Public Health News Roundup: December 13
Study: Murder is Contagious and Can Spread Like Other Epidemics
Murder can be contagious and spread through communities like other epidemics, according to new research in the journal Justice Quarterly. Poorer neighborhoods are most susceptible, while communities that are diverse and immigrant-rich are least vulnerable. The research demonstrates a need—and a path—to prevent violence by combating risk factors. "For homicide, if you start trying to revitalize a community, are you going to stop a homicide that would have been committed tomorrow? Probably not," said study co-author April Zeoli, a criminal justice researcher at Michigan State University. "But you are maybe going to prevent homicides that would have been committed a year from now." Read more on violence.
Video on CPR Makes Dying Cancer Patients Less Likely to Want Aggressive End-of-life Care
Watching a three-minute video on CPR makes dying cancer patients less likely to opt for aggressive end-of-life care, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study found that 48 percent wanted CPR after being told about the procedure, while only 20 percent wanted it after viewing a demonstration and seeing what’s actually done during CPR. Angelo Volandes, MD, the study's lead author from Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital, said as they were dying of a terminal condition, procedures such as CPR only prolonged the dying process. “It's one of the most important issues in American medicine today,” Volandes said. “People are getting medical interventions that, if they had more knowledge, they would simply not want." Read more on cancer.
Study: Distracted Walking may be as Dangerous as Distracted Driving
Distracted walking due to cell phone may be just as dangerous as distracted driving due to texting or talking on the phone. The devices divert the attention of pedestrians and increase the chance they will be hit by a car or otherwise injured. "Texters are not looking before they cross the street, they are not crossing with the light, they are walking more slowly and they are not looking at traffic,” said Beth Ebel, MD, lead researcher and director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. They are putting themselves at risk; they are putting the car that hits them at risk." Ebel said the research demonstrates the need for pedestrians to exercise better judgment about when to use electronic devices. The new study appears in the journal Injury Prevention. Read more on injury prevention.