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Health Updates Tax Day April 2012

  • Chin implant surgeries on the rise in US“The number of American women and men having cosmetic chin surgery increased drastically in 2011, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  The growth in chin augmentation procedures was greater than breast augmentation, Botox injections and liposuction combined.  Reasons for the boom in chin augmentation may include increased use of video-chat technology, an aging baby boomer population and a desire to improve work success, suggested a society news release.  ‘The chin and jawline are among the first areas to show signs of aging,’ Dr. Malcolm Roth, president of the society, said in the release.  ‘We also know that as more people see themselves on video-chat technology, they may notice that their jawline is not as sharp as they want it to be.  Chin implants can make a dramatic difference.’  There were nearly 21,000 chin augmentations last year, a 71 percent increase from 2010, according to the release.  Women had nearly 10,000 procedures, a 66 percent increase, and men had almost 10,600 procedures, a 76 percent increase.” (HealthDay)
  • Teenage birth rates continue to drop: “Fewer teenagers gave birth in 2010 than in any other year since 1946, government researchers announced last week, and there is good evidence that today’s teenagers are initiating sex later and using birth control more consistently than previous generations did.  According to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics, birth rates among young women ages 15 to 19 fell in all but three states and in all racial, ethnic and age groups.  From 2009 and 2010, the rate of teenage births fell by 9 percent, to 34.9 per thousand, the lowest rate ever reported in the 65 years for which data is available….Teenage birth rates peaked in the baby-boom year of 1957, at 96.3 per 1,000, and by 1991, was 61.8.  Since then, the figure has fallen steadily.  The finding may run counter to depictions of licentious teenagers on reality television, but scientists say there can be little doubt about the data.  ‘All our information comes from birth certificates,’ said the lead author of the report, Brady E. Hamilton, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics, ‘and we have data on every birth in the US’.”  Study leaders attribute the decline to better use of contraceptives, sex education and abstinence advocacy, and concerns about the high rates of sexually transmitted disease. (NY Times)
  • Fewer kids die in accidents: “The overall death rate from unintentional injury among children and teens fell 29% from 2000 to 2009, a review of US mortality data showed.  However, despite improvement in the overall rate, rates of death by poisoning in young adults — mostly from prescription drug overdose — and suffocation in infants rose, the CDC reported in the April 16 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  And unintentional injury still accounted for 37% of all deaths in the 19-and-under age group in 2009 and was the fifth leading killer of patients younger than 1, the report said….The study categorized the mechanisms for death by unintentional injury as drowning, falls, fires and burns, motor vehicle traffic-related, other transportation-related, poisoning, suffocation, and other.  Motor vehicle-related deaths were subcategorized by occupant, pedestrian, pedal cyclist, other, or unspecified.  For all age groups, the overall accidental death rate declined except in those less than one year old, where the rate increased from 23.1 to 27.7 deaths per 100,000 from 2000 to 2009….In patients under age 1, suffocation was the primary driver of the increased death rate — rising by 54%…over the 9-year period.” (Cole Petrochko, MedPage Today)
  • Perceptions of cancer care may not match reality: “In a new study, the impressions of breast cancer patients about the quality of care they received often differed from medical definitions of quality — in part because the patients were judging their experiences by a different set of standards.  Patient perceptions are increasingly important to hospitals and other healthcare providers that find their payments from insurers and the government tied to performance and patient evaluations.  To see what influences a woman’s perception of her care, and how that compares to its actual quality, researchers in New York interviewed 374 women treated for early-stage breast cancer.  They found that most of the women tended to underestimate the quality of care they received.  And often, their views were most shaped by the experience of getting care and by how much they trusted their doctors….The women were surveyed over the phone when they first entered the study, and again six months later.  The researchers then looked at the women’s medical records to see what care they actually got.  Just over half — 55 percent — said the care they received was ‘excellent’, whereas 88 percent actually got good-quality care in line with medical guidelines.  ‘The thing that’s always been fascinating is the disconnect of what we count as quality, and what we see and feel as quality,’ [Dr. Nina] Bickell told Reuters Health.”  The researchers went on to note that hospitals, doctors’ offices and other players in the healthcare delivery system needed to make it easier for patients to get appointments, referrals and test results, understand the next steps in their care and so on in order to get everyone on the same page. (Reuters Health)
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