Friday, October 29, 2010

Be Neighborly This Halloween – Respect Every Bite!

“While Halloween has grown into a day that most children look forward to all year, it can be quite scary for those with food allergies, and not because of ghosts and goblins”

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Millions of costumed children will be gleefully knocking on doors this Halloween expectantly waiting for candy to be dropped into their trick-or-treat bags. For approximately 4 percent of children in the U.S. with food allergies, those treats could contain ingredients harmful to them.

FAAN (the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) urges residents to be mindful of the safety measures that children with food allergies must take on Halloween and every day. Many sweet treats contain at least one of the top eight allergens. As FAAN has emphasized throughout the year with the 2010 theme, “Respect Every Bite,” it’s important for individuals with food allergies to protect themselves and for those without food allergies to remember that certain ingredients can be potentially life-threatening for others.

While many parents of children with food allergies prepare for this day by keeping safe candies on hand for trading, others might want to consider offering non-food treats as an alternative for trick-or-treaters this Halloween. Inexpensive options include Halloween stickers, pencils, and erasers, as well as small toys.

“While Halloween has grown into a day that most children look forward to all year, it can be quite scary for those with food allergies, and not because of ghosts and goblins,” said FAAN CEO Julia Bradsher. “Children with food allergies need your help preventing allergic reactions.”

FAAN offers a safe alternative by way of its annual Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy program. Anyone can sign up at www.foodallergyevents.org for a special Trick-or-Treat bag that can be used to collect funds for food allergy research, education, awareness, and advocacy programs. It’s a great way to take the worry out of collecting potentially unsafe treats, while earning prizes. This program was made possible by Abbott Nutrition, maker of EleCare®.

For parents of children with food allergies who do plan on trick-or-treating for candy, remember to check the ingredient labels (even if your child has eaten the product before, as companies can reformulate recipes), and to remind your child not to eat any candy that has not been checked by a trusted adult.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Georgia Children Facing Deadly Health Crisis

/PRNewswire/ -- Childhood obesity has become a threatening epidemic in Georgia. Weighing in just below Mississippi, Georgia has the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the United States. Nearly one in three children ages 10 to 17 in Georgia is considered to be overweight or obese (National Survey of Children's Health, 2007), and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is continuing to witness a steady rise in obesity cases at all three of its hospitals.

Stephanie Walsh, M.D., Medical Director of Child Wellness at Children's, treats several children in a clinic where some of her young patients weigh more than 500 pounds. This problem is so severe that Children's has averaged 15 weight-loss surgeries each year since 2007.

Childhood obesity is a chronic illness that can cause serious long-term diseases and disabilities. Obese children can develop health issues that are typically seen only in adults, such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, joint problems and chest pains. Physicians have even begun to see cases of polycystic ovarian syndrome and fatty liver disease in obese children.

"Several children in Georgia are overweight or obese," Dr. Walsh said. "In addition to being obese, these children are at risk for problems like kidney and liver failure, risk of amputation and cardiovascular disease."

The causes of childhood obesity are complex. Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity influenced by factors including family dynamics, school systems and societal norms are all thought to contribute to the issue. Family influence plays a strikingly large role in childhood obesity; in fact, children with an obese parent are 50 percent more likely to be obese themselves.

Moreover there are huge discrepancies between how people think they are eating and what doctors are actually seeing on the scale. According to new statewide research, regardless of their children's BMI category, most parents seem content overall with their family's eating habits (The Marketing Workshop Inc 2010). Children echoed their parents' sentiments with most also seeming satisfied with their own eating habits.

"We have gotten used to meals on the go, fast food and eating in front of the television," Dr. Walsh said. "Thirty years ago, we used to live more active lifestyles. Now sadly, obese children are more likely obese adults, and this may be the first generation of kids who live shorter lives than their parents."

While childhood obesity can be a deadly problem, it is also a costly one. According to an Emory University study, if current trends continue, Georgia's health-care costs directly related to obesity will increase from its current annual cost of $2.5 billion to nearly $11 billion by 2018.

"The crisis of childhood obesity is the responsibility of every Georgia citizen," Dr. Walsh said. "As a society, we need to take ownership and act immediately on this issue for the sake of the future health of Georgia's population."

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Heart Attack: New Hope in Delaying Brain Damage in Cardiac Arrest Victims

/PRNewswire/ -- After a heart attack and the victim stops breathing, a process of irreversible brain damage starts to occur within 3 to 4 minutes. Or does it?

While researching cardiac arrest, Jeffrey Dobkin read about a boy drowning in icy waters. Although submerged for over half an hour the boy was rescued, resuscitated, and recovered completely. No brain damage.

Dobkin wondered: How can someone drown and experience no brain damage. What delays brain damage in drowning victims. In an emergency can it be applied to heart attack victims?

Dobkin's research pointed to yes. He believes brain damage that occurs when someone's heart stops beating can be delayed for up to an hour.

"Cold water drowning victims survive without brain damage because of the triggering of the 'Mammalian Diving Reflex.' This natural reflex is solely responsible for delaying brain death," says Dobkin. "And the specific trigger of the diving reflex is a facial immersion in cold water."

"Dobkin's Technique to delay brain damage in heart attack victims is simple: Immediately apply cold, wet compresses to the face of the victim."

His technique is an emergency time-buying procedure to delay brain damage until emergency medical personnel arrive. It works in conjunction with CPR.

The Dobkin Technique is application of cold wet compresses to the face and eye area. "The eyes, the ophthalmic nerve, are the trigger points," says Dobkin. The Dobkin-Trigger Technique immediately starts to delay brain damage and gives emergency medical personnel a much greater "golden window" to respond to non-breathing victims than 4 minutes.

The Dobkin Technique works in heart attack victims - the fourth largest cause of death in the U.S. His technique works to delay brain damage when the oxygen supply to the brain of a person is shut off (Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy) for any reason: drug overdose, choking, stroke, suffocation, electrocution. It works at a critical time—on the scene: before initial resuscitation can be started by medical personnel.

