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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Washington law against personal, philosophical vaccine exemptions goes into effect

Washington state is now the latest to no longer allow personal or philosophical exemptions for required vaccinations. The state is one of four across the country that is continuing to deal with a measles outbreak, with more than 80 cases reported in the state this year. Under the new law, which went into effect yesterday, parents will no longer be able to cite personal or philosophical reasons for not vaccinating their children with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, a requirement for kids attending public and private schools and day cares. Parents in Washington can still claim medical and religious exemptions, however. Washington follows Maine and New York this year in removing the option for personal exemptions when it comes to mandated vaccines. There are now only 15 states in the U.S. that allow some kind of non-medical exemption. 

Nearly 75% of TBIs in youths caused by furniture and other common fixtures

Most traumatic brain injuries in those under the age of 19 happen because youths hit their heads against common household fixtures such as furniture and sports equipment, according to new research. Nearly 1.7 million TBI cases occur every year in the U.S., of which roughly 700,000 happen in youths. In the new study, researchers found that between 2010 and 2013, there were some 4.1 million non-fatal TBI visits to emergency rooms. In infants and kids ages 1-4, hits to the head from beds and other pieces of furniture were most likely. Among older children, TBIs from bicycles, football, and basketball were the most common. While the vast majority of these TBIs were due to unintentional injuries, some 6% were due to assault. Prevention strategies should include making modifications to kids’ environment, the authors suggest. 

Review finds NICUs are not immune from racism, prompting call for health equity 

A review of 41 articles looking at racial disparities when it comes to infants in NICUs finds that African American women are less likely to give birth in top-ranked hospitals. Hospitals that routinely served minority populations were also more likely to have higher infant mortality rates. The findings, the authors write, show that “NICUs are not isolated from racism.” In a related paper, scientists say that actions aimed at improving health equity could help bridge the disparities experienced by African Americans. In a policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics outlines research that has shown that racism is a social determinant of health and negatively impacts the early childhood and adolescent health of minority children. “Pediatricians must examine their own biases,” the statement says, and advocate for policies that improve all aspects of the lives of children’s health. 

Inside STAT: U.S. fails, again, to approve new suppliers of marijuana for research


(PABLO PORCIUNCULA BRUNE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Just as we did in 2017 and 2018, we’re here with what seems to be an annual tradition of sharing that, once again, the DEA has not approved more applications for marijuana research, despite saying it would be open to doing so. As consumer products with CBD become ever more popular, the lack of research to support many of the claims being made by manufacturers is frustrating scientists and advocates for more marijuana research. In one instance, one of the applicants hoping to grow marijuana for research — Arizona-based Scottsdale Research Institute — is asking a federal court to get the DEA to review applications. Read more here from STAT’s Andrew Joseph. 

WHO report shows more people are protected by anti-tobacco policies

The WHO just released its latest report on the global tobacco epidemic, finding that some 5 billion people now live in areas that have some government-provided protection against tobacco smoke. Here’s more from the report: 

  • Tobacco cessation: Only 23 countries now offer comprehensive policies to help people quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, making this an area for improvement.  

  • Graphic warnings: One of the measures the WHO recommends to encourage smoking cessation is for governments to require graphic warnings on cigarette packs, and the new report finds nearly 4 billion people are protected by such warnings. 

  • Public smoking: Some 1.6 billion people across 62 countries are protected by laws that prevent smoking in public spaces and workplaces, but the vast majority of people worldwide do not live where such laws are in effect.

People are still spending a lot of time sitting

Another study finds that Americans are spending too much time sitting. Researchers looked at data from more than 27,000 adults and found that between 2007 and 2018, the percentage of people who are sedentary for six or more hours a day increased from around 16% to nearly 19%. Previous data from the CDC has suggested that more Americans are getting the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate intensity activity a week, but the latest study suggests that increase may be small. According to the new data, some 63% of adults reported sticking to the physical activity guidelines in 2007, but that increased slightly to around 65% by 2016. One caveat of this and other such studies: They rely on people to self-report activity and the findings may be subject to recall bias. 

What to read around the web today

  • How mosquitoes changed everything. The New Yorker
  • ‘Don’t be a Bernie Bro’: Inside conservatives’ brazen campaign to sabotage Trump’s signature drug pricing plan. STAT
  • In the ‘Juul room’: E-cigarettes spawn a form of teen addiction that worries doctors, parents and schools. The Washington Post
  • Isolated and struggling, many seniors are turning to suicide. NPR
  • New protocol for HIV prevention drug reduces the number of pills required. Kaiser Health News

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,

Shraddha

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Monday, July 29, 2019

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