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Annual Editions: Health 12/13, Thirty-Third Edition
1. Crimes of the Heart, Walter C. Willett and Anne Underwood, Newsweek, February 15, 2010
Major improvements in public health that were seen in Albert Lea, Minnesota, in 2009 as a result of the city's decision to become involved in the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project, which promotes healthy behavior. The town helped to support healthy behavior change by changing the town's environment to include ways that encouraged a healthier lifestyle.
2. The Perils of Higher Education, Steven Kotler, Psychology Today, March/April 2005
While college is a place to learn and grow, for many students it becomes four years of sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and excessive use of alcohol. While the negative health behaviors of college students are detrimental to their overall health, there is evidence that engaging in these poor health habits can be devastating to learning and memory.
3. Carrots, Sticks, and Health Care Reform—Problems with Wellness Incentives, Harald Schmidt, Kristin Voigt, and Daniel Wikler, New England Journal of Medicine, January 20, 2010
Chronic medical conditions, particularly those linked to obesity, are increasing in the United States. Employers have used incentives as well as penalties to support healthier behaviors. The authors support incentives to increase health-supporting behaviors but caution that there can be negative effects as well.
4. The Depressing News about Antidepressants, Sharon Begley,
Newsweek.com,February 8, 2010
While antidepressant drugs appear to lift depression in most patients, the benefit is not much more than the effects from a placebo when taken unknowingly as part of a research study. Antidepressants also cause a variety of side effects and can cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.
5. "I Can't Let Anything Go": A Case Study with Psychological Testing of a Patient with Pathologic Hoarding, Janna Koretz and Thomas G. Gutheil, American Journal of Psychotherapy, November 3, 2009
Compulsive hoarders are unable to dispose of his or her possessions without severe anxiety. As a result, hoarders often accumulate huge quantities of items, often in such amounts they are unable to move within their homes. The condition, linked to obsessive compulsive disorder, is a challenge to mental health providers.
6. Internet Addiction, Greg Beato, Reason, August/September 2010
Greg Beato discusses the addiction of Americans to the Internet, which impacts their normally balanced ways of living. He notes the operation of reSTART, a residential treatment center in the United States for individuals who try to get themselves clean from iPhones and other digital devices that negatively affect their lives.
7. Antioxidants: Fruitful Research and Recommendations, Pamela S. Brummit, Today's Dietitian, September 2008
Historically, the health benefits of foods have been explained by vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Research on other bioactive food components, such as phytochemicals, provides yet another aspect to the benefit of eating a variety of plant-based foods. This article reviews the functions of the antioxidants beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium.
8. Keeping a Lid on Salt: Not So Easy, Nanci Hellmich, USA Today, April 28, 2010
The recommendation to reduce dietary sodium is not new, however, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines is now recommending that all Americans can benefit from consuming less sodium. The complicating factor: Sodium is in so many of foods commonly eaten in the United States. Hellmich reviews the topic and explains why the suggestion is controversial.
9. Fruit Loopiness, Katherine Schreiber, Psychology Today, January/February 2011
Despite a rising tide of information about healthy eating, there has been a decline in the number of adults in the United States who consumed three or more vegetable servings a day in 2009. It appears that the cure for the dietary problems is not providing more healthy information, such as nutritional labeling, but addressing the underlying motivational issues that lead people to eat unhealthy foods.
10. F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colorings, Gardiner Harris, The New York Times, March 29, 2011
While researchers have not found a specific link between artificial food colors and behavioral changes in children, the F.D.A. is reopening the issue. A panel of experts will begin a process to review of the evidence and possibly make changes that will affect food safety regulations.
11. Phys Ed: Why Wii Fit Is Best for Grandparents, Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, December 1, 2010
Exergames such as Wii are marketed with the message that they improve people's health and fitness. Gretchen Reynolds maintains that young players are not likely to achieve a level of fitness by relying solely on Wii and similar exercise systems.
12. Defeating Childhood Obesity, Tina Schwager, American Fitness, November/December 2010
Tina Schwager offers suggestions to fitness professionals on addressing the problem of childhood obesity. The risk for obesity and overweight increases due to poor nutritional habits and lack of physical activity. She recommends fitness professionals develop a basic level or specialty program just for children and teenagers and create a newsletter for clients to market the program.
13. Eat Like a Greek, Consumer Reports on Health, August 2009
The Mediterranean diet has been positively linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and dementia. This diet isn't about foods you should not eat, it's more of a style of eating that can easily be adopted with a little planning. This easy-to-read article leads the reader through practical steps of how to incorporate principles of the Mediterranean lifestyle into daily life.
14. Dieting on a Budget, Consumer Reports, February 2009
With the economy in a downturn, the editors of Consumer Reports offer advice on how to lose weight without spending a fortune.
