Jun 22 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: June 22

New Pilot Program Aimed at Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has announced a pilot program in Ohio and Indiana that will make existing prescription drug use information available to doctors and pharmacists in outpatient and emergency settings. The goal is to allow providers to intervene in cases of suspected prescription drug abuse.

“The PDMP pilot projects being launched today will help hospital staff identify a patient’s controlled substance history at the point of care to enable better targeting appropriate treatments and reduce the potential of an overdose or even death,” said Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, national coordinator for health IT.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from prescription drugs now outnumber deaths from heroin and cocaine combined, and over the past decade, prescription drug-induced deaths have approached motor vehicle deaths as the leading cause of all injury deaths. Read a Q&A with Farzad Mostashari on the potential for health IT to support public health.

Traffic Noise May Increase Heart Attack Risk for People Living Nearby

High levels of traffic noise put people who live nearby at an increased risk for a heart attack, according to a new study in the journal PLoS One. Researchers followed more than 50,000 people in Denmark, ages 50 to 64, for ten years and found that for every 10 decibel rise in traffic noise near a person's home, there was a 12 percent increased risk of a first heart attack. Read more on community health.

Mouse Study Links High-Fat, High Calorie Diet to Development of Pancreatic Cancer

In a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Pancreatic Cancer: Progress and Challenges conference, UCLA researchers fed mice that had a genetic mutation that predisposed them to pancreatic cancer a diet high in fat and calories, and found that this diet triggered and accelerated increased pancreatic inflammation and pancreatic cancer development for many. The researchers say that the mutation was not sufficient for the mice to develop the cancer, but that the high-fat, high-calorie diet could provide an “environmental secondary hit and trigger cancer development." Read more on cancer.

Tags: Addiction, Cancer, Community Health, Heart Health, News roundups, Prescription drugs, Technology