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CDPH in the News
Thousands of California Workers Alerted to Elevated Lead Levels
More than 6,000 California workers in munitions, manufacturing and other industries have elevated levels of lead in their blood that could cause serious health problems, according to a recent report from the state’s public health agency. The report, containing the results of tests conducted between 2012 and 2014, comes as the state’s workplace health and safety agency, Cal/OSHA, is considering a major update of its safety standards for workplace lead exposure for the first time in decades. The current standards are based on 35-year-old medical findings, which at the time did not recognize the dangers of even low-level exposure to lead. More recent science shows chronic, low-level lead exposure can cause lasting harm.
CA PrEP program delayed
from Bay Area Reporter
Problems with California’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program are leading to the delayed launch of a program that would help people statewide get access to PrEP. California Department of Public Health officials have said the trouble with ADAP, which is supposed to help thousands of people get the care they need to stay alive, started after the agency switched to new contractors last July. CDPH spokespeople have said the agency’s still trying to resolve the issues.
Courtney Mulhern-Pearson, director of state and local affairs at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, said some clients have reported being turned away by their pharmacies or even being dropped from ADAP because of the glitches.
What Researchers Found in California’s Marijuana
Researchers in Northern California have delivered some unsettling news for marijuana users: It turns out, a sizeable amount of the pot sold in California’s medical marijuana dispensaries test positive for mold and bacteria that could be dangerous for patients with compromised immune systems. Fungi and bacteria – including Cryptococcus, Mucor and Aspergillus, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Acinetobacter baumannii – were detected in 20 of the marijuana samples. If inhaled, these pathogens “could lead to serious illness and even death” because inhaling a contaminated substance “provides a direct portal of entry deep into the lungs, where infection can easily take hold,” Joseph Tuscano, a researcher UC Davis, said in a statement.
For the time being, more research is needed in order to better inform patients and recreational users about the quality and safety of their weed. California’s Department of Public Health is actively developing statewide standards for cannabis testing, with the intention of implementing them before the state fully rolls out its recreational marijuana system in 2018.
Children’s Bureau of Southern California Awarded Nearly $1 Million to Address High Obesity Rates in Los Angeles, University Park, Jefferson Park, and West Adams
Children’s Bureau was awarded $880,000 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health with funding from the California Department of Public Health and the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant will support the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education eligible populations by providing nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray, and shop.
Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to be physically active. In addition, champions in communities throughout the County will be identified to help improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physically active in a variety of settings, including early childcare centers, schools, faith-based organizations, corner stores, parks, worksites, and cities.
Advocate of Toxicants Policy Reform Reappointed to State Scientific Guidance Panel
from UC Riverside
Carl F. Cranor, distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside and a longtime advocate of reforming policies for regulating exposure to toxic substances, has been reappointed to the Scientific Guidance Panel of the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program. Cranor was first appointed to the panel in 2012. The Senate Rules Committee approved his reappointment in January to a three-year term that ends Jan. 1, 2020.
The Scientific Guidance Panel plays a significant role in the California Biomonitoring Program, making recommendations about the program’s design and implementation – including the identification of chemicals that are a priority for monitoring in California – and providing scientific peer review. Five members are appointed by the governor, two by the speaker of the Assembly, and two by the Senate Rules Committee.
Established by Senate Bill 1379 in 2006, the California Biomonitoring Program is a collaborative effort of three departments in two state agencies: the California Department of Public Health in the Health and Human Services Agency, and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and Department of Toxic Substances Control in the California Environmental Protection Agency.
UC SHIP board looking to add surgery options for transgender students
from Daily Bruin
University of California representatives are working to include certain transgender surgeries in student health insurance coverage. Attendees at the UC Student Health Insurance Plan meeting Tuesday discussed voting to add breast augmentation surgery for male-to-female transgender students to the UC SHIP plan, said David DiTullio, an Executive Oversight Board graduate representative for the Student Health Advisory Committee. However, they tabled the vote and decided to collect more data about the feasibility of adding the surgery to UC SHIP coverage over the next year before making a final decision.
