Jan 27 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: January 27

Elevated Risk Factors Linked to Major Cardiovascular Disease Events across a Lifetime

In one of the largest-ever analyses of lifetime risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD), researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health, have found that middle-aged adults who have one or more elevated traditional risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure, have a much greater chance of having a major CVD event, such as a heart attack or stroke, during their remaining lifetime than people with optimal levels of risk factors. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, used health data on 257,384 people and was the first to look simultaneously at multiple risk factors for CVD across age, sex, race, and birth generation.

"These data have important implications for prevention," said Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., principal investigator of the study and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "We need to get more serious about promoting healthy lifestyles in children and young adults, since even mild elevations in risk factors by middle age seem to have profound effects on the remaining lifetime risks for CVD." Read more on heart health.

NIH to Study Out of Hospital Care for Cardiac Arrest

NIH has also launched two multi-site clinical trials to evaluate treatments for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. One will compare different combinations and methods of chest compression and rescue breathing for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The other trial will compare treatment with two different drugs (amiodarone and lidocaine) for participants with shock-resistant ventricular fibrillation, a condition in which the heart beats chaotically instead of pumping blood.

The American Heart Association also recently released a school challenge to encourage teens to learn how to administer CPR. Learn more about the challenge here.

U.S. Home Births On the Rise

The rate of home births in the United States has made a dramatic upturn since 2004, reversing a trend of decline throughout the 1990s. U.S. births taking place outside of the traditional hospital setting increased 29 percent between 2004 and 2009, to almost 30,000 births, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. Read more on maternal and infant health.

Cancer Screening Still Falls Short of Targets

The number of Americans being screened for colon, breast and cervical cancers still fall below national targets, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2010, 72.4 percent of women were being screened for breast cancer, below the target of 81 percent; for cervical cancer it was 83 percent of women, while the target is 93 percent; and for colon cancer 58.6 percent of Americans were screened, falling short of the goal of 70.5 percent. Read more on cancer prevention.

Tags: Cancer, Heart Health, Maternal and Infant Health, News roundups, Prevention, Public health