May 23 2012

Public Health News Roundup: May 23

No Progress in Reducing Motorcycle Deaths

A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) finds that no progress was made in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011. Based upon preliminary national data, GHSA projects that motorcycle fatalities remained steady at about 4,500 in 2011, the same level as 2010. Motorcycle deaths remain one of the few areas in highway safety where progress is not being made.

Twenty-six states and the District Columbia reported an increase in motorcyclist deaths. Some states, including Connecticut, North Carolina and New York, did see declines in motorcycle deaths. New York has driver education about motorcycles, encouraged motorcyclists to wear bright protective gear and increased enforcement by police and highway patrol officers.

The report also notes that only 19 states require helmets for motorcycle riders. Read more on injury prevention.

Many Babies with Development Delays Are Undiagnosed and Untreated

About one out of every three infants in need of testing and treatment for development delays is not assessed and does not get help, based on research on 5,000 children who were admitted to California neonatal intensive care units as babies. The study was conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and published in Pediatrics. The researchers found that while eligible for referral, assessment, and, likely, services, many parents were not advised of the need or opportunity.

The researchers say major budget cuts to early intervention services in California, and more strict criteria limiting which kids are eligible, might have influenced doctor’s referrals for at-risk children. Read more on maternal and child health.

HHS Launches Campaign to Recruit Older Organ Donors

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a campaign aimed at recruiting more adults over age 50 to become organ, eye and tissue donors. According to HHS, more than 114,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list for an organ, and more than 100 of them die each week waiting for an organ. In 2011, people 50 and older accounted for 32 percent of donors but 60 percent of the total number of transplants.

According to HHS, the new campaign was developed to dispel the myth that there are age limitations for donating organs, or for being a transplant recipient. A recent HHS poll found that the majority of adults think organ donation is the right thing to do, but few have signed up on a donor registry. Read more on aging.

Tags: Maternal and Infant Health, News roundups, Older Adults, Safety