CDC Survey: Obesity is Still Growing in America

by Julie Fidler – Diabetes rates also climbing. One of the largest surveys of health in the United States reveals some sobering, though not entirely unexpected news: Americans are fatter than ever. Ouch. The CDC has been asking Americans 18 and older about their health and their family members’ health every year since 1957. The National Health Interview Survey, which contains data from 2015 on more than 100,000 people, shows that more Americans had health insurance and smoked fewer cigarettes in 2015 than in previous years, but obesity and diabetes rates are still climbing. In 2015, 30.4% of Americans age 20 and older said they were obese, up from 29.9% in 2014. It’s not a huge increase, but it represents a continuation of a trend that has been going on since at least 1997, when researchers began using the current survey format. At that time, the obesity rate was only 19.4%. Source: BGR Brian Ward, health statistician...

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New Data Proves How Effective Gun Control Laws Are

by Ryan Denson – The liberal “third-world hell hole” (as Ann Coulter calls it) that is California has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the United States, far surpassing Illinois and New York. Naturally, Republicans will use these facts to somehow smear the liberal state as being one that exhibits the most gun violence around — even though red states produce more gun violence per capita than blue. Surprisingly, what many people may not know — and what they won’t hear on Fox News — is that California has experienced a sharp decline in gun violence over the last 20 years, putting a fatal dent in the right’s scare tactics when it comes to guns and the Second Amendment. Gavin Newsome, California’s current Lieutenant Governor, recently spoke at a press conference regarding Prop 63, which limited magazine sizes, banned the sale of assault weapons, and conducted background checks on...

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Highlighting Damage of Lack of Clinic Funding, CDC Says STDs at All-Time High

by Andrea Germanos – “Given the surge in STDs, now is not the time to reduce funding to combat these diseases,” says National Coalition of STD Directors. At a moment of diminishing clinic services, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the country is the highest on record, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this week. “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, in a press statement. He added that “we’re beginning to see people slip through the public health safety net.” Noting that the new data, released Wednesday, only shows reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, the CDC says that its “annual surveillance report captures only a fraction of the true burden of STDs in America.” Indeed, the CDC says that...

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Physicians Demand End To 20-Year-Old Ban On Gun Violence Research

by ALEX ZIELINSKI – Mass shootings, gang violence, domestic abuse, suicide, accidents — gun violence in the United States comes in many forms. And often. In the past week, the country has seen already two mass shootings. Every day, 89 people die because of gun-related violence. Experts estimate guns may soon surpass vehicle accidents to the country’s leading cause of deaths. President Barack Obama has repeatedly urged lawmakers to not make this the “new normal.” But when it comes to finding solutions to this national problem, there’s a major roadblock standing in the way. It’s been decades since any federally funded scientific research has been done on the issue. That’s why members of Congress joined physicians from across the country Wednesday morning to demand an end to the Dickey Amendment, a 20-year-old law banning any scientific research on gun violence. “Gun violence is among the most difficult public health challenges...

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Doctors Petition To Eliminate Ban On Gun Violence Research

by BETTINA WEISS – Although injury prevention research has been proven effective in creating change in various public health issues, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has not studied gun violence in the past 20 years. It’s not because there is lackluster interest in the subject or because it isn’t a prevalent epidemic. It’s because of one small provision that has been tacked on to legislation since 1996. Despite executive action from President Barack Obama in 2013, researchers have stayed far away from allocating funds to gun violence research. This “self-imposed ban” has been a frustrating issue for many groups of people including advocates, lawmakers, and public officials. However, a new voice has emerged in the discussion: doctors. Doctors For America (DFA) has started a petition to lift the CDC ban and hopes to have their considerations heard before the Appropriations Bill is signed on December 10. In 1996, the National Rifle...

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Pharmaceutical Company With Monopoly On Lifesaving Treatment Jacks Up Prices

by SAM P.K. COLLINS – The ongoing fight over Big Pharma’s pricing policies continues as congressional leaders shift their focus to a drug that police departments use to treat heroin overdoses. While law enforcement agencies have become more accepting of this approach to combat drug abuse, recent price spikes put the future of city and state distribution programs in jeopardy. Earlier this week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) blasted Amphaster Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the drug naloxone, in a letter in which the duo questioned the rationale of increasing the price of the drug during a time when heroin overdose deaths have more than tripled within a three-year period. “Over the past several months, police departments, law enforcement agencies, and public health officials across the country have warned about the increasing price of naloxone, which they use to combat the scourge of heroin abuse,” Sanders and...