The Dobkin Technique to Delay Brain Damage can be found at The Brain Injury Foundation website. Write to the Foundation at P.O. Box 100, Merion Station, PA 19066. Additional information: info@BrainInjuryFoundation.org website: www.BrainInjuryFoundation.org

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Free Diabetes Screening and Education Event Offers Assistance to More than 200 People in Downtown Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- More than 200 people attended a free community diabetes program at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Saturday to learn more about the risk factors for diabetes as well as receive free health screenings. The Institute for Health Protection coordinated the program, which Ebenezer Baptist hosted with support from Roche Diabetes Care, makers of ACCU-CHEK® diabetes products and services.

"Roche is proud to sponsor these free screening and education programs," said Luc Vierstraete, senior vice president and general manager, Roche Diabetes Care North America. "We hope that many members of the community take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about diabetes and how they can live healthier, active lives."

Attendees were offered free and confidential health screenings, free physician consultations and free education materials. They also benefited from clinical and community experts who shared their expertise and perspective during a panel discussion and question and answer session.

"Diabetes is a growing problem nationally and our local community is not exempt," said Georgia State Sen. Nan Orrock. "That's why education and health fair programs like the one held today at Ebenezer Baptist Church are so important. I was glad to see so many people take advantage of the free screenings to learn more about preventing and managing Type 2 diabetes."

The program in Atlanta is part of a series focusing on diabetes that IHP and Roche Diagnostics have been conducting across the country. The overall goal for these programs is to provide educational information for those at risk for developing diabetes as well as those who are currently living with diabetes. In addition to providing free health screenings, a panel of local healthcare providers presents valuable and relevant information. This interactive program provides participants with information and tools to help better manage Type 2 diabetes and/or take measures to prevent its onset.

The next free community diabetes program will be Oct. 30 at Jefferson State Community College, Shelby-Hoover campus, in Birmingham, Ala.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Many Georgians in the Dark When Protecting Their Eyes From the Sun

/PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to working and playing in the great outdoors, many Americans know they should keep their skin protected from the sun; however, a new survey from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa)'s parent company and Transitions Optical, Inc. indicates that the majority of active participants are unaware of the potential damage the sun can have on their eyes – and the eyes of their children – when they are outside, no matter the time of year.

The results of an online omnibus survey of 2,500 Americans ages 18 and older conducted on behalf of BCBSGA's parent company and Transitions indicate that many participants rarely consider the potential risks to their vision from the sun. In fact, when thinking about the harmful effects of extended sun exposure, the majority of participants focus on things like sunburn (92 percent), skin cancer (91 percent), heat stroke/exhaustion (82 percent), dehydration (78 percent) and wrinkles (77 percent).

According to the survey, many participants were unable to identify the basic facts about sun exposure on their eyes, particularly when it came to children's increased risk of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. For example, only a third of participants (36 percent) know that children's eyes are at greater risk from the effects of UV rays than adults.

Additionally, the survey reports that nearly four in ten consumers (37 percent) find it difficult to wear protective eyewear like sunglasses as much as they should. The top reason most participants say they don't wear protective eyewear more often is because they forget to bring it with them. Nine out of ten participants (90 percent) say that if a convenient, effective way to protect their eyes and their child's eyes were available, they would be likely to purchase the product.

"Many parents tell us they tend to think more about the sun's effect on their child's skin rather than on their eyes," said Jeff Spahr, staff vice president of Vision and Voluntary Services for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia. "And many parents with children 18 and younger say they're more likely to tell their child to put on sunscreen than protective eyewear when they go outdoors."

"We know how important it is to protect one's eyes from the sun," said Spahr. "We believe that our vision benefit offerings should provide our members with a viable solution to protecting their eyes, and because of this, we now offer Transitions lenses as a covered benefit for members. These lenses automatically protect eyes from UVA and UVB rays, and offer a convenient solution for our members who wear corrective lenses."

Additional survey results include:

* Nearly six out of ten participants (58 percent) agree there are times they don't adequately protect their eyes from the sun even though they know they should. Furthermore, four out of ten participants (41 percent) report that when they go outdoors, they rarely think about protecting their eyes from the sun.


* Older Americans are significantly more likely than younger Americans to believe that people should start protecting their eyes from the sun in early childhood.


* More than half of the participants (55 percent) say they wish they would've taken better care of their eyes when they were younger.


* When asked to identify whether the statement "children's eyes are at greater risk from the effects of UV than adults" is true or false, nearly half of parents of children 18 and younger (48 percent) said they didn't know.


"We believe this national survey revealed a number of findings about most consumers' views and habits towards eye protection," said Spahr. "As a result, we're using this information to provide the products, tools and materials that will help people protect their eyes and their children's eyes from the sun as fiercely as they protect their skin."

"The survey findings suggest that more education and awareness about protective eyewear for sun exposure is essential, especially for children," said Pat Huot, director of Managed Vision Care for Transitions Optical, a provider of photochromics to optical manufacturers. "Long-term UV exposure has been linked to eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye diseases later in life, so it's important to make sure people are doing everything they can to maintain healthy eyes."

According to the Vision Council, a recent cost analysis shows that eye disease health care expenditures reach $16 billion each year, an amount that exceeds expenditures for breast cancer ($7.2 billion), lung cancer ($5.6 billion) and HIV ($9.4 billion).

The omnibus survey was conducted online among a national sample of 2,500 Americans ages 18+ (balanced to Census). Fielding took place in July 2010 by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). The survey has a margin of error of +/- 1.96% at the 95% confidence level, meaning if the study were replicated, the study findings would be within 1.96 percentage points 95 times out of 100.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

American Red Cross Launches Citizen CPR Campaign to Educate 5 Million People in Hands-only CPR by End of 2011

/PRNewswire/ -- With the increasing importance of compression only or "hands only" CPR in many cardiac emergencies, the American Red Cross today announced an initiative to educate 5 million people in 2011 about the use of this potentially lifesaving technique.

