Category archives for Research

These days, there’s a lot of attention on finding new and creative ways to turn around the nation’s opioid abuse and overdose problem. And it’s attention that’s very much needed because the problem is only getting worse.

Re-run from July 27, 2015:Dr. Donald Rasmussen, 87, spent more than 50 years in Appalachia treating coal miners with lung disease. He was at the forefront of efforts during the 1960’s to challenge the establishment’s views that exposure to coal mine dust damaged miners’ lungs.

Re-run from May 27, 2015: For more than a decade, biologist Mariam Barlow has been working on the theory that administering antibiotics on a rotating basis could be a solution to antibiotic resistance. After years of research, Barlow had lots of data, but she needed a more precise way to make sense of it all — something that was so specific it could easily be used to treat patients. So, she joined forces with a team of mathematicians. And the amazing results could help solve an enormous, worldwide problem.

A re-run from June 26, 2015: A common hurdle in the field of occupational health and safety is delivering what can sometimes be life-saving information to the people who need it most. After all, not all employers are amenable to workplace health and safety education. But what if safety advocates could find and connect with the most at-risk workers out in the community? Perhaps even reach vulnerable workers with safety education before they experience an injury at work?

Researcher Douglas Wiebe first started studying gun violence as a doctoral student, investigating how having a firearm in one’s home affected the risk of injury. The work only heightened his interest in exploring gun violence from a public health perspective. Eventually, he decided to officially take on a question he’d been mulling over for almost a decade: Among people who’ve experienced a violent assault, are there any commonalities in their experiences just prior to the incident, and can we map those experiences in a way that reveals optimal intervention opportunities?

In a recent study, Harvard public health researchers decided to test a few dozen types of electronic cigarettes for diacetyl, a flavoring chemical associated with a severe respiratory disease known as “popcorn lung.” The researchers found diacetyl in a majority of the e-cigarettes they tested. News outlets jumped on the findings, with some announcing that e-cigarettes could cause the often-debilitating respiratory disease.

ANSI’s Nail Gun Safety Standard ignores safety research, ANSI process criticized

ANSI new safety standard for nails guns ignores a decade of injury research. It’s process largely excluded those directly affected—consumers and workers—and was dominated by groups with an interest in the unsafe status quo.

Take a quick look around your home and chances are you’ll find at least one product with an ingredient simply described as “fragrance.” But what exactly does that mean and is there anything harmful in the ubiquitous chemical cocktails we refer to as fragrance? Maybe. But the real answer is that it’s hard to know for sure — and that, say advocates, is bad for public health.

In 2011, a group of researchers embarked on a national study to measure burnout among physicians. They found that 45 percent of U.S. doctors met the criteria for burnout, which manifests as emotional exhaustion, a loss of meaning in one’s work, feelings of ineffectiveness, and a tendency to see people as objects rather than fellow humans. Less than a handful of years later, the problem has gotten significantly worse.

I usually shy away from getting too personal in my work. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving and as a new mom, I was thinking about things for which I’m particularly grateful. One of the first things that came to mind as a public health reporter? Vaccines. So, in that vein, let’s celebrate some new and promising numbers on the worldwide effort to eliminate measles.