Entries in Center for Disease Control (7)


Report: US Mortality Rate Falls to All Time Low

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The number of deaths in the U.S. fell for the tenth straight year in 2009, reaching an all time low, according to a new report released Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC report found that there were 741 deaths per a population of 100,000, marking a 2.3 percent drop from the 2008 rate of 758.7.  More specifically, the report noted that there were 2,436,682 deaths in the U.S. in 2009 compared to 2,473,018 the previous year.

The death rates among some of the leading causes of death also dropped significantly from 2008, with heart disease declining by 3.7 percent, cancer by 1.1 percent, stroke by 4.2 percent and homicide by 6.8 percent.

Moreover, the mortality rate for infants also hit a record low in 2009, falling to 6.42 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 2008's rate of 6.59.

On another note, the report also found that life expectancy at birth went up by 0.2 years since 2008 to 78.2.

The report, entitled Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2009, was based on more than 96 percent of death certificates reported through the National Vital Statistics System from all 50 U.S. states.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clean Water, Shelter Among Top Health Concerns Following a Tsunami

STR/AFP/Getty Images. Tsunami tidal waves move upstream in the Naka river at Hitachinaka city in Ibaraki prefecture in Japan.(ATLANTA) -- After a tsunami hits, like the one that struck the northeastern coast of Japan Friday following an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the primary public health concerns are providing survivors with clean drinking water, food, shelter, and medical attention for any injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flooding spurred by tsunamis can contaminate water and food supplies, posing a risk to people's health.  Furthermore, the giant waves can displace people from their homes, leaving them susceptible to insect exposure, heat, and several other environmental hazards.

Although the majority of deaths that result from tsunamis are related to drownings, the CDC says victims can be inflicted with many injuries, such as broken limbs and trauma to the head, as they are washed into debris and rubble left behind from the environmental disaster.  It is imperative that people be treated for these injuries before they worsen, especially in areas where not many medical resources exist.

It is not yet known how many people have been affected by the massive tsunami that hit Japan Friday, but the death toll is expected to be well into the hundreds. The full impact of the quake will be better known Saturday once daylight hits the region.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Some Painkillers Safer Than Others, Study Finds

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BOSTON) -- For the first time, research has compared the safety of some of the most commonly used painkillers.  And the drugs that raised the biggest questions?  Opioids -- the regularly prescribed class of painkillers that include Vicodin and OxyContin.

In two new reports published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that opioid users experienced higher rates of serious problems than patients taking other types of painkillers, such as coxibs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.

The use of hydrocodone, brand name Vicodin, and oxycodone, brand name OxyContin, nearly doubled between 2001 and 2006.  Doctors said a major reason for the spike came from noncancer patients taking the painkiller.

And last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of fatal opioid poisonings more than tripled from 4,000 to 13,800 deaths between 1999 and 2006.

In the first report, researchers collected Medicare data between the years 1996 and 2005, including information from more than 31,000 older Americans who had been prescribed an NSAID, coxib or opioid.  The report found that opioid users experienced higher rates of cardiovascular problems and fractures than patients taking other types of painkillers.

In the second report, the authors compared the rates of serious problems occurring after 30 and 180 days among patients taking one of five opioids: codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, propoxyphene and tramadol.  They found that patients taking codeine or oxycodone were about twice as likely to die from any cause compared with patients taking hydrocodone, an opioid similar to oxycodone and stronger than codeine.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients Grow Weary of Doubt

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are largely unknown, but some possible triggers include infectious agents, immunological dysfunction and nutritional deficiency.

The condition has long been surrounded by controversy. For years, many doctors wouldn't recognize chronic fatigue syndrome as a legitimate disorder. Many CFS patients say they have visited doctors who are totally unaware of the illness. When tested, patients' lab work often comes back clear, and because of this, some doctors have argued that the condition is psychological, not physiological.

