research

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It’s not the first study to examine the enormous health and economic benefits of vaccines. But it’s certainly another impressive reminder about the power — and value — of prevention.

It’s probably no surprise that people who experienced foreclosures during the Great Recession may have also experienced symptoms of depression. However, researchers have found that the mental health effects of foreclosure go beyond the individual to the community at-large.

Most people infected with mosquito-borne West Nile virus don’t experience any symptoms at all. However, the tiny percentage of cases that do end up in the hospital total hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.

Higher insurance rates don’t mean people stop seeking care at publically funded health centers, found a recent study of family planning clinics in Massachusetts. The findings speak to serious concerns within public health circles that policy-makers may point to higher insurance rates as a justification to cut critical public health funding.

In a first-of-its-kind study, a researcher has estimated that the health-related economic savings of removing bisphenol A from our food supply is a whopping $1.74 billion annually. And that’s a conservative estimate.

“Millions of Americans use antibacterial hand soap and body wash products. Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water,” wrote the US Food and Drug Administration…

The day I spoke with Idaho minimum wage activist Anne Nesse, it was quite cold in her hometown of Coeur d’Alene — 29 degrees, to be exact. The harsh winters came up more than once during our conversation about low wages in the northwestern state.

“There’s a lot we don’t know about preterm birth and we know even less about the disparities in those births.” Those are words from Ondine von Ehrenstein, who recently examined the links between occupational exposures and preterm birth rates among Hispanic women.

It’s probably my earliest public health memory — the image of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and his grandfatherly beard on the television warning my elementary school self about the dangers of smoking. He was the first doctor I knew by name.

With so much pressure on the Affordable Care Act to immediately live up to high expectations, and with opponents who seem gleeful at the news that Americans are having a hard time signing up for affordable health care, it’s reassuring to read that the health reform law can readily take a few blows and keep moving forward.