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Health Updates 20 April 2011

  • Obama administration targets prescription drug abuse: “The plan seeks to reduce abuse and drug diversion, educate both parents and health care providers, find better ways to dispose of unused pills, and beef up enforcement efforts by clamping down on pill mills and doctor shopping”.  (CNN)
  • Premature birth linked to ADHD:  “That is, the earlier the birth, the higher the likelihood of being diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or more specifically, of being prescribed medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder”. (LA Times)
  • HHS taking aim at disparities in health care availability: “For the first time, the United States has a coordinated road map designed to give everyone the chance to live a healthy life,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  The goals include expanding coverage and increasing access to care.  Highlights include: broader patient-centered outcome research; expanded and improved health care translation and interpreting; support for more training of community health workers; increasing access to care through new service delivery sites. (Farah Dosani, HealthyState.org)
  • Driving distracted is roughly equivalent to driving drunk: So says Dr. Amy N. Ship, an internist at Harvard Medical School. She observes that “any activity that distracts a driver visually or cognitively increases the risk of an accident.   None of them is safe”.  And it isn’t just cell phones – it’s anything that takes our attention from driving.  Dr. Daniel Berry, professor of orthopedics at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., advises that “if you’re going to drive, just drive”.  If you need to make a call, check the GPS, eat a burger, help a child, pull off the road to do it. (NY Times)
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