The UC SHIP staff hopes to implement the male-to-female top surgery benefit for the 2018-2019 school year but has not reached a decision, said Karina Keus, a SHAC and EOB undergraduate representative. UC Berkeley added the surgery to its plan this year, but no students have taken advantage of the top surgery yet… Keus said the Berkeley campus is not under the umbrella of the UC SHIP system; it receives insurance through Anthem. The benefit is temporary and might be discontinued at UC Berkeley if the California Department of Public Health does not approve it, Keus added.
CDPH in the News
California Department of Public Health Reports Widespread Flu Activity that is More Severe than Last Year
from Sierra Sun Times
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith reported today that the state is experiencing widespread influenza activity that is more severe than last year due to significantly higher numbers of hospitalizations and outbreaks throughout the state. CDPH has also received the first report of a death associated with influenza in a child younger than 18 years of age. The death occurred in Riverside County. "This is a tragic reminder that the flu is a serious illness for people of all ages and kills thousands of Americans each year," said Dr. Smith. "If you haven’t been immunized yet this season, getting flu shots for you and your family now can still help protect you this winter."
Since the beginning of the influenza season, CDPH has received reports of 14 influenza-associated deaths, including the child in Riverside. This count represents a fraction of the total flu deaths statewide because only deaths in people younger than 65 are reported to the state and not all influenza-related deaths are easily attributable to influenza.
Hospitals statewide have been impacted by a surge in influenza patients, and hospitalizations for pneumonia and influenza at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California during the week ending January 7 reached 10.2 percent, the highest level recorded in 10 years. CDPH has also received reports of 83 influenza outbreaks, mostly in long-term care facilities, more than twice the reports received in recent years.
Why are a handful of measles cases an ‘outbreak’?
Los Angeles County’s public health department said Friday that it has confirmed two more measles cases, bringing to nine the number it has identified in the outbreak that it says began a month ago.
So why does such a small number of cases constitute an outbreak?
Public Health says it declared an outbreak because “the number of cases is definitely greater than expected and the majority of confirmed cases are epidemiologically linked.” The criteria for defining an outbreak depend on the particular disease. For “uncommon conditions,” the department says, an outbreak could be “two or more cases that are connected by social, environmental or geographical circumstance.”
While the department says there have been sporadic cases in the past 20 months, this is the first measles outbreak in L.A. County since the one that began at the Disney theme parks in Dec. 2014. By the time that outbreak was contained in April 2015, the California Department of Public Health had confirmed 136 cases statewide.
Genomic sequencing gives insight into Shigella outbreaks
from United Press International
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed genomes from Shigella sonnei bacteria associated with major shigellosis outbreaks in California in 2014 and 2015. Shigellosis causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems and results in roughly 500,000 infections, 6,000 hospitalizations and 70 deaths in the United States each year.
A team from UC Davis and the California Department of Public Health conducted the first major whole-genome study of S. sonnei strains in North America to gain insight into how the bacteria acquired virulence and antibiotic resistance, and to show the California strains’ relationship to other strains throughout the world.
California SNF fined $100k over safety violations that led to patient’s death
from Becker’s Hospital Review
The State of California has fined Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility in San Francisco, $100,000 after an investigation by the California Department of Public Health found safety violations that were a proximate cause of a patient’s death.
The safety violations occurred Nov. 26, 2014. According to the investigation report, a nurse assistant failed to lock both wheels of a patient’s wheelchair while on an outing to a movie theater and then left the patient unattended. The wheelchair rolled off the curb and the patient landed face-first on the ground. The patient, who had dementia and other chronic conditions, suffered severe injuries, including a face laceration, hip fractures and internal head bleeding, and died Dec. 10, 2014. According to the California Department of Public Health, $100,000 is the maximum fine state regulators can impose under state law.
California hospitals with high rates of HAIs have not been inspected in years, investigation finds
from Becker’s Hospital Review
While California law requires hospitals to be inspected every three years, 131 hospitals in the state have not been inspected in five years, and 80 of those hospitals have high rates of hospital-acquired infections, according to a petition filed by Consumers Union covered by the Los Angeles Times.
California does not require hospitals to report patient infections with certain rare superbugs nor does it require these facilities to report deaths resulting from HAIs. In order to identify hospitals in the state with troubling infection patterns, the national nonprofit Consumers Union looked at rates of a few HAIs that must be reported under a 2008 law. The pathogens included in the nonprofits analysis were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile. While Consumers Union said the data is not comprehensive, it has revealed which hospitals have struggled with controlling infections.
