More Young Children Exposed to Marijuana, Study Finds – WebMD

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Cannabis_leaf_marijuana_potThere’s been a sharp increase in marijuana exposure among young children in the United States in recent years, a new study finds.

The study included information from the National Poison Database System and found that marijuana exposure among children aged 5 and younger rose more than 147 percent nationwide from 2006 through 2013.

Overall, almost 2,000 cases of marijuana exposure involving young children were reported to Poison Control Centers in the United States from 2000 through 2013.

Source: More Young Children Exposed to Marijuana, Study Finds – WebMD

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Aging MDs prompts call for competency tests

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Stethoscope DoctorDoctors have no mandatory retirement age, unlike pilots, military personnel and a few other professions where mistakes can be deadly.

All doctors must meet state licensing requirements, and some hospitals require age-based screening.

But there are no national mandates or guidelines on how to make sure older physicians can still do their jobs safely.

Source: News from The Associated Press

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AMA favors ending non-medical vaccine exemptions – AP

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AMA snake thumbThe American Medical Association has adopted policies against nonmedical vaccine refusals and for transgender people in the military.

The nation’s largest doctors’ group says parents should not be able to refuse to have their kids vaccinated for personal or religious reasons.

That’s because of the health risks unvaccinated kids pose to others.

Source: News from The Associated Press

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Growing Concern Over Drug-Resistant Shigella in US

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Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 8.37.17 AMThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to receive reports of infections with Shigella strains that are not susceptible to ciprofloxacin and/or azithromycin, the antimicrobial agents most commonly used to treat shigellosis, the agency warned June 4 in a Health Alert Network advisory.

“Most cases have been reported among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (collectively referred to as MSM) in Illinois, Minnesota, and Montana and among international travelers, but cases are also occurring among other populations.

Shigellosis is very contagious and can spread quickly through communities and across different segments of the population,” the advisory notes.

IMAGE: CDC

Source: Growing Concern Over Drug-Resistant Shigella in US

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Fast currents, frigid temps make local water dangerous this time of year

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From the Washington State Department of Health

Mountain Stream

Cold and fast waters can be a recipe for drowning and state health officials remind folks that even though air temperatures are in the 80s, water temperatures remain frigid and river flows are swift.

Springtime river flow is high and swift from rain and snow melt and can easily overwhelm the strongest swimmer.

Many Washingtonians wait for hot weather to dip their toes into lakes, rivers, and the ocean surf, but other people brave the frosty waters and hop into boats, inner tubes, and other floating equipment in search of a early summer water adventure.

Being unprepared for the freezing water temperatures or the swift flow of the waters can lead to tragedy. Continue reading

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As demand grows, states consider better pay, benefits for home care workers

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And younger man's hand holds an elderly man's handBy Rebecca Beitsch
Stateline

People working in one of the fastest growing professions in America aren’t well paid. Many of them don’t get health or retirement benefits. And federal minimum wage and overtime protections still don’t apply to them.

Despite the low wages and odd hours, 2 million Americans are home care workers, helping to dress, feed, and bathe the elderly and disabled within their homes. They are in high demand: The U.S. population is aging, and more seniors want to stay in their homes instead of moving to nursing homes.

In Washington and Oregon, unions played a role in raising wages for home care workers in those states’ Medicaid programs. 

Some states are trying to improve home care workers’ wages and benefits, aiming to attract and retain more skilled and dedicated workers in a high-turnover industry.

But other states are concerned about adding costs to their Medicaid programs, and some are in court fighting a 2013 U.S. Department of Labor regulation that would apply minimum wage and overtime rules to home care workers, who have long been exempt.

In Washington and Oregon, unions played a role in raising wages for home care workers in those states’ Medicaid programs. Montana and North Dakota used federal stimulus dollars to help fund increases.

And in Maine, Democrats are pushing legislation that would raise the pay of home care workers to $15 an hour from $9 an hour, according to Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves, who is sponsoring the measure.

But Ohio has stripped home care workers of union bargaining rights, and has resisted giving them health benefits, arguing that they can get health care insurance on Affordable Care Act exchanges.

This story was updated to reflect the fact that Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland and Minnesota have signed onto the brief in favor of applying federal minimum wage and overtime rules to home care workers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor regulation that would extend overtime and minimum wage protections to home care workers has been tied up in court, with some states (Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico and New York) submitting briefs in favor of the rule but others (Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin) in opposition. Continue reading

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What’s at stake when the Supreme Court rules on health plan subsidies?

