Life expectancy differs among US counties

Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimated the life expectancy for each US county from 1980 through 2014 and upon doing so they made an interesting discovery. It was discovered that the life expectancy varies among different US counties, differing by as high as 20 years. It was noted that some counties with the lowest life expectancy were in North and South Dakota including Native American reservations and in some southern states such as Mississippi. The study did not show the cause of these differences. However, research has showed risk factors such as lack of exercise, smoking and genetics can contribute to a person’s health outcome. So the next time you are considering moving to a new location, you might want to the average life expectancy in addition to cost of living and demographics.

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/08/health/life-expectancy-by-county-study/

By Julia Watson: http://communitymappingforhealthequity.org

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Smartphone tells body how to manage diabetes

Researches at East China Normal University in Shanghai genetically modified normal cells to control blood sugar levels by responding to light, the technology is called optogenetics. The light waves would then be powered and controlled by LEDs and a smartphone app. The team aims to develop a fully automated system that detects blood sugar levels and releases the right amount of therapeutic chemicals.

Image a world where the click of a button form your smart phone you could control the dispensary of your daily medications. To some this might seem frightening to others this might be the future of medicine.

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The device was implanted under the skin

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39746027

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

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: http://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/