WBEZ | Public Health &amp; Prevention http://www.wbez.org/tags/public-health-amp-prevention Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Using Mosquitoes To Put The Bite On Malaria http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-25/using-mosquitoes-put-bite-malaria-85630 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>The parasite responsible for the intense fevers, chills, and headaches of <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/faqs.html" target="_self">malaria</a> has proven elusive to the scientific effort to come up with a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/12/14/132058312/end-to-malaria-deaths-in-sight-but-progress-is-fragile" target="_self">vaccine</a>.</p><p>So Dutch researchers are trying a new approach — "vaccinating" people by having them get bitten by mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite, similar to how people get infected in the real world. Their way is different than the conventional vaccine approach of injecting people with bits and pieces of the malaria parasite, or a parasite that's been weakened in the lab.</p><p>Those approaches aren't working all that well in clinical trials so far. The <em>Plasmodium </em>parasite is a notoriously tough challenge for vaccines because it spends most of its time hiding inside red blood cells and liver cells, out of sight of the immune system – one reason why it was able to <a href="http://www.who.int/malaria/world_malaria_report_2010/en/index.html" target="_self">kill 781,000 people</a> in 2009. Most of those were children in developing countries.</p><p></p><p>In the Dutch experiment, 10 volunteers were bitten multiple times by malarious mosquitoes. The researchers then gave the volunteers an anti-malaria drug, chloroquine. (And yes, the researchers were very careful to pick a malaria type that responds to chloroquine, not a chloroquine-resistant variety.)</p><p>A couple of years ago, the researchers <a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0805832#t=articleTop" target="_self">reported</a> that this process works in the short run to protect against malaria. But that's not such a big deal. People naturally infected by malaria build up an immunity that holds for several months.</p><p>What's new is that the researchers went back to six of the volunteers 28 months later. Once again the volunteers allowed themselves to be bitten by malarious mosquitoes. Four of the six did not get infected. And the immune systems of the remaining two put up a fight – their infections were delayed (and quickly treated). The <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2811%2960360-7/abstract" target="_self">results</a> were published online in <em>The Lancet</em>.</p><p>Wondering who would volunteer to be bitten by a malarious mosquito? Study author Robert Sauerwein of Radboud University in the Netherlands says most were university students. And the <a href="http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00757887?term=NCT00757887&rank=1" target="_self">trial </a>was designed pretty carefully.</p><p>A lot more work needs to be done to test this approach. This study was very small – only six people. And the researchers note that they may have stacked the deck a little – they used the exact same strain of malaria to infect, and to re-infect. And they worked with adults with mature immune systems, rather than children.</p><p>It's not clear yet why the experimental vaccination protected longer than infection by mosquito in the field. The anti-malarial drug could have helped. Or maybe it was the intense exposure to multiple bites at the same time. Whatever the reason, they say, it's worth investigating given how well the malaria parasite has been at outsmarting attempts to get rid of it.</p><p>. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1303737139?&gn=Using+Mosquitoes+To+Put+The+Bite+On+Malaria&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Public+Health,Malaria,Vaccines,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Children%27s+Health,Shots+-+Health+Blog,Medical+Treatments,Health,World+Health,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135635948&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110425&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133188449,132050182,126567541,126567402,126567378,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 25 Apr 2011 07:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-25/using-mosquitoes-put-bite-malaria-85630 Genetically modified chickens don't pass on the flu http://www.wbez.org/story/animals/genetically-modified-chickens-dont-pass-flu <p><p>Here's a neat genetic trick: Make a chicken that can get the flu, but can't pass it on to other birds -- or, presumably, to the humans who take care of them.</p><p>British <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6014/223.abstract">researchers</a> have done it.