The benefits of e-cigarettes outweigh their potential harms the British Royal College of Physicians concluded after a comprehensive review of the current scientific research on e-cigarettes. The college's April 28 report, reported in Britain by the BBC and in the U.S. by the New York Times, concludes e-cigarettes are "much safer" than smoking conventional cigarettes and can be an important aid to quit smoking.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults—United States, 2014 report, which found that nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-60 are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. The average hours of sleep Americans get each night vary across states and across geographic locations, the average hours of sleep Americans get each night also vary across racial and ethnic groups, age groups, employment statuses, levels of educational attainment, and relationship statuses.The implications of sleep deprivation extend beyond individual health and can impact public safety and the workforce.

Yesterday at CSG the Red Cross donation bus visited. I noticed a new question about travel to countries where mosquitos carrying the Zika virus live. My curiosity clicked in and here is what I learned.

In mid March the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidelines to safeguard the nation's blood supply and the new question is a result of that guidance. The Red Cross released a statement on March 14 explaining how it would comply with the guidelines.

"Based on observational, cohort and case-control studies there is strong scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of GBS [Guillain-Barre syndrome], microcephaly and other neurological disorders," the World Health Organization said in a Situation Report dated March 31, 2016. 

California would follow Hawaii to become the second state to change its smoking age to 21 if a bill passed by lawmakers earlier this month is signed by the governor. The California bill would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 as well as the purchase of tobacco products by anyone under that age. The age limit also would apply to electronic devices that deliver nicotine or other vaporized liquids. On June 19, 2015, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a law that prohibited the sale, purchase, possession or consumption of cigarettes, other tobacco products and electronic smoking devices--also known as e-cigarettes--to anyone under age 21. The law went into effect Jan. 1.

The Zika virus in Central and South America and the Caribbean seems to be connected to an astoundingly high number of babies in Brazil being born with microcephaly, a congenital brain defect that causes under development of head and brain size. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel warning for 22 locations as of Jan. 22, 2016. The CDC especially recommends that pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant reconsider travel. All known cases of Zika in the U.S. have been linked to travel,...

A new study published in the British health journal Lancet presents the strongest case to date that the Zika virus is linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes temporary paralysis. The study retrospectively looked at 42 cases of Guillain-Barré in French Polynesia that occurred between October 2013 and April 2014, the same time that French Polynesia experienced the largest Zika virus outbreak ever described at that time. While the research could not conclude that Zika was the cause of the Guillain-Barré cases, it strongly links the two. 

A new poll finds that 43 percent of Americans are worried that there will be a large number of Zika cases this year. Fewer (28 percent) worry that they or a family member will become infected, according to the Feb. 25 poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

CSG Midwest
Community paramedicine programs — sometimes known as field emergency medical services (EMS) or mobile integrated health care — expand the role of certified paramedics and allow them to provide non-emergency, preventative health care services to patients in their communities.
The expanded functions of a community paramedic can include providing primary care, chronic disease management, mental health and dental care, according to the American Nurses Association. Customarily, the role of a paramedic is to respond in emergency situations only, but the push for an expanded role is gaining momentum — particularly in rural areas that have fewer traditional health care providers.
Some community paramedic programs operate on a small scale without specific statutory authority. However, a handful of state legislatures (Missouri, Nevada and Washington, for example) have passed laws in recent years to authorize these programs on a statewide level.
CSG Midwest
As the realization that a generation of children in Flint, Mich., has been exposed to lead poisoning by their own water sets in, some Michigan lawmakers are pushing to enshrine access to clean, safe water in state law as a basic human right.
If such a law is enacted, Michigan would be the second state to do so, following California, whose 2012 statute declaring “every human being has the right to clean, affordable and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes” requires state agencies to consider this right when formulating policies, regulations and grant programs that impact water for domestic consumption.