Health Stat

2013-10-12T23:45:00Z Health Stat Corvallis Gazette Times
October 12, 2013 11:45 pm

Quick reads about

health topics in the news

Osteoporosis and men

Osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to weaken and sometimes break, is often thought of as a “women’s disease,” but it poses a significant threat to more than 2 million men in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

After age 50, 6 percent of all men will experience a hip fracture and 5 percent will have a spinal fracture as a result of osteoporosis, NIH has reported.

Osteoporosis in men “is an area, you could say, that’s forgotten almost,” said Bob Schmaltz, radiology assistant with Altru Health System in Grand Forks, N.D.

About 12 million American men are at risk of osteoporosis, he said.

— Grand Forks Herald

Mental health matters

A new analysis by Oregon State University researchers of California’s mental health system finds that comprehensive, community-based mental health programs are helping people with serious mental illness make the transition to independent living.

The analysis was published in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

In November 2004, California voters passed the Mental Health Services Act, which allocated more than $3 billion for comprehensive community mental health programs. While community-based, these programs are different from usual mental health services programs in most states because they provide a more intensive level of care and a broader range of mental health services and supports, such as medication management, crisis intervention, case management and peer support.

“We found that these programs promoted independent living in the community among people who had serious mental illness but had not been served or underserved previously,” said Jangho Yoon, an assistant professor of health policy and health economist in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and lead author of the study.

— Oregon State University

Tropical diseases

A tag team of two bacteria, one of them genetically modified, has a good chance to reduce or even eliminate the deadly disease African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, researchers at Oregon State University conclude in a recent mathematical modeling study.

African trypanosomiasis, caused by a parasite carried by the tsetse fly, infects 30,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa each year and is almost always fatal without treatment.

In this research, scientists evaluated the potential for success of a new approach to combat the disease – creating a genetically modified version of the Sodalis bacteria commonly found in the gut of the flies that carry the disease, and using different bacteria called Wolbachia to drive the GMO version of Sodalis into fly populations.

When that’s done, the GMO version of Sodalis would kill the disease-causing trypanosome parasite. According to the analysis published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, researchers say this should work – and could offer a model system for other tropical, insect-carried diseases.

Jan Medlock, an assistant professor in the OSU Department of Biomedical Sciences, was lead author on the new report.

— Oregon State University

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