This Week In Public Health: When The Passing Of Time Helps ... And When It Doesn't Do Anything

Sep 8, 2017

People's views on public health change with time (just a few decades ago people still thought wet hair was the cause for a viral flu!) And in just a few years, addiction went from being considered a criminal problem to a chronic health issue. But, as Side Effects reports this week, some beliefs are slower to budge...views on everything from breast-feeding to syringe exchange programs. Read on for these stories and more!

This Week on Side Effects:

Credit Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

What's Behind The Black Breast-feeding Gap?  Breast-feeding rates are increasing each year, but a gaping disparity between Black women and women of other races remains — a difference that has serious health ramifications for Black infants. A partnership between Side Effects and the Indianapolis Recorder takes a look at the tangled intersection of history, racism and economics that perpetuates the breast-feeding divide.

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Indiana AG Accuses Federal Officials Of Pro-Syringe Exchange Agenda Indiana's Attorney General Curtis Hill has long been an opponent of the state's syringe exchange programs. The most recent clash between Hill and harm-reduction advocates comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a correction for a report that claimed needle exchange programs contributed to more frequent drug use. To that, the AG says: "I don't buy it at all." Side Effects' Jake Harper reports. 

Dads are Getting Older, Too Twice as many dads of newborns are now in the 40-plus age group, compared to the 1970s, according to a newly-published study. While the health effects of older mothers on babies are well-documented, research on how a father's advanced age affects children is relatively incomplete, NPR reports. As with older mothers, older fatherhood brings with it a mixed bag of benefits and risks. 

What our reporters are reading elsewhere around the web:

Kicking addiction in 30 minutes (minus commercials) Few 80s TV sitcoms are as beloved as Golden Girls, which became known for taking forward-thinking stands on social issues that (pretty much) still hold up today (remember "AIDS is not a bad persons' disease, Rose"?) What might not stand the test of time: the Season 4 episode in which Rose tries to kick her prescription drug addiction. 

The more you know Speaking of the intersection between public health and vintage television, check out a compendium of Sesame Street segments featuring women breast-feeding. (There's one starring Buffy Sainte-Marie!!) (Huffington Post)

A proposed repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) could have a big impact on the health industry. Hundreds of nurses, future doctors and other health-care workers have DACA status, and according to Forbes, "while it’s unclear how many so-called Dreamers have graduated medical school and entered residency programs, the number is significant enough to worry medical educators and executives at U.S. teaching hospitals." Forbes writes even a small dent in the number of medical residents could seriously impact the nation's doctor shortage. 

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