Health Updates 2 February 2012

  • Indoor tanning salons lie about health risks: investigation “Most indoor tanning salons do not tell customers the truth about potential health risks, says a US House Energy and Commerce Committee investigative report.  Posing as fair-skinned 16-year-old girls, investigators contacted 300 indoor tanning salons across the nation.  Ninety percent of the salons told callers that indoor tanning did not pose health risks, ABC News reported.  More than half of the salons denied that indoor tanning increased the risk of skin cancer and more than three-quarters said indoor tanning actually benefits the health of teen girls.  The American Academy of Dermatology applauded the investigation. ‘The potential effect of this report is huge’, Dr. Suzanne Connolly, vice president of the AAD, told ABC News.  ‘We must grab the attention of our population and educate them.  It’s a big opportunity for improving health by reducing risk through education.'” (HealthDay)
  • Drinking black tea may cut blood pressure: “People who enjoy drinking black tea throughout the day may get the added benefit of a slight reduction in their blood pressure,  suggests a new Australian study.   Although the study cannot identify specific compounds of the tea that might lead to a drop in blood pressure, the researchers said past studies have shown flavonoids, compounds in many plants such as tea, are good for heart health.”  (Reuters)
  • Uproar as breast cancer group ends partnership with planned parenthood: “When the nation’s largest breast cancer advocacy organization considered in October cutting off most of its financial support for the nation’s largest abortion provider, the breast cancer group was hoping for a quiet end to an increasingly controversial partnership.  Instead, the organization, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, is now engulfed in a controversy that threatens to undermine one of the most successful advocacy campaigns.  The Foundation’s decision to eliminate most of its grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening caused a cascade of criticism from prominent women’s groups, politicians and public health advocates and a similarly strong outpouring of support from conservative women and religious groups that oppose abortion.  Now, leaders of both the Komen foundation and Planned Parenthood are accusing each other of bad faith and actions that undermine women.  And two organizations dedicated to detecting and curing breast cancer have found themselves on opposite sides of the nation’s divisive debate over abortion.” (NY Times)
  • Child abuse, neglect a major public health problem: CDC  Child abuse and neglect cost the United States $124 billion a year, which is comparable to the costs of other major public health problems, a new government study shows.  Researchers from the US Centers for Disease control and Prevention analyzed 1,740 fatal and 579,000 nonfatal cases of child maltreatment over the course of one year.  The investigators found that the lifetime cost for each victim of nonfatal child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect) was $210,012.  That’s higher than the per-person lifetime cost of stroke ($159,846) and similar to the per-person cost of type 2 diabetes (between $181,000 and $253,000).  The average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment includes: $32,648 in childhood health care costs; $10,530 in adult medical costs; $144,360 in lost productivity; $7,728 in child welfare costs; $6,747 in criminal justice costs; and $7,999 in special education costs….Research has shown that child maltreatment has many harmful effects on survivors, including poorer health, social and emotional difficulties, and decreased economic productivity.” (HHS/HealthDay)

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