Health

A connection between childhood obesity and daily salt intake has been discovered.

Researchers in Australia tracked more than 4-thousand children and found that kids who consume the most salt are more likely to drink sugary beverages. That puts them at risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Dr. Joseph Skelton is director of the Brenner FIT program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He believes most excess salt is coming from fast food, and snack foods:

A public-private partnership is doing a good job of taking care of people suffering from mental illness. --- That, according to a new report from The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Three-way contracts were instituted more than four years ago as part of a new initiative from the Division of Mental Health. The contracts allow the state to buy beds in local hospitals to provide care for people who are in crisis. Mebane Rash is an Attorney with state Center for Public Policy Research.

There may be new hope for people threatened by Alzheimer's. A Duke University study released today outlines better ways to diagnose the disease early when treatments are more effective. A combination of three imaging and bio-markers were used on patients to see which one provided the most useful information to help in diagnosis. Doctor Jeffrey Petrella is an associate professor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center and a lead author of the study.

Not enough college students are getting vaccinated for the flu, according to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center study. The research asked 4,000 college students in North Carolina whether or not they had received a flu shot. Dr. Tim Peters was an author of the study and is a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases.

Tim Peters: "We found that about 20-percent of them had been vaccinated. And that number is quite a bit lower than we would like."

Duke Medicine is leading a collaboration with the Durham public schools and local agencies to develop better-integrated mental health care for children. Helen Egger is a child psychiatrist at Duke and leads the initiative. She says too often kids with psychiatric disorders are shuffled between schools, hospitals, and law enforcement- each addressing the problems on their own terms. Egger wants to develop school-based models that can fill in the gaps between services.

State health officials report the first two deaths from flu in North Carolina this season.

It is said to be one of the earliest reports of flu deaths the state has seen. Both victims were in the Triad. One was said to be a high-risk case because of age. The other was generally healthy. Zack More is a state epidemiologist. He says both cases show the flu cannot be taken lightly.

State health officials want to know if low use of a prescription drug database is leading to more deaths in North Carolina.

A majority of state pharmacists and doctors are not checking a drug registry that every pharmacy must report to. Some lawmakers say that can enable some people to abuse highly addictive drugs. Last year, more than one thousand North Carolinians died of pharmaceutical overdoses. William Bronson runs the database for the state Department of Health and Human Services. He says it may not be fair to blame pharmacists for not monitoring their patients' drugs.

Children's advocates say poverty continues to be a problem when it comes to kids' health. The non-profit Action for Children North Carolina is out with its annual Child Health Report Card. The state scored a D in child poverty, with more than 25% of children under 18 living in poverty. Action for Children's Laila Bell says that affects the health statistics.

State health officials want to help North Carolinians keep the pounds off this holiday season. The annual Maintain, Don't Gain Holiday Challenge launches today. Participants receive email tips, and can download food and activity logs to track their progress. Daniella Uslan is with the Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch of the state Division of Public Health.

About 2,000 people with severe mental illness are facing eviction from group homes at the end of the year. That was the message from group home residents and staff and mental health advocates who rallied at the state Capitol yesterday. A change in Medicaid rules means residential facilities for the mentally disabled will lose some federal funding at the end of the year. State lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year providing replacement funds for adult care homes...but group homes were left out.

North Carolina has until Friday to decide whether to build its own health exchange or let the federal government run one for the state. It's a requirement of the Affordable Care Act, which seeks to provide health care insurance to everyone. Al Delia is the Acting Secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services. He says whatever path the state chooses, there's a whole series of decisions about infrastructure that need to be made.

The North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force has released new details about the state's death rate among children.

Task force executive director Elizabeth Hudgins says deaths of kids from birth to age 17 have hit a new low.

Elizabeth Hudgins: "Now there's about 57 deaths per 100-thousand children."

Post traumatic stress disorder may be linked to a smaller brain area regulating fear and anxiety response. That's the finding of a new study from researchers at Duke. Psychiatry professor Raj Morey works at Duke and the Durham VA. He's the lead author of the study.

GSK Recycling Inhalers

Oct 25, 2012
GSK
GSK

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline is beginning a program to recycle spent respiratory inhalers. The company is signing up pharmacies in the Raleigh-Durham area and 30 other cities to collect the breathing aids. The company tested the program in a few of the selected cities and collected about 27-hundred inhalers. GSK's vice presider for respiratory business Jorge Bartolome says the "Complete the Cycle" program will break down the inhalers for multiple uses.

Several Durham County groups are partnering to fight a high rate of diabetes in adults. The Durham Diabetes Coalition brings together health groups, churches and government to teach people about the dangers of the disease. County statistics show that 12 percent of Durham County adults live with diabetes. The statewide average is nine percent. Health educator Chasity Newkirk says the challenge is getting people screened, especially African Americans.