“It’s time to start looking at these hospitals that have significantly higher infection rates and do something that makes them accountable,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, according to the LA Times. The petition requests the state investigate hospitals with high infection rates and enforce penalties for safety violations. The state must either respond to the petition in writing or hold a public hearing on the matter. According to the LA Times, the California Department of Public Health said it would respond within 30 days.
CDPH in the News
Tyler Technologies Enables Sonoma County, California, to Digitize Marriage License Signatures
Tyler Technologies, Inc. (TYL) today announced a new offering in partnership with the Sonoma County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in California, which is using Tyler’s Eagle Recorder™ software to electronically print staff signatures on marriage licenses. Sonoma County is leading the charge in making this offering possible because of Eagle Recorder’s robust and intuitive capabilities.
Over the past several months, the Sonoma County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has led a pilot program in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health to print marriage licenses with digitized signatures of the issuing and registering clerks, thereby automating a once manual process. Sonoma is the first county in California to begin offering this service for county staff.
California Residents Learn About Common Asthma Triggers Found in Homes
According to a report prepared by the Environmental Health Investigations Branch of the California Department of Public Health, approximately five million Californians have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives. The report states that almost three million residents currently have asthma and that over one in five are considered to have very poorly controlled asthma.
"Understanding environmental triggers that can cause an asthma attack is important for those who suffer from the condition," said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. "At LA Testing, we offer comprehensive air testing services, sampling supplies and test kits for known allergens and asthma triggers. Indoor testing allows people to understand what they are being exposed to so they can take steps to mitigate or avoid exposure risks at home, school or in the workplace."
California’s Menu Labeling Law Takes Effect December 1, 2016, Months Ahead of FDA Enforcement
Eight years after being signed into law, California’s menu labeling law will finally go into effect on December 1, 2016. While FDA has delayed enforcement of the federal menu labeling standard until May 5, 2017, California’s Department of Public Health confirms that local health departments may begin inspecting restaurants subject to the statewide standard as early as December 1, 2016. The California Department of Public Health has recommended, however, that local health departments work with restaurants on complying with the law and not issue violations during the first six months of enactment.
In 2008, California became the first state in the U.S. to pass a menu labeling law requiring the disclosure of calorie information on restaurant menus and menu boards. The law initially applied only to chain restaurants that had at least 20 locations in the state and was set to take effect in 2011. After Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, however, the California legislature repealed its original menu labeling law and replaced it with a new version that was identical to the menu labeling provisions of the ACA. California also delayed implementation of its statewide standard until the compliance date of the federal FDA rule.
California Department of Public Health encourages caution around wild mushrooms
from SF Examiner
In the wake of recent wet weather, Dr. Karen Smith, the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), is reminding Californians that picking and consuming wild mushrooms may not be a good idea unless you’re an expert. "It is difficult to distinguish between wild mushrooms that are poisonous and those which are safe to eat," said Dr. Smith. "Wild mushrooms should not be eaten unless they have been carefully examined and determined to be edible by a mushroom expert." According to data collected by CDPH, 679 cases of people ingesting mushrooms and subsequently becoming ill were reported between Nov. 2015 to Oct. 2016.
County receives $40k for campaigns to educate public about Zika
from Valley News
The Board of Supervisors signed off on a Riverside County Department of Public Health request to accept $40,000 in federal funding for education campaigns intended to help residents protect themselves against the Zika virus Tuesday, Dec. 13. In a 4-0 vote without comment, the board approved the health department’s plan to utilize $24,000 for education efforts in the current fiscal year and $16,000 in 2017-18.
The funds were distributed by the California Department of Public Health but originated from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, according to documents posted to the board’s policy agenda. The countywide education campaigns will highlight "measures to reduce mosquito breeding sources," according to a health department statement.
CDPH in the News
The rise in Sacramento County STDs and the condom dilemma
Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in California for the second year in a row. A California Department of Public Health report shows cases are increasing at a faster pace than in the rest of the country. I spoke with Staci Syas, Sacramento County’s STD/HIV program manager for the Department of Health and Human Services about the challenges that public health experts face when it comes to STDs.
