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Publications - General Media
State plans emergency warning on risks of methadone
Alarmed by evidence that hundreds of patients die
each year from accidental overdoses of prescription pain drugs, the state of
Washington will issue a public-health advisory that singles out the unique risks
of methadone, a narcotic medication linked to the most fatalities.
Doctor, nurse shortages unlikely, new research finds
Among the dire assumptions about the future of
health care in the United States, one of the more persistent has been that the
numbers of doctors and nurses are dwindling rapidly. But several new reports
released this fall suggest the shortfalls among key health workers may not be so
great as once feared, at least on a national scale.
Arsenic-laced dirt carted off as crews replace yards in north Everett
EVERETT -- J.D. Wilkinson is glad his yard was
recently torn up and dug out with backhoes. Not only was contaminated dirt
removed from his property, but new soil was brought in and the yard was
replanted, complete with a new lawn of fresh sod. He didn't pay a dime.
Wilkinson's house, at the corner of Butler and Hawthorne streets, is in an area
that was exposed to arsenic that floated down in smoke emitted by the Asarco
smelter more than 100 years ago.
State might allow medical marijuana for people with attention deficit
State officials will consider a request to allow
medical marijuana for people with attention deficit disorder and obsessive
compulsive disorder. The petition is the latest attempt to add mental illnesses
to Washingtons list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. Three other
petitions, for depression and other mental health disorders, have been denied.
Journal retracts fatigue-syndrome report
Science is retracting a 2009 report that linked
chronic fatigue syndrome to a virus. The journal has lost confidence in the
report, editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts writes in Friday's issue. He said most
study authors agreed in principle to retract the paper "but they have been
unable to agree on the wording of their statement."
Health officials say ample supply, time to get flu shot
Local clinics and medical groups have seen a
surge in the number of people getting immunized against the flu this year. And
for those who haven't, but want to, there's still time and ample supplies for
people to get protected before the typical peak of flu season in February.
New rule requires rabies vaccinations for WA pets
Starting Sunday, rabies vaccines will be
mandatory for pet dogs, cats and ferrets in Washington state. While many cities
and counties require rabies vaccinations for some pets, vaccinations have never
been required by the state. The new rule was passed by the Board of Health this
Sodium-saturated diet a threat for all
Maybe you think you don't have to worry about
salt. After all, you don't have high blood pressure, you're not overweight and
you exercise regularly. Well, think again. A major study, based on data from
more than 12,000 U.S. adults, took into account all those risk factors for death
from heart disease. The researchers found that while a diet high in sodium
salt is the main source increases your risk, even more important is the ratio
of sodium (harmful) to potassium (protective) in one's diet.
Medical pot fight in Lacey
Lawyers for Lacey Cross a store on Pacific
Avenue that sells medicinal marijuana have filed an appeal in Thurston County
Superior Court seeking to overturn the citys denial of its business license
application. The land-use petition filed by Seattle attorneys Charles Moure and
Hilary Bricken states that the Lacey City Council erred during a Dec. 1 hearing
when it upheld a land-use hearing examiners denial of Lacey Crosss application
for a business license.
Newest swine flu spreads more easily
The flu season is still young in the United
States and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, but Australia wrapped up its flu
season months ago, and public health officials there have some disturbing news
to report: The version of so-called swine flu that is resistant to the drug
Tamiflu is spreading more easily in the land Down Under.
Emergency-providers fee assailed as unfair idea
Times are tough, no doubt about it, and state
agencies are being asked to slash budgets. But a proposal to require
emergency-services workers including unpaid volunteers to pay the state for
certifying and disciplining them is bound to backfire, local fire departments
and emergency-services leaders have told a House committee.
Study: Brain injury from high-fat foods may be why diets fail
You've heard "a minute on the lips, years on the
hips," or some variation. But did it make you put down that frosted butter
cookie? No? OK, here's another bit of research to snack on: After humans and
rodents eat a high-fat diet, their brains begin to show evidence of injuries in
just 24 hours. If they keep eating that yummy fatty stuff continuously, the area
of their brains that regulates weight the hypothalamus will show evidence of
serious inflammation and structural damage.
