Posts tagged with "Centers for Disease Control"

Trump, Cuomo clash on reopening country

April 16, 2020

President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—the latter of whom has risen to greater prominence nationwide and higher performance ratings during the COVID-19 crisis—butted heads this week over who has the power to reopen the country, which has largely shut down in response to the pandemic.

Two coalitions on both coasts announced by nine Democratic governors—and including including Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom— have eclipsed the president’s authority-saying they will form plans on when and how to start reopening their states, with little mention of the president, The Epoch Times reports.

And they have the authority to do it, for two reasons:

  • First, according to the Centers for Disease Control, states “have police power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders.”
  • Second, the president, himself, delegated authority for the coronavirus mitigation effort to the governors early on, instead of risking responsibility for the (possibly unsuccessful) effort at the federal level.

However, Trump told reporters late on April 13 that he, alone, had the authority to decide when to reopen the country; and then reversed himself at another point during the briefing, saying that the governors could decide when to reopen their states.

“We will soon finalize new and very important guidelines to give governors the information they need to start safely opening their states,” he said, referencing a new committee he formed to explore when and how to reopen.

Asked what would happen if some states refuse to reopen, Trump suggested those governors would be voted out of office.

“They’re going to open. They’re going to all open. They want to open. They have to open. They have to get open. Every one of those states, people want to go,” the president said. “We have local government that hopefully will do a good job and, if they don’t do a good job, I’d step in so fast.”

The situation is different in some states that have seen few cases of the CCP virus, compared with some of the hardest-hit states such as New York, Louisiana, and Michigan, Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence backed the president, The Epoch Times reported, remarking, “Throughout the long history of this country, the authority of the president of the United States during national emergencies is unquestionably plenary,” or absolute.

“You can look back through times of war and other national emergencies,” he said.

“It is possible for federal, state, local, and tribal health authorities to have and use all at the same time, separate but coexisting legal quarantine power in certain events. In the event of a conflict, federal law is supreme,” the agency stated.

In direct opposition, Cuomo, who has veered between praising and criticizing Trump, said early on April 14 that Trump shouldn’t try to force states to reopen.

Noting that Trump is not a “king,” Cuomo told MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosts, “The only way this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis.”

“If he says to me, ‘I declare it open,’ and that is a public health risk or it’s reckless with the welfare of the people of my state, I will oppose it.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also pushed back on Trump’s assertions while California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has repeatedly referred to that state as a “nation-state,” said the West Coast compact will focus on reopening based on “health—not politics.”

Trump responded to Cuomo on Twitter, claiming the New York governor has been calling him every day “begging for everything,” including items that should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals and ventilators.

“I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!” Trump wrote.

Research contact: @EpochTimes

Fitbit data could help predict flu outbreaks in real time

January 22, 2020

That Fitbit on your wrist could be doing a lot more than tracking the strides you make each day: Researchers at the California-based Scripps Research Translational Institute reviewed de-identified data from 200,000 users of Fitbit exercise and activity trackers in five states—and found that they were able to use data like rising heart rates and changes in sleep patterns to predict flu outbreaks in real-time, according to a report by CNN.

Indeed, the scientists were able to calculate the proportion of users falling above set thresholds for average heart rate and sleep duration—and to compare that data to weekly flu rates determined by the Centers for Disease Control—in order to predict flu outbreaks in real time.

The finding shows the potential for the soon-to-be Alphabet-owned brand to predict disease outbreaks —which could open an opportunity to propel Google-sister company Verily’s population health efforts:

With the flu affecting an estimated 35.5 million and driving 490,600 hospitalizations in the US in the 2018-2019 flu season alone, according to the CDC, the ability to predict outbreaks would be welcomed by an already overburdened healthcare system. And the potential savings could be significant: During the 2015-2016 U.S. flu season, an estimated $10.4 billion was spent on direct costs for adult hospitalizations and outpatient visits, according to CNBC.

And should Alphabet get the regulatory go-ahead for its Fitbit purchase, the potential to predict disease outbreaks would be a huge value-add to Verily’s population health efforts.For example, CNN suggests, “We could see Verily integrate health data collected from Fitbit users into its Project Baseline initiative, which is aimed at developing technologies to help researchers architect a map of human health and gain a deeper understanding of prevalent conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.”

However, there are some flies in the proverbial ointment: While promising, the impact of the finding could be lessened due to the limited nature of the data collected — and Alphabet will need to be clear about its data-sharing policies or risk losing more consumer trust if it seeks a partner for future Fitbit endeavors, CNN notes.

What’s more, Fitbit users aren’t necessarily representative of the general population: For example, U.S. consumers who use wearables skew younger and tend to have higher incomes, as eMarketer noted in its Wearables 2019 report, which means there are likely gaps missing in the data collected.

Research contact: @CNN

Full house, fuller life: The more children a woman has, the more slowly she ages

February 22, 2019

Just as the U.S. birthrate has hit an all-time low—at 12.2 newborns per 1,000 women aged 14-44 during 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control—a study has found that, the more children a woman has, the more youthful she remains.

It’s counterintuitive, considering all the mental and physical stress mothers experience. However, a study conducted in 2016 by researchers at Canada’s Simon Fraser University indicates that the higher the number of children a woman gives birth to, the more slowly her body will age, People magazine reported on February 20.

Specifically, the study led by health sciences professor Pablo Nepomnaschy and postdoctoral researcher Cindy Barha found that women who give birth to more surviving children exhibited longer telomeres. Telomeres are the protective tips found at the end of each DNA strand and are indicative of cellular aging. Longer telomeres are integral to cell replication and are associated with longevity.

