• HomicideHomicide the largest contributor to years of lost life among African Americans

    Homicide is the largest contributor to potential years of life lost among black Americans, according to a new study. Homicide was the 12th highest contributor to potential years of life lost for white Americas. Black Americans are disproportionately affected by homicide, but the amount invested in homicide research is dramatically underrepresented in public health. Research on heart disease, white Americans’ No. 1 cause of potential years of life lost, received 341 grants and almost 600 publications during 2015; research on homicide received just a handful of federal grants and publications.

  • PoliceMore than half of police killings in U.S. not officially documented on death certificates

    Official death certificates in the United States failed to count more than half of the people killed by police in 2015 — and the problem of undercounting is especially pronounced in lower-income counties and for deaths that are due to Tasers, according to a new Harvard study. In contrast, a database from the London-based Guardian newspaper captured a large majority of these deaths, the study found.

  • Gun safetyA public health approach to stemming gun violence

    Public mass shootings in the United States have become more frequent. Unfortunately, it appears that these killings are somewhat contagious. They also seem to be becoming more deadly—largely because of the weaponry at the killers’ disposal. “A lesson from public health is that it is usually more effective to change the environment than to try to change people. The U.S. should use the same harm reduction approach to gun violence that it uses to treat other public health threats, like automobile crashes or air pollution—employing a wide variety of methods to reduce the problem,” says a public health expert.

  • Drug resistanceMassive increase in antimicrobials use in animals to lead to widespread drug resistance in humans

    The amount of antimicrobials given to animals destined for human consumption is expected to rise by a staggering 52 percent and reach 200,000 tons by 2030 unless policies are implemented to limit their use, according to new research. represent an alarming revision from already pessimistic estimates made in 2010, pushed up mostly by recent reports of high antimicrobial use in animals in China.

     

  • Guns & public healthFirearm-related injuries account for $2.8 billion in ER, inpatient charges each year

    A study of more than 704,000 people who arrived alive at a United States emergency room for treatment of a firearm-related injury between 2006 and 2014 finds decreasing incidence of such injury in some age groups, increasing trends in others, and affirmation of the persistently high cost of gunshot wounds in dollars and human suffering. Although firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, efforts to understand national trends in incidence, prevalence and risk factors, as well as a quantifiable financial cost of firearm-related injuries, have been limited.

  • Mass casualty incidentsMass casualty incidents and the overlap between trauma systems and hospital disaster preparedness

    A single patient with a gunshot wound (GSW) to a vital body part (e.g., head, chest, abdomen, or major artery) will stress a typical community hospital. The more than 500 people who were injured in Las Vegas on 1 October have been transported to a number of hospitals around Las Vegas and have overwhelmed some of the hospitals closest to the scene. A number of the injured are in critical condition and hence the death toll is likely to rise. Among other issues, this tragedy illustrates the overlap between trauma systems and hospital disaster preparedness.

  • RansomwareClear tactics, if only few easy solutions, for hospitals tackling ransomware

    Hospitals facing the prospect of ransomware attacks like the one that afflicted British hospitals in May can take many concrete steps to better protect themselves, but some of the most important measures — such as a national policy not to pay ransoms — may be tougher to formulate.

  • Search & rescueDrones could save lives in disaster zones

    Research from the University of South Australia has shown for the first time that drones can be used to detect human vital signs in war zones and natural disasters. The researchers have successfully trialed unmanned aerial vehicles to measure heart and respiratory rates using remote-sensing imaging systems, while hovering three meters from humans.

  • BiothreatsNose spray treatment for cyanide poisoning

    The first nose spray treatment for the life-threatening effects of cyanide poisoning will be developed under an agreement between HHS and Response and Emergent BioSolutions of Gaithersburg, Maryland. The treatment is needed because cyanide could be used as a chemical weapon against the United States, according to the agency.

  • BiothreatsLax policies governing dual-use research, scientists unaware of research’s biosecurity implications

    The National Academies of Sciences has examined policies and practices governing dual-use research in the life sciences – research that could potentially be misused to cause harm – and its findings identify multiple shortcomings. While the United States has a solid record in conducting biological research safely, the policies and regulations governing the dissemination of life sciences information that may pose biosecurity concerns are fragmented. Evidence also suggests that most life scientists have little awareness of biosecurity issues, the report says, stressing the importance of ongoing training for scientists.

  • BiothreatsMap shows how to disable dangerous bioweapon

    The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) ranks tularemia as one of the six most concerning bioterrorism agents, alongside anthrax, botulism, plague, smallpox and viral hemorrhagic fever. And Russian stockpiles of it likely remain. American scientists studying F. tularensis recently mapped out the complex molecular circuitry that enables the bacterium to become virulent. The map reveals a unique characteristic of the bacteria that could become the target of future drug development.

  • Nuclear war & public healthWorld unprepared to deal with the effects of a thermonuclear attack

    The world is not prepared to deal with the devastating effects of a thermonuclear attack, says an University of Georgia’s Cham Dallas. He said that the development of a hydrogen bomb by North Korea is a transformative event, especially from the point of view of the medical and public health response to a thermonuclear detonation.

  • Water securityWater supply, quality in U.S. West affected by increased wildfire-caused erosion

    A growing number of wildfire-burned areas throughout the western United States are expected to increase soil erosion rates within watersheds, causing more sediment to be present in downstream rivers and reservoirs. The area burned annually by wildfires has increased in recent decades and is expected to continue to increase this century. Many growing cities and towns rely on water from rivers and reservoirs that originates in watersheds where wildfire and sedimentation are projected to increase. Increased sedimentation could negatively impact water supply and quality for some communities.

  • BiosecurityNew biosecurity initiative to advance benefits, reduce risks of life sciences research

    A new biosecurity initiative at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) aims to identify and mitigate biological risks, both natural and man-made, and safeguard the future of the life sciences and associated technologies. The biosecurity initiative will seek to advance the beneficial applications of the life sciences while reducing the risks of misuse by promoting research, education and policy outreach in biological security.

  • GunsHospitalization costs of gun injuries exceeds $622 million a year

    Hospitalization costs associated with gun injuries in the United States exceeded $622 million a year, according to a new study. 57 percent of all firearm hospitalization costs were either paid by Medicaid—at more than $205 million—or not paid at all, as uninsured victims accounted for $155 million of the costs. More than 80 percent of firearm injury hospitalizations were among individuals age 15 to 44, with the highest annual rate of 28.9 per 100,000 among those age 15 to 24.