15. In Obesity Epidemic, What's One Cookie?, Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, March 2, 2010
Can eliminating one cookie a day really contribute to lasting, meaningful weight loss? According to recent studies, small caloric reductions have almost no long-term impact on body weight. While weight loss requires major lifestyle changes, reducing extra calories through small changes can help slow down and prevent weight gain.
16. Great Drug, but Does It Prolong Life?, Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, January 29, 2008
Statin drugs are among the most prescribed medications in the United States. Advertisements claim they not only lower serum cholesterol, but actually reduce the risk of heart disease. The reality may not be as clear as new research indicates the drug may not prolong life and may not benefit those who have high cholesterol but not heart disease.
17. Caffeinated Alcohol in a Can, Four Loko Does the Job, Students Agree, Don Troop, The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 12, 2010
A multitude of caffeinated alcoholic drinks are marketed to college students and young people. The Four Loko brand symbolizes the risks of this type of product because of its role in incidents involving binge drinking on college campuses.
18. The New Quitter, Kathleen McGowan, Psychology Today, July/August 2010
Many people believe that falling off the wagon, whether it is binge drinking or breaking a diet, means total defeat. Kathleen McGowan maintains that the truth about addictions is that relapsing is not the exception, it's the rule. Few people accomplish major behavioral changes such as losing weight or quitting smoking the first time they try, though many ultimately overcome their bad habits.
19. The Thoroughly Modern Guide to Breakups, Elizabeth Svoboda, Psychology Today, January/February 2011
The author addresses how to end a relationship with dignity and without devaluing oneself or the other person. She also maintains that affairs can be ended with minimal distress and offers advice on how this can be accomplished.
20. The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage, Theodore B. Olson, Newsweek, January 18, 2010
Theodore B. Olson believes that same-sex marriage promotes the values that are valued by conservatives such as the creation of a loving household. He supports the legalization of same-sex marriage as a basic recognition of American principles and equal rights.
21. Is Pornography Adultery?, Ross Douthat, The Atlantic, October 2008
The idea that pornography is related to marital infidelity has been a topic of discussion. With the increase in online options to view pornography, there appears to be a connection to divorce.
22. Sex, Drugs, Prisons, and HIV, Susan Okie, The New England Journal of Medicine, January 11, 2007
In many prisons, risky behaviors among inmates are common, including sexual activity and drug use. Both these behaviors increase the risk of transmitting HIV. Providing condoms and clean needles would slow the spread of HIV, but many prison officials are reluctant to make these available since they believe it would condone these behaviors.
23. New Mammogram Guidelines Raise Questions, Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press, November 17, 2009
A government task announced that women in their 40s don't need mammograms, contrary to the American Cancer Society's long-standing guidelines. The panel of physicians and scientists determined that getting screened for breast cancer that early in life may actually cause more harm than good leading to too many false positives and unneeded biopsies and surgeries without significantly increasing women's chances of surviving the disease.
24. Who Still Dies of AIDS, and Why, Gary Taubes, New York Magazine, June 16, 2008
Even though highly active anti-retroviral therapies are widely available, the AIDS virus can still trump modern medicine and kill.
25. A Mandate in Texas: The Story of a Compulsory Vaccination and What It Means, Kate O'Beirne, National Review, March 5, 2007
Although a cervical cancer vaccine has won federal approval and has been recommended for routine vaccinations, questions remain over who should actually receive the vaccine. The state of Texas mandate to vaccinate all girls entering the sixth grade has created some ethical and political issues.
26. Pharmacist Refusals: A Threat to Women's Health, Marcia D. Greenberger and Rachel Vogelstein, Science, June 10, 2005
Increasingly, pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions for certain drugs that violate their personal beliefs. In particular, women seeking prescriptions filled for birth control pills and morning after pills have increasingly been turned away. The authors believe that all pharmacies should be required to dispense all drugs regardless of their personal beliefs.
27. The Cost Implications of Health Care Reform, Jonathan Gruber, New England Journal of Medicine, June 3, 2010
President Obama signed into law a new health care bill on March 23, 2010. The bill will increase the number of Americans with coverage although there are concerns over the potential increase in health care costs. Jonathan Gruber discusses the cost implications for the new bill.
28. Myth Diagnosis, Megan McArdle, The Atlantic, March 2010
Author McArdle discusses the myth that the uninsured are more likely to die than those with health insurance. She maintains that the uninsured have more health risks since they're more likely to be poor, smokers, less educated, obese, and unemployed.
29. The Case for Killing Granny, Evan Thomas et al., Newsweek, September 21, 2009
According to the authors, unless the United States finds a way to stop over-treating patients, we will never be able to control health care costs. Compared to other developed nations, the United States has more expensive but not necessarily better health care since so much is spent to treat the elderly at the end of their lives.