Marijuana legalization initiative signatures in
Backers of an effort to legalize and regulate
recreational marijuana use in Washington state submitted more than 340,000
signatures Thursday to try to qualify their initiative, a move protested by some
legalization supporters who say the proposal would hurt medical-marijuana
patients. About a dozen protesters carried signs that read "Legalize, not
penalize," and shouted as members of New Approach turned in signatures for
Initiative 502 to the Legislature.
New prescription monitoring draws complaints
Since October, pharmacies around the state have
been sending information into a giant computer database, detailing every
prescription they've dispensed for controlled substances. That means every pain
pill and patch, every anti-anxiety medication, every sleeping pill listed by
the patient's name. Beginning Wednesday, pharmacists, doctors and other
prescribers will be able to see all such drugs a patient is getting anywhere in
the state, even if the person pays with cash.
New year means mandated vaccinations for several types of household pets
As of New Year's Day, all dogs, cats and ferrets
in Washington must be vaccinated for rabies. That's right ferrets, too.
"They're pets. They could be exposed like dogs and cats. Some of them do go
outdoors on leashes. So it's not totally beyond the realm of possibility for
them to be exposed," Dr. Ron Wohrle, the state's Public Health Veterinarian,
Some in Congress ready to act against schools' PE cutbacks
public schools cutting back on spending for physical education, some members of
Congress want to intervene, worried that the nation's schools are churning out
too many fat kids. The cutbacks are happening across the country. In Washington
state, the Franklin Pierce School District in the Tacoma suburb of Parkland
discovered that it could save a quarter-million dollars by reassigning its seven
physical-education teachers to different positions.
hospital errors not reported
recognize and report only one out of seven errors, accidents and other events
that harm Medicare patients while they are hospitalized, federal investigators
say in a new report. Yet even after hospitals investigate preventable injuries
and infections that have been reported, they rarely change their practices to
prevent repetition of the "adverse events," according to the study, from Daniel
Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Monitoring Program is worth paying for
pharmacists have a new lifesaving tool in the state database allowing them to
see all of the controlled substances patients get by prescription. Improved
patient safety is worth the estimated $530,000 annual cost of Washington's
Prescription Monitoring Program. Doctors and pharmacists have been reluctant to
take on the cost, but state lawmakers should require them.
downgrades whooping cough
County Health Officer Alexander Brzezny is downgrading the county's 2010-2011
outbreak of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. The downgrade means the
district is no longer classifying the whooping cough cases as an outbreak, but
are still concerned by the spread of the disease, said Grant County Health
District Administrator Jeff Ketchel.
Your home's age
important for child lead exposure
If you've been
putting off repairing a peeling windowsill, or you're thinking of knocking out a
wall, listen up: Check how old your house is. You may need to take steps to
protect your kids from dangerous lead. The risk of lead-based paint from older
homes is back in the news, as the government considers tightening the definition
of lead poisoning in babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Lower levels than
previously thought may harm their developing brains.
Panel urges lower
cutoff for child lead poisoning
first time in 20 years, a federal panel is urging the government to lower the
threshold for lead poisoning in children. If adopted, hundreds of thousands more
children could be diagnosed with lead poisoning. Too much lead is harmful to
developing brains and can mean a lower IQ.
rules Royal City dairy contaminated water
judge has ruled that an Eastern Washington industrial dairy that has been the
subject of air and water pollution complaints for years consistently applied
excessive amounts of manure to neighboring fields, causing or contributing to
ground water contamination in the area. The community action group CARE,
Community Association for Restoration of the Environment, claimed that Nelson
Faria Dairy violated the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws and failed
to abide by the terms of a deal that was reached with the dairy's previous
owners to improve operations.
Mentally ill flood
ER as states cut services
recent shift at a Chicago emergency department, Dr. William Sullivan treated a
newly homeless patient who was threatening to kill himself.
country, doctors like Sullivan are facing a spike in psychiatric emergencies -
attempted suicide, severe depression, psychosis - as states slash mental health
services and the country's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression
takes its toll. This trend is taxing emergency rooms already overburdened by
uninsured patients who wait until ailments become acute before seeking
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