Hands-only CPR is a technique that involves simply using chest compressions on an individual who has suffered sudden cardiac arrest. The technique involves no mouth to mouth contact and is best used in emergencies outside of hospitals where a bystander has seen another person suddenly collapse.

The American Red Cross is the nation's largest provider of CPR and first aid training, and the new Red Cross initiative includes several different ways in which the public can learn hands-only CPR:

* In early 2011, the Red Cross will launch a 30-minute, instructor-led "Citizen CPR" skills training so the average person can quickly and easily learn the hands only technique.
* People can now go to www.redcross.org to download a free PDF instructional guide and watch a two-minute video on the hands-only CPR technique.
* The Red Cross already offers a product to help people learn hands-only CPR at home. That product can be purchased at www.redcross.org and retails for $9.99.


"Emergencies are more common than most of us know," said Dr. David Markinson, a Red Cross advisory council chair. "We could increase the likelihood of surviving cardiac emergencies that occur outside a hospital by putting more victims within a few steps of lifesaving assistance. In a life-threatening situation, performing hands-only CPR is better than doing nothing at all."

As part of the initiative, the Red Cross is urging high schools to add hands-only training to their graduation curriculum and urging businesses to train 25 percent of their employees in the technique, in addition to those who need full CPR training because of their role as workplace responders.

The Red Cross will continue to offer consumers a choice in their CPR training. In addition to the new "Citizen CPR" hands-only course, the Red Cross will continue to offer courses with a full CPR certification using both compressions and rescue breaths. That's because full CPR with rescue breaths is still best in the health care setting and for children, adolescents, drowning victims, or people who collapse due to breathing problems.

Health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs and workplace responders should continue to be certified in CPR using compressions and rescue breaths.

Any form of CPR is no substitute for emergency medical attention. In an emergency situation, always call 9-1-1, start CPR and continue it until help arrives.

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Lost Sense of Smell? Falling Out of Bed at Night? It May Be Parkinson's Disease

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) is launching today the first-ever bilingual, Parkinson's toll-free Helpline 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636). Specialists, such as social workers and nurses, can answer caller questions in both English and Spanish. In addition, NPF is offering a new, free brochure titled, "10 Early Warning Signs of Parkinson's Disease." The toll-free number and free brochure are for all who have questions about the disease; especially those people who have limited access to information and local resources.

Recent data suggests that higher incidents of Parkinson's disease (PD) occur in Hispanics and those living in certain rural communities than the general population (1). Moreover, according to Joyce Oberdorf, NPF President and CEO, experience shows that many people who speak Spanish or who live in rural, underserved locales, as well as those who live in economically distressed areas, most frequently lack access to quality health care, including the latest information on PD.

"We're launching the Helpline and new brochure to raise awareness about Parkinson's disease, and to reach people who live in areas that have little or no information on how to recognize its early warning signs," states Oberdorf. "Many often mistakenly attribute the first symptoms of PD to the normal aging process, resulting in severe consequences later. But recognizing the symptoms and getting an accurate diagnosis early offers the best chance of living a longer, healthier life."

Initial PD symptoms include: trouble moving or walking, tremor or shaking, stooping or hunching over, small handwriting, loss of smell, trouble sleeping, soft or low voice, having a serious or mask-like facial expression, dizziness or fainting and constipation.

"The Helpline is our way of saying that you don't have to face Parkinson's alone," explains Oberdorf. "Wherever you live, you can call and talk to an experienced health care professional to get the help you need in real time."

For each call to the NPF Helpline, PD specialists provide connections to resources and local networks of support through NPF's 43 Centers of Excellence, 43 chapters and over 900 support groups nationwide. Specifically, PD specialists help callers locate resources in their area, as well as send them an informational packet that will help them be fully informed on their next visit to the general practitioner or movement disorder specialist.

In addition to assisting people with PD, the Helpline is also for their caregivers, family and loved ones; it can become an integral part of a support system for anyone affected by PD. Oberdorf adds, "If you call the Helpline, you will speak to a real person who understands your needs and will help break the isolation all too many patients and caregivers feel."

The NPF Helpline is made possible through the generous support of the Medtronic Foundation and thousands of people with Parkinson's and their families.

For more information, visit: www.parkinson.org/helpline . The Helpline hours are Monday—Friday, 9 am—5 pm (ET). People with questions about PD may also send them to NPF at helpline@parkinson.org .

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Study will see if calm mind can mean healthy body

A new study is under way at Emory testing the value of meditation in helping people cope with stress. The Compassion and Attention Longitudinal Meditation Study (CALM) will help scientists determine how people’s bodies, minds and hearts respond to stress, and which specific meditation practices are better at turning down those responses.

“Anything that affects the normal functioning and integrity of the body tends to activate a part of the immune system that’s called inflammation,” says Charles Raison, associate professor in Emory’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and principal investigator of the study.

“Inflammation includes processes that the immune system uses to deal with virus or bacteria, or anything foreign and dangerous,” says Raison, clinical director of the Emory Mind-Body Program. “Data show that people who practice meditation may reduce their inflammatory and behavioral responses to stress, which are linked to serious illnesses including cancer, depression and heart disease.”

Raison and principal contemplative investigator, Geshe Lobsang Tenzin

Negi, senior lecturer in the Department of Religion, collaborated on a 2005 study at Emory showing that college students who regularly practiced compassion meditation had a significant reduction in stress and physical responses to stress. Negi, who is president and spiritual director of Drepung Loseling Monastery, designed the compassion meditation practices.

The success of the initial study led the pair to embark on the expanded protocol for adults.

The CALM study has three different components.

The main component, which is funded by a federal grant, is called the “Mechanisms of Meditation.” This aspect of the study compares compassion meditation with two other interventions — mindfulness training and a series of health-related lectures. Participants are randomized into one of the three interventions.

A second component involves the use of an electronically activated recorder (called the “EAR”) that is worn by the participants before beginning and after completion of the meditation interventions.

