domingo, 2 de octubre de 2011

Public Support For New Government Oversight Of Food, Pew-Commissioned Poll Finds

An overwhelming majority of Ohio voters - 91 percent - support food safety legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new authority to ensure the food Americans eat does not make them sick, according to a new poll commissioned by the Pew Health Group and conducted by Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies.

Support for stronger food protections is high regardless of voters' gender, income level or political affiliation. The statewide survey of 501 registered voters, conducted from October 8-9, 2009, has a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent. Full survey results are available at MakeOurFoodSafe/.

The overall support for new safety measures follows high-profile outbreaks in recent years in which pathogens in peanut butter products, pistachios, peppers, spinach and other food resulted in illness in people across the country - including deaths of children and elderly citizens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of food-related illnesses occur annually in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of people hospitalized and thousands dying as a result.

The survey shows that nearly half of Ohio voters polled (49 percent) say that bacterial contamination of food worries them, and more than half (56 percent) of voters say what they have seen and heard in the last year has made them less confident in the safety of food sold in the United States.

"Plain and simple, foodborne illness is preventable," said Shelley Hearne, managing director of the Pew Health Group. "The FDA, which is responsible for the safety of over 80 percent of the foods we eat, does not have the fundamental tools or resources it needs to sufficiently protect the public from dangers in the food supply."

A total of 84 percent of Ohio voters interviewed believe the federal government should be responsible for ensuring that food is safe to eat, and 60 percent believe the federal government is doing too little to ensure that imported food is safe from contamination. The FDA is equipped to inspect about one percent of the imported products it regulates, according to agency officials.

Release of the survey comes as the U.S. Senate is expected to consider food safety legislation that gives the FDA new oversight and enforcement powers. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill in July, which includes stronger inspection authorities for federal officials when investigating domestic facilities and imports.

"Voters in Ohio want the federal government to do more to ensure that people do not get sick from the food on their dinner plates," said Erik D. Olson, director of food and consumer product safety for the Pew Health Group. "The take-away message from this is that the public gets it: our antiquated food safety laws greatly need updating so that Americans can have more confidence in the food supply."

Source: Colin Finan

Pew Health Group

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New Report Reveals Medicaid's Enormous Success In Protecting Children & Vulnerable Populations

Today, with threats of serious budget cuts looming, a new report demonstrates the effectiveness of the Medicaid program in addressing the health and financial needs of children and other vulnerable populations.

The synthesis, entitled "Medicaid Works: A Review of How Public Insurance Protects the Health and Finances of Children and Other Vulnerable Populations" examines the program that, since its inception in 1965, has been serving as a lifeline to millions of our nation's most seriously ill and impoverished citizens. Today, Medicaid is the source of coverage for more than one-third of all children and is the dominant source of long-term care financing for senior citizens in America.

Authored by Professors Leighton Ku and Christine Ferguson of the George Washington University and commissioned by First Focus, the report describes the enormous success of Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in increasing health insurance coverage among children; strengthening access to medical, health, and developmental services; and safeguarding the finances of low-income families and individuals. The brief also explores the potential impact of the fiscal year 2012 budget resolution approved by the House of Representatives, which would block grant the Medicaid program. Such a proposal would end Medicaid as we know it- causing states to reduce enrollment, limit benefits, cut provider payments, and shift more costs onto the children and families who rely on public programs.

"In the midst of heated budget discussions, sometimes it is forgotten that Medicaid serves some of our neediest children, seniors, parents and people with disabilities, who have serious health problems and need access to affordable and efficient health care services," said Dr. Leighton Ku, one of the report's authors and a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. "This paper helps to remind us of the many ways in which Medicaid has helped protect the health and finances of millions of needy Americans."

Additional key findings of the report include:

- Medicaid and CHIP are essential sources of coverage for individuals with serious health conditions. Since children with Medicaid are more likely than children with private coverage to be in poorer health or have serious health conditions, Medicaid's benefit structure is designed to meet these complex health needs.

