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Grady Memorial Hospital

Grady Memorial Hospital is closing three Women, Infants and Children offices Friday. The offices delivered services for the WIC program. The federally-funded program provides breastfeeding support and healthy food benefits for low income women and their children.

At least four Georgians have fallen ill as a result of a salmonella outbreak that is suspected of sickening people in 19 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating the outbreak.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black says investigators are examining several potential sources for the illnesses, but have yet to determine an official cause.

Does HPV Affect African American Women Differently?

Apr 5, 2012
euthman/Flickr.com

New research suggests there might be a difference in the time it takes for white women and African American women to fight off HPV infections. But most findings point to access to health care services as the main problem.

When it comes to cervical cancer caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, African American women have higher rates than their white counterparts. Reduced access to pap smears in some areas may be the reason why.

A new study by the University of Georgia shows exercise can reduce depression symptoms in patients with chronic illness. To complete the study, researchers analyzed more than 90 randomized controlled trials.

At the beginning of the trials, thousands of patients with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and various cancers were asked questions about depression.

“Questions like whether were sleeping adequately, how sad or happy they felt, if they were eating too much or too little.”

This week the annual County Health Rankings were revealed. It ranks counties in every state, including the District of Columbia, on overall health and wellness measures.

Congratulations Fayette County, Angela Russell says you are the healthiest region in Georgia.

“They’re doing well with the percent of adults that smoke so limited adult smoking, low teen birth rate, they have good access to primary care physician and good educational outcomes” says the associate researcher with the University of Wisconsin.

Getting away from "pink slime"

Apr 4, 2012

In the agriculture industry, there’s a branding war going on. Last week, Kansas, Texas and Iowa got on one side of the war. Georgia joined them today.

It starts as fatty beef tissue from cattle carcasses. It’s treated with ammonium hydroxide to lower the risk of E.Coli and other food borne illnesses. It’s also passed state and federal inspections.

What is it called? Gary Black says you should call it lean finely textured beef or LFTB.

Monday was World Autism Awareness day. It comes just after a newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study (PDF), which found a 78% increase in the number of U.S. autism cases between 2002 and 2008.

Gary Meek

By designing a blueprint for a nuclear clock, Georgia Tech researchers think they’ve found a better way to measure time.

Atomic clocks are the most precise clocks now in use. But researchers say atomic clocks fall out of sync with each other, even if it’s by four seconds over 14 billion years. Nuclear clocks, on the other hand, would get out of sync by a fraction of that.

So why is being more precise important?

Website shares Georgia cancer information

Mar 28, 2012
georgiacore.org

Experts predict more than 48-thousand Georgians will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Organizers say a new website is designed to better inform cancer patients and their families.

Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education President Nancy Paris says many cancer patients have asked for cancer specialists and if those doctors were using the latest treatments.

“We just realized that we had a lot of information at our fingertips that wasn’t available to the public,” said Paris.

An Atlanta health partnership will be the first in the Southeast to offer a new prenatal test that can more accurately detect genetic conditions like Down syndrome in unborn babies.

Some pregnant women may undergo invasive procedures to rule out genetic disorders in their unborn babies. Doctors want to reduce the number of women who may receive these invasive tests unnecessarily.

Due to a growing problem with accidental overdoses among teens, authorities in Forsyth County are setting up a “drug take back box" for un-used prescription drugs.

 According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, overdose deaths involving prescription drugs are up 15 percent since the state started to track them in 2008.

Kroger to No Longer Carry “Pink Slime” Beef

Mar 23, 2012
m.mate/Flickr.com

One of metro-Atlanta’s largest grocery chains has vowed to no longer carry meat with lean finely textured beef, an additive known to some as “pink slime.”

The Kroger Co. previously sold ground beef both with and without the additive and offered to help people navigate its offerings. But after getting an earful from customers, the store decided this week it will no longer carry ground beef with “pink slime.”

A new study led by a research scientist at the University of Georgia found that African-Americans in Georgia are less likely than whites to survive after being diagnosed with cancer. The study was recently published in the journal Cancer.

The study is one of the first to use what’s called mortality to incidence ratio or MIR.

“The MIR is essentially an estimate of kind of  survival. It can be thought of that way.”

Sara Wagner is an assistant research scientist in UGA’s College of Public Health:

Bed Bugs On Rise in Atlanta

Mar 20, 2012
CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack

Atlanta ranks 21st in the country for bed bug treatments, according to the pest control company Orkin. That’s compared to being ranked 45th two years ago.

These blood-sucking invaders aren’t invited into most homes and hotels. But that doesn’t stop them from coming in anyway.

Ron Harrison with Orkin says there’s a shift in the places you may find bed bugs.

CDC Launches Hard-Hitting Campaign Against Smoking

Mar 19, 2012
Fried Dough/Flickr.com

The CDC is launching a hard-hitting campaign to encourage the country’s 45 million smokers to quit. The project, called “Tips From Former Smokers,” will appear nationally on radio, TV, print and online outlets beginning today.

