A summary of important health news from the past week.
U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High
There has been an increase in suicide rates among every age group besides older adults. The rate for middle aged women went up 63%--shocking the National Center for Health Statistics researchers. Currently, 13 out of every 100,000 Americans commit suicide each year. Suicide rates for girls between the ages of 10-14 tripled. Two populations groups experienced a decline in suicide rates, which included black males and individuals over the age of 75. Researchers are struggling to make sense of the data, but many speculate that causes range from economic issues, social isolation, hopelessness, or inadequate prevention.
Penalties created by the Affordable Care Act for high rates of infections and complications at hospitals are being implemented by Medicare. Seven hundred and fifty-eight hospitals have had their payments reduced as a result of higher than usual incidents of blood clots after surgery, bed sores, hip fractures, sepsis and similarly avoidable complications. A federal estimate finds that 12 out of every 100 hospital stays has this type of complication.
A new study has found that fast food burgers have phthalates, a chemical suspected to disrupt normal hormone functioning in humans. Phthalates have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, developmental issues in babies, and reproductive problems in women. The phthalates may be transferred from the gloves that fast food employees are required to wear during food preparation. The study found no link between fast food and BPA, another known endocrine disruptor.
Laundry packet poisonings increase in kids
New data show a very large increase in the amount of children ingesting laundry detergent packets. Poison control calls increased by 17% between 2013 and 2014, and over 20,000 children, majority under the age of 3, were exposed. The packets can cause cardiac arrest, loss of breathing, vomiting, and throat and eye injuries. Experts recommend parents with children under 6 use regular liquid detergent.
A Big 'Woo-Hoo' For Europe On #WorldMalariaDay: No New Cases In 2015
Europe has reported no new cases of malaria transmitted on the continent for 2015. It is a big accomplishment for Europe, with the knowledge that the continent had the money, collaboration, vigilance and overall infrastructure to fight the disease. In areas such as Africa and Southeast Asia, combatting the disease proves more difficult due to lack of infrastructure, political stability and consistent health care. But Dr. Joel Breman, expert in infectious diseases at NIH, is optimistic and says "I think we can do it (everywhere), but it will take a longer time frame."
Who We Are
The Center is the hub of the science of human health for students, faculty, and staff at Emory University.