The recorder will be used to evaluate the effect of the study interventions on the participants’ social behavior by periodically recording bits and pieces of ambient sounds from participants’ daily lives.

The third component involves neuroimaging of the participants to determine if compassion meditation and mindfulness meditation have different effects on brain architecture and the function of empathic pathways of the brain.

Secular compassion meditation is based on a thousand-year-old Tibetan Buddhist mind-training practice called “lojong.” Lojong uses a cognitive, analytic approach to challenge a person’s unexamined thoughts and emotions toward other people, with the long-term goal of developing altruistic emotions and behavior toward all people.

Mastering meditation takes dedication and time.

“Meditation is not just about sitting quietly,” says Negi. “Meditation is a process of familiarizing, cultivating or enhancing certain skills, and you can think of attentiveness and compassion as skills.

“Meditation practices designed to foster compassion may impact physiological pathways that are modulated by stress and relevant to disease.”

Raison and Negi hope to show that centuries of wisdom about the inner mind and how to nurture it, combined with Western science about how the body and brain interact, will be tremendously helpful to humanity, personal well-being and health.

By Kathi Baker

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Falls are the Leading Injury-Related Cause of ER Visits

/PRNewswire/ -- If you or someone you know has been treated in the emergency department recently after suffering a fall, you are not alone. Unintentional falls are the leading injury-related reason for why people seek emergency care, with almost 9 million visits occurring each year, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The nation's emergency physicians are prepared to care for anyone injured from a fall," said Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "But it's important to look around your everyday environment and minimize the risk to not only for yourself, but for others as well. There is a reason that unintentional falls are common injuries with our patients. They can happen at any time, any place and happen to anyone."

Facts About Unintentional Falls:

* Falls are the leading cause of unintentional home injury deaths, accounting for 33 percent of deaths, according the Home Safety Council (HSC).
* Falls account for more than 40 percent of nonfatal injuries (HSC).
* The two highest risk age groups are children under five and older adults over 70 years old.
* For children, the most severe falls are generally associated with baby walkers, windows and play equipment, including trampolines.
* For older adults, falls are associated with lower-body weakness, problems with balance and walking, visual impairment, chronic illness or a history of stroke.


Preventing Unintentional Falls:

* Remove clutter from your home. Don't leave objects on the stairs or walkways.
* Use nightlights in the bedroom, hall and bathroom. Be sure the tops and bottoms of stairs are well lit.
* Repair loose stairway carpeting or boards.
* Consider adding hand grip bars in a bathroom and shower area, especially for the elderly or those with disabilities.
* Make your home or work area easily accessible for the elderly or those with disabilities if they frequent that area. You can do that by moving furniture or objects on the floor that could cause tripping hazards.
* Especially for elderly people, remove throw rugs and tack down other rugs to avoid tripping. Also consider using a panic button (as a pendant, wristband or necklace).
* Be sure the bottom of the tub or shower has a non-skid surface.
* Wear helmets and other protective gear if biking, motorcycling or playing any type of contact sport.
* Inspect child playground equipment to make sure it is age appropriate and in good condition.
* Play areas should be covered with padding, such as shredded mulch, wood chips, gravel or fine sand.
* Keep stairs clear of toys and other items that could cause someone to trip. If young children are allowed on stairs, teach them to hold the handrail and always tie their shoes so they avoid tripping.
* Set up locking gates near stairs to block young children if they are too young to be on them.
* Windows that open for children as young as 5 years old install window guards with quick release mechanisms that can opened easily in case of a fire.


"A fall can be a sentinel event in the life of an older person, potentially marking the beginning of a serious decline in function or the symptom of a new or worsening medical condition," said Dr. Schneider. "Identifying the cause of the fall and making appropriate interventions to improve function are as critical as treating injuries if future falls are to be prevented and quality of life and longevity are to be improved."

To see ACEP's Home Safety Checklist, go to http://www.acep.org/workarea/downloadasset.aspx?id=8716.

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Georgia Southern University Researcher Finds Healthcare Navigators Cost Effective for Breast Cancer Patients

A Georgia Southern University researcher has found that pairing breast cancer patients with a professional to help them navigate their way through the health care process may not only save lives, but also has potential for  saving substantial amounts of money in the health care system.

Georgia Southern University Professor Talar Markossian, along with Professor Elizabeth Calhoun from the University of Illinois at Chicago, conducted the research as part of the Chicago Cancer Navigation Project (CCNP) for which professor Calhoun is the principal investigator. CCNP’s goal is to reduce the time between an abnormal screening result, like a mammogram, and a definitive diagnosis.  Markossian and Calhoun’s research shows that navigating patients through the health care system has potential for increasing one year in the life of a breast cancer patient at a cost of $95,000 per patient, per year.

“The results of this research are very clear,” Markossian explained. “If left undetected and untreated, breast cancer develops into more advanced stages, and hence, it becomes more costly to treat the disease and the chances of surviving the disease decreases. Also, the chain of events that begin with an abnormal result on a cancer screening can be overwhelming for a patient in many different ways. Providing patients with access to a health care professional who can help them navigate their way through the maze of doctors, tests, treatments and financial paperwork can save the life of a breast cancer patient at a comparatively reasonable price.  So, this study shows bringing a health care professional on board to navigate for a patient is cost-effective.”

Markossian, who is a faculty member in Georgia Southern University’s Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, explained that health care navigators help patients with a variety of hurdles they may face after they receive an abnormal result on a cancer screen. The navigators do everything from making sure that a patient’s proper medical and test information is on hand for doctor’s visits to helping the patient find financial support and coordinate follow-up visits with physicians.

The study’s findings were published in a recent edition of The Health Policy Journal.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Radio Disney AM 590 and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Challenge Georgia's Students to 'Get Active Get Fit!'

/PRNewswire/ -- Radio Disney AM 590 teams with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGA) to promote childhood health and wellness through the "Get Active Get Fit!" School Challenge. The program, hosted by Radio Disney, will be implemented in 150 elementary schools in 127 districts beginning Oct. 4 through Nov. 27, furthering a commitment to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle among 85,770 of Georgia's school-age children.