- Medicaid and CHIP are cost-effective. While Medicaid spending has risen due to the growing number of people who are in need of coverage, Medicaid per-capita expenditures have grown much less than private health insurance premiums and more slowly than overall health care growth.

- Medicaid and CHIP are pioneers for health system improvements. The Medicaid program gives states enormous flexibility to design their programs to meet their state's needs with a majority of funding provided by the federal government.

- Medicaid and CHIP protect the finances of families struggling during hard times. These programs intentionally protect those directly affected by the recession and those who must care for a seriously ill family member.

"The findings outlined in this report should serve as a clarion call for our nation's policymakers to protect the Medicaid program," said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus. "While there is broad agreement that we must take action on the budget deficit, it is short-sighted to cut the very programs which are critical for the health and well-being of children and other vulnerable populations, especially as families struggle with the ongoing recession. Slashing Medicaid to score budgetary savings simply does not make sense. Limiting Medicaid funds will only result in cost-shifting to families, health care providers, and localities. Our nation has made enormous strides in improving access to coverage for low-income children and other vulnerable populations. This progress should not be reversed."


First Focus

George Washington University

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Rwanda's Women Unite To Save Mothers' Lives

Rwanda's history-making women MPs united today to launch a campaign to reduce the number of mothers who die in childbirth.

The women became the first in the world last week to outnumber their male counterparts in parliament, with 56% of the seats.

Today, in a bid to improve health support for women across the country, the female parliamentarians, together with the First Lady, Jeanette Kagame, UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and other development partners united to support the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Rwanda.

Supported by ВЈ30,000 grant from DFID, the White Ribbon Alliance will work to increase awareness about safe pregnancy and childbirth in Rwanda and unite the many existing initiatives aimed at improving motherhood in Rwanda.

The rate of women dying during childbirth in Rwanda is amongst the world's highest. Around 2770 mothers die each year whilst giving birth - that is close to one death every three hours every day of the year.

Introducing the White Ribbon Alliance in Rwanda, Jeanette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda, said:

"Rwandan women are key players of our national development, starting with the wellbeing of Rwandan families.

"We are here today because mothers are dying. It it is ironic that in the process of giving life, mothers are losing theirs. But we have decided that we cannot sit back.

"I am certain that the Rwanda Ribbon Alliance will be able to improve the livelihoods of pregnant mothers and babies in Rwanda, through its activities and role played by its members."

Sarah Brown, Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance, said:

"Mothers dying in childbirth is a tragedy which leaves millions of children orphaned around the world every year and denies the mother a basic human right - to be able to have a family. And it denies newborns and surviving children better life chances.

"For the loss of a mother makes it so much harder to feed, vaccinate and educate. We know the solutions; health workers and access to them in every community.

"The UK's support for initiatives such as the White Ribbon Alliance Rwanda is an important step on the way for mothers in Rwanda."

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said:

"I believe that the remarkable increase in female representation in parliament will give women across Rwanda a far greater voice in the decisions that affect their lives. It is shocking that so many mothers die whilst giving birth and that is why the UK Government is committed to improving health care across Africa.

"I hope that the White Ribbon Alliance will be able to build on the recent progress in Rwanda and ensure every mother in Rwanda will soon get the family planning, ante-natal care and medical support that she needs."

Women's rights have gradually improved since the genocide in 1994. A steady increase of female parliamentarians in Rwanda over the last ten years has seen laws passed allowing women the rights to inherit land, work without the permission of their husband and make rape and physical violence is illegal.

The UK has played a key role in supporting Rwanda and has provided ВЈ380m since 1998.

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) is Rwanda's most important bilateral partner. Over past ten years DFID have provided ВЈ380 million of which ВЈ201 million as budget support.

• In the UK 19.3 per cent of members in parliament are female.

• In Rwanda, 720 of every 100,000 women die giving birth.