In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University School of Medicine, researchers found that CFS was associated with an increased prevalence of personality disorders. Authors also said that personality may be a risk factor for CFS and may contribute to the maintenance of the illness.

But Dr. Elizabeth R. Unger, acting chief of CDC's Chronic Viral Diseases Branch and spokesperson for the study, said that personality disorders may not cause CFS but rather, act as a secondary symptom of any chronic or severe disease.

"Other studies have found personality disorders were associated with fatigue and depression, as well as with chronic fatigue syndrome," said Unger. "The objectives of this study were to follow up on previous personality research as well as to describe the prevalence of personality disorders in people with CFS."

In the study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, the authors examined more than 500 patients from Georgia. More than 100 participants had been diagnosed with CFS, 264 participants had unexplained fatigue without CFS and another 124 healthy participants made up the control group.

Investigators administered the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire, a survey used by health professionals to screen clients for various personality disorders. Study authors said that 29 percent of participants with CFS had at least one personality disorder, compared with 28 percent of the non-CFS patients and seven percent of the control group.

"A lot of people cried foul when this study came out, and since then, there has been rigorous debate," said Dr. Nancy Klimas, a professor of medicine, psychology, microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "My reaction from my own clinical experience is: No, I don't believe that. My patients tend not to have those [personality] issues."

"I feel bad about this study because these poor patients get nothing but attitude, they're patronized and have a poor standard of care," said Klimas. "It's just not right. They're terribly ill and they deserve better than that. "

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


MRI Could Detect Stroke Onset

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PARIS) -- A study by the Universite Paris Descartes in France suggests that MRI images can help pinpoint the onset of stroke in some patients, according to HealthDay News.

Stroke patients whose symptoms began in their sleep may be able to use magnetic resonance imaging to determine if a clot-busting therapy -- which is most effective when administered within three hours of suffering a stroke -- could save their life.

About 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, and around 137,000 die as a result, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


One-Third of Americans Could Have Diabetes by 2050

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As many as 1 in 3 American adults might have diabetes by the year 2050, according to a new projection from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently, just 1 in 10 adults has diabetes. The CDC attributed the potential increase to an older, more diverse population with a longer lifespan.

"These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of type 2 diabetes," said Ann Albright, PhD. RD, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation.  "Successful programs to improve lifestyle choices on healthy eating and physical activity must be made more widely available, because the stakes are too high and the personal toll too devastating to fail."

Proper diet and physical activity can reduce the risk of diabetes and help to control the condition in people with diabetes.  

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include older age, obesity, family history, having diabetes while pregnant, a sedentary lifestyle and race/ethnicity.  African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and some Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk for the disease.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


FDA Receives Complaints About Brazilian Blowout Product

Photo Caption -- ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Friday it has received complaints that Brazilian Blowout hair-straightening products have caused “eye irritation, breathing problems and headaches.”

“From our understanding of how this type of hair straightening product is used, there appears to be the possibility for formaldehyde to be released into the air after the product has been applied to the hair and heated,” the FDA reports.

Health Canada, the FDA’s apparently more competent cousin to the north, Thursday asked salons to stop using the products.

“Testing conducted by Health Canada found that the Brazilian Blowout Solution contains 12% formaldehyde,” the agency reported.

On Thursday, Sept. 30, The Oregon Health and Science University issued a public health alert about the product, in which it said two formulations of the product contained 4.85 percent to 10.6 percent formaldehyde.  If a hair treatment solution contains more than 0.1 percent formaldehyde, the manufacturer is required to alert the stylist.  Additional laboratory analysis also detected four additional chemicals in each sample that were not quantified in the lab, including methanol and ethanol.

Everyone is exposed to small amounts of formaldehyde in air and some foods and products.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says low levels of exposure can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat.  High levels of exposure may cause some kinds of cancers, the CDC says.

The makers of Brazilian Blowout defended their product, saying they were conducting their own investigation. Because OSHA did not request samples directly from the company, Brazilian Blowout is questioning the results.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio