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News to Live By - Fall 2006

By Jackie powder


Medication Errors

At least 1.5 million Americans are injured every year as a result of medication errors, at a cost of $3 billion in extra treatment, according to Health Policy and Management professor Albert Wu, MD, MPH, a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that issued a July 20 report on the prevalence of medication errors in the U.S. The report includes recommendations for patients, physicians, pharmacists, health care organizations and others on how to reduce medication errors.


Maternal Stress

Mild to moderate levels of maternal stress during pregnancy may actually enhance fetal and subsequent child development, according to an article by Janet DiPietro, PhD, professor, Population, Family and Reproductive Health, and colleagues in the May/June Child Development. Following women from mid-pregnancy and children through their second birthday, researchers found that prenatal stress was associated with accelerated mental and motor outcomes in kids.



Multivitamin Supplements

A review of previously published studies on multivitamin supplements found little scientific evidence to suggest that they help Americans to prevent chronic diseases, including most cancers and cardiovascular disease, reports Han-Yao Huang, PhD '99, MPH, assistant professor, Epidemiology. Huang was lead investigator of the systematic review that was presented to a National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference in May.


Teen Poverty and Weight

Adolescents ages 15 to 17 are 50 percent more likely to be overweight if their family's income is below the poverty line. This disparity was not present in the 1970s or 1980s, reports Richard Miech, PhD, a former assistant professor, Mental Health, in the May 24 JAMA. Adolescents from low-income families are more likely to be overweight partly because of lower levels of physical activity and greater sweetened-drink consumption, as well as an increased likelihood to skip breakfast.