• For more information about the Department for International Development (DFID), please visit dfid.

• For more information about the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, please visit: whiteribbonalliance

DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the British Government's fight against world poverty. Find out more about the major global poverty challenges and get the facts on what DFID is doing to fight them: dfid/aboutdfid/howwefightpoverty.asp.

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Pioneering Diamyd(R) Study To Prevent Childhood Diabetes Approved

Diamyd Medical announces that the Swedish Medical Products Agency has approved a study with the Diamyd(R) diabetes vaccine in children with high risk to develop type 1 diabetes.

"To vaccinate children against diabetes has from the outset been one of Diamyd Medical's long term goals," says Elisabeth Lindner, President and CEO of Diamyd Medical. "Type 1 diabetes is a life-long and very serious disease and it is good if we now can prevent it. It would avoid a lot of anxiety, suffering and costs for the children and their families as well as the rest of Society."

At Malmo University Hospital in Sweden, large screening tests results in a continuous identification of children that are subject to a very high risk of developing type 1 diabetes. By measuring different biomarkers in blood samples, it is possible to determine in an early stage that these children are in the autoimmune disease process that destroys their insulin producing cells.

If vaccination with Diamyd(R) succeeds to intervene in the disease process before too many of the insulin cells are destroyed, the disease will be prevented. The child would then escape diabetes symptoms and would not become dependent on insulin injections for survival, which otherwise is unavoidable.

"We meet with these kids every third month and we know that virtually all of them will present with type 1 diabetes. Many of us pediatricians have been frustrated not to be able to interfere. But now, and I have to admit it feels almost a bit unreal, we may for the first time have a real opportunity to save these children from the disease," says Helena Elding Larsson, pediatrician from Malmo and researcher at Lund University in Sweden.

The approved study comprises, under the present approval, up to 50 children from 4 years of age who are known to have a high risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The study will be randomized and placebo controlled.

This information is disclosed in accordance with the Securities Markets Act, the Financial Instruments Trading Act or demands made in the exchange rules.

Diamyd Medical AB (publ)


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Schering-Plough Unveils Top-Line Study Results For SAPHRIS(TM) (asenapine) Demonstrating Efficacy In Long-Term Schizophrenia Relapse Prevention

Schering-Plough Corporation (NYSE: SGP) revealed top-line results of a long-term Phase III clinical study of its psychopharmacologic agent SAPHRIS(TM) (asenapine) demonstrating efficacy and safety in preventing relapse of schizophrenia. In this trial, asenapine was statistically significantly more effective than placebo in preventing relapse, as measured by the primary endpoint of the trial estimated through Kaplan-Meier curves. At the 26 week endpoint, 47 percent of the placebo-treated patients relapsed, compared with only 12 percent of the asenapine-treated patients (p

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Public Links 'Alcopops' to Underage Drinking

Opening a tall cool beverage during the ball game or at a backyard cookout on a hot day is what families do. This summer, will your child be opening a soft drink or a hard one? Flavored alcoholic beverages or alcopops are becoming more popular, especially among young people, and it's raising people's concerns about underage drinking.

According to a report released, 52 percent of adults believe definitely or probably that alcopops encourage underage drinking. The report also finds that because these often fruity, fizzy, pop-like drinks can be easily confused with non-alcoholic beverages, 92 percent of adults strongly support the use of warning labels on alcopops. Most adults also support greater restrictions on advertising that focuses on youth.

"Alcopops are sweet drinks made to taste like cola or soda pop or punch or lemonade," says Matthew Davis, M.D., director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. "Typically, alcopops have between 5- and 8-percent alcohol content, which is a little bit more than most beers, and they're marketed to look like familiar drinks to kids."

What many people may not know is that most alcopops contain distilled alcohol such as vodka or whiskey but are classified in most states as "malt beverages" similar to beer. This designation allows alcopops to be marketed more widely, including online and in magazines, and sold in a greater number of retail locations.

