Archive for Health/Nursing

United States Health Statistics, 2016

Health, United States, 2016 is the fortieth volume in this ongoing series of presenting vast amounts of data regarding the health of this country. Rather than plow through this voluminous report, selected topics are broken out and aggregated for ease of reading. This year the “chartbook” focuses on long-term trends in health.

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Here’s What the RAND Corporation Says About Transgender Military Personnel

The RAND Corporation is one of the most prestigious think tanks around. Read its report of transgender people serving in the military: Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly. This CRS report – Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity in the Armed Services: Background and Issues for Congress – provides needed contextual information.


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Are Sugar-Free Foods Good For You?

If you read this article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, you won’t think so. Its interpretation reads thusly: “Evidence from RCTs [randomized controlled trials] does not clearly support the intended benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners for weight management, and observational data suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI and cardiometabolic risk.”


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Is Coffee Good For You?

If you believe the current news reports/interpretations of two studies (abstract of the first study; abstract of the second study), yes. However, this BBC article written in response to these studies presents a more nuanced approach to what is presented in the media. To say that the controversy over the benefits or drawbacks of coffee consumption is a contentious one is an understatement; a simple literature review of “coffee benefits” in a medical database yields 810 results for the past year alone!

This 1682 publication – The natural history of coffee, chocolate, thee, tobacco, in four several sections: with a tract of elder and juniper-berries, shewing how useful they may be in our coffee-houses ; and also the way of making mum, with some remarks upon that liquor –  makes some salient points supportive of both sides, giving us an indication of how long this dispute has been around:

“…As for the qualities and nature of Coffee, our own
Countryman, Dr Willis, has publilh’d a very rational
Account, whofe great Reputation and Authority are of
no fmali force; he fays, that in feveral Headachs, Diz-
zinefs. Lethargies, and Catarrhs, where there is a grofs
habit of Body, and a cold heavy Conflirution, there
Coffee may be proper, and fuccefsful; and in thefe cafes
he fent his Patients to the Coffee-Houje rather than to the
Apothecaries Shop: but where the temperament is hot
and lean, and active, there Coffee may not be very agree-
able, becaufe it may difpofe the Body to inquietudes…”(10)

That the aforementioned coffee houses were seen as less than healthful places   (on so many levels) can be found in these ballads dating from the 17th century.

A fascinating 1792 history of coffee, replete with sources (though source citation is a bit weak), is A treatise concerning the properties and effects of coffee ; beginning on page 41, you can find a list of benefits and harms of this beverage.

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World Health Statistics 2017

Published by the World Health Organization, this annual publication contains statistical information on its 194 member nations. “World Health Statistics 2917 focuses on the health and health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)[with 2030 set as the target date]….”(8). Thirty-five indicators are listed along with success stories of nations making progress toward the SDGs. This 2017 report from the National Academies Press is of relevant interest as well – Global Health and Future Role of the United States.


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Voting on the American Health Care Act Is Live!

Please come here to C-SPAN.

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Racial Disparities in Health Decline But Are Still Significant

The latest “early release” MMWR report from the CDC – Vital Signs: Racial Disparities in Age-Specific Mortality Among Blacks or African Americans — United States, 1999–2015 – shows that “Although the overall life expectancy at birth has increased for both blacks and whites and the gap between these populations has narrowed, disparities in life expectancy and the leading causes of death for blacks compared with whites in the United States remain substantial.” (Abstract) The report presents data and tables buttressing its argument that more needs to be done. Infographics and additional pertinent links are also available.

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