AJPH News Release
EMBARGOED UNTIL November 12, 2009, 4 PM (ET)
CONTACT: For copies of articles, call APHA Communications at 202-777-2511 or email us.
The articles below will be published online November 12, 2009, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look,” and they are currently scheduled to appear in the January 2010 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association. To stay up-to-date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new Journal content email alerts.
American Journal of Public Health Highlights:
· Older Americans face increased burden of disability
· Dental exams provide an opportune time to provide HIV testing for high-risk individuals
· Motorcycle helmets help save lives and lead to better health outcomes when head injuries are sustained
Older Americans face increased burden of disability
A new study shows that older Americans face increased burden of disability and society faces increased costs related to that disability.
Researchers investigated trends in disability among older Americans from 1988 through 2004 to test the hypothesis that more recent cohorts show an increased burden of disability. They used data from two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1988-1994 and 1994-2004) to assess the time trends in basic activities of daily living, activity levels and limitations for adults age 60 and older. They found significant increases in each type of disability seen over time among respondents ages 60 years to 69 years, independent of sociodemographic characteristics, health status, relative weight and health behaviors.
“Current economic conditions only serve to underscore the imperative for the United States to undertake efforts to better delineate and understand not only disability trends and their sources but also the broader societal costs of such disability.”
[From: “Disability Trends Among Older Americans: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1988-1994 and 1999-2004.” Contact: Teresa E. Seeman, UCLA Division of Geriatrics].
Dental exams provide an opportune time to provide HIV testing for high-risk individuals
A new study suggests dental examinations are an unexploited opportunity to provide HIV testing for high-risk individuals.
Using data from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey, researchers examined the potential role of dental care in reaching untested individuals at self-reported risk for HIV. An estimated 3.6 million Americans report that they are at significant HIV risk yet have never been HIV-tested. However, three-quarters of these people have seen a dentist within the past two years. Researchers suggest that dental care offers opportunities for such high-risk individuals that would otherwise likely not be tested and to receive preventive care services.
Researchers stated, “As more powerful and less costly oral diagnostics emerge to address other conditions, the clinical and public health value of oral health care will likely increase.”
[From: “Dental Examinations as an Unexploited Opportunity to Provide HIV Testing for High-Risk Individuals.” Contact: Harold Pollack, PhD, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago].
Motorcycle helmets help save lives and lead to better health outcomes when head injuries are sustained
Individuals wearing motorcycle helmets who sustained head injuries faired better outcomes than those who were not, according to a new study.
Patients with head injuries (total sample of 3,3328) were grouped into categories representing good and poor outcomes (moderate disability or death) at discharge. Researchers found that the percentages of good and poor outcomes were 87.2 percent and 12.8 percent in the helmeted group; whereas in the non-helmeted group, results were 66.4 percent and 33.6 percent respectively. Non-helmeted motorcyclists had longer average intensive care unit stays and worse outcomes at discharge than helmeted motorcyclists.
Researchers concluded, “The next step involves identifying the difference in costs associated with mandatory legislation and lack of regulation. Future cost-utility or cost-effectiveness analyses can calculate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for regulation of helmet use.”
[From: “Quality-Adjusted Life-Years and Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Sustaining Head Injuries.” Contact: Jung-Der Wang, MD, National Taiwan University].