The benefits of spatial epidemiology

It is well known that the US currently faces an opioid epidemic and according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since 1999 the rate of overdose death related to opioid, including both heroin and prescription drugs, has quadrupled. In addition to the negative health effects the epidemic has also had economic impacts on the health care system with nearly 55 billion dollars being spent a year on health and social cost related to prescription opioid abuse [1].

For these reasons, geographic information systems (GIS) and special epidemiology have become well known given they allow researchers to use special analysis to plot hot spots of concentrated areas. For example, a study published in the BMC Infectious Disease used GIS and special epidemiology to map out clusters of hepatitis C infection (HCV) in Massachusetts. Given the opioid epidemic is intertwined with HCV infection research like this allows for public heath offices to determine how to better make use and allocated researches to communities that need them.170427112217_1_900x600.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170427112217.htm

-By Julia Watson: communitymappingforhealthequity.org/

Reference: [1] “Factsheet: The Opioid Epidemic by the Numbers.” Human Rights Documents Online (n.d.): n. pag. US Department of Health and Human Services. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

To diet or not to diet, that is the question

When one is watching their weight diet foods can become a person’s best friend because they contain less fat and overall calories. However, a study done by the University of Georgia found that rats on a low-fat, high sugar diet, similar diet foods, had more body fat compared to rats on a balanced diet. In addition, the rats developed health issues, such as liver damage and brain inflammation.

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The researches contribute these finds to the excess amount of sugar found in diet foods. So the next time you decide to diet to lose weight it might be better to just participate in a balanced diet opposed to selecting the diet option.

Link: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/diet-foods-making-fat-article-1.3102991

-By Julia Watson: communitymappingforhealthequity.org

 

Early detection of cancer cells via blood test

A research team from the Cancer Research UK build a genetic finger print of cancer cells taken from surgically removed lung tumors. They then used the genetic finger print to test blood samples for the re-emergence of cancerous. This is an exciting development because it can that can detect cancer cells that are invisible to CT scans or X-rays and potentially leading to early treatment.

Blood test

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39658680

-By Julia Watson : http://communitymappingforhealthequity.org/

Plastic bag mimicking a woman’s uterus could help keep premature babies alive

1 in 10 US births are premature and about 30,000 per year are critically premature. In addition, extreme prematurity is the leading cause of infant mortality and morbidity in the US. However, these values have the potential to decrease in the future thanks to researchers at the Center for Fetal Research in the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who have developed a system that mimics the environment of a woman’s womb.  The system consist has thus far kept premature lambs alive for four weeks.

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Link: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/26/health/artificial-womb-premature-babies-lambs/

-By Julia Watson:  http://communitymappingforhealthequity.org/

Google’s Verily Launches 10,000-Person Research Project to Map Human Health

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Google’s health tech division, Verily, announced their launch of their research project which aims to create a map of human health. The project is known as Project Baseline and in partnership with Duke and Stanford University will study 10,000 volunteers for four years monitoring their health, such as heart rate, activity level and sleep habits. The data will then be encrypted into the projects database allowing researches to create a human health map.

Link: http://hitconsultant.net/2017/04/20/verily-launches-project-baseline/

-By Julia Watson : http://www.communitymappingforhealthequity.org/

 

Caterpillars digests plastic

Scientist discover wax worms who can digest the common plastic compound polyethylene, and produce the byproduct ethylene glycol. Interestingly, compared to bacteria the wax worm is faster at digesting plastic. Since wax also contains a chemical bond found in polyethylene some speculate the worms might have evolved a molecular mechanism to break the chemical bonds. There are still major hurtles in understanding the wax worm’s digestive system, but just think of the future possibilities surrounding bio-degradation.

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Link: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article146588884.html

-By Julia Watson : http://www.communitymappingforhealthequity.org/