Designed to motivate kids and families to achieve fitness together by engaging in fun activities, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia "Get Active Get Fit!" School Challenge will award Radio Disney Dance Parties in Georgia to the top 20 schools with the highest percentage of participation. Superintendents registered their schools for the challenge and the chance to win new gym equipment (valued at $500) for a school in their district.

"According to CDC reports, Georgia has one of the nation's highest incidences of childhood obesity," said Dr. McCormack, Medical Director for BCBSGA. "Initiatives like 'Get Active Get Fit' are the change agent needed to get Georgia's children more active and engaged in physical fitness."

This challenge comes in advance of the implementation of House Bill 229, passed by the state legislature last year, which does not require body mass index testing of students, but does require physical education teachers in the 2011-2012 school year to test students in first through 12th grades in the areas of endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as take students' weight and height measurements for awareness.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Six in Ten Women Don't Know How They'll Pay for Their Future Long-Term Care Needs

/PRNewswire/ -- Women today have more options than ever before and assume many more important roles than ever before – from caring for our loved ones (both younger and older) to pursuing vibrant careers and lives. But by not planning for our futures today, many of us are unknowingly leaving decisions about our futures to others, including decisions about our long-term care needs.

According to a recent AARP survey of women ages 45 to 64:

* Six in ten (59 percent) of us haven't determined how we'll pay for our long-term care needs.
* 40 percent of us don't know that long-term care is more than nursing home care. Long-term care is a combination of elements that enable us to live as well as possible how and where we want, including daily help needed if we develop chronic conditions that last a long time. These services come from many sources.
* Only 23 percent of us know we'll likely pay for future care needs with personal savings. Medicare and private health insurance don't cover long-term care services.


"Studies consistently show women are the biggest users of long-term care, and we're more likely than men to need these services," says Alyson Burns, Director of AARP's Long-term Care Awareness Campaign. "Yet we are so busy with our own hectic lives and caring for others that we'll only address our own needs after everyone else's. Taking a little time and a few easy steps can provide for peace of mind now and in the future."

To fully empower women with the tools and information to take charge of their futures, AARP this month launches the Decide.Create.Share.(sm) campaign to raise long-term care awareness and planning among women nationwide. As part of this effort, AARP is offering free online resources through its website (www.aarp.org/decide), which women can use to discuss and plan for their future needs.

Fortunately, there are some practical things we can do today that cost nothing and let us stay in charge later, including:

* Know your family medical history – Did Aunt Mary have diabetes? Learning your family medical history and adopting healthy habits can protect against chronic conditions you might be at risk for.
* Could home sweet home be sweeter? – Do you have lots of stairs to navigate? Or a well-designed home with a bedroom and full bathroom on the main level? Take stock of your home. Ask yourself if it will suit your changing needs.
* Comfy with your community? – What amenities does your community offer? Do you have access to all the transportation alternatives, activities and services that are important to you? Make sure it offers what you need and want.
* Have the heart-to-heart with your loved ones – Talk with your family about your future financial and medical wishes to ensure they are aware of what you'd like.
* Get up close and personal with your finances – What options do you have now? Or what care options would you want for the future? Think about your financial situation and learn the costs of long-term care.
* Explore your options – Visit www.aarp.org/decide to get the resources to explore other easy steps and start thinking about your future.


"Clearly, this isn't our parents' long-term care," says Elinor Ginzler, AARP's Senior Vice President for Livable Communities. "Planning for your future these days involves thinking about your lifestyle needs and goals across many areas of your life – from your home and community to personal health, finances, and medical wishes."

AARP is also working closely with AAUW, the National Council of Negro Women and MANA, a National Latina Organization, to host public long-term care information sessions in select cities nationwide this fall. For more information on the Decide.Create.Share.(sm) campaign, visit www.aarp.org/decide.

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People With Disabilities Experience Their Possibilities at Abilities Expo in Atlanta, Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals are expected to attend Abilities Expo on Friday, October 15, through Sunday, October 17, 2010 at the Cobb Galleria Convention Center. Admission is free and show hours will be Friday 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 4 pm.

Abilities Expo has put together an impressive line-up of exhibits, celebrities, workshops, political forums, events and activities to appeal to the full spectrum of people with disabilities, from children to seniors and everyone in between. Visitors will also get on board the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour and receive six essential health screenings (cholesterol, BMI, blood pressure and more) for free. Complimentary rental scooters and wheelchair repair will also be available onsite during show hours and there will be free shuttle rides to and from the CCT Cumberland Mall bus stop.

"Abilities Expo's distinguished 31-year track record of enhancing the lives of people with disabilities through technology, education and networking will continue in the Atlanta area," said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. "Between the adaptive sports demonstrations, the interactive assistive technology pavilion, the dynamic workshops and the thousands of products and services on display...this is a must-attend for everyone in the Community."

The Latest Products and Services

Attendees will experience cutting-edge products and services for people with a wide range of disabilities. They will find mobility products, medical equipment, home accessories, essential services, low-cost daily living aids, products for people with visual impairments and much more. The Assistive Technology Pavilion will feature the latest AT products for people with wide ranges of physical, sensory and developmental disabilities. This pavilion is anchored by the Shepherd Center and Georgia Tech, who are sponsoring an Interactive Demo Lab. This lab will not only feature an array of breakthrough and next-generation assistive technologies, it will allow Expo visitors to experience them hands-on.

Relevant Workshops

A series of compelling workshops which address pressing disability issues will be offered free-of-charge to all attendees. Sessions will focus on travel, health reform, fair housing, the criteria to getting the best accessible vehicle and that is just for starters.

Adaptive Sports, Comedy, Dancing and More!

