BIOL 368: Blog

BIOL 368 (NJIT) and 28:120:368 (Rutgers)

Ecology and Evolution of Disease

This is a blog associated with the course above. Students are asked to post, in the comments section below, short vignettes of related news items that come up while the course is in session.

169 thoughts on “BIOL 368: Blog

  1. Tighter alcohol laws might help cure cancer

    Policies that reduce drinking may lower rates of alcohol-related cancers, researchers say.” When thinking about cancer risk and cancer prevention, the focus tends to be on individual-level risk factors rather than environmental determinants of cancer, like public policies that affect the consumption of alcohol or tobacco,” said study co-author Dr. Timothy Naimi. Naimi is a physician and researcher at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Public Health. “Implementing effective policies to reduce alcohol consumption is a promising means of cancer prevention that merits further investigation,” Naimi added in a medical center news release. Alcohol use is linked to at least seven types of cancer. Research suggests that about 20,000 U.S. cancer deaths a year are due to alcohol, the authors said in background notes. For the new study, the researchers analyzed data on cancer deaths per state from 2006 to 2010. They gave each state an alcohol policy score based on 29 regulations, such as alcohol taxes and restrictions on the number of locations allowed to sell booze. Those policy scores were then related to rates of alcohol-attributable cancers, such as those of the esophagus, mouth and throat, liver, prostate (among men) and breast (among women). For all cancers combined, more restrictive alcohol policies were associated with a reduced risk of cancer death. A 10% increase in the strength of alcohol policies was associated with an 8.5% decrease in cancer deaths, the findings showed. The results were similar among men and women. They highlight the potential impact that public health policies can have on preventing cancers at the population level, according to the study authors.

  2. How effective is telemedicine for infectious disease consultations?

    The clinical effectiveness of telemedicine infectious disease consultations has yet to be studied to the degree that its effectiveness can be measured until now, according to an analysis published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. Investigators from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSTL) searched various medical databases in order to review the current evidence for clinical effectiveness of telemedicine infectious disease consultations. The team wanted to measure outcomes of mortality, hospital readmission, antimicrobial use, cost, length of stay, adherence, and patient satisfaction. The study authors wrote that telemedicine could potentially expand infectious disease expertise to underserved areas, thereby reducing mortality and improving clinical outcomes in those areas. A shortage of infectious disease physicians, like the one seen today, may also contribute to less access to these specialists in economically disadvantaged areas. While telemedicine is widely used in many subspecialties, there has been no research into its effectiveness for clinical outcomes in infectious disease. Mortality was higher among telemedicine groups in 2 studies and lower in the other 2 studies which reported this outcome, the investigators wrote. However, only 1 of these studies was statistically significant: there was lower mortality in patients who received in-person rather than telephone-only infectious disease consultations. Length of stay was also shorter in the telemedicine group in 4 of the 5 studies to report it, and the remaining study reported equivalent length of stay. Finally, both readmission and adherence/compliance were similar between telemedicine and non-telemedicine groups, the study authors learned.

  3. I do believe all the concepts you have presented on your post.

    They’re very convincing and can definitely work.

    Still, the posts are too brief for newbies. Could you please prolong them a bit from
    next time? Thank you for the post.

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