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Budget Cuts Don’t Save Money

by Dave Johnson – Cutting federal spending doesn’t “save money” – certainly not the way conservatives in Congress and in the states have been doing it. If you cut the Internal Revenue Service budget, that obviously increases the deficit because it lowers the government’s ability to collect tax revenue. If you cut the infrastructure budget, obviously after a while bridges start to fall down. That costs money. And lives. And, of course, if you cut the health and research budgets, diseases can spread and cures are not found. An article in Scientific American magazine by an infectious disease specialist spells out the consequences as the United States deals with the threat of the Ebola virus: NIH’s budget was reduced by $446 million from 2010 to 2014, and subjected to inappropriate politically motivated interference in its decision making. The CDC’s discretionary funding was...

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CDC Announces Astronomical Autism Rate: 1 in 68 Children

What is to blame for the incredible rise in children with autism in the United States? The Centers for Disease Control recently announced that 1 in 68 children in America has an autism spectrum disorder. Now out of every child born, 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls will suffer from autism or autism-like symptoms, a rate that has more than doubled since 2002. The causes of autism are a controversial subject. Some believe that these children are gifted with emotional clarity and insight that those of us have yet to develop, but others see it as an epidemic, which may be the result of a gamut of different factors. What are the Causes? Scientists first thought that autism was simply genetic, but environment has been proven to contribute significantly to the disease, not unlike other health issues that are triggered by toxin exposure, diet, and lifestyle choices. Developing...

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CDC: Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million by January

New estimates reveal how continued lack of needed global response could lead to explosion in number of cases in Sierra Leone, Liberia by Andrea Germanos – The number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach as many as 1.4 million by January, according to new estimates by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency describes the current outbreak of the virus sweeping West Africa as the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It has already infected over 5,800 people, with over 3,000 of them appearing in Liberia alone. Over 2800 deaths have occurred as a result of outbreak, as already weak public health systems have been strained amidst what health experts charge has been a “totally, and lethally, inadequate.” international response. Health workers and observers have stressed that the number of cases may be vastly under-reported. The estimates revealed Tuesday by the CDC are...

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New England Compounding Center Supervising Pharmacist Arrested at Logan International Airport

A Canton, Massachusetts, man was arrested last Thursday at Boston’s Logan International Airport in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation of New England Compounding Center (NECC) by the Justice Department’s Civil Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Glenn Adam Chin, 46, was attempting to board a plane to Hong Kong when he was arrested by federal authorities on one count of mail fraud.  He is scheduled to appear before Chief Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts later today.  The maximum sentence under the statute is 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch have conducted an active, ongoing criminal investigation of NECC since the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak began in the fall of 2012.  Following the outbreak, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 751 patients across the country were diagnosed with a fungal infection after receiving injections of...

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Meet the Doctor Who Gave $1 Million of His Own Money to Keep His Gun Research Going

by Lois Beckett, ProPublica – Since Congress pressured the CDC to stop funding research on gun violence, Dr. Garen Wintemute has donated more than $1.1 million of his own money to keep his research going. Federal funding for research on gun violence has been restricted for nearly two decades. President Obama urged Congress to allocate $10 million for new research after the Newtown school shooting. But House Republicans say they won’t approve it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget still lists zero dollars for research on gun violence prevention. One of the researchers who lost funding in the political battle over studying firearms was Dr. Garen Wintemute, a professor of emergency medicine who runs the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis. Wintemute is, by his own count, one of only a dozen researchers across the country who have continued to focus full-time on firearms...

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Republicans Say No to CDC Gun Violence Research

by Lois Beckett, ProPublica – Giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention money for gun violence research is a “request to fund propaganda,” a Georgia congressman says After the Sandy Hook school shooting, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) was one of a few congressional Republicans who expressed a willingness to reconsider the need for gun control laws. “Put guns on the table, also put video games on the table, put mental health on the table,” he said less than a week after the Newtown shootings. He told a local TV station that he wanted to see more research done to understand mass shootings. “Let’s let the data lead rather than our political opinions.” For nearly 20 years, Congress has pushed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to steer clear of firearms violence research. As chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that traditionally sets CDC funding, Kingston has been...

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