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Global and Environmental Health

This category is design to reduce the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease. To have the greatest impact on preventing disease and improving human health, the AISER focuses on basic science, disease-oriented research, global environmental health, and multidisciplinary training for researchers.

WellPoint Profit Beats Estimates, Shares Rise

Health insurer WellPoint Inc said on Wednesday profit fell 10 percent, as medical costs ate further into premiums, but its shares rose more than 6 percent as results beat projections, helped by strength in its pharmacy and behavioral health businesses.

Although the largest U.S. health insurer by membership tempered its full-year profit and enrollment forecasts, it appeared to avoid any major negative surprises in its report, amid a brutal year for health insurer stocks.

Read more: WellPoint Profit Beats Estimates, Shares Rise

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension More Severe in Carriers of BMPR2 Mutation

Among patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), those with germline mutations in the gene encoding bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) present at an earlier age and with more severe hemodynamic compromise, according to findings from a French study.

Dr. Marc Humbert of Universite Paris-Sud 11 and colleagues screened 223 consecutive patients with PAH for point mutations and large size rearrangements of BMPR2. Clinical, functional and hemodynamic characteristics were compared between carriers and noncarriers.

Read more: Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension More Severe in Carriers of BMPR2 Mutation

1 in 7 Americans Lack Health Insurance

One in seven Americans -- one in six Americans under age 65 -- do not have any kind of health insurance, the CDC reports.

Lack of health insurance is greatest in the Southwest and lowest in the Northeast, with huge variation -- by about 20% -- among the states.

"Overall, 43.1 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2007," CDC researcher Robin A. Cohen, PhD, tells WebMD. "Almost 54 million or 18.2% of Americans were uninsured for at least part of the year, and 30.6 million or 10.3% had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview."

Read more: 1 in 7 Americans Lack Health Insurance

Universal Truths Abide in Medicine, Even in Parallel Universes

Medicine is practiced differently around the world, and yet some aspects -- especially the frustrations -- are fairly universal. Where better can you experience the similarities and differences than in the blogging world, where clinicians share stories from their practices and their personal lives? Two physician bloggers, known as "Dr. Dino" and "Dr. Emer," provide a unique contrast.

Read more: Universal Truths Abide in Medicine, Even in Parallel Universes

Do Immigrants Help or Hurt US Healthcare?

Immigration is a hot topic these days, and its impact on the US healthcare system has been studied and debated from various angles. So it's not surprising that healthcare entrepreneur and business consultant David E. Williams has weighed in on the issue. But you might be surprised at his particular views.

Read more: Do Immigrants Help or Hurt US Healthcare?

Food Aid Missing Critical Ingredients

As food aid is mobilized in response to the global food price crisis, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warns that sending adult food to feed young children will not save them from the risk of malnutrition. Today MSF urged donors to ensure their aid includes special foods for young children.

Read more: Food Aid Missing Critical Ingredients

HHS Commissioned Corps Officers Join Operation Continuing Promise Aboard the USS Boxer in Central Am

In Escuintla, the Boxer team has turned the Escuela Santa Isabel into a primary-care facility.  Hundreds of patients have stood in line for care, some having traveled over four hours by foot.  The Boxer team set up a dental clinic, an optometry clinic, a primary-care center and an educational area, all of which featured HHS officers.  Including dental and optometry, the clinic is seeing approximately 600 patients a day.  The most-common medical conditions include upper respiratory infections and chronic diseases.  The number of prescriptions filled at the pharmacy set up by the Boxer team went from approximately 500 the first two days in Escuintla to over 1000 per day the next two days.  The number of pairs of eyeglasses distributed by the optometrists has concurrently increased, from 50 to 100, while referrals of cataract patients to the Boxer's on-board surgery team have remained constant at approximately three to five per day.  HHS dental professionals applied fluoride varnish to approximately 150 patients, as well as applied sealants and performed prophylaxis, restorations and extractions.

Read more: HHS Commissioned Corps Officers Join Operation Continuing Promise Aboard the USS Boxer in Central Am

HHS Secretary Begins Third Visit to the People's Republic of China

May 12, 2008 – U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Michael O. Leavitt today began his third visit to the People's Republic of China with activities in the eastern coastal city of Shanghai.  The Secretary shared his vision for improving the safety of consumer products with more than 800 vendors, suppliers and executives of the Target Corporation, and he answered questions from the group.

Read more: HHS Secretary Begins Third Visit to the People's Republic of China

HHS Secretary Meets with Chinese Minister of Health, Visits Shanghai University of Traditional Chin

May 13, 2008 – On the second day of a week-long visit to the People's Republic of China, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Michael O. Leavitt conitnued his visit to the port city of Shanghai.  The Secretary held discussions with his counterpart, the Honorable Chen Zhu, M.D., and expressed his condolences on behalf of the American people for the loss of life suffered as a consequence of the earthquake in Sichaun Province.  Secretary Leavitt offered assistance from the United States in the response to the tremor, as well as in the investigation and containment of the outbreaks of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in several Provinces.  The two sides reviewed the results of the annual meeting of the Steering Committee of the United States-China Collaborative Program on Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases, which took place on May 10, 2008, and discussed plans to hold a joint Health-Care Forum before the next set of conversations under the United States-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, scheduled for June 2008.

 


Read more: HHS Secretary Meets with Chinese Minister of Health, Visits Shanghai University of Traditional Chin

Sarkozy Unveils Overhaul of French Hospital System

President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled plans on Thursday to improve the efficiency of France's public hospitals by grouping them into regional clusters.

The plan, which will affect 1.1 million French health professionals, would give hospital directors more responsibility for issues such as staffing and make part of their pay dependent on results. It would group hospitals into "regional hospital communities" which would share services.

Read more: Sarkozy Unveils Overhaul of French Hospital System

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