Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Iowa organizations to hold press events across the state responding to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Matt Sinovic   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:09

Iowa couple to share how the Affordable Care Act saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars


DES MOINES, IOWA – After the Supreme Court announces its ruling tomorrow regarding the Affordable Care Act, local organizations will hold a series of press events to discuss the ruling and voice their support for improved health care for all Iowans. Progress Iowa, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans, One Iowa, the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, SEIU, and Working Families Win are co-hosting the events. The full schedule is listed below.

Ross Daniels and Amy Ward, residents of West Des Moines, will speak about how the Affordable Care Act saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars because of the removal of lifetime limits on coverage.

Schedule of Events

WHEN: Thursday, June 28, 3:30 PM
WHAT: Press conference regarding health care ruling, supporting better care for Iowans
WHO: Ross Daniels and Amy Ward, of West Des Moines
Don Brown, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
Molly Tafoya, One Iowa
WHERE: State Capitol Building, Room 116; East 9th and Grand, Des Moines, IA

WHEN: Friday, June 29, 11:00 AM
WHAT: Press conference regarding health care ruling, supporting better care for Iowans
WHO: Senator Amanda Ragan
Midge Slater, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa
WHERE: Cerro Gordo Courthouse, 1st Floor, Board Room; 220 N Washington Ave, Mason City, IA

WHEN: Friday, June 29, 5:30 PM
WHAT: Rally and press conference regarding health care ruling, supporting better care for Iowans
WHO: Sue Dinsdale, Iowa Citizen Action Network
Chris Schwartz, Working Families Win
WHERE: At the intersection of Kimball & Ridgeway, Waterloo, IA

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Background:

Since being signed into law, Iowa families have received the following benefits from the Affordable Care Act:

  • 42,015 Iowans on Medicare saved an average of $616 on prescription drugs, for a total savings of $25,876,475.
  • 18,012 Iowans under the age of 26 gained coverage under the health care law.
  • 388,676 people with Medicare in Iowa received free preventive services – such as mammograms and colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor.
  • 1,187,000 Iowans, including 433,000 women and 311,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage.
  • Insurance companies are required to spend 80% of premium dollars on health care instead of overhead.

Source: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/ia.html

 
Declare Independence from Foodborne Illness this Fourth of July PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by USDA Communications   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:05

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2012—When celebrating our nation’s independence this Fourth of July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reminds Americans that proper food handling practices can prevent their “Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness” from being threatened by foodborne illness. The warm temperatures that draw crowds of people to outdoor celebrations also encourage the growth of bacteria, and incidents of food-related illnesses rise in summer months. But four simple steps—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill—can help families declare freedom from foodborne illness at Independence Day celebrations.

USDA.gov logo

“We want to provide families with important information that will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness during their Fourth of July celebrations,” USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said.  “Small children and the elderly are among the most vulnerable to foodborne illness, and this information is essential in protecting loved ones at family barbecues and picnics.”

In time for the Fourth of July holiday, FSIS has created a new infographic in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Ad Council featuring food safety tips from the Founding Fathers. The infographic, fact sheets, videos and podcasts about safe food handling and preparation in warmer months can be found on FSIS’ “Grill It Safe” webpage at www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/Grill_It_Safe.

Additionally, representatives from FSIS’ Meat and Poultry Hotline will answer consumer questions in English and Spanish from the Twitter handles @USDAFoodSafety and @USDAFoodSafe_es on June 28 at 1 p.m. ET.

Clean

Freedom from foodborne illnesses starts with clean surfaces and clean hands. Be sure that you and your guests wash your hands before preparing or handling food. Hands should be washed with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Equally important is making sure that the surfaces that come in contact with raw and cooked foods are clean before you start and are washed frequently.

Separate

Raw meats and poultry should be prepared separately from vegetables and cooked foods. As you chop meats and veggies, be sure to use separate cutting boards. Juices from raw meats can contain harmful bacteria that could spread to raw veggies and already cooked foods.

As you take the cooked meats off the grill, be sure to place them on a clean platter, not on the dish that held them when they were raw. The juices left on the plate from raw meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.