30. Incapacitated, Alone and Treated to Death, Joseph Sacco, The New York Times, October 7, 2009
The care and treatment of patients is often made independently of his or her wishes. Dr. Joseph Sacco discusses factors that influence the health care of mentally incapacitated terminally ill patients.
31. Vaccine Refusal, Mandatory Immunization, and the Risks of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Saad B. Omer et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, May 7, 2009
There are a growing number of children in the United States who are not vaccinated against childhood diseases. Their parents have opted to forgo immunization due to their belief that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent. This has caused an increase in outbreaks of measles and whooping cough among non-immunized children.
32. Medical Tourism: What You Should Know, Lorene Burkhart and Lorna Gentry, The Saturday Evening Post, January/February 2008
More and more Americans are traveling overseas to combine surgery with sightseeing. The benefits include greatly reduced costs of many medical procedures as well as the opportunity to seek treatments not yet available or practiced in the United States. In 2006, an estimated half million Americans went abroad for medical treatment, a trend that's expected to increase in the next few years.
33. Bed Bugs: The Pesticide Dilemma, Rebecca Berg, Journal of Environmental Health, June 2010
Pesticide-resistant bed bugs are back, and the good news is they don't appear to transmit disease with their bites. However, they invade beds, interfere with sleep, and can impact people emotionally.
34. Is Your Food Contaminated?, Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, September 2007
New technologies are being developed in order to protect our food supply from bacterial contamination or even intentional contamination. Radio-frequency identification tags are one of the new technologies described in this article. However, widespread adoption of this new equipment will not happen until government regulations are enacted.
35. Hazardous Health Plans, Consumer Reports, May 2009
Many patients who thought they had adequate health coverage are surprised to learn their policies have enough loopholes and exclusions to prevent them from receiving adequate care.
36. The Rough Road to Dreamland,, Michael J. Breus, USA Today, January 2010
When individuals suffer from too little sleep, they are more likely to have less ability to fight off infection and disease. They are also at increased risk for both weight gain and type 2 diabetes. The average American is sleeping less than in the past. Over the last 100 years, our sleep time has been reduced by 20 percent.
37. The Surprising Reason Why Heavy Isn't Healthy, Ginny Graves, Health, January/February 2010
While being overweight or obese may increase the risk for certain health problems, how much a person weighs may also keep him or her from getting the same health care as non-overweight individuals. Overweight men and women may have difficulty getting health insurance, are less likely to get cancer detected early, and are at higher risk of being misdiagnosed.
38. The Warrior's Brain, Andrew Bast, Newsweek, November 22, 2010
Bast discusses the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), such as concussions, in American soldiers returning from war in the Middle East. It focuses on the difficulties Lance Corporal David Brown has experienced since returning from the Iraq War, which include post-concussion syndrome, seizures, and depression. He also addresses the U.S. military's research regarding brain injuries, psychological aspects of TBIs, and the care of U.S. military veterans.
39. Discovering Teenagers' Risky "Game" Too Late, Pauline W. Chen, The New York Times, March 2, 2010
Parents, teachers, and doctors need to be aware of the choking game played by kids seeking to get high. They strangle themselves until just before they lose consciousness, typically using a noose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 82 deaths related to the choking game and related activities. Many of those who participate try strangulation in the hope of attaining a legal high.
40. Chemical in Plastic Bottles Fuels Science, Concern—and Litigation, Valerie Jablow, Trial, August 2008
Recent studies are calling attention to the potential health dangers of bisphenol A (BPA), a common chemical that makes polycarbonate plastics clear and hard.
41. HIV Apathy, Zach Patton, Governing, February 2007
Many new drugs to combat AIDS have changed the disease from a terminal to a chronic condition. As a result, many individuals engage in high-risk behavior that puts them at risk for HIV. To combat this, health officials are trying to make testing more available and widespread.
42. MRSA: Hospitals Step Up Fight. Will It Be Enough?, Julius A. Karash, H&HN, July 2010
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), a drug-resistant bacterial infection, continues to be a growing health concern, particularly in hospitals and among the institutionalized elderly. MRSA is also a risk in the community, spreading among people of all ages who are in close contact with each other.
43. Post-Earthquake Public Health in Haiti, Stan Deresinski, Infectious Disease Alert, February 2010
A devastating earthquake hit Haiti in early January 2010. Tens of thousands of people died during the quake and its aftermath. Several serious health concerns remain, including lack of safe drinking water, malaria and other vector-borne diseases, as well as a number of respiratory infections, including H1N1.
44. Countering Radiation Fears with Just the Facts, Denise Grady, The New York Times, March 26, 2011
Radiation from nuclear power plants is a potentially serious problem following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in the spring of 2011. While long-term consequences are not known, scientists continue to assess the risk to public health in Japan and elsewhere.
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