</p><p>The British team, with the support of a <a href="http://www.cobb-vantress.com/">big poultry breeder</a> and government funding, inserted a gene into chickens that blocks flu viruses from replicating. These genetically modified chickens can get infected. But their cells don't spew forth zillions of copies of flu viruses -- so nearby poultry don't get sick.</p><p></p><p>Their achievement, reported in the current issue of <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6014/223.full?sid=188e70b7-bf0e-4653-b5ae-e187d32c074b"><em>Science</em></a>, addresses major problems for both poultry breeders and public health officials who worry about chickens as sources of flu viruses that make humans sick.</p><p>Chickens and other domestic fowl often serve as bridges for new flu viruses that pop up in wild birds and later cause human outbreaks. Most of the 517 reported <a href="http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/country/cases_table_2011_01_13/en/index.html">cases</a> of deadly <a href="http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/2010_12_09_h5n1_avian_influenza_timeline_updates.pdf">H5N1 bird flu</a> have been in people who've had contact with domestic poultry.</p><p>There are flu vaccines for chickens. But, like human vaccines, they have to be updated continually as new flu mutants evolve. Also, they don't totally prevent flu infections in poultry -- they just suppress them. So vaccinated flocks can still have "silent" outbreaks that don't kill off birds but allow the virus to mutate undetected.</p><p>The secret of flu-proofing chicken flocks is an artificial gene that contains a snippet of genetic material from the H5N1 flu virus. This bit of RNA codes for polymerase, an enzyme flu viruses need to make more of themselves.</p><p>The cells of GM chickens make this fake polymerase. When scientists infected the modified birds with lethal doses of H5N1, the virus latched onto the decoy form of polymerase. These viruses couldn't replicate and spread to other chickens through the birds' exhalations and droppings.</p><p>This is better than a vaccine, the researchers say, because the virus probably won't be able to evade the genetic defense as it can vaccines. That's because each one of the flu virus's eight genetic elements needs a polymerase gene to replicate; simultaneous mutants in all these places on the viral genome is "highly improbable," the scientists say.</p><p>Another big advantage: No flu virus of the important "A" family that includes H5N1, H1N1 and H3N2 -- the main threats to human health -- should be able to circumvent the genetic defense because they all need the same form of polymerase to replicate.</p><p>Intriguing as the new approach is, the problem is far from solved. Years more testing will be needed to make sure there's no hidden hazard from this type of genetic modification. And then there's the public relations work that will be needed to persuade government agencies and consumers to accept the GM chickens.</p><p>If these hurdles can be overcome, it might not be such a daunting task to replace the billions of ordinary chickens in commercial poultry herds with the GM type.</p><p>"That's because the trade in both broiler and egg-laying chickens has become consolidated in a handful of companies," Michael Greger of the Humane Society of the United States <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6014/132.1.summary">told</a> Martin Enserink of <em>Science. </em></p><p>As for the millions of backyard and rooftop flocks in developing countries around the world, Greger says the strategy would be provide their owners with GM chickens they can breed themselves. The flu-proofing gene would get passed along to their offspring.</p><p>The next horizon: GM pigs, ducks, turkeys and quail. They all get the flu, too. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1295459872?&gn=Genetically+Modified++Chickens+Don%27t+Pass+On+The+Flu&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Infectious+Disease,Research,Vaccines,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Health+Headlines+Newsletter,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Animals,Health,Your+Health,Research+News,Science,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133027476&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110119&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126568156,126567633,126567541,126567402,121027244,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 19 Jan 2011 07:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/animals/genetically-modified-chickens-dont-pass-flu EPA Moves To Ban Pesticide That Leaves Fluoride Behind http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/epa-moves-ban-pesticide-leaves-fluoride-behind <p><p>After years of <a href="http://www.fluoridealert.org/sf/index.html">pressure</a> from environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to <a href="http://epa.gov/pesticides/sulfuryl-fluoride/Sulfuryl-Fluoride-PrepublicationCopy.pdf">ban sulfuryl fluoride</a> by 2014.