Health Updates 7 September 2011

  • Millions of health care dollars in campaign contributions linked back to Congressional ‘supercommittee’ members: “Doctors, drug makers, hospitals and health insurers have spent millions over the years wooing lawmakers who now are on the powerful congressional panel charged with finding a formula to control deficits and debts, a new analysis finds.  Those very same industries would get hit hard if the supercommittee succeeds.  The industry campaign contributions, compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, reinforce doubts that the 12-member panel will issue a sweeping plan to curb federal spending, an equation that can’t be solved without major Medicare and Medicaid cuts.” (Associated Press)
  • Flu shots arrive early and come with less pain: “The new choice for those who freak at the thought of a needle-stick is a tiny syringe – like a diabetes injector – that delivers the vaccine just under the skin instead of deep into the muscle.  The ‘intradermal’ needle is only about one-eighth of an inch long, causes less pain and needs only 40 percent of the normal dosage to work as well as a regular flu shot, according to manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur.” (Sun Sentinel)
  • Children who live with smokers tend to miss more school: “The researchers found that living with someone who smoked in the home raised a child’s likelihood of missing school and living with more than one person who smoked in the home raised that likelihood even higher: Kids living with one adult who smoked in the home had 1.06 more days absent from school per year than kids who lived with none.  Kids who lived with two or more adults who smoked in the home missed 1.54 more days than smoke-free kids.” (Booster Shots/LA Times)
  • Smoking rate declining at very slow pace: “A report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 19.3 percent of adults said they smoked last year, down from about 21 percent in 2005.  The rate for smoking 30 or more cigarettes daily dropped to about 8 percent from almost 13 percent over the same period.” The percentage of heavy smokers is down, while more Americans became light smokers during the same period.  Researchers consider that even occasional smoking causes harm.  (Associated Press)

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