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Researchers find link between air pollution and Alzheimer’s disease

US News - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 09:40

Exposure to diesel soot and other sorts of fine-particle pollutants in the air may significantly increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.

Led by Dr. Jiu-Chiuan Chen of USC, a team of researchers found that elderly women living in parts of the U.S. where fine-particle air pollution surpassed federal health standards were roughly twice as likely to suffer dementia and the Alzheimer’s disease.

Women with high genetic predisposition for the Alzheimer’s disease faced an even higher risk, a 263 per cent higher risk for the devastating disease, than others.

The researchers also warned against the Trump administration’s potential actions against existing environmental regulations, which may soon come under heavy fire.

Speaking on the topic, Chen warned, “If people in the current administration are trying to reduce the cost of treating diseases, including dementia, then they should know that relaxing the Clean Air Act regulations will do the opposite.”

If findings of the new study hold up in the general population, air pollution could be responsible for nearly 21 per cent of overall dementia cases.

The researchers reported their findings in the latest (Jan. 31st) edition of the journal Translational Psychiatry.

General: HealthResearch

BMA asks medical staff not to use term ‘expectant mother’

US News - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 08:46

The British Medical Association (BMA), a prominent group representing medical professionals in Great Britain, has instructed its staff not to use the term “expectant mother” as it may offend transgender and intersex patients.

The BMA asked medical professionals to instead use the term “pregnant people” for transgender and intersex people. The guidelines, published in a fourteen-page booklet titled “A Guide To Effective Communication: Inclusive Language In The Workplace,” is part of the association’s effort to battle stigma and discrimination that often keep transgender and non-binary individuals from receiving health care.

The internal document reads, “Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas … large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identified as women. We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying 'pregnant people' instead of 'expectant mothers'.”

Under the new guidelines, medical staff members in the network have also been instructed to call anyone who is biologically male or female as “assigned male or female.”

The workplace guidelines are expected to influence doctors and other medical staff to adopt a more inclusive attitude toward patients as well as one other. Experts have welcomed the move, saying the changing terminology is a positive thing for everyone.

General: HealthCompanies: BMA

France bans unlimited soda refills to fight obesity

US News - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 08:25

Pushing ahead with their fight against obesity, French authorities have officially banned unlimited refills of sugary drinks across the nation.

Starting Jan. 27th, any restaurant that will offer unlimited soda refills to customers will be prosecuted by government authorities. The new measure against obesity comes nearly five years after the nation slapped a tax on sweetened beverages.

France’s decision is in line with the recommendations of the WHO, which has strongly recommended nations to impose a tax on sugary beverages to fight increasing obesity rates and support its health policy.

The Fiscal Policies for Diet & Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases states, “A meta-review … showed that the evidence was strongest and most consistent for the effectiveness of SSB taxes in the range of 20-50 percent in reducing consumption, and of fruit and vegetable subsidies in the range of 10-30 percent in increasing consumption.”

In 2004, French authorities put a ban on vending machines in school canteens. Earlier in 2011, they restricted the servings of french fries to once per week in schools.

France’s obesity rate was 15.3 per cent in 2014, below the EU average of 15.9 per cent. Among the European nations, Malta has the highest obesity rate at 26 per cent, while Romania has the oldest obesity rate at 9.4 per cent.

General: HealthRegion: France

Trump administration moves make climate scientists anxious

US News - Sun, 01/29/2017 - 05:35

The Trump administration’s moves in the recent past have triggered concerns among climate scientists, who worry that the new federal government could suppress climate change research and conceal facts.

Dr. Georges Benjamin was scheduled to speak at the opening session of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s climate & health conference, which was planned to discuss the health effects of climate change. But, just ahead of the Trump administration’s inauguration, he was informed that the conference had been cancelled.

Like many other federal agencies, employees in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) were recently asked to keep silent and not to share anything with the public without prior approval.

Sharon Drumm, chief of staff at the agency, “Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content.”

Republican President Trump is a vocal skeptic of the notion that industrial activity is warming our planet, a position held by 97 per cent of the world’s climate scientists. He has repeatedly called the notion a ‘hoax’ created by China to undermine the Unites States’ economy.

General: HealthPeople: Donald Trump

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