Abilities Expo does not merely inform, it engages and it entertains. Attendees can test their skills in a number of interactive, adaptive sports. They'll also enjoy canine assistance demos and get to hone their dance moves. To round it out, there will be music, comedy, a technology showcase, face painting for kids and an Artist Market showcasing the works of local artists with disabilities.

Celebrity Encounters (Saturday, October 16)

Famed actor, television icon and best-selling author Henry Winkler will share his personal story about his mother's struggle with upper limb spasticity in a compelling workshop sponsored by the "Open Arms: Raising Awareness of Upper Limb Spasticity" educational campaign.

Fans will also enjoy the original hip hop jams and motivational speaking of 4 Wheel City, a band whose artists leverage their musical talents and life experience to inspire others with disabilities not to abandon their dreams.

Political Candidate Forum

Candidates for statewide Georgia office, including attorney general and commissioner of the department of labor, will speak out about their political platforms and answer questions at Abilities Expo on Friday, October 15 at 11:00 am. The audience will include the board of directors of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia, Centers for Independent Living from across the state and individuals from the community of people with disabilities.

Give Back to the Community

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children, Too (FODAC) will be accepting tax-deductable donations of mobility aids, daily living devices and medical equipment which they will refurbish and recycle for others with disabilities who are in need. Attendees may drop their donations off at the loading dock before they proceed into the Expo.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Secret to Healthy Adult Functioning: Close Family Relationships as a Teen, Study Finds

/PRNewswire/ -- Teens who feel they are an important part of their family or who have a trusted family confidant are more likely to become healthy functioning adults, according to a study recently released by the journal Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

The study is one of many completed with data from the Simmons Longitudinal Study, one of the nation's longest running studies on mental health predictors. Led by Simmons School of Social Work Professor Helen Reinherz, the recent study found that adolescents who reported feeling highly valued as a family member at age 15, compared to their peers had higher self-esteem, fewer interpersonal problems, and a lower likelihood of tobacco use, at age 30.

The study, lead-authored by Dr. Angela Paradis of the Harvard School of Public Health, also shows that adolescents who reported having a family confidant, compared to their peers had a substantially reduced risk for mental health concerns in adulthood, such as suicidal thoughts, and alcohol and drug disorders. These individuals also had better occupational and career functioning at age 30.

Further, the study results suggested that confiding family relationships were significantly more influential than confiding peer relationships in promoting positive functioning as an adult.

The authors conclude that the unique influences of each of these family factors on areas of adult functioning continues to affirm the need for broad-based programs aimed at strengthening adolescent-parent relationships.

"These results show that there are several aspects of teen-parent relationships that need to be targeted in work with families," said Reinherz. "Our findings also demonstrate that despite the push for peer relationships during adolescence, the family remains a central factor for teens."

For more than 33 years, Reinherz has served as principal investigator of the Simmons Longitudinal Study, one of the nation's longest studies of predictors of good or poor mental health from early childhood onward. Funded for many years by the National Institute of Mental Health and more recently by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the study tracked nearly 400 participants from the time they entered kindergarten in 1977 until their late 30s today.

The researchers interviewed the children, their parents, and teachers at key points in the youths' lives, looking for major risk factors that are likely to lead to mental health problems in adulthood, and for protective factors that might serve as buffers from life's rough spots. The study was designed to help parents, teachers, mental health professionals, policy makers and others improve early identification and treatment of mental health issues.

The study authors included Paradis, Dr. Rose Giaconia of the Simmons Longitudinal Study, Reinherz, Dr. William Beardslee of the Department of Psychiatry at Children's Hospital Boston, and Dr. Garrett Fitzmaurice of the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Arthritis Impact Expected to Soar CDC Report Finds

/PRNewswire/ -- The already staggering social and economic impact of arthritis in the United States is set to explode during the coming decades, says the Arthritis Foundation in response to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report published in the Oct. 8 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , which coincides with World Arthritis Day on Tuesday, Oct. 12.

"The report confirms arthritis is common, costly and disabling," says Arthritis Foundation President and CEO Dr. John H. Klippel. "The number of adults with arthritis has increased by nearly one million per year and it is impacting the usual activities of an unprecedented 21 million adults. Arthritis also carries a heavy financial burden, costing our economy $128 billion annually. We must as a nation begin to take arthritis seriously and make it unacceptable. With some 67 million Americans projected to have arthritis by 2030, now is the time to escalate efforts to prevent, treat and cure the most common cause of disability in the United States."

Among the report's findings from 2007-2009:

* 50 million U.S. adults (or 22 percent of the population) have arthritis, up from 46 million in 2003-2005
* Arthritis affects the daily activities of 21 million adults, up significantly from 19 million in 2003-2005. This includes:
o 9.4% of the total adult population
o 42.4% of adults with arthritis
* BMI (body mass index) influences prevalence of arthritis
o 29.6 percent of obese adults have arthritis (one in three)
o 19.8 percent of overweight adults have arthritis (one in five)
o 16.9 percent of normal/underweight adults have arthritis (one in six)


"We know obesity leads to and worsens arthritis. The current high rates of obesity in the United States, along with the aging of the population, may be contributing to this increase in arthritis prevalence and associated activity limitations," says Jennifer Hootman, Ph.D., an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Arthritis Program.

Take Action on World Arthritis Day

To encourage all Americans to take simple steps that will prevent or decrease the pain and disability of arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation is launching several initiatives in support of World Arthritis Day and as an extension of the Fight Arthritis Pain campaign that launched in Feb. with the Ad Council.

