Public Health



“Is my cholesterol too high?” may become an irrelevant question.

There was a time when the total cholesterol number rising above 240 meant that you had a simple condition called “high cholesterol” and that avoiding fat and perhaps taking medication could reduce your “cholesterol” level the blood. If you did this, you could avoid a heart attack. Cholesterol was described as a fatty molecule that clogged arteries in the heart and having too much of it made heart attacks and strokes more likely. This "plumbing" analogy made sense to almost everyone, so we proceeded to eat low fat diets and started taking Lipitor.
Did it help?
In order to save you-all the trouble of poring over the 2000 page Omnibus Budget bill passed last week, let me point out some of its issue of concern:
Introduction: A covert alliance forged of mutual interest has declared victory after the recently-concluded Paris climate conclave issued its final accord, garnering almost 200 national signatories. Do they have reason to celebrate — or are their gleeful press statements meant to cover up the real shortfalls of this agreement? 

When used properly, car seats can reduce the risk of infant death and injury by 71% but a new study in The Journal of Pediatrics found that most families with newborns made at least one serious error in the use and installation of their car safety seat. In 2013, car accidents resulted in approximately 8,500 infants requiring hospitalization or emergency department visits and 135 deaths.  


Not content with blathering about the politics of soda and the urgent need to label GMO-containing food to protect America's consumers from science, Prof. M.

Nearly 185 million adults and 24 million children in the United States are overweight or obese. In Philadelphia, an estimated 68 percent of adults are overweight or obese. Beyond impaired cognitive function, poor sleep is associated with a host of chronic health problems including depression, obesity, and hypertension. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50 to 70 million U.S. adults experience sleep or wakefulness disorders.

Weight loss due to dietary changes can improve sleepiness at any weight, says a study published in the journal Sleep, which the authors say reaffirms how weight fluctuations impact numerous aspects of sleep independent of body weight.


One of every three deaths in the U.S. in 2013 were from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, while heart disease and stroke were the top and second killers worldwide, according to American Heart Association's 2016 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update, which uses data from the AHA, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government sources.  

In the U.S. the data showed:

  • cardiovascular diseases claimed 801,000 lives;

  • heart disease killed more than 370,000 people;

  • stroke killed nearly 129,000 people;

  • about 116,000 of the 750,000 people in the U.S. who had a heart attack died;


Poisonings from recreational drug and alcohol use account for 9 percent of all poisoning-related hospital admissions,while males and people under 30 are at greatest risk, according to a paper in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The lesson: Young people are more inclined to be both experimental and stupid about it, especially at Australian music festivals. The report is based on 13,805 patient records collected between January 1996 and December 2013 using data from the Hunter Area Toxicology Service (HATS). The report finds that stimulants were the drug class most commonly linked to recreational poisonings, followed by alcohol, opioids, sedatives, hallucinogens, cannabis, non-narcotic analgesics, ecstasy and cocaine. 


Smoking are linked to infertility problems and a hastening of the natural menopause before the age of 50, finds a large study in Tobacco Control.  The clinical significance of earlier menopause is unknown and it was an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. 


Why do we eat stuff that's bad for us when our stated aim is to lose weight or "get in shape?"