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Obese Kids Often Mistake Symptoms and Overuse Asthma Drugs

November 19, 2014

By Fran Kritz

A new study finds that obese kids with asthma may mistake being breathless for an asthma attack, which can lead to unnecessary use of asthma inhalers.

Researchers reviewed data on 58 children with asthma, half obese and half within normal weight range. The researchers assessed lung function, medication use, symptom patterns, doctor and ER visits, and quality of life.

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Small Financial Incentives Help Some Low-Income Smokers Quit

November 17, 2014

By Fran Kritz

Small financial incentives can double smoking cessation rates among low-income smokers, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health last week.

“We wanted to investigate how small and potentially cost-effective financial incentives might help safety net hospital patients quit smoking,” said Darla Kendzor, assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Dallas Regional Campus and the lead author of the study.

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New Report Recommends Social and Behavioral Domains for Electronic Health Records

November 14, 2014

By Fran Kritz

Including social and behavioral information in patients’ electronic health records may improve patient care, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

The Institute of Medicine identified several categories for possible inclusion in electronic health records, including alcohol use, race and ethnicity, tobacco use and exposure, census tract median income, education, depression, intimate partner violence, physical activity, social connections and social isolation and stress.

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National Preterm Birthrate Gets a C, but California Gets an A

November 10, 2014

By Fran Kritz

Preterm births are at their lowest rates in seventeen years, accounting for 11.4 percent of all births nationally in 2013, according to a new report from the March of Dimes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not expect to see such low rates until 2020.

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Berkeley passes soda tax, measure fails in SF

November 5, 2014

Berkeley voters on Tuesday became the first in the nation to place a special tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in an attempt to fight the health effects of soda, while across the bay in San Francisco, a similar measure failed to win the two-thirds majority needed for passage.

The soft drink industry spent an estimated $10 million in an attempt to defeat the two measure.

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Starting Babies Off with Good Food Habits Can Last Their Lifetime

November 3, 2014

By Fran Kritz 

Researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences studied the diets of babies at six months and 12 months and found that they are usually dependent on the racial, ethnic and educational backgrounds of their mothers.“We found that differences in dietary habits start very early,” says Xiaozhong Wen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UB Department of Pediatrics and lead author on the paper.

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Group Classes Teach Parents to Help Kids with Autism Improve their Language Skills

October 30, 2014

By Fran Kritz

A study by Stanford researchers finds that group classes for parents that teach a specific therapy can help to improve the children’s’ language skills.  The  study looked at 12 week classes that taught “pivotal response training” in which parents identify something a child wants—such as a ball–and offer rewards in exchange for the child making efforts to say the word.

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New Study looks at Health and Well-Being of Latino Children in California

October 22, 2014

By Fran Kritz

A new study shows significant differences between the health and wellbeing of the 4.7 million Latino children in California and white children in the state. The study, conducted at the request of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health,* also shows Latino children now make up almost half the children in the state.

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Spike in ER usage from newly insured declines over time, study says

October 15, 2014

Pent-up demand for health care leads to a spike in emergency room visits and hospitalizations among the newly insured, but those numbers quickly decline as people’s needs are met and their health becomes more stable, according to a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The study could mean that fears of an explosion in public costs due to the expansion of the Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal in California, will prove unfounded.

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Most Parents Install Car Seats for Newborns Incorrectly

October 14, 2014

By Fran Kritz

A new study finds that nearly all parents install car seats for newborns incorrectly. Parents who are low income or speak poor English are the most likely to make installation and positioning mistakes.

Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital selected a certified child passenger safety technician to observe close to 300 parents of newborns or their designees install car seats.

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