Some common physical examples of this can be seen in skin and hair, which are most affected by the shortening because they reproduce the most often, the study has found.

The researchers actually did not study a cohort of U.S. women. Instead, they evaluated a pool of 75 indigenous Guatemalan women over the course of 13 years—finding that the women who gave birth to more children had longer telomeres.

Hormones may play a role in the anti-aging results, Nepomnaschy recently told Science Daily, noting, “The slower pace of telomere shortening found in the study participants who have more children … may be attributed to the dramatic increase in estrogen, a hormone produced during pregnancy.”

This makes sense, he said, because,“Estrogen functions as a potent antioxidant that protects cells against telomere shortening.”

Another plausible explanation for why having a higher number of children slows down the shortening of telomeres is the social environment it creates. Nepomnaschy explained that women with more kids tend to receive more support from outside sources, like relatives and friends, which can help increase the amount of metabolic energy that such mothers have. This, in turn, contributes to tissue upkeep and slows down aging.

Research contact: @SFU_FHS

Many of us have cocaine on our hands

April 18, 2018

These days, germaphobes have resorted to fist-bumping, rather than the traditional handshake—and they may have the right idea. In fact, fully 80% of all infectious diseases are passed by human contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But little did we know that we had even more to fear. When you shake somebody’s hand, chances are you may take away not only good feelings, but traces of feces, fecal flora, skin flora, respiratory secretions—and maybe even cocaine.

That’s because one in every eight people is walking around with traces of cocaine on his or her hands — and there’s a good chance that he or she has no idea where it came from, based on recent research at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom.

In a study published in the September 2018  edition of the journal, Clinical Chemistry, researchers from the university tested the fingerprints of 50 drug-free volunteers; as well as of 15 drug users, who testified to taking either cocaine or heroin in the previous 24 hours.

Interestingly enough 13% of the drug-free participants who self-reported having clean hands had traces of cocaine on their fingertips, while another 1%  had minute levels — about one metabolite — of heroin, the researchers found.

During a subsequent part of the experiment, the group’s drug-free volunteers shook hands with the drug users. The analysis showed that those with over one metabolite of drugs on their hands were the actual drug users, but that it was not unusual to find traces of drugs on the non-users fingers and palms.

Dr Melanie Bailey,a lecturer in Forensic Analysis at the university, commented, “Believe it or not, cocaine is a very common environmental contaminant. It is well-known that it is present on many bank notes. Even so, we were surprised that it was detected in so many of our fingerprint samples.”

Mahado Ismail, lead-author of the paper from the University of Surrey, said: “It’s clear that fingerprint testing is the future of drug-testing. There are many factors that set fingerprint testing apart: It’s non-invasive, easy to collect and you have the ability to identify the donor by using the sample. Our study will help to add another robust layer to fingerprint drug testing.”

Research contact:d.njolinjo@surrey.ac.uk

The West is best for sleep

January 3, 2018

Do you want to catch a few Zs? Go West, young man (or young woman). The five cities nationwide rated tops for a good night’s sleep all are west of the Mississippi (in order from number-one down): Colorado Springs, Colorado; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Boise, Idaho; Portland, Oregon; and Lincoln Nebraska.

That’s according to research results released in December by Tuck—a community for “advancing better sleep.”

The five worst are all on the East Coast: Detroit, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey, Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And the all-time winner is—you guessed it—the “city that never sleeps”: New York, New York.

According to Tuck, a variety of factors impact how well we sleep, from our personal health and happiness, to environmental factors such air and noise pollution.

To determine the best and worst cities for sleep in the United States, Tuck looked at how cities rank on different factors related to sleep, including:

  • Sleep deprivation: Using 2014 survey data, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 35.2% of Americans don’t get sufficient sleep on a regular basis. Hawaii reported the lowest levels of adequate sleep (at 56%), while South Dakota got the most sleep (at 72%). People living in the southeastern part of the United States and Appalachia reported the lowest amounts of sleep,
  • Obesity rates: More than one-third of American adults are obese, according to the CDC—a risk factor for higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and snoring, which interfere with sleep.
  • Unemployment rate: The researchers referenced the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics state unemployment numbers for June 2017, when the the national unemployment rate was 4.4%. Depression is linked to unemployment—and can result in both insomnia and disturbed sleep. The opposite also is true: Workaholics tend to suffer from sleep disorders.
  • Commute time: The average American spends 25.5 minutes each way commuting to work. How does your commute time impact your sleep? Workers with shorter commute times tend to be more productive and report more job satisfaction. Happier people fall asleep more easily. Tuck relied on a study by real estate website Trulia, which determined the average commute times for 50 major metropolitan areas.
  • Air quality: Allergies and asthma are risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea. In addition, air pollution makes it tougher to exercise outside—and lack of exercise can interfere with sleep. Each year, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report lists the 25 cleanest and the 25 most polluted cities, based on levels of ozone; as well as short-term particle, and year-round particle, pollution.
  •  Light pollution: Light pollution interferes with your body’s circadian rhythms; confusing your brain about when it’s time to release hormones like melatonin, which induce sleep. Over 99% of Americans live under light-polluted skies—especially in the large cities along the Eastern seaboard.
  • Ongoing construction: Finally, many American cities are in a period of growth right now. While this bodes well for the economy, it’s not so great for sleep.

 Research contact: @keithcushner