Terrie Hall from North Carolina looks into a camera in front of her.

“I’m Terrie and I used to be a smoker," she says. "I want to give you some tips about getting ready in the morning.”

Health care quality, access, and costs in the United States vary greatly from one community to the next…that’s the overall outcome of a newly released report.

It ranks and compares 300+ communities on overall complete healthcare.

Atlanta was included and there is great need for improvement.

The report is like a scorecard that uses various healthcare criteria to rate a community.

One of the major benchmarks was healthcare insurance.

Georgia Researcher Adds Context to Food Desert Discussion

Mar 12, 2012

When it comes to having access to fresh foods, some Southeastern communities struggle more than others. But new research shows there’s more to “food deserts” than previously thought.

The U.S. government defines these low-income areas as census tracts where a substantial number of residents have low access to a grocery store or supermarket. For most urban areas, this means at least 33 percent of the tract lives more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.

Stress in some people can elevate blood pressure.

Now, Emory researchers have found evidence that the spike in blood pressure could be an immune response—triggered by white blood cells known a “T-Cells.”

To better understand the relationship, scientists stuck a group of mice in small cells where other mice had left their scents.  That stressed out the little creatures—big time.  Their blood pressures went up.

Dr. Paul Marvar is an Emory researcher.  He explains scientists got very different results when they changed one thing.

A just-released report shows HIV rates among women in certain parts of the US are much higher than previously estimated.  

Researchers from the HIV Prevention Trials Network, which includes Emory University, recruited women from six large metropolitan areas in the Northeast and South.

Their findings—African American women in those cities were five times more likely to be HIV-positive than estimates used for African-American women as a whole in the US. 

Climate change could be causing harsh winters

Feb 29, 2012
Jiping Liu

After studying 30 years’ worth of data and building computer models, scientists think melted sea ice is causing more snowfall in winter.

Georgia Tech’s Jiping Liu, who led the study, says climate change has caused the Arctic ice to melt. But when it comes to the relationship between melted ice and snowfall, he says it’s more complicated.

“We are not certain if this relationship is due to climate change or natural variability. So we think we need more research, probably more data, to prove that,” says Liu.

He says the two may be related in a couple of ways.

The governor's proposed budget for 2013 includes the addition of about $7 million in state funds to raise Medicaid and PeachCare payment rates for physicians and hospitals.

The pay bump is a welcome development for providers, who say it will allow for more patient access to care.

Providers typically are left in the red after taking on patients who rely on Peachcare, the state-run health program for children, and Medicaid, the equivalent for the poor. 

Report Questions Eco-Friendliness of Biomass

Feb 14, 2012

Climate scientists had always assumed biomass, or fuel created from processed trees, grass, and waste material, was carbon neutral and therefore eco-friendly.

But a new study suggests the answer is a little more complicated and it could have implications for the future of America's clean energy policy.

Two of Georgia's largest heath insures have recently announced plans to raise payments to primary care doctors. It's part of an effort to better manage patient care and reduce costly hospital visits. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia says its new payment plan, which will roll out next year, will pay family medicine doctors, pediatricians, and internists up to 50 percent more than their current pay.

Spokeswoman Alexandra Leopold says Blue Cross wants to better incentivize these doctors to coordinate patient care beyond the initial checkup. 

A new, state-commissioned report is making the rounds among health advocates this week.

Hundreds of pages in length, the report lays out Georgia's options to handle the influx of applicants when the federal healthcare law takes effect in 2014.

Over the next few years, nearly 700,000 additional Georgians will be eligible for Medicaid or Peachcare, the state health insurance program for low-income kids.

Doctors and Defensive Medicine

Jan 17, 2012

The poll says 82 percent of physicians have ordered biopsies, x-rays, blood tests, CT scans, and other procedures with little or no clinical value - all in order to protect themselves from malpractice lawsuits

Dr. Jay Siegal of Patients for Fair Compensation says defensive medicine costs Georgians an estimated $14 billion per year and ultimately hurts patient care.

Medical schools across the state are now taking steps to better police these relationships in order to avoid the appearance of biased research.

The Medical College of Georgia in Augusta has recently limited the gift amount doctors can receive from drugmakers to $25.

Kids aren't the only ones taking drugs for ADHD.

In fact, over the past decade or so, use of the drugs by adults has grown at a far faster rate than it has for children, according to data from drug benefits manager Medco.

Atlanta, GA – A new policy that started this week at Grady Memorial Hospital requires uninsured out-of-county patients to pay for non-emergency services up-front. Experts say the policy could force more into clinics and emergency rooms throughout the metro area.

Grady officials say approximately ten percent of its more than 500,000 patient visits are from outside Fulton and DeKalb counties. Officials say of that number, Gwinnett, Clayton and Cobb counties account for the highest numbers of out-of-county patients.

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