</p><p>Sulfuryl fluoride is used to <a href="http://epa.gov/pesticides/sulfuryl-fluoride/questions.html">fumigate</a> places where food is stored, and the stuff gets sprayed on grains, dried fruit, coffee, cocoa beans and nuts.</p><p></p><p>The problem with sulfuryl fluoride is that it leaves fluoride behind as it degrades. A little fluoride is good for teeth, but too much causes staining and pitting.</p><p>Although EPA says the pesticide is responsible for less than 3 percent of fluoride exposure, the government's been on a <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/01/07/132743634/Officials-Say-Kids-Getting-Too-Much-Fluoride">bit of a tear</a> lately to reduce kids' exposure. It recently proposed <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/01/07/132735857/feds-lowering-fluoride-limits-in-water-to-avoid-damaging-kids-teeth">reducing fluoride</a> in drinking water.</p><p>So if the chemical is banned, what will food companies do instead?</p><p>Environmental groups see the EPA's proposed ban as an opportunity. "We need to shift our emphasis in food production away from chemicals that we know to be harmful... This is what this decision does," said Jay Feldman, executive director of the group <a href="http://www.beyondpesticides.org/about/staff.htm">Beyond Pesticides</a>, on a conference call with reporters today.</p><p>Food facilities in Canada and Europe rely on temperature controls and tighter, cleaner storage containers, rather than the pesticide, Chris Neurath of the <a href="http://www.fluoridealert.org/">Fluoride Action Network</a> said.</p><p>But challenges remain. Dow Chemicals, which makes, sulfuryl fluoride has promoted it as a "<a href="http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedLiteratureDAS/dh_0061/0901b803800618fb.pdf?filepath=profume_uk/pdfs/noreg/011-01270.pdf&fromPage=GetDoc">viable alternative</a>" to the ozone-depleting pesticide <a href="http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/qa.html">methyl bromide</a> when there weren't many other chemical options.</p><p>Methyl bromide was phased out of use in 2004 under an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol.</p><p>Dow didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1294777328?&gn=EPA+Moves+To+Ban+Pesticide+That+Leaves+Fluoride+Behind&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Policy,Your+Health,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Children%27s+Health,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Environment,Science,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=132834956&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110111&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126567581,126567525,126567402,126567378,103537970,132836810,132836808,132836806,132836789,132836785,132783213,132769262,127602855,127602446,103943429,102920358,132833940,132783213,132764894,127602855,127602446,103943429,126570862,126567887,126567816,126567633,126567441,126567402,103537970,132833131,127602971,127602855,126916928,126916924,125099593,103943429,132831947,132831945,132783213,127602855,127602446,103943429,132783213,132830331,132830329,132830327,127747535,127602971,127602855,126916928,103943429,132829546,132829527,132799546,132783213,132764894,127602855,127602446,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 11 Jan 2011 13:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/epa-moves-ban-pesticide-leaves-fluoride-behind Budget Battles Loom As FDA Gets Tougher On Food Risks http://www.wbez.org/story/fda/budget-battles-loom-fda-gets-tougher-food-risks <p><p>After a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/12/20/132203431/food-safety-bill-nears-the-finish-line-really">long battle</a> in Congress and decades of discussion, President Obama will sign the food safety bill into law later today. But the Food and Drug Adminstration's biggest challenges still lie ahead.</p><p>Now the agency and its advocates have to get a new deficit-hawking Congress to cough up some $1.4 billion over the next five years to make it work.</p><p>And it looks like FDA's Hill-connected deputy commissioner <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/12/11/who-is-joshua-sharfstein/">Joshua Sharfstein</a> is leaving, as <a href="http://www.cq.com/doc/3789027">CQ first reported</a>, so that job's probably gonna be even harder.</p><p></p><p>Broadly, the soon-to-be-law gives FDA the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/12/22/132255747/president-to-sign-food-safety-bill-into-law-now-what">power</a> to inspect more imported foods, force a recall of tainted foods, and require food companies to get plans in place to prevent salmonella and E. coli from getting into their products in the first place.