Duke University doctors say clinical trials on how drugs affect children are few and far between. Gurnal Scott reports.

Doctors looked at research conducted from 2005 to 2010 -- about 60-thousand trials. They found that adult medical trials far outnumber ones on kids under 18.

"By about 10 to one," says one of the study's writers, Alex Kemper, a pediatrics professor at Duke. "For those of us who provide care to children, we know that clinical trials are the best way to know how to treat conditions.

UNC Health Care is growing its network of hospitals with the addition of High Point Regional.

Duke University medical officials have come up with guidelines for allocating scarce drugs. Supplies of some cancer medications and other drugs can sometimes run low at hospitals. Doctor Phillip Rosoff is the Director of Clinical Ethics at Duke University Medical Center. He says the protocol focuses on fairness.

Child hunger is the target of a collaboration between Triangle-based farmers' markets and nonprofit Farmer Foodshare. Food and money will be collected this week at markets in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and elsewhere. Margaret Gifford is the founder and executive director of Farmer Foodshare. She says there's plenty of food to go around in North Carolina.

A new children’s health initiative is using the London Olympics and the Democratic National Convention to promote better health on the ground. 

Children of all ages were pretty giddy.  They were meeting Olympic Gold medal Gymnist Gabby Douglas.

Jailiah Zanders:  "I was really excited to see the fab five and I was more excited about coming to see Gabby Douglas because she is one of my role models."

Doctors and nurses from Duke University are training medical professionals in Rwanda, and helping the African nation build a sustainable health care system. Duke is among several American academic institutions participating in the U.S.-government-funded program.

Catherine Gilliss is Dean of Duke's Nursing School. She says the objective is to train nurses in Rwanda to deliver more sophisticated care.

Duke University researchers say there's evidence that early marijuana use has a negative impact on intelligence. The study examined routine cannabis users who began smoking before the age of 18. On average, subjects showed an 8-point drop in I-Q when measured at age 13 and then again at 38. Madeline Meier worked on the study and says that drop is significant.

State health officials say a child has died of whooping cough in Forsyth County.

Gurnal Scott: The child was only two months old. It's not clear how the child contracted the disease also known a pertussis, but it does shine a light on the fact that it can happen.

Dr. Laura Gerald: If you're even around a child who is under 12 months of age, you should be vaccinated.

It's the end of an era. The last mental health patient has been transferred from Dorothea Dix hospital in Raleigh to the newer Central Regional in Butner. The closure has been in the works for more than a decade. Lucky Welsh oversees the network of state psychiatric hospitals for the Department of Health and Human Services:

The American Red Cross says it is dealing with a chronic reserve blood shortage. The organization doesn't have the supply to keep up with the average rate of blood transfusions, which is once every three seconds. Barry Porter is executive director of the Triangle Red Cross. He says it is a daily struggle to convince those that can give to actually do so.

President Obama
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Earlier this week, President Obama signed a law to provide health care to thousands of Marine veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987. Retired Marine Jerry Ensminger was one of them. His daughter died of leukemia he believes was caused by the contamination. For fifteen years, Ensminger has led the fight to get help for sick veterans and their families. And he says it’s not over yet.

The state Department of Agriculture is making some changes at this year's State Fair. Twenty-five people became sick from E.coli contamination after last year's fair concluded. A task force was formed by State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to explore ways to keep infections from happening again. Some food vendors are being moved from areas where competition animals are kept. Troxler says a better effort is being made to limit human and animal contact.

Federal money will help get HIV and AIDS drugs to North Carolinians waiting for financial help.

Leoneda Inge: There are about 280 HIV and AIDS patients in the state on a waiting list to help pay for life-sustaining drugs. The state received three-million-dollars from the Health Resources and Service Administration to go toward funding the Aids Drug Assistance Program. Lisa Hazirjian heads the North Carolina Aids Action Network.

North Carolina lawmakers are hailing the signing of a bill today that will grant health care to marines and their families who drank toxic tap water at Camp Lejune from 1957 to 1987. An award-winning documentary chronicles the efforts of former U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger who lost his daughter, Janey, to a rare form of childhood leukemia as a result of the exposure. Congressman Brad Miller says the chemicals found in the water are known carcinogens that cause a host of illnesses and conditions that include male breast and female infertility.

A new study on the use of tasers says there is no added risk if you're hit in the chest.

Jeff Tiberii: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center looked at 1200 real-life instances where law enforcement officers used a taser. Dr. William Bozeman is Director of Pre-Hospital Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist.

William Bozeman: And what we found was, that we could not see any higher rise of injury or problems or complications in people who had the tazer probes land across the front of the chest. And we thought that was very important.

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