first_imgJul 20 2018Black lung on the rise since 2000This study found the national prevalence of coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung) is increasing among working coal miners. In central Appalachia, 20.6 percent of miners working more than 25 years have black lung disease.Study authors predict current black lung prevalence estimates will likely be reflected in future trends for severe and disabling disease, including progressive massive fibrosis.The study revealed that following a low point in the late 1990s, the national prevalence of black lung in miners with 25 years or more of tenure now exceeds 10 percent. When the study excluded miners from central Appalachia, the prevalence for the remainder of the United States was lower, but an increase since 2000 remained evident.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairMultifaceted intervention for acute respiratory infection improves antibiotic-prescribingSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchCongressional districts and their opioid prescribing ratesThis study examined which Congressional districts have the highest and lowest opioid prescribing rates in 2016. The data showed high prescribing rate districts were concentrated in the South, Appalachia, and the rural West. Low-rate districts were concentrated in urban centers.Data for all congressional districts is available upon request.Racial disparities in police violenceResearchers found that police kill, on average, 2.8 men per day. Police were responsible for about 8 percent of all homicides with adult male victims between 2012 and 2018.The study examined racial disparities in police violence, and found that black men’s mortality risk is between 1.9 and 2.4 deaths per 100,000 per year, latino risk is between 0.8 and 1.2, and white risk is between 0.6 and 0.7.Authors concluded that police homicide risk is higher than suggested by official data. Black and latino men are at higher risk for death than are white men, and these disparities vary markedly across place.Former inmates face substantially higher opioid overdose death riskAn analysis of inmate release data and death records in North Carolina found inmates face a substantially higher risk of opioid overdose death after release, when compared with the general population of North Carolina.Researchers found that of the 229,274 former inmates released during 2000 to 2015, 1,329 died from opioid overdose. Two weeks after release, the respective risk of opioid overdose death among former inmates was 40 times higher as general NC residents. One-year after release and at complete follow-up after release, inmates’ risk was 11 and 8.3 times as high as general NC residents, respectively. The corresponding heroin overdose death risk among former inmates was 74, 18 and 14 times as high as general NC residents, respectively.Former inmates at greatest OOD risk were those within the first two weeks after release, aged 26 to 50 years, male, white, with more than two previous prison terms, and who received in-prison mental health and substance abuse treatment. Source:https://www.apha.org/last_img read more


first_imgAug 10 2018More than 4 in 10 women with asthma may go on to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study conducted in Ontario, Canada, and published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.In “www.thoracic.org=””>Asthma and COPD Overlap in Women: Incidence and Risk Factors,” Teresa To, PhD, and coauthors report that of the 4,051 women with asthma included in their study, 1,701, or 42 percent, developed COPD. On average, the women were followed for about 14 years after being diagnosed with asthma. The researchers examined risk factors for developing asthma and COPD overlap syndrome, known as ACOS. Those who develop ACOS experience increased exacerbations and hospitalizations and have a lower quality of life, compared to those who have asthma or COPD alone.”Previous studies have found an alarming rise in ACOS in women in recent years and that the mortality rate from ACOS was higher in women than men,” said Dr. To, a professor in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in Canada. “We urgently need to identify and quantify risk factors associated with ACOS in women to improve their health and save lives.”The authors report that individual risk factors played a more significant role in the development of ACOS than exposure to fine particulate matter, a major air pollutant that because of its microscopic size penetrates deep into the lungs.Women who had a more than five-pack-year smoking history, meaning they had smoked more than the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for five years, were much more likely to develop ACOS than those who smoked fewer cigarettes or never smoked.Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into development of asthmaPrenatal exposure to paternal tobacco smoking linked to high asthma riskNovel lung map reveals new cells responsible for asthmaHowever, ACOS did not affect only those who smoke: 38 percent of the women who developed ACOS in the study had never smoked.In addition to smoking, the study identified obesity, rural residence, lower education levels and unemployment as significant risk factors for ACOS. The authors speculate that these factors indicative of low socioeconomic status may result in suboptimal access to care, under-treatment of asthma and poor compliance to medications, all of which lead to more frequent asthma attacks. These attacks in turn may lead to airway remodeling that increases the chances of developing ACOS.The researchers noted that they lacked the data to investigate this association directly. Study limitations also include not having information about exposure to second-hand smoke and exposure to air pollution over the entire time the women were followed.The authors wrote that they were encouraged by the fact that most of the risk factors identified in their study were modifiable.”The adverse impact of smoking and obesity on health may be even worse in those who are already living with asthma or COPD,” said Dr. To, who is also senior scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). “Identifying modifiable risk factors in the progression from asthma to COPD is an essential first step in developing prevention strategies that lead to a healthy, active lifestyle.”Source: http://www.thoracic.org/last_img read more