</p><p>But these changes don't come cheap. They require more inspectors and more scientists. And around these parts, that requires congressional appropriations.</p><p>During a press briefing Monday, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg tried to downplay the concerns over funding.</p><p>She said the agency has already committed some funds towards measures like produce safety standards, including worker health and hygiene and water and soil contamination mitigation. (Psst: That effort was <a href="http://thepacker.com/FDA-announces-intent-for-enforceable-produce-safety-standards/Article.aspx?oid=964763&aid=117&fid=PACKER-TOP-STORIES">in the works</a> long before it looked like the law would actually happen.)</p><p>A food safety advocate at the briefing put the issue more bluntly. "The costs of not implementing the law are staggering," said <a href="http://www.pewtrusts.org/experts_profile.aspx?id=56650">Erik Olson</a> of the Pew Center. The projected health costs of foodborne illness are <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/03/tainted_food_leads_to_costly_i.html">$152 billion</a> a year.</p><p>But that argument doesn't seem to be winning over the new Congress. Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, the likely incoming chairman of a committee that oversees FDA's budget, told <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-04/food-safety-funding-battle-looms-as-obama-prepares-to-sign-reform-bill.html">Bloomberg</a>: "There’s a high possibility of trimming this whole package back."</p><p>How does he really feel? "[I]f not for the wonderful nanny-state politicians, we’d be getting sick after every meal, the system we have is doing a darn good job," Kingston said.</p><p>Of course, not everyone gets sick with a foodborne illness. But a lot of us sure do. The <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/12/16/132102461/tainted-food-a-common-cause-of-illness">CDC estimates</a> that each year 1 in 6 people get sick from something they eat . And 128,000 of them go to the hospital, and 3,000 die.</p><p>That's a big reason why Pew's Olson says, "We will be making the case that this is money that is extremely well spent." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1294168932?&gn=Budget+Battles+Loom+As+FDA+Gets+Tougher+On+Food+Risks&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Your+Health,FDA,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Food,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=132648915&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110104&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 04 Jan 2011 11:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/fda/budget-battles-loom-fda-gets-tougher-food-risks Respiratory disease atlas charts forgotten health threat http://www.wbez.org/story/health/respiratory-disease-atlas-charts-forgotten-health-threat <p><p>So what's the world's leading killer of young children? Malaria? AIDS? Diarrhea?</p><p>Nope, it's acute respiratory infections &ndash; things like <a href="http://www.nfid.org/factsheets/pneumofacts.shtml">pneumonia</a>, <a href="http://www.who.int/topics/influenza/en/">flu</a>, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/rsv/">respiratory syncytial virus</a>, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/haeminfluserob_t.htm">Hemophilus influenzae type B</a> (Hib), and complications of <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/">measles</a>. These lung infections will kill as many as 2 million children this year.</p><p>And, in fact, in developing countries lung infections kill more people of any age than anything else &ndash; nearly twice as many as HIV/AIDS, more than three times the toll from TB or malaria, in terms of total deaths.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>These findings come from a new &quot;<a href="http://www.ariatlas.org">atlas</a>&quot; of acute respiratory infections released by the <a href="http://www.worldlungfoundation.org/">World Lung Foundation</a> at the <a href="http://www.worldlunghealth.org/confBerlin/">Union World Conference on Lung Health</a> in Berlin today. It's the first compilation of global information on these neglected diseases.</p><p>More than four million people die every year of acute respiratory infections, &quot;yet the global health community doesn't even recognize them as a distinct disease group,&quot; says the WLF's <a href="http://www.worldlungfoundation.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/11035">Peter Baldini</a>.</p><p>The 124-page atlas argues that preventing millions of deaths is well within reach. For some diseases, such as pneumonia, measles, pertussis, flu and Hib, vaccines are available. Breastfeeding can also increase children's immunity to respiratory infections. And life-saving antibiotics can cost as little as 27 cents.