"Syphilis was actually an STD that in the late 90’s the public health community thought we could actually eradicate," Syas said. Since 2014, Syphilis increased by 9 percent nationally but in California it rose by 29 percent. Gonorrhea jumped 20 percent in the state and Chlamydia is at its highest level since reporting was mandated in 1990. Especially concerning are stats on young women, ages 15 to 24, accounting for 63 percent of Chlamydia cases and 51 percent of Gonorrhea.
Cheri Greven at Planned Parenthood says, "California received a report in August that says teen pregnancy is down 55 percent since 2000, which is a huge deal, but what we’re finding is misinformation of (patients who) think they’re on the pill and protected." In other words, people are using birth control to avoid pregnancy but not wearing condoms to avoid STDs.
Cases of dog bites on the rise in California
The vast majority of animal bites in the United States are inflicted by dogs, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). California has specifically seen an increase in dog-bites especially during the past 11 years.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) compiles data every year based upon dealing with the number of Emergency department treat and release visits due to dog-bites. From the six-year span of 2005 to 2010 the California statewide number saw a total of 181,618 people visit the Emergency department, but in just the past five years from 2011 to 2015 the total is 187,448. From data received in 2011, Pit bull terrier’s (29 percent), German Shepherd or Shepherd mixes (15 percent) and Chihuahuas (11 percent) were the three breeds most frequently reported in bite incidents, according to the report.
Can Facebook Improve Longevity? Moderate Use Of Social Media Network May Lead To Longer Life, Study Finds
According to a new study, moderate use of Facebook can improve longevity. Yes, as bizarre as it may sound, science how now shown that a certain amount of Facebook may actually lead to a longer life. This particular Facebook study, which was conducted by a team of researchers led by William Hobbs and James Fowler at the University of California-San Diego, was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). As Ashley Welch of CBS News reports, the study looked at 12 million California-based Facebook users, and their records were then juxtaposed with California Department of Public Health vital records.
Among the selected Facebook users, the aspects that were studied included their number of friends, as well as other typical Facebook functions, such as the frequency of status updates, photos posted, friend requests, timeline postings, sent and received messages, etc. As also reported by Welch, it was found that Facebook users were approximately 12 percent less likely to die in a given year.
When it comes to the real world, the study further explains that previous research has shown that those who have many friends and strong social bonds to their community usually live longer. Right up until now, there has been a question as to whether or not this translates to the online world.
Those Halloween devil eyes could be ‘sight-threatening’E
from Fresno Bee
Anyone planning to wear colored contact lenses on Halloween should heed a warning from eye-care professionals: Decorative contacts that have not been properly fitted could damage your eyes. Wearing any kind of contact lens requires proper fitting. Lenses that are too loose or too tight can cause damage by rubbing against the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye.
"The risks include infection, ulcers, decreased vision, cuts or scratches to the surface of the eye, itchiness or redness. If these conditions are left untreated, the injuries can progress rapidly. In severe cases, blindness and eye loss can occur," warns Dr. Karen Smith, California’s public health officer.
Decorative contact lenses often are sold at beauty supply and novelty stores, the California Department of Public Health said. But the sale of contact lenses without a prescription is illegal. Only licensed optometrists and ophthalmologists can prescribe contact lenses and registered opticians and optical shops can fill the prescriptions.
Columbia doesn’t meet California group’s standard for drinking water
from The Missourian
If you don’t filter your drinking water, you might want to give it some serious thought. Columbia’s [Missouri] drinking water contains 1.3 parts per billion of chromium-6 and 0.0499 parts per million of trihalomethane, both associated with cancer. Chromium-6 and chlorine-chloramine disinfection cycles have been making news lately due to a report by the Environmental Working Group, which called for stricter chromium-6 regulations, and a widely circulated September Facebook post by environmental activist Erin Brockovich that named Columbia as a city with dangerously high levels of trihalomethane because of its use of chlorine for disinfecting drinking water.
Columbia’s water tested at 1.3 parts per billion, placing the city above many major metropolitan areas across the U.S., including Omaha, Nebraska, Los Angeles, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Washington, D.C., New York, Denver and Dallas to name a few. Kansas City’s Chromium 6 level at 2.5 parts per billion is above Columbia’s, but St. Louis falls below. California Department of Public Health scientists believe the limit for chromium-6 alone should be 0.02 parts per billion, or 50 times less than what the Environmental Protection Agency deems safe.
