Category: Uncategorized

Smokers are suckers: How far is too far?

A recent French campaign (photo below) against adolescent smoking has caused an international debate on the use of what are called ‘incongruous metaphors’ in public health prevention.  In this case, the metaphor – though not explicit – is highly suggestive of what amounts to a submissive sexual act between an adult and a minor.

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Arizona shootings and mental health awareness

In the midst of the Arizona tragedy, I hope that there is at least one lesson that comes out of the horrific situation. The act that Jared Loughner allegedly committed is undeniably sad and inexcusable, but draws attention to the need for mental health awareness.

As also iterated in the Santa Barbara Independent, although we are not able to understand the motivations behind the shootings on Sunday, attention should be drawn to the fact that those living with mental illness, as it has been suspected that Loughner was, are no more likely to commit violent acts than the general population. A small group of individuals with specific types of mental illness that are left untreated are those that are more prone to violence.

Attention should also be drawn to the issues of funding and education related to mental health. Loughner never received treatment for mental illness, even after his behavior was deemed a problem by teachers and others at the community college he attended, as reported on CBS. But one may wonder- were any of the people in contact with this young man even aware of the mental health services available in their community? Were they educated in the warning signs of mental illness?

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Will IVF result in a baby? There’s an app for that

iPhoneA new iPhone app, which can also be accessed online at, was recently developed by British researchers and will predict a woman’s chances of conceiving when using in vitro fertilization (IVF). The tool asks nine questions and then calculates the probability of IVF leading to a baby.

The test, created by Debbie Lawlor from the University of Bristol in England and Scott Nelson from the University of  Glasglow in Scotland, is based on their analysis of data on over 144,000 IVF cycles from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in Britain. The questions on the test range from basic like mother’s age to more involved such as the type of medicine that will be used in IVF. Speaking to this new tool in TIME, the authors say,

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Mother-daughter communication for HPV vaccination

Photo credit to footlooseity on flickr.

If you want to talk about the HPV vaccine, what is the best way to reach a young adult woman?

New exploratory research around HPV vaccine uptake has been published this month in the journal of Health Communication Research.  According to today’s press release from Ohio State University (OSU), featured on, Janice Krieger and her team at OSU administered surveys to 182 mother-daughter pairs.  The two versions of the survey were similar; items included attitudes towards the HPV vaccine, fears about susceptibility to HPV, perceived severity of HPV-caused illnesses.  Additional questions included whether or not the daughter had received the 3-dose HPV vaccine and whether or not the mother-daughter pair had discussed the vaccine.

The findings?

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Massive polio outbreak in Nigeria prompts new health communication plan

polio vaccination posterHealth communication is recognized as part of the solution to decrease the incidences of polio in northern Nigeria, as reported on

A team of communication experts is traveling to Nigeria this week in order to talk to the Nigerian community and develop better ways to get public health messages about polio vaccines out to community leaders. This team is from Michigan State University and is using a $384,000 grant from the World Health Organization to design a health communications plan.

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Youth attitudes change after ban on point-of-sale tobacco displays

The removal of in-store tobacco displays is an impactful strategy to lower population-level smoking rates.In an effort to change social norms and prevent the many health consequences of tobacco use, in-store tobacco displays were removed in the Republic of Ireland on July 1, 2009.  Since then, a team of researchers, led by Ann McNeill, at the University of Nottingham have been studying the impact of the ban.   Study results were published online last month by the journal Tobacco Control and featured by health news sites and

Data indicate that since removal of these point-of-sale communications, youth attitudes towards smoking have changed significantly.

How so?

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Time for a sequel: Chromium-6 still in the water

Hexavalent chromium has been linked specifically to stomach cancer and other severe gastrointestinal diseases.

Hexavalent chromium has been linked specifically to stomach cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases. A recent report finds the chemical is still in the water in many U.S. cities. Be careful what you drink.

The movie ended happily ever after: Erin Brockivich saves the residents of a small California town from the big bad power company who lied about the carcinogenic hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) levels in the water, and Erin gets a fat paycheck, too.

So, why is this cancer-causing stuff still rampant in the American water supply? Ends up real life isn’t as clean cut as a movie ending.

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