 

Cook

Never begin cooking without your most important tool—a food thermometer. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often brown quickly and may appear done on the outside, but still may not have reached a safe minimum internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal, and beef should be cooked to 145 °F as measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, followed by a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. Hamburgers and other ground beef should reach 160 °F. All poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165 °F. Fish should be cooked to 145 °F. Fully cooked meats like hot dogs should be grilled to 165 °F or until steaming hot.

If you are smoking meats, the temperature in the smoker should be maintained between 225 °F and 300 °F for safety. Be sure to use your food thermometer to be certain the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

Chill

Keeping food at a safe temperature can be a concern at outdoor picnics and cookouts. Too often, food is prepared and left to sit out while guests munch over the course of several hours. Bacteria grow most rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F, so perishable food should never sit out for more than two hours. If the temperature is higher than 90 °F—which is common in the summer—food should not sit out more than one hour. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly and discard any food that has been sitting out too long.

It is important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot foods can be kept hot on the grill and cold foods can be kept chilled with ice packs or ice sources in a cooler.

Still have questions? Ask Karen!

Whether you are cooking in the kitchen or grilling out this Independence Day, make Mobile Ask Karen the first guest on your list. Ask Karen is USDA's virtual food safety representative available 24/7 at www.AskKaren.gov or m.AskKaren.gov on your smartphone. Mobile Ask Karen can also be downloaded from the Android app store. On June 26, 2012, FSIS launched “Mobile Pregúntele a Karen,” the Spanish-language version of Mobile Ask Karen. Mobile Pregúntele Karen and the desktop-based Pregúntele a Karen also are available 24 hours a day at m.PregunteleaKaren.gov or PregunteleaKaren.gov.

Consumers can email, chat with a live representative, or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline directly from these apps. To use these features on the app, simply choose "Contact Us" from the menu. The live chat option and the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), are available in English and Spanish from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

This seasonal food safety outreach is part of a multi-faceted USDA initiative to prevent foodborne illness. As part of this initiative, USDA has joined the Ad Council, the FDA and the CDC to launch Food Safe Families, a consumer food safety education campaign. It is the first joint public service campaign to empower families to further reduce their risk of foodborne illness at home by checking their key food safety steps: clean, separate, cook, and chill. For more information, go to www.foodsafety.gov.

Today's action is in addition to other FSIS has put in place during President Barack Obama's Administration to date to safeguard the food supply, prevent foodborne illness, and improve consumers' knowledge about the food they eat. These initiatives support the three core principles developed by the President's Food Safety Working Group: prioritizing prevention; strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and improving response and recovery. Some of these actions include:

  • Test-and-hold policy that will significantly reduce consumer exposure to unsafe meat products, should the policy become final, because products cannot be released into commerce until Agency test results for dangerous contaminants are known.
  • Labeling requirements that provide better information to consumers about their food by requiring nutrition information for single-ingredient raw meat and poultry products and ground or chopped products.
  • Public Health Information System, a modernized, comprehensive database with information on public health trends and food safety violations at the nearly 6,100 plants FSIS regulates.
  • Performance standards for poultry establishments for continued reductions in the occurrence of pathogens. After two years of enforcing the new standards, FSIS estimates that approximately 5,000 illnesses will be prevented each year under the new Campylobacter standards, and approximately 20,000 illnesses will be prevented under the revised Salmonella standards each year.

 

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NOTE: Access news releases and other information at FSIS’ website at www.fsis.usda.gov.

Follow FSIS on Twitter at twitter.com/usdafoodsafety.

