Child Injuries and Deaths From Button Batteries Increasing

Button batteries may pose serious threats to young children who may ingest them, according to an analysis that found such injuries are becoming more prevalent. Image: iStockphoto.com/design56

The proliferation of products powered by small, button-sized batteries is resulting in increasing numbers of children ending up in the emergency department because of injuries caused by exposure to these batteries. This finding was published in the August 31 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Batteries and the caustic acids within them have long posed a threat to young children, who may put them in their mouths and swallow them. But, the reports notes, as use of small coin- or button-sized batteries in such products as watches, remote controls, toys, and some children’s jewelry has grown, so has the number of battery-related injuries in children. Continue reading

JAMA Forum — The Republican Ticket: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the Magic Asterisk

David Cutler, PhD

David Cutler, PhD

The press has focused a lot on the similarities between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They are both technocratic, they espouse tax cuts, and they believe in a balanced budget. But there is a deeper similarity as well: they both believe deeply in the “magic asterisk.” Continue reading

Long-Term Weight Loss Aided by Boosting Fruit, Vegetable Consumption

Boosting produce consumption may help postmenopausal women lose weight and keep it off. Image: iStockphoto.com/Steve Debenport

Eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting back on consumption of meat, cheese, sweetened beverages, and desserts are strategies that may help postmenopausal women lose weight and keep it off, according to a study published today in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

After menopause, many women find it more difficult to maintain their weight or to lose weight, partly resulting from the decreased expenditure of energy associated with aging as well as metabolic changes associated with weight loss, according to the authors. Continue reading

Author Insights: Midlife Fitness May Ease the Burden of Chronic Disease Later in Life

Jarett D. Berry, MD, MS, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues found that having high levels of fitness in middle age is associated with avoiding or delaying chronic disease in late life. (Image: UT Southwestern Medical Center)

Being fit in middle life appears protective against developing chronic diseases later in old age and is also associated with living the final 5 years of life with fewer chronic diseases. The findings appear today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from the Cooper Institute and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas studied 18 670 healthy participants in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study who lived long enough to receive Medicare coverage (a benefit that typically becomes available at age 65 years) from 1999 through 2009. Fitness in midlife was assessed by a Balke treadmill test. The median age of the study population at the time of enrollment was 49 years, and 21% of them were women. Using Medicare data to determine which participants had certain chronic conditions, the researchers found that for both men and women, those who had been in the highest quintile of fitness in middle age were less likely than those who had been in the lowest quintile of fitness in middle age to have 1 or more chronic conditions. The chronic conditions assessed were congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer disease, and colon or lung cancer. Continue reading

Kindergarteners’ Vaccinations Didn’t Meet Goals Last Year, Says CDC

Last year’s kindergarteners didn’t meet all national immunization goals. (Image: Michael Zhang/iStockphoto.com)

As another school year begins, federal health officials reported today that immunization rates among last year’s kindergarteners fell just short of national public health goals.

Reports from 47 states and the District of Columbia showed that even though immunization with 3 vaccines—diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis, poliovirus, and hepatitis B—met or exceeded the 95% coverage goal, immunization with 2 other vaccines did not.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 94.8% of kindergarteners were properly vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). The low rate was 86.8% in Colorado and the high was 99.3% in Texas. In the 33 states that reported varicella immunization rates, 93.2% of the children received the recommended 2 doses of vaccine. The range was between 84% in Colorado and 99.2% in Mississippi and Texas. Continue reading