Mar 13 2012

Public Health News Roundup: March 13

U.S. Emergency Rooms Treat Kids for Stair-Related Injuries Every Six Minutes

Falling down stairs is a common source of injury for kids, according to a new study in Pediatrics. Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System found that 931,886 children younger than five years old were treated in the ER for a stair-related injury from 1999 to 2008.

Suggestions from the study authors for making stairs safer include installing stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs, keeping stairs clutter-free and in good repair, and installing and using stair railings. The authors say increased prevention efforts, including improved stairway design, are needed to minimize stair-related injuries. Read more safety news.

Circumcision May Help Protect Against Prostate Cancer

A new study published in the journal Cancer has found that circumcision before a male's first sexual intercourse may help protect against prostate cancer. According to the study, sexually transmitted infections may contribute to the development of prostate cancer. Investigators analyzed information from 3,399 men; 1,754 with prostate cancer and 1,645 without. Men who had been circumcised before their first sexual intercourse were 15 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than uncircumcised men. Read more on sexual health.

Painkillers After Short-Stay Surgery May Promote Dependence in Older Patients

Older patient’s prescribed narcotic painkillers after short-stay surgery are at increased risk of becoming long-term users, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Canadian researchers looked at data from almost 400,000 patients aged 66 and older who had short-stay surgery for cataracts, gallbladder removal, prostate tissue removal or varicose vein stripping. Of those patients, almost 28,000 (more than 7 percent) were prescribed narcotic painkillers within seven days after their hospital discharge. More than 30,000 (nearly 8 percent) were prescribed the drugs one year after surgery. Almost 3,000 (more than 10 percent) of patients from both groups were identified as long-term users one year after surgery. Read more news on prescription drugs.

Tags: News roundups, Older Adults, Prescription drugs, Public and Community Health, Safety