Oct 5 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: October 5

Teen Smoking Dramatically Increases Risk of Death From Heart Disease
A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that death from heart disease is more common in people who smoked as teens. The study looked at the health histories of approximately 28,000 men. People who started as teens, then later stopped, were still more likely to die early than were non-smokers. People who started as teens and never quit were twice as likely to die early. "The risks are cumulative," David Batty, of the University College London, told Reuters. "If you smoke across a life course, you're at much higher risk than if you just smoked around the college years." Read more on heart health.

CDC Warns of Possibly Contaminated Steroid Linked to Meningitis
A contaminated steroid may be responsible for a rare form of meningitis that has sickened 30 people and killed 5 across 23 states. Health officials are currently attempting to track down anyone who received the methylprednisolone acetate manufactured by New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. It is believed the steroid was contaminated by a fungus. "The CDC and FDA recommend that all health care personnel cease use and remove from their pharmacy inventory any products produced by the New England Compounding Center," said Benjamin Park, MD, a medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. "CDC also recommends that clinicians contact all patients who received injections from any of the three recalled lots to determine if they are having symptoms." The CDC expects to see more cases due to the time it can take for meningitis symptoms to appear. Read more on infectious diseases.

Study: Electronic Health Records Improve Care for People with Diabetes
A new study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that electronic health records can improve the overall quality of treatment for people with diabetes. Specifically, they were linked to increases in medication, monitoring and the control of risk-factors. The study analyzed electronic health records of approximately 17,000 people with diabetes in California. "What we saw in this study is that the [electronic health records] really helped our alignment with quality measures and clinical guidelines for treatment," said Marc Jaffe, MD, clinical leader at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program. "Increases in information availability, decision support and order-entry functionality help clinicians identify the most appropriate patients for drug-treatment intensification and retesting, which leads to better care of patients with diabetes." Read more on diabetes.

Tags: Diabetes, Heart and Vascular Health, Infectious disease, News roundups, Public and Community Health