</p><p>In most cases the biggest hurdle is getting patients timely diagnosis and care. Only one in five caregivers in the developing world currently recognizes signs and symptoms of pneumonia, the WLF says. But wider availability of what the World Health Organization calls &quot;standard case management,&quot; or prompt diagnosis and antibiotic treatment, along with more breastfeeding, could prevent millions of pneumonia deaths in the future. </p><p>Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. </p></p> Tue, 09 Nov 2010 14:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/health/respiratory-disease-atlas-charts-forgotten-health-threat San Francisco moving toward ban of toys from most McDonald's happy meals http://www.wbez.org/story/business/san-francisco-moving-toward-ban-toys-most-mcdonalds-happy-meals <p><p>In another significant vote on the health front Tuesday, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors took a big step toward an ordinance against restaurants handing out toys as part of junky kids' meals.</p><p>Can you say <a href="http://npr.wikinvest.com/wikinvest/export/v3/?action=getFrame&amp;frame=NPRTearsheet&amp;search=mcd">McDonald's</a> Happy Meal? We thought you could.</p><p>In an <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/03/MN111G5PCN.DTL">8-3 vote</a>, the board passed a preliminary version of a new rule that forbids toy freebies with meals that don't meet minimum nutritional standards.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children's health first and join the wide range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment,&quot; Supervisor Eric Mar, who introduced the legislation, said in a statement.</p><p>How high is the bar? Not as high as you might think.</p><p>Here's the <a href="http://npr.org/assets/blogs/health/images/2010/11/healthymlsdig3.pdf">lowdown on what kind of meal would qualify</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><li><strong>Calories:</strong> Less than 600</li><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><li><strong>Sodium:</strong> Less than 640 milligram.</li><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><li><strong>Fat:</strong> Less than 35 percent of calories from fat; Less than 10 percent from saturated fat (with exception for nuts, seeds, eggs or low-fat cheese).</li><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Meals would also have to offer fruit or vegetables.</p><p>Mayor Gavin Newsom has <a href="http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/under-the-dome/Newsom-says-fat-chance-to-bill-seeking-to-ban-Happy-Meals-103882079.html">said he would veto</a> the ordinance. But if a final vote, expected next week, goes like this one, it would be veto-proof.</p><p>McDonald's is unhappy. &quot;We are extremely disappointed with this decision,&quot; company spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement. &quot;It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for.&quot;</p><p>The fast-food chain says research shows the proposal is &quot;unrealistic&quot; because kids aren't likely to eat the sorts of meals stipulated by the ordinance. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288808499?&amp;gn=San+Francisco+Moving+Toward+Ban+Of+Toys+From+Most+McDonald%27s+Happy+Meals&amp;ev=event2&amp;ch=103537970&amp;h1=Fitness+%26+Nutrition,Policy,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Children%27s+Health,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Business,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=131039290&amp;c7=1128&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1128&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101103&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c31=126567887,126567581,126567402,126567378,103537970&amp;v31=D%3Dc31&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" alt="" /></p></p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 11:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/san-francisco-moving-toward-ban-toys-most-mcdonalds-happy-meals Auto collisions with deer pose a health risk http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/auto-collisions-deer-pose-health-risk <p><p>In Maryland, where I live, there's a 1 in 119 chance that I'll hit a deer with my car in the next year.</p><p>Overall, there's a 1 in 183 chance of an American driver doing the same thing, according to <a href="http://www.statefarm.com/aboutus/_pressreleases/2010/deer-vehicle-collision-frequency.asp">claims data crunched</a> by insurer State Farm. As the deer population has <a href="http://wildlifecontrol.info/DEER/Pages/DeerPopulationFacts.aspx">zoomed in recent years</a>, so has the number of crashes.</p><p>State Farm figures the collisions -- more than 1 million annually -- are up 21 percent in the last five years. And beware: now through the end of the year is peak crash season.