 

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

 
NIH/NIA News: Hyperthermia: too hot for your health PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Richard Martin   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:58
NIH provides heat-related illness advice for older people
Hot summer weather can pose special health risks to older adults. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has some advice for helping older people avoid heat-related illnesses, known as hyperthermia.
Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment. Heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are commonly known forms of hyperthermia. Risk for these conditions can increase with the combination of outside temperature, general health and individual lifestyle.
Lifestyle factors can include not drinking enough fluids, living in housing without air conditioning, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places and not understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions. Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect. People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.
Health-related factors, some especially common among older people, that may increase risk of hyperthermia include:
  • Being dehydrated.
  • Age-related changes to the skin such as impaired blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands.
  • Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever.
  • High blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.
  • Reduced sweating, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs.
  • Taking several drugs for various conditions. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
  • Being substantially overweight or underweight.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages.
Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Heat stroke occurs when someone’s body temperature increases significantly (generally above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and has symptoms such as mental status changes (like confusion or combativeness), strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, faintness, staggering, or coma. Seek immediate emergency medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.
If you suspect that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:
  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.
  • Encourage the individual to shower, bathe or sponge off with cool water.
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water, fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps eligible households pay for home cooling and heating costs. People interested in applying for assistance should contact their local or state LIHEAP agency.
For a free copy of the NIA’s AgePage on hyperthermia in English or in Spanish, contact the NIA Information Center at 1-800-222-2225 or go to  http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/ or  http://www.nia.nih.gov/ (Spanish).
The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people. For more information on research and aging, go to www.nia.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health
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Diabetes On-The-Go PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:48

A whole industry has grown up around freeing diabetics to lead less restricted lives. Tubeless insulin pumps, a needleless blood-glucose monitoring system, and diabetic-friendly frozen foods are among the innovations helping people with the metabolic disorder to live lives on the go.

With the number of diabetics growing worldwide – 246 million at last count, according to the World Health Organization – businesses are motivated. In 2011, diabetes therapeutic products were a $23.7 billion dollar industry feeding a growing population that’s starving for a better quality of life, says Chef Robert Lewis, “The Happy Diabetic,” author of two cookbooks for people with the metabolic disorder.

“It wasn’t long ago that Type 1 diabetics had to be sure they packed ample sterile syringes and insulin, whether they were going to work for the day or on a road trip,” he says. “Monitoring blood sugar levels, which is crucial to keeping vital organs healthy, was painful, primitive and hit-or-miss.

“And food? That’s been the hardest. A diabetes diagnosis can feel like a life sentence of bland eating.”

Among the “firsts” Lewis says diabetics can look forward to:

• The first tubeless insulin pump. Thirty years ago, people with insulin-dependent diabetes had to give themselves shots around the clock to control their blood sugar levels. In some cases, diabetics were hospitalized to ensure they got the insulin necessary to prevent ketoacidosis, a condition that can lead to coma and death. In 1983, the insulin pump was introduced. It attaches to the body and provides continuous insulin injections. But while it was a major breakthrough, it can be bulky and awkward, with a dangling catheter. The most recent innovation is a streamlined version called the OmniPod. It has no tubes, it’s smaller and it attaches anywhere on the body with adhesive. It also has a built-in glucose-monitoring system.

• The first needleless glucometer. The Symphony tCGM System uses ultrasound to monitor blood-sugar levels, which will free people from the painful pricks needed to get a small blood sample for testing multiple times a day. The device, which attaches with adhesive to the body, continuously tracks glucose levels day and night and can send the readings to your smart phone. Under development for more than a decade, Symphony is undergoing the studies necessary to win regulatory approval.

• The first diabetic-friendly frozen meals. Meals-in-a-Bun (www.lifestylechefs.net) will arrive in Northeast U.S. grocery stores beginning in July and roll out across the country through the end of the year. They’re low on the glycemic index, low in sugar and carbs, high in soluble fiber, low in trans fat, high in lean protein and low in sodium, Lewis says. “And the best thing is, they are delicious.”  The five varieties – two vegan and three vegetarian – include selections like Thai Satay, mushrooms, broccoli and tofu in whole-wheat flax bun. “This is particularly exciting because, while there have been advances in equipment that makes life easier for diabetics, there haven’t been for convenient, packaged foods.”

Diabetics who do not watch what they eat may wind up suffering kidney damage, stomach problems, heart disease, pneumonia, gum disease, blindness, stroke, nerve damage, complications during pregnancy, loss of limb and other health problems, according to the CDC.

But many Americans are trending toward healthier diets, eating less meat, gluten, salt and sugar, Lewis says. Tasty foods developed for diabetics will be excellent choices for them, too.