"We also found in this poll that about 75-percent of adults in the United States are concerned underage drinking is a problem," Davis says. "Underage drinking in the U.S. is pretty common. About 20-percent of 8th graders and 40-percent of 12th graders drink. Those numbers are actually lower than in the mid-'90's but they're still high when you consider the problems that can come from underage drinking."

Problems may include legal risks associated with underage drinking, driving while under the influence, impaired judgment, poor decision-making when out drinking with friends, and developing a drinking habit while young, Davis says.

The National Poll on Children's Health also finds, among adults:

-- 84 percent support banning alcopops ads from youth Web sites

-- 80 percent support banning alcopops ads from youth magazines

-- 75 percent support banning alcopops billboards from with 500 feet of a school or park

-- 59 percent support banning alcopops ads during primetime television

-- 58 percent support prohibiting alcopops sponsoring college sporting events

-- 57 percent support limiting alcopops ads during televised sporting events

"There is a lot of action in state legislatures regarding alcopops or flavored alcoholic beverages," Davis says. "Many states are considering legislation and some have enacted legislation to limit advertising and otherwise change how alcopops are presented to the public."

Resource for parents:

For parents who are worried about their kids getting involved with alcohol, Davis suggests parents contact the Partnership for a Drug Free America, www.drugfree. The Web site provides information, including suggestions about how to engage their kids in conversations about alcohol use and how to try and bring kids in for appropriate therapy and support.


For its report, the National Poll on Children's Health used data from a national online survey conducted in January 2009 in collaboration with Knowledge Networks, Inc. The survey was administered to a random sample of 2,100 adults, ages 21 and older, who are a part of Knowledge Network's online KnowledgePanel®. The sample was subsequently weighted to reflect U.S. population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. About three-fourths of the sample included households with children. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 to 4 percentage points, depending on the question.

To learn more about Knowledge Networks, visit knowledgenetworks.


The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health funded by the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and part of the CHEAR Unit at the U-M Health System is designed to measure major health care issues and trends for U.S. children.

Source: University of Michigan Health System

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New Study Examines How Secondhand Smoke Damages Lungs

For the first time, researchers have identified structural damage to the lungs caused by secondhand cigarette smoke.

The results of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
Dr Chengbo Wang said, "It's long been hypothesised that prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke may cause physical damage to the lungs, but previous methods of analysing lung changes were not sensitive enough to detect it."

Dr. Wang and colleagues used long-time-scale, global helium-3 diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the lungs of 43 volunteers, including seven current and former smokers and 36 people who had never smoked, 18 of whom had a high level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Helium-3 diffusion MRI differs from conventional MRI in that the patient inhales a specially prepared helium gas prior to imaging, and the scanner is adjusted to collect images showing this helium gas in tissue. MR measures how far the helium atoms move, or diffuse, inside the lungs during a specific time period, 1.5 seconds in this study. Using this method, radiologists and physicists can detect changes deep in the small airways and sacs in the lungs, which can break down, become enlarged and develop holes after prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke. Helium-3 diffusion MRI identifies this damage by measuring the increased distance the helium atoms move.

"With this technique, we are able to assess lung structure on a microscopic level," Dr. Wang said. Measurements were translated into scores called apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values for each of the participants. An increased ADC value indicates that the helium atoms were able to travel farther during the measurement time. Fifty-seven per cent of the smokers and 33 per cent of the non-smokers with high exposure to secondhand smoke had ADC values greater than 0.024, suggesting that early lung damage was present. In addition, 14 percent of smokers, 67 percent of high-exposure nonsmokers, and 39 percent of low-exposure nonsmokers had ADC values below 0.0185. Relatively low ADC values in adults are a possible indication of a developing respiratory problem, such as chronic bronchitis or asthma.

Dr Wang said, "These findings suggest that breathing secondhand smoke can injure your lungs."


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