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Nobody wants to hit a deer. It's probably curtains for the animal and may not be so good for you. More than 1,000 people died in collisions with animals during the five years that ended in 2009, according to federal data the folks at the <a href="http://www.iihs.org/about.html">Insurance Institute for Highway Safety</a> passed along.</p><p>About 3 in 4 collisions between <a href="http://www.iihs.org/news/2004/iihs_news_111804.pdf">cars and animals</a> involve deer. The <em>Washington Post's</em> Allan Sloan, who <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/01/AR2010110107194.html">zeroed in on the economic cost</a> of the deer overpopulation problem, put the annual human death toll from crashes into the animals at 140.</p><p>The likelihood of an accident with a deer varies a lot by state. West Virginia, for the fourth year in a row, leads the deer-crash pack with a driver's annual odds of a collision at 1 in 42, according to State Farm.</p><p>Out in the West, the risks subside. And in Hawaii, the chances for a crash are pretty darned slim at about 1 in 13,000. (Check out <a href="http://www.statefarm.com/aboutus/_images/images/likelihood_collision_with_deer.jpg">the map</a> from State Farm for info on your state.)</p><p>Just because you hit something doesn't mean you have to get seriously hurt.</p><p>&quot;In most cases the fatal crashes could have been prevented had the motorists taken the basic precaution of putting on a seat belt,&quot; IIHS spokesman Russ Rader tells Shots.</p><p>Also, he says, the research shows deaths aren't usually a direct result of hitting the animal. It's the secondary impact with another vehicle or going off the road that proves fatal.</p><p>Motorcyclists also hit deer, and Rader says not wearing a helmet is a big factor in which of those collisions lead to drivers' deaths.</p><p>Deer, while the biggest problem, aren't the only road hazard. There are also wild boar to worry about. Dr. Billy Higginbotham, a wildlife specialist with Texas A&amp;M's AgriLife Extension Service, <a href="http://agnews.tamu.edu/showstory.php?id=2227">figures a vehicle plows</a> into feral hogs at an annual rate of about 1 percent.</p><p>He says nobody knows exactly how many feral hogs are out there, but it's a big and growing number. &quot;Feral hogs are the most prolific large mammal on the face of the Earth,&quot; he said in statement. &quot;There's no question about that.&quot;</p><p>Check out the video for more info. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288808499?&amp;gn=Auto+Collisions+With+Deer+Pose+A+Health+Risk&amp;ev=event2&amp;ch=103537970&amp;h1=Your+Health,Insurance,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=131014043&amp;c7=1128&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1128&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101102&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c31=126567525,126567457,126567402,103537970&amp;v31=D%3Dc31&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" alt="" /></p></p> Tue, 02 Nov 2010 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/auto-collisions-deer-pose-health-risk Cholera vaccine isn't the answer for Haiti http://www.wbez.org/story/health/cholera-vaccine-isnt-answer-haiti <p><p>There are <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs107/en/index.html">two vaccines</a> that give up to 90 percent protection against cholera &ndash; at least in the short term. But don't expect them to get widespread use to contain Haiti's current cholera epidemic.</p><p><a href="http://new.paho.org/fep/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=187&amp;Itemid=1">Dr. Jon Andrus</a> is deputy director of the <a href="http://new.paho.org/hq/index.php?lang=en">Pan American Health Organization</a> and a vaccination specialist. He explained why cholera vaccine isn't the answer to Haiti's problem at a Wednesday <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtkneRIkQMQ&amp;feature=channel">teleconference</a>.</p><p>NPR asked Andrus if the vaccine might be useful in targeted populations in advance of new outbreak in Port-au-Prince. Such a &quot;<a href="http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23979">ring vaccination</a>&quot; strategy was critical in eradicating smallpox.</p><p>Andrus explained that ring vaccination worked in smallpox because everyone who was infected had symptoms. So when a new case or a small cluster popped up, it meant other people without symptoms were not yet infected and were still eligible for a vaccine.</p><p>But with cholera, by the time the disease shows up, 80 percent of people are carrying it -- but without any symptoms.</p><p>&quot;The horse is out of the barn,&quot; Andrus says, &quot;so you can't determine with any accuracy where that bacterium is circulating...You already have transmission outside your ring.