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21 Oct

HealthDay Now: The Motivations Behind Conservatorships

In a HealthDay Now interview, we spoke to two experts to discover why 1.3 million Americans, including Britney Spears, are currently under a conservatorship — a legal arrangement that allows a court-appointed guardian to take control of another individual's daily life and decisions.

Health News Results - 38

Some Republicans Calling for 'Natural Immunity' Exception to COVID Vaccines

Republican lawmakers in several states are pushing vaccine mandate exemptions for workers who have so-called natural immunity due to a previous COVID-19 infection.

That's despite evidence that vaccination can reduce the risk of COVID-19 even for those with a history of infection, and the fact that there's no easy way to assess the protection provided by prior infection, CBS News ...

Abortion Remains Medically Safe for U.S. Women

Debate rages over access to abortion, but experts say the collected medical evidence makes one thing clear — it is a fundamentally safe procedure for women.

Abortion is safer than childbirth and it's also safer than a host of other common procedures — colonoscopy, tonsillectomy and plastic surgery, said Dr. Sarah Prager, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wa...

Biden Administration Moves to Cut Methane Emissions That Threaten Climate, Health

A new rule to sharply cut methane emissions and other oil and gas industry air pollutants that harm health and contribute to climate change is in the works.

The new Clean Air Act rule proposed Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would cut 41 million tons of methane emissions between 2023 and 2035.

That's the equivalent of 920 million metric tons of carbon dioxi...

How 1.3 Million Americans Became Controlled by Conservatorships

Pop singer Britney Spears was at the height of her fame in 2008 when, through a series of arcane legal maneuverings, her father gained conservatorship over her and took control of her personal and financial affairs.

Spears' plight and the #FreeBritney movement has shone a bright spotlight on America's guardianship system, which experts say is shrouded in secrecy, ripe for abuse and in des...

Over Half of Police Killings Aren't Reported, Blacks Most Likely Victims

While high-profile cases like the 2020 killing of George Floyd have cast a harsh spotlight on police violence in the United States, researchers say deaths attributable to it have been underreported for at least 40 years.

That's the key finding in a new study published Sept. 30 in The Lancet.

For the study, a team from the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seat...

Appeals Court Backs Florida's Ban on School Mask Mandates

The law on whether or not students in Florida schools will be required to wear masks has changed again.

On Friday the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee reinstated that state's ban on school mask mandates, CBS News reported.

The issue has been in flux since July, when Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order barring school districts from requiring that stu...

Judge Rules Against Florida's Ban on School Mask Mandates

School districts in Florida can require their students to wear masks, despite the governor's order blocking mask mandates -- for now at least.

A circuit court judge in Leon County ruled Wednesday that the state can't enforce Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on school mask mandates,CBS News reported.

"We're not in normal times. We are in a pandemic," said Leon County Circuit Judge...

How Did New 'Surprise Medical Bill' Laws Affect Your State?

Anesthesia is a vital part of almost every surgery, but unexpected bills for the service can cause a lot of pain. Now, a new study finds that these costs fell in several states that introduced legislation targeting "surprise" billing.

"These price declines show that state surprise billing laws both directly lower out-of-network prices and indirectly lower in-network prices, providing evid...

Pesticide Harmed Children's Brains: Lawsuits

Lawsuits claiming that the widely used bug killer chlorpyrifos caused brain damage in children were filed Monday in California.

Past research has shown that the pesticide harms the brains of fetuses and children, the Associated Press reported.

Chlorpyrifos is approved for use on more than 80 crops, but was banned for household use in 2001. The U.S. Environmental Protection ...

Pharmacy Exec Behind Meningitis Outbreak Gets Longer Prison Sentence

A longer prison sentence has been handed to the founder of a now-closed Massachusetts pharmaceutical facility responsible for the 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 100 people and sickened hundreds of others.

Barry Cadden, who was president and co-owner of the New England Compounding Center (NECC), received a 14-and-a-half year sentence from a federal judge Wednesday.

Cadden was ...

Pandemic Silver Lining: Global Decline in Urban Crime

COVID-19 lockdowns had at least one welcome upside: a significant drop in crime in cities worldwide, according to an international study.

Researchers analyzed crime data from 27 metro areas (including Chicago; London; Sao Paulo; Barcelona, Spain; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Brisbane, Australia) and found big declines in most types of crimes, with the notable exception of homicide.

"City l...

Tougher Gun Laws, Fewer Gun Deaths: Study

The more gun laws a state has, the lower its suicide and murder rates, a new U.S. study finds.

Gun violence in the United States is a public health crisis. In 2017, nearly 67,000 Americans died by suicide and homicide. And guns were involved in about half of the suicides and 74% of the murders, the researchers reported.

