Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New links!

Lots going on this week, let's start right in:

First, H1N1 influenza. This situation has stretched local and state health departments even thinner than they already were. This is a major problem, as resources across the country are tight but expectations are high to handle the epidemic smoothly and without causing fear or panic. Speaking of panic, this article reveals some psychology about the fear and panic we humans tend towards. And this article examines the risk of new infectious diseases and people's reactions to that risk. Is there any way to reign this epidemic in? Find out here. And, finally, now that public concern is dying down (in conjunction with media attention waning, not coincidentally) will our focus on hand-washing die away too? Let's hope not.

On to other topics. As you may be aware, calorie counts on menus are popping up at fast food joints across the country, notably in New York City and in Chicago. This article examines the phenomenon and its impact, especially as federal legislation is pending.

The FDA is developing a new system to track and report adverse events of its products. We'll see how this story develops, but here is a summary article.

Finally, an article about parental refusal of the pertussis vaccine is in the latest issue of Pediatrics. The study found that children whose parents refuse the vaccine are at an increased risk of developing pertussis. The authors conclude that "these findings stress the need to further understand why parents refuse immunizations and to develop strategies for conveying the risks and benefits of immunizations to parents more effectively."

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