&quot;</p><p>There are other reasons why cholera vaccination isn't recommended during an outbreak. It requires two doses in most people, and three in young children. Keeping track of who's been vaccinated and getting them back for a second and third dose presents enormous logistical problems and a lot of personnel. And even with all that effort, it still takes three weeks at the least for immunity to build in the body, Andrus says.</p><p>The effort to mount a crash vaccination campaign would also surely detract from other public health measures known to&nbsp;be effective, like educating people about hand-washing and handing out safe water, soap and <a href="http://www.pamf.org/patients/ors.htm">oral rehydration</a>. Such measures prevent infections and reduce fatality rates to around <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs107/en/index.html">1 percent</a>.</p><p>&quot;Measures to prevent and treat this disease are so effective&hellip;that we don't vaccinate our own staff on the ground or staff we're sending there,&quot; Andrus says.</p><p>Having said all that, though, Andrus says PAHO is discussing whether to vaccinate some populations beyond the current reach of the outbreak.</p><p>But one big problem is the supply of cholera vaccine. There may be only 200,000 or so doses of <a href="https://www.vaccineshoppecanada.com/secure/pdfs/ca/dukoral_e.pdf">Dukoral</a>, the only vaccine that's been approved by WHO as safe. PAHO is trying to find out if the other vaccine, <a href="http://www.ivi.int/event_news/news/popup_shanchol.html"> Shanchol</a>, is available in bigger quantities. (It's expected to get the green light from WHO, but it's not clear when.)</p><p>So there may be an argument for using one or both vaccines in some Haitians in the path of cholera. PAHO and Haitian authorities will need to make that decision soon. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. </p></p> Thu, 28 Oct 2010 10:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/health/cholera-vaccine-isnt-answer-haiti Study of corn sweetener in soda stirs up controversy http://www.wbez.org/story/business/study-corn-sweetener-soda-stirs-controversy <p><p>The makers of high fructose corn syrup have found themselves on the defensive -- again.</p><p>Researchers at the <a href="http://www.live-pr.com/en/sodas-sweetened-with-hfcs-deliver-unexpected-r1048591686.htm">University of Southern California</a> have documented that samples of Pepsi and Coca-Cola sweetened with the stuff are delivering what they describe as &quot;megadoses&quot; of fructose. Their analysis shows the products contain about 20 percent more fructose than consumers have been led to believe.</p><p>And why is this a problem? If this study can be replicated, the industry may need to re-think its &quot;corn-syrup-is-the-same-as-table-sugar&quot; talking point.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>You see, the corn syrup makers have always argued that their product is just like table sugar-- a mix of fructose and glucose. That's why they recently asked FDA if they could change their name to <a href="http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/09/fda-asked-to-permit-corn-sugar-on-label/">corn sugar</a>.</p><p>But fructose is the sweeter of the two sugars -- and may be more conducive to <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322121115.htm">weight gain</a>, some studies show. So more fructose in these tested products might indicate differences.</p><p>Fair to say the study, published appropriately in the journal <a href="http://goranlab.com/pdf/Ventura%20Fructose%20paper.pdf"><em>Obesity</em></a>, is prompting a lot of discussion.</p><p>But so far, experts are skeptical of the new study's results. &quot;The methodology is problematic,&quot; <a href="http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/findfac/professional/0,,78859,00.html">Elizabeth Parks</a> of UT Southwestern told Shots in an email. Parks notes that HFCS comes in many varieties with different mixtures of glucose and fructose.</p><p>We also put the question of how significant the study is to <a href="http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/debe/team/popkin">Barry Popkin</a> at the University of North Carolina. &quot;We have no real indication that the science of just a small amount [of] more fructose matters,&quot; Popkin says.</p><p>A group that's often quick to blow the whistle when it sees food industry high jinks --<a href="http://www.cspinet.org/new/201010272.html">The Center for Science in the Public Interest</a> -- also issued a press release urging caution. &quot;Because the new analysis seems so improbable, confirmatory studies using the best analytical method need to be done before the alarm bells ring too loudly,&quot; says CSPI President Michael Jacobson.</p><p>Naturally, the industry jumped to its own defense and says the study is <a href="http://www.corn.org/usc-fructose-study-flawed.html">flawed</a>. &quot;Fructose is commonly found in many fruits and vegetables,&quot; says Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association. &quot;And consumers should know that fructose is safe.