But in recent decades, "as states' strictness [on gun ownership...

Despite Pandemic's Toll, Many Older Adults Don't Have Living Wills

As the coronavirus pandemic continues in the United States, less than half of older Americans have legally stated their wishes should they become seriously ill, a new survey finds.

People 50 and older are at increased risk for severe COVID-19, and the pandemic may be an opportunity for them to discuss health care issues with their family and document their preferences if they suffer sever...

Want Less Violent Prisons? Plant More Trees

It's already known that green space offers significant benefits in institutional settings, such as hospitals and schools, but new research suggests it may also reduce violence in prisons.

In the new study, researchers compared the amount of trees, lawns and shrubs at prisons in England and Wales with data on violence between prisoners, prisoner assaults on staff and prisoner self-harm.

Tougher State Gun Laws, Less Gun Violence Among Teens: Study

States with more gun laws have less youth gun violence, new research reveals.

For the study, the researchers examined data from several states from 2005 to 2017, and found that kids were less likely to be armed in states with more gun laws, and more likely to carry a weapon in states with fewer gun laws.

Louisiana and Arkansas had the highest percentage of armed youth in 2017 at 12....

Too Many U.S. Doctors Biased Against Patients With Disabilities: Study

Dr. Lisa Iezzoni is all too familiar with the discrimination that patients who have a disability can face: Having lived with multiple sclerosis for more than four decades and now in a wheelchair, she has also studied health care experiences and outcomes for people with disabilities for more than 20 years.

But her new survey on doctors' attitudes towards disabled patients still surprised h...

As More Legal Pot Dispensaries Open, More Young Adults Start Using

As more states legalize marijuana and more shops begin to sell it, more young adults are using pot and developing drug-use disorders, a new study finds.

For the study, researchers looked at young adults in Los Angeles County before and after retail sale of recreational marijuana was legalized in California.

The study linked areas with many pot shops, particularly unlicensed retailer...

Police Use of Neck Restraint Never Medically Appropriate, Neurologists Say

Despite training that teaches police officers to use neck restraints, there is no medical justification for the tactic, three neurologists write in JAMA Neurology.

The killing of George Floyd, who died in May 2020 after an arresting police officer pressed a knee to his neck for more than eight minutes, helped spark a nationwide conversation about racial injustice.

While Fl...

Teen Pot Use Makes a Comeback After Legalization

Steady reductions in teen marijuana use in Washington state may have been disrupted by legalization of the drug, a new study suggests.

Teens interviewed after voters approved recreational pot in 2012 were several times more likely to report past-year marijuana use. That suggests legalization may be working against decreases in teen drug use, said lead author Jennifer Bailey. She is pr...

Injuries Shoot Up After Fireworks Laws Loosened in West Virginia

West Virginia loosened fireworks sales rules in 2016. And since then, the state has seen a 40% boom in fireworks-related injuries, researchers say.

The regulation change made it easier for people to buy Class C fireworks such as Roman candles, bottle rockets and fountains.

"Since there has been a trend among states to liberalize these laws, I think it is wise for states ...

Jailing, Arrest Practices Are Fueling COVID-19 Spread: Study

One Chicago jail is linked with nearly 16% of COVID-19 cases in the city and in Illinois, a new study finds.

The researchers said their findings show that U.S. arrest and jailing practices pose a major public health risk during the pandemic and need to change, especially during anti-racism protests across the country.

The study authors noted that the new coronavirus has...

Florida Law Tightened Opioid Prescribing, and Saw Usage Drop

Opioid use in Florida fell after a law that restricted opioid prescriptions for acute pain was introduced in 2018, researchers report.

Under the law, opioid prescriptions for acute pain are limited to a three-day supply (with certain exceptions), and physicians and pharmacists must use the state's prescription drug monitoring database to review a patient's prescription history.

...

Chicago's Short-Lived 'Soda Tax' Cut Consumption, Boosted Health Care Funds

Chicago's brief and now-defunct soda tax did cut the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, a new study finds, along with raising funds for public health initiatives.

From August to November 2017, when the tax was in effect, the volume of soda sold in Cook County dropped 21% and the tax raised nearly $62 million, nearly $17 million of which went to a county health fund.

As Minimum Wage Rises, Suicide Rates Fall

Minimum wage laws can be a literal lifesaver for people who are struggling to get by, a new study suggests.

The suicide rate declines among less-educated folks when the minimum wage is increased, researchers discovered.

States experience as much as a 6% decrease in their suicide rates for every $1 increase in the minimum wage, said lead researcher John Kaufman, a doctora...

Tighter Alcohol Laws Might Help Curb Cancer

Policies that reduce drinking may lower rates of alcohol-related cancers, researchers say.