* Do Blue for Arthritis – In observance of World Arthritis Day, the Arthritis Foundation is encouraging Americans to "Do Blue" on Tuesday, Oct. 12 – from lighting up national landmarks in blue, like Niagara Falls, to wearing blue shoes and other apparel. On this day our voices will not only be heard, but also will be seen.
* "Ask-the-Experts" Twitter Party – Get answers to your questions about managing and treating osteoarthritis. The Arthritis Foundation, in partnership with the American College of Rheumatology, will host a Twitter party at 2 pm EDT on Oct. 12. Dr. Patience White of the Arthritis Foundation and Dr. Arthur Weinstein of Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University Medical Center will answer questions in real time. Join the party with hash tag #arthritisday.
* Walk Around the World – Moving is the best medicine for fighting arthritis pain. Help the Arthritis Foundation raise awareness as we collectively walk 24,900 miles, the circumference of the earth, by Oct. 31. Visit www.fightarthritispain.org/worldarthritisday to learn more.
* Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis – Form a Jingle Bell Run/Walk team and raise awareness and funds to fight arthritis. Be one of the first 100 people to register on Oct. 12 at www.fightarthritispain.org and receive a free gift.


To learn more about World Arthritis Day activities in the United States, visit www.fightarthritispain.org. Visit www.worldarthritisday.org for worldwide activities.

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1 in 5 men who have sex with men in 21 U.S. cities has HIV; nearly half unaware

Study highlights urgent HIV prevention needs for men who have sex with men, especially young men and men of color

Approximately one in five (19 percent) men who have sex with men (MSM) in a study of 21 major U.S. cities is infected with HIV, and nearly half (44 percent) of those men are unaware of their infection, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In the study, young MSM and MSM of color were least likely to know their HIV status.  The findings were published today in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"This study's message is clear:  HIV exacts a devastating toll on men who have sex with men in America's major cities, and yet far too many of those who are infected don't know it,"  said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.  "We need to increase access to HIV testing so that more MSM know their status, and we all must bring new energy, new approaches, and new champions to the fight against HIV among men who have sex with men."

The study's results bolster key themes in the President's National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States.  The recently released strategy states that "the United States cannot reduce the number of HIV infections nationally without better addressing HIV among gay and bisexual men," and MSM are listed among a few priority populations to focus HIV prevention efforts.  The President's strategy also sets targets for reducing the number of individuals living with HIV who are unaware of their HIV status.

The CDC study tested 8,153 MSM in 21 cities participating in the 2008 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS), and examined HIV prevalence and awareness of HIV status among this group.  NHBS monitors HIV testing, risk behaviors, and access to prevention services among at-risk populations in cities with high numbers of persons living with AIDS.

While MSM of all races and ethnicities were severely affected, black MSM were particularly impacted:  28 percent of black MSM were HIV-infected, compared to 18 percent of Hispanic and 16 percent of white MSM.

The study also found a strong link between socioeconomic status and HIV among MSM: prevalence increased as education and income decreased, and awareness of HIV status was higher among MSM with greater education and income.  These findings echo similar disparities found in recent NHBS research among heterosexuals.

Low awareness of HIV infection a major concern, particularly for younger men
The study provided additional insight into the populations of MSM most in need of HIV testing and prevention:

Among racial/ethnic groups, black MSM with HIV were least likely to be aware of their infection (59 percent unaware, vs. 46 percent for Hispanic MSM and 26 percent for white MSM).
While young MSM (under age 30) had lower HIV prevalence than older men, they were far more likely to be unaware of their HIV infection.  Among MSM aged 18-29 who had HIV, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) were unaware, versus 37 percent for men age 30 and older.
Among young MSM, young MSM of color were less likely than whites to know they were HIV-infected.  Among HIV-infected black MSM under age 30, 71 percent were unaware of their infection; among HIV-infected Hispanic MSM under age 30, 63 percent were unaware.  This compares to 40 percent of HIV-infected white MSM under age 30.
CDC officials note that low awareness of HIV status among young MSM likely reflects several factors:  they may have been infected more recently, may underestimate their personal risk, may have had fewer opportunities to get tested, or may believe that advances in HIV treatment minimize the threat of HIV.  For young MSM of color, discrimination and socioeconomic factors – such as poverty, homophobia, stigma, and limited health-care access – may be especially acute and pose particular challenges.

"For young men who have sex with men – including young men of color who are least likely to know they may be infected – the future is truly on the line," said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.  "It is critical that we reach these young men early in their lives with HIV prevention and testing services and continue to make these vital services available as they become older." 

CDC estimates that the majority of new sexually transmitted infections are transmitted by individuals who are unaware of their infection, and studies show that once people learn they are HIV-infected, most take steps to protect their partners.  Therefore, because undiagnosed infection likely plays a major role in HIV transmission, reaching younger MSM with regular HIV testing is critical.

CDC recommends that MSM of all ages get tested for HIV at least annually, or more often (every three to six months) if they are at increased risk (e.g., those with multiple or anonymous sex partners, or who use drugs during sex).  Notably, only 45 percent of HIV-infected MSM who were unaware of their infection had been tested in the past year, underscoring the importance of more frequent testing among those at highest risk.

While HIV prevention for MSM remains a top CDC priority, agency officials note that a renewed national commitment to HIV prevention is needed to reduce the toll of HIV on MSM and increase access to prevention.

For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov/hiv or www.actagainstaids.org.



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Parents Should be Warned: Fluoridated Water is Not Recommended for Infants

/PRNewswire/ -- A new study confirms infants fed formula reconstituted with fluoridated water are at greater risk of developing discolored teeth (dental fluorosis). (1) The American Dental Association (ADA) warned dentists about this in 2006 but has done little or nothing to inform the nearly 200 million Americans who live in communities with fluoridated drinking water.

The study by Levy et al., a Journal of the American Dental Association cover story (October 2010), confirms Levy's earlier studies, which show "[F]luoride intakes during each of the first 4 years were individually significantly related to fluorosis on maxillary central incisors, with the first year most important," and that "[I]nfant formulas reconstituted with higher fluoride water can provide 100 to 200 times more fluoride than breastmilk, or cow's milk." (2, 3)

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 32% of American children have dental fluorosis, an increase of 23% from the 1980s. (4) Black and Hispanic populations have even higher rates. Dental fluorosis is a visible sign that a child was overexposed to fluoride. Pictures of fluorosis: http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/teeth/fluorosis/moderate-severe.html

"The message from Dr. Levy's work is loud and clear: Don't give babies fluoridated water," says Paul Connett, PhD, Executive Director, Fluoride Action Network (FAN). "Unfortunately the ADA has known about these risks for more than four years. Researchers are telling dentists; but dentists are not telling parents."