&quot;</p><p>Controversy aside, the important message here is that our <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98657403">love affair</a> with ALL kinds of sugar is problematic. The more empty calories we consume, the more our collective waistlines expand.</p><p>So next time you go to grab a Starbucks muffin that boasts it's made without HFCS, remember the real boogeyman here is likely the calories -- not the percentage of fructose inside. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio.</p></p> Thu, 28 Oct 2010 07:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/study-corn-sweetener-soda-stirs-controversy Consumers Still Skittish About Gulf Seafood http://www.wbez.org/story/animals/2010-08-05/consumers-still-skittish-about-gulf-seafood-83927 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//seafood.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The oil well's essentially been <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128994493&ft=1&f=1003">plugged</a>. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has <a href="http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100722_reopening.html">reopened</a> large swaths of Gulf Coast waters to fishing. Andt he Food and Drug Administration said last week that fish from specific <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/07/gulf-oil-spill-louisiana-fish.html">state waters</a> are <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128957145">safe</a> to eat.</p><p>So why aren't people eating it?</p><p>"It's a perception challenge more than anything else," seafood promoter Ewell Smith told <em>Morning Edition</em> Host Steve Inskeep today. Our <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/07/27/128794927/most-americans-worry-about-safety-of-food-supply">survey</a> and those of <a href="http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Survey-assesses-Gulf-spill-s-impact-on-seafood-consumption">others</a> concur.</p><p>Smith, who heads the <a href="http://www.louisianaseafood.com/">Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board</a>, says despite the fact that Gulf seafood is receiving more scrutiny than ever, people see the computer image of gushing oil 24 hours a day, and they draw their own conclusions.</p><p></p><p>Tom McEachern, top chef at seafood-centric <a href="http://www.raysrestaurants.com/index.php?page=ray-s-on-the-river">Ray's on the River</a> in Atlanta put it bluntly to <em>Morning Edition</em> Host Renee Montagne:</p><p>After the spill, he said, "we literally removed the word 'Gulf' from our menu, we also removed the oysters that we were serving from the Gulf from our menu."</p><p>Partly because he just can't get Gulf oysters, and partly because his customers are concerned about the potentially lasting problems with contamination in the beds and the marshlands where oysters hang out.</p><p>"We could have ruined those beds for 10 years," McEachern said.</p><p>For the record, an FDA spokeswoman told <em>Shots</em> the agency has not made a blanket declaration that Gulf seafood is safe.</p><p>"We are working with NOAA and the states to systematically test the water and the seafood from areas designated in proposals submitted by the states," she said<em></em>.</p><p>But she added, there's no time line yet on oysters. "Oysters are going to take longer. They're filter feeders. They're not able to move away from affected waters the way fin fish will be," she said.</p><p>McEachern said he was willing to put them back on the menu if FDA gives the OK.</p><p>"I think you need to support those people that are fishing there before we cripple an area or cripple a town that does this for a living," he said.</p><p>What is a big problem for Gulf oysters might be a boon for East Coast ones. Ray's On The River is now offering oysters from <a href="http://www.chincoteague-island.net/articles/view/2/Chincoteague-Oysters">Chincoteague</a>, Virginia.</p><p>But they taste different.</p><p>"So our Oysters Rockefeller, some who enjoy that fresh sea salt love it, and some of those who aren't used to that high salinity are complaining," he said. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1300472226?&gn=Consumers+Still+Skittish+About+Gulf+Seafood&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Your+Health,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Health+Headlines+Newsletter,Shots+-+Health+Blog,Animals,Health,Food,Environment,Science,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=129000765&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20100805&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=126567525,126567402,121027244,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 05 Aug 2010 11:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/animals/2010-08-05/consumers-still-skittish-about-gulf-seafood-83927