- Race, Region Affect Patient Care in U.S.: Report
- Pesticides Increase Diabetes Risk
- Pop Star's Breast Cancer Boosted Screening Among Young Women
- Cigarette Decline Outpaces Marijuana Drop Among Teens
- Merck Won't Have to Monitor Uninjured Vioxx Users: Court
- Asian-Pacific Islanders at Greater Risk of Hospital Complications
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Race, Region Affect Patient Care in U.S.: Report
In the United States, a person's race and where they live can have a huge influence on the course and quality of medial treatment they receive, says a new study by researchers at Dartmouth College.
Their analysis of Medicare claims data identified a number of racial and geographic disparities, The New York Times reported.
"In U.S. health care, it's not only who you are that matters; it's also where you live," wrote study leader Dr. Elliott S. Fisher and colleagues.
Among their findings:
- The rate of leg amputations for blacks was about six per 1,000 in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, compared with less than two per 1,000 in Colorado and Nevada. The rates for whites in the southern states were about 1.3 per 1,000, double the rates for whites in the two western states.
- The mammogram rate for black women in California was 48 percent, compared to 72 percent in Massachusetts. California and Illinois had the widest racial gaps in mammogram rates -- a 12 percent difference between black and white women.
- In all but two states, blacks with diabetes were less likely than whites to receive annual hemoglobin testing. Blacks in Colorado were far less likely to receive this screening than blacks in Massachusetts -- 66 percent vs. 88 percent.
- There was wide variation in the percentage of patients who'd seen a primary care doctor within a two-year period, ranging from 65 percent in New Jersey to 86 percent in Nebraska.
- Hawaii, Utah, and Washington had far higher rates of unnecessary hospitalization than Kentucky, Louisiana, and West Virginia.
The study was commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which on Thursday is expected to announce a three-year, $300 million project to reduce racial- and geographic-related health disparities, the Times reported.
Pesticides Increase Diabetes Risk
Exposure to pesticides increases a person's risk of diabetes, say U.S. researchers who analyzed data from 31,787 licensed pesticide applicators in North Carolina and Iowa. Of those, 1,171 reported a diagnosis of diabetes over five years.
The study found that applicators in the highest category of use (more than 100 lifetime days) of any pesticide had a 17 percent higher risk of diabetes compared to those in the lowest pesticide use category of zero to 64 lifetime days, United Press International reported.
When the researchers looked at specific pesticides, the increased risk of diabetes ranged from 20 percent to 200 percent. The study appears in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
"The results suggest that pesticides may be a contributing factor for diabetes along with known risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise and having a family history of diabetes," study co-author Dale Sandler, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a prepared statement, UPI reported.
"Although the amount of diabetes explained by pesticides is small, these new findings may extend beyond the pesticide applicators in this study," Sandler said.
Pop Star's Breast Cancer Boosted Screening Among Young Women
Publicity about pop star Kylie Minogue's breast cancer diagnosis in April 2005 led to a large increase in mammography and ultrasound procedures among low-risk women, says an Australian study.
In the six months following Minogue's diagnosis, mammography and ultrasound procedures increased 30 percent among women ages 25 to 44, who are considered to be at low risk for breast cancer. Breast biopsies in this age group increased 46 percent, CBC News reported.
In women ages 35 to 44, breast imaging increased 25 percent and breast biopsies increased 37 percent, the University of Melbourne study found.