This and other little-known adverse fluoride health effects led Connett to co-author, "The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics that Keep it There," with James Beck, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of medical physics, University of Alberta and Spedding Micklem, DPhil, professor emeritus at Edinburgh University.

A recent review in The Lancet describes fluoride as "an emerging neurotoxic substance" that may damage the developing brain. The National Research Council (NRC) has identified fluoride as an "endocrine disrupter" that may impair thyroid function. A recent Harvard University study links fluoride to bone cancer.

"Approximately half of the newborns and infants I see in practice are fed formula reconstituted with fluoridated water, which I find alarming since the blood-brain barrier is not even developed until 6 months of age, placing these young infants at risk for neurotoxic effects that can be severe and permanent," says Dr. Yolanda Whyte, a pediatrician in Georgia. "Parents should be warned not to give fluoridated water to babies and children, and they should know that fluoride is also present in juice and other water-reconstituted beverages. I diagnose dental fluorosis on average 5 times daily, but fluoride doesn't only affect teeth, it can potentially affect the brain and nervous system, kidneys, bones, and other tissues in young children during their critical stages of organ development. A public awareness campaign is urgently needed."

FAN will launch a campaign in November to urge water companies and public-health officials to inform parents that fluoridated water should not be mixed into infant formula. "If the ADA and CDC won't educate parents, then FAN will," said Connett.

FAN is the leading science and advocacy group focused on health issues surrounding fluoride in water, food, air, pesticides, and industrial exposures. Dr. Connett was an invited presenter at the initial meeting of the NRC panel and FAN researchers submitted extensive scientific information throughout the panel's proceedings. Visit: www.fluoridealert.org

References:

(1) 2010 Levy Study: http://jada.ada.org/cgi/content/abstract/141/10/1190

(2) Hong L, Levy SM, et al. (2006). Timing of fluoride intake in relation to development of fluorosis on maxillary central incisors. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 34(4):299-309.

(3) Levy SM, Guha-Chowdhury N. (1999). Total fluoride intake and implications for dietary fluoride supplementation. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 59: 211-23.

(4) CDC statistics: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/figures/s403a1t23.gif

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Statement from Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Regarding Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Each year, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month focuses our attention on the burden of breast cancer in our society and reminds us that there are things women can do to help detect this disease earlier, when it may be most treatable, and, possibly, to reduce the risk that it will occur in the first place. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer - other than skin cancer - among women in the United States and the second-leading cause of cancer death. This year alone, it is estimated that 207,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease.

Research has shown that regular screening mammography can help lower the number of deaths from breast cancer for many women. Due to the introduction of widespread screening as well as advances in treatment, the breast cancer death rate in the United States declined by approximately 26 percent between 1975 and 2007.

Beginning at age 40, all women should consider having mammograms every one to two years. A family history of the disease, radiation therapy to the chest for a previous cancer, treatment with menopausal hormone therapy, and obesity may all increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. Each woman should talk with her healthcare provider to determine her personal risk for breast cancer and what screening schedule is best for her. Women should also try to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Taking these measures may help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law earlier this year, makes breast cancer screening and coverage for treatment available and accessible by requiring health plans to cover preventive services and eliminate cost-sharing and by making health coverage more affordable and accessible for women.

If you or your family enrolled in a new health plan on or after September 23, 2010, that plan will be required to cover recommended preventive services without charging you a co-payment or deductible. This includes annual screening mammograms for women starting at age 40. The Affordable Care Act will also help ensure that people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer get the quality, affordable health care they deserve. Unfortunately, women with breast cancer are often forced to make decisions based on their finances instead of what is best for their health. For example, those with cancer are more likely to reach lifetime insurance policy benefit limits than individuals without cancer, leaving them vulnerable when they need coverage the most.

Starting this year, the Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, which will help women with breast cancer continue to get the care they need. Beginning in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny women coverage because of a pre-existing condition like breast cancer. And, in the individual and small group markets, the law eliminates the ability of insurance companies to charge higher rates due to gender or health status. At the same time, an estimated 32 million Americans will obtain health insurance, and many women with breast cancer who have trouble affording health insurance coverage will qualify for tax credits that will reduce their health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Through all these important initiatives to promote health and prevent disease, and through ongoing research, we will be able to save more lives and improve the quality of life for all Americans with breast cancer.

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Record 1.56 Million Patients Receive Hospice Care New Report Shows

/PRNewswire- -- An estimated 41.6 percent of all people who died in the U.S. last year were under the care of a hospice program, reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (up from 38.8 percent in 2008 and 35 percent in 2007).

"This rising statistic shows that more Americans facing a life-limiting illness are opting for care that addresses medical, emotional, and spiritual needs at the end of life," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. "And that is the compassionate care that hospice and palliative care brings to patients and families in need."

NHPCO's annual publication, Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America reports on hospice trends and provides updated information on the growth, delivery, and quality of hospice care in the U.S.

Findings include:

* A record 1.56 million people with a life-limiting illness received care from the nation's hospice providers.
* The average length of service remained steady at 69 days. Median length of service was also steady at 21.1 days (that means half of hospice patients received care for less than three weeks and half received care for more than three weeks).
* Routine home care accounted for 95.9 percent of patient care days.
* At 68.8 percent, the majority of hospice care was provided in the home, whether the patient's home is a private residence, nursing home, or residential facility.


Findings from the report are based on data from NHPCO's annual survey, the National Data Set, and NHPCO membership data. Secondary sources include Medicare Provider of Services certification data, Medicare hospice cost report data, state-mandated data submissions and state association membership surveys.

The report is being released only days before World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on October 9, a global day of awareness promoting greater awareness of quality care at the end of life. NHPCO hopes that the release of this new report will help underscore the theme of this year's World Day, "Share the Care."

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