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Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

By Julie Rovner and Mary Agnes Carey
KHN

Later this month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on King v. Burwell, a case challenging the validity of federal tax subsidies helping millions of Americans buy health insurance if they don’t get it through an employer.

If the court rules against the Obama administration, those subsidies could be cut off for people in the approximately three dozen states using Healthcare.gov, the federal exchange website.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the case.

Q: What is this case about?

Continue reading

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More than one in four U.S. kids exposed to weapon violence | Reuters

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GunMore than one in four U.S. children are exposed to weapon violence before their eighteenth birthday, either as victims or witnesses, a large study suggests.

About one in 33 kids are directly assaulted during incidents involving guns or knives, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

 

Source: More than one in four U.S. kids exposed to weapon violence | Reuters

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Special Diets, Supplements Not Always Helpful for Kids With Autism: MedlinePlus

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supplementsWell-intentioned parents of children with autism may think that special diets or supplements can help their child, but a new study suggests that often these efforts lead to problems.

As the researchers explain, many children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are picky eaters, and parents may direct them to nutritional supplements, or gluten- or casein-free diets.However, the study reported June 4 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and

Dietetics found that these regimens leave children still deficient in some nutrients, such as calcium.

On the other hand, special diets and supplements can cause children to take in excessive amounts of other nutrients, such as vitamin A, the researchers said.

Source: Special Diets, Supplements Not Always Helpful for Kids With Autism: MedlinePlus

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Watcom County E coli outbreak linked to fairgrounds dairy barn

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Escherichia Coli_NIAID E Coli BacteriaThe bacteria that sickened 25 people in Whatcom County has been traced to a dairy barn on the   Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, an investigation by county, state and federal health officials has concluded.

“All of the ill people either attended the Milk Makers Fest between April 21 and 23 at the Northwest Fairgrounds; helped with the event between April 20 and 24; or were close contacts of people associated with the event,” according to a final report on the outbreak released by the Whatcom County Health Department.

“Most of the ill people were children, including older children who helped with the event. More than 1,000 children from primary schools in Whatcom County attended the event on these days,” report said..

The bacteria, a virulent form of the bacteria Esherichia coli, called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe diarrhea and in some cases a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, that can lead to kidney failure. Contamination of the fairgrounds most likely occurred before the Milk Makers Fest.

Investigators identified 25 people confirmed cases:

  • 9 of these cases were considered secondary cases (the ill person didn’t attend the event but had close contact with someone who did attend).
  • 10 people were hospitalized.
  • 6 people developed HUS.

No one died as a result of the outbreak.
Continue reading

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New preventive health services approved for no-cost coverage

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ACA health reform logoBy Michelle Andrews
KHN

The list continued to grow of preventive services that people are entitled to receive without paying anything out of pocket.

In 2014, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended two new servicesand tweaked a handful of others that had previously been recommended.

Under the health law, preventive care that receives an “A” or “B” recommendation by the nonpartisan group of medical experts must be covered by health plans without charging consumers. Only grandfathered plans are exempt from the requirement.

The new recommended services are: Hepatitis B screening for adolescents and adults at high risk for infection, and low-dose aspirin use for pregnant women who are at high risk for preeclampsia, a condition characterized by an abrupt increase in blood pressure that can lead to serious complications for the woman and baby.

In its Hepatitis B screening recommendation, the task force said there was new evidence that antiviral treatments improved outcomes in people at high risk for the liver infection, including those from countries where the infection is common, people who are HIV-positive and injection drug users. Continue reading

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FDA Panel Endorses Women’s Libido Pill – WebMD

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fda-logo-thumbnailAn advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended approval Thursday of what many call the “female Viagra” pill.

The panel voted 18-6 that the FDA grant approval to the drug, flibanseri, which is designed to boost a lack of sexual desire in premenopausal women.

However, the panel members who voted yes said full FDA approval should come with certain conditions.

Source: FDA Panel Endorses Women’s Libido Pill – WebMD

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Pentagon appeals for scientists’ help tracking anthrax shipments | Reuters

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AnthraxThe Pentagon on Thursday asked microbiologists for help in tracking samples of anthrax that the army shipped to at least 51 labs in 17 U.S. states and three foreign countries, according to an announcement shared with Reuters.

The request indicates that the Pentagon does not know where the anthrax wound up.

Source: Pentagon appeals for scientists’ help tracking anthrax shipments | Reuters

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