. Read more on antibiotic resistance.
A new study in Pediatrics, finds that only 80 percent of new drivers have formal driving education, and that in states without a driver education requirement, more than one in three students received no formal driver education before getting their licenses. Hispanics, blacks, males and students with lower academic achievements participated in driver education at a much lower level in states that do not require it. Read more on the link between transportation and health.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued an order that prohibits certain uses of the cephalosporin class of antimicrobial drugs in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys, effective April 5, 2012. Prohibiting these uses is intended to reduce the risk of cephalosporin resistance in certain bacterial pathogens in humans. Read more on antibiotic resistance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has begun awarding about $330 million to state and local health departments to fund HIV prevention activities. The funds are allocated to individual health departments according to a formula that matches dollar amounts to the geographic burden of HIV, measured by the number of people reported living with HIV in each jurisdiction. CDC will award an additional $20 million to health departments by March 2012 to implement innovative HIV prevention demonstration projects. CDC is currently reviewing applications for this next round of funding. Read up on HIV news.
Injury concerns, insufficient funding and a focus on academic activities are the main reasons why many children in daily childcare don’t get enough physical activity, according to a new study in Pediatrics. Read more on physical activity.