Alisa Ulferts

Alisa Ulferts

Posts by This Writer

10 years 7 months ago

Emergency room visits caused by underage drinking are disturbing at any level. But public health officials warn that the usual number of such injuries nearly double during the July 4 holiday weekend. Group parties, combined with too little supervision, equal serious injury for too many teens, public health officials say. A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that underage drinking-related visits to emergency rooms are 87 percent higher during the July 4 weekend than they are for an average day during the rest of July.

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10 years 8 months ago

When it comes to health care, Americans spend the most but get the least when compared to six other industrialized nations, according to a new report. Americans spend more than twice as much per capita as some peer nations, but rank bottom of the barrel when it comes to the fair and universal delivery of quality health care services, according to researchers with the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based private foundation focused on improving health care. The...


10 years 8 months ago

An overwhelming majority of new drugs approved for sale in the United States in 2008 had clinical trials in other countries, according to a new public health watchdog report. And 10 of those new drugs were entirely tested outside the U.S., according to the report. The inspector general’s office with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the report earlier this week, and already public health advocates are sounding the alarm.

While most of the international trials were conducted in Western Europe, whose medical ethics and drug trial protocols...


10 years 8 months ago

Once again, Ronald McDonald finds himself in the crosshairs of the public health debate: The red-headed stepchild, err, clown, doesn’t always offer alternatives to French fries when taking orders for a child’s Happy Meal. And he needs to stop luring kids with those toys he puts in his meals, a group of public health advocates say. Overall, McDonalds is doing too little to help keep kids fit and healthy, and doing to much to start kids on a path of unhealthy habits, according to a new study by the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). (See Justmeans...


10 years 8 months ago

Your grandmother was right: breastfeeding is best for baby’s overall health and health care. A new study has shown that babies who were breast-fed exclusively for 4 months, and then partially until they were 6 months old, had a reduced risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections compared to babies who had never been breast-fed, a team of Dutch researchers has found. Babies who were naturally fed during this time had the fewest health care complications from those infections,...


10 years 8 months ago

The health care impact of the massive BP oil spill will be measured in years – not weeks or even months – according to a panel of experts who testified this week before a congressional committee. Because too little is known about the toxicity of the oil, and more specifically about BP’s own recipe for chemicals used to disperse the oil, health care problems are likely to last for years and need to be monitored, experts said during their testimony. The BP oil spill is approaching its third month of environmental and health degradation of the Gulf waters and shores.

The...


10 years 8 months ago

Here’s one more change brought to you by health reform: Those free samples that pharmaceutical companies give to doctors and other health care providers must be disclosed. This is in addition to the new health reform rule that requires health care providers who receive nearly any kind of payment of $10 or more from a pharmaceutical company, medical device maker or other medical industry firm to disclose that fact on a searchable website. The free sample rule, however, is the first to cast light on the extent of a practice long shrouded somewhat in secrecy.

The Wall...


10 years 8 months ago

For people whose decision whether to visit a health care center hinges on how long they have to wait to be seen, a Chicago-area hospital has the answer: it will text you approximate wait times for its emergency room. Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill. is among the first to try this. According to the Chicago Tribune, the health care facility has worked to decrease “door to doctor” wait times and is now making it as easy as possible for patients to know just what those wait times are. Folks can get up-to-date wait times online, over the phone and now by text message.

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10 years 8 months ago

Public health officials know that when it comes to some health care conditions, it seems to be the luck of the draw. Non-smokers who get lung cancer, for example. Or marathon runners who develop pancreatic cancer. But public health officials also know that if ever there were a health care condition solidly connected to lifestyle and choices, it’s stroke.

A new study, recently published in the journal The Lancet, found that 80 percent of all strokes can be connected to five risk factors: high blood pressure, abdominal fat, smoking, diet and physical activity. When you...


10 years 8 months ago

Health care facilities have experienced a “significant” increase in violent attacks since 2004, according to a report issued last week by the Joint Commission, an independent health care oversight group. The suspected cause: dwindling mental health resources have led patients with severe mental illness to rely on hospitals and emergency rooms for services. There, they often wait hours before being treated, all the while growing more agitated until they reach their trigger point and commit violence, according authors of the report. A secondary cause of the increase in...


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