"When thinking about cancer risk and cancer prevention, the focus tends to be on individual-level risk factors rather than environmental determinants of cancer, like public policies that affect the consumption of alcohol or tobacco," said study co-author Dr. Timothy Naimi.

Naimi is a p...

'Cannabis Use Disorder' Up in States That Legalized Recreational Pot

States that legalized recreational marijuana have seen an increase in problematic pot use among teens and adults aged 26 and older, a new study finds.

The researchers compared marijuana use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon -- the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana -- before and after legalization. The investigators also compared trends in those states with ...

You Won't Get Sued If You Do CPR, Review Suggests

Are you worried about getting sued if you provide bystander CPR in a public place?

Don't be, surprising new research suggests: You're more likely to get sued if you don't intervene.

Dr. Travis Murphy undertook the most comprehensive review to date of jury verdicts, settlements, and appellate opinions focused on lawsuits involving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). His team...

OxyContin Maker Purdue Offering Up to $12 Billion to Settle Opioid Claims

Purdue Pharma, the drug giant many have blamed for the ongoing U.S. opioid abuse crisis, has offered $10 billion to $12 billion to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits lodged against it, NBC News is reporting.

The news comes a day after the first of many pending state-driven opioid lawsuits -- this one lodged by Oklahoma -- ended in a judge ruling that the Johnson & Johnson comp...

'Red Flag' Laws May Be Stopping Some Mass Shootings

"Red flag" laws that allow police to take guns away from people who've threatened mass shootings are designed to save lives, but do they?

A small, preliminary study suggests they do.

The analysis of 21 different incidents found that none of the threatened shootings occurred after people reported the threat to law enforcement and police confiscated the guns from the potentia...

Pot Poisonings Among Kids, Teens Double After Medical Marijuana Law Passed

Pot-related poisoning calls involving kids and teens more than doubled in Massachusetts after the state legalized medical marijuana, a new study reports.

Calls related to cannabis exposure increased 140% in the years after Massachusetts voted to legalize medical pot in 2012, according to data from the state's regional poison control center.

This happened even though Mass...

Tough State Gun Laws Help Keep Kids Safe

Over a five-year period, more than 21,000 Americans aged 21 and younger died from firearm-related injuries. But when states have stricter gun laws, fewer children die from gun violence, new research shows.

For the study, investigators examined data on gun deaths from 2011 to 2015 and compared those statistics with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's ranking of state gun laws....

Is an Elusive U.S. Total Ban on Asbestos Finally in Sight?

A new U.S. government rule on asbestos is at best a toothless measure against the cancer-causing material, critics charge.

The rule, laid out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), went into effect in June. The agency says it was designed to strengthen decades-old public health protections.

But two former government officials said the rule does nothing to address...

One Downside of Legalized Pot: Poisoned Pets

People who use marijuana know that the drug should be kept out of the reach of small children. But many may not realize that it can also be dangerous for their beloved animals.

As more states legalize marijuana, the drug poses an increased poisoning risk to pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) warns.

In June, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize pot...

California Took on Anti-Vaxxers, and Won

California's crackdown on childhood vaccination exemptions cut in half the percentage of kindergartners who didn't have their required immunizations, a new study shows.

The rate of kindergartners without up-to-date vaccinations decreased from around 10% in 2013 to about 5% in 2017, after California implemented a three-pronged strategy to improve immunization rates.

...

Most States Restrict Pregnant Women's Advance Directives: Study

Laws in half of U.S. states override a pregnant woman's advance directive if she becomes incapacitated, a new study finds.

And most of those states don't reveal this in advance directive forms.

An advance directive is a legal document completed by a patient that appoints a surrogate to make health care decisions if the patient becomes unable to do so. It also outlines the pe...

Don't Prosecute Sexting Teens as Child Pornographers, Researchers Say

In many U.S. states, teenagers who send "sext" messages to each other can be prosecuted as child pornographers -- and that should end, researchers argue.

Many states have recently passed laws that specifically address teen sexting -- exempting it, to varying degrees, from longstanding child pornography statutes. But in 23 states, those outdated laws still apply to teenagers who willin...

Colorado Sees Spike in ER Visits After Pot Made Legal

If Colorado is any indication, the legalization of marijuana comes with a downside.

Researchers reported that emergency departments across the state saw a sharp spike in marijuana-related visits after recreational use of pot products was made legal.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data on almost 10,000 patients seen at the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital e...

Where Marijuana Is Legal, Many Teens Drive While High

In states where marijuana is legal, teens smoking pot and then getting behind the wheel of a car is common, a new study finds.

"There's a general public zeitgeist that marijuana is a pretty safe drug," said study co-author Darin Erickson, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health.

"In actuality, there hasn't been a lot of research regard...

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