“What’s good for diabetics is good for everyone,” he says. “And you don’t have to give up one teaspoon of flavor.

“There’s a reason why I am called ‘The Happy Diabetic’; I have discovered the joy of nutrition-rich food.”

About Lifestyle Chefs

Lifestyle Chefs is a Santa Clara, Calif., company specializing in creating meals inspired by world cuisines and using only natural, healthy and nutritious ingredients. Lifestyle Chefs’ products are all vegetarian and diabetic-friendly, perfect for families who want fast, convenient meals that are low in calories, high in nutrition and robust in flavor. Chef  Robert Lewis, “The Happy Diabetic,” was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1998. He specializes in flavorful recipes that won’t spike a diabetic’s blood sugar.

 
Grassley’s Synthetic Drugs Ban Gets Final Approval, on the Way to the President PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:44
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa tonight received final legislative approval of his legislation to ban the chemicals used to make a dangerous synthetic drug called K2 or spice.  The Senate gave final approval to the measure as part of a Food and Drug Administration bill, sending the measure to the President for his consideration and expected signature into law.  Grassley’s measure is named for David Rozga, an 18-year-old Iowan who committed suicide shortly after trying the product, bought from a local store.

 

“This ban can’t come quickly enough,” Grassley said.  “Just about every day, there’s a new tragedy related to K2 or bath salts.  The sooner this poison is off the store shelves, the better.  I hope the President will sign this measure into law very quickly.”

 

Grassley delivered a floor statement on his legislation this week.  Click here for the video.  The text follows.

 

Floor Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley

On Synthetic Drugs

Delivered Monday, June 25, 2012

 

Two years ago a constituent of mine named David Rozga committed suicide shortly after smoking a product called K2 — a synthetic form of marijuana.  A week before he passed away, David graduated from Indianola High School.  He was looking forward to attending my alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa, that fall.  David and his friends spent the week after graduation going to parties and celebrating their achievements. Some of David’s friends heard about K2 from some other friends who were home from college.  They were told that if you smoked this product like marijuana you could get a high.  David and his friends were about to go to a concert and thought smoking K2 before would be nothing but harmless fun. However, shortly after smoking K2, David became highly agitated and terrified.  His friends tried to calm him down and once he appeared calmer, he decided to go home instead of going out with them. Tragically, David took his own life shortly after returning home — only about 90 minutes after smoking K2 for the first time. The only chemicals in his system at the time of his death were those that constituted K2.

 

David’s tragic death is one of the first in what has been a rapidly growing drug abuse trend. In the past two years, the availability and popularity of synthetic drugs like K2, spice, bath salts, and 2C-E have exploded. These drugs are labeled and disguised as legitimate products to circumvent the law. They are easily purchased online, at gas stations, in shopping malls and in other novelty stores. Poison control centers and emergency rooms around the country are reporting skyrocketing cases of calls and visits resulting from synthetic drug use. The physical effects associated with this use include increased agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.  A number of people across the country have acted violently while under the influence of the drug, dying or injuring themselves and others.  Just a few weeks ago a man in Miami, Florida, attacked a homeless man and ate nearly half his face before police had to shoot him to stop him.   Bath salts are suspected in that attack.  Two weeks ago, police in upstate New York tasered a woman who was choking her three-year-old son after smoking bath salts.

 

These ongoing and mounting tragedies underscore the fact that Congress must take action to stop these drugs from causing further damage to our society.  I introduced the David Mitchell Rozga Act a year ago last March to ban the drugs that constitute K2. My colleagues Sens. Schumer, Klobuchar, and Portman have also joined me to ban synthetic drugs including bath salts and 2-CE compounds. Today our separate bills are included as part of the House and Senate agreement on the Food and Drug Administration user fee bill we’ll be voting on shortly.  I want to thank all who have worked very hard to get my bill, as well as the other bills banning synthetic drugs, through Congress. I especially want to thank Mike and Jan Rozga and their family for their tireless efforts to prevent more tragedy from befalling other families.  This legislation will drastically help to remove these poisons from the store shelves and protect our children from becoming more victims.  I urge my colleagues to support cloture on this bill and I yield the floor.

 
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