Use Community Commons to quickly build a report about any state, county, or group of counties in the USA! Within a minute or so, you will see information on 141 indicators (as of today) including health outcomes, physical environment, clinical care, social and economic factors, and demographics. Use this information for assessment, case-making, advocacy, grant applications, presentations and much more.
Information can be displayed as a table, pie chart, map, or downloaded to Excel.
To get started click here.
Big Data to Knowledge
Open Data Science Symposium: How Open Data and Open Science are Transforming Biomedical Research; Details at http://event.capconcorp.com/wp/bd2k-odss/
The Open Data Science Symposium is open to the public and will be available through a webcast.
Big Data is an underutilized resource for innovation and discovery in biomedical research and the NIH is committed to unleashing its full potential by making it an open and easily accessible resource. The Open Data Science Symposium will feature discussions with the leaders in big data, open science, and biomedical research while also showcasing the finalists of the Open Data Science Prize, a worldwide competition to harness the innovative power of open data.
Please Register for the Open Data Science Symposium by November 18, 2016.
Registration is free.
Who Should Attend:
Join us for this meeting if you are interested in:
- Learning how NIH and other agencies are utilizing new models and funding approaches to support open innovation and open science
- Exploring the challenges, opportunities, and implications of a changing biomedical research landscape in which openness is the default across the globe
- Seeking to use open data in your own research and looking for inspiration from international teams who have developed award-winning prototypes
- Watching live demos of all six Open Science Prize semifinalists, and participating in the awards process through casting your vote for your favorite innovation
- Dialogue between current NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, and former NIH and former NCI Director, Dr. Harold Varmus, on open science at the National Institutes of Health
- Live demonstrations of six award-winning prototypes developed by international teams competing for the Open Science Prize.
- Panel discussion on new models for advancing data sharing capability through innovative infrastructure and initiatives with perspectives from leading international organizations such as ELIXIR, Wellcome Trust, and Global Alliance for Genomics and Health.
- Keynote by John Wilbanks, Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks, who has been named by Seed Magazine as one of the “revolutionary minds” and featured in Scientific American for his visionary thinking.
This symposium is funded through the NIH Big Data to Knowledge Initiative, which was launched in December 2013 as a trans-NIH program with funding from all 27 Institutes and Centers as well as the NIH Common Fund.
The Open Science Prize is made possible through a collaboration between NIH and the Wellcome Trust. The Howard Hughes Medical institute is also contributing funds for this effort.
CDPH in the News
New Report has California Residents Concerned over Hexavalent Chromium in Water Supplies
from Web Wire
A new report issued by the Environmental Working Group made national headlines last month. The report found what the group believes to be potentially dangerous levels of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in the tap water of 218 million Americans. The report indicates that hexavalent chromium was present at or above 0.03 parts per billion (ppb) in 75% of water samples taken between 2013 and 2015 by local water utilities. It was also discovered that seven million Americans have tap water with levels over California’s legal limit of 10 ppb. California’s legal limit was established in 2014 when the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced regulations establishing the first-in-the-nation drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium.
The fight against Zika: What it takes to avoid raising mosquitoes in your backyard
from San Gabriel Valley Tribune
How do you make it socially unacceptable to raise mosquitoes in your backyard?
At first blush, that doesn’t seem so hard, but what it means is convincing Southland residents to make “hard choices” to remove backyard birdbaths and all saucers beneath plants, Kenn K. Fujioka, manager of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, said Thursday at a briefing about the Zika virus. The two species that carry the Zika virus can breed in “very small sources of water,” Fujioka, said. “A bottle-cap is enough.”
In San Bernardino, possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes have been found only Colton, Montclair and Upland, according to the California Department of Public Health website. Among the Riverside County locations where at least one of the carrier mosquitoes have been found are Corona and Riverside, the state website says.
‘A Dire Situation’ Skilled nursing closures threaten ‘every household’
from North Coast Journal
As your former legislative representatives in Sacramento, we want the community to know how appalled we are by the pending closures of three skilled nursing facilities in Humboldt County. Rockport Management, which manages the five skilled nursing facilities owned by Brius Healthcare Services in Humboldt County, is planning to simultaneously close three facilities in Eureka by March of next year. The closures would reduce the number of beds by 258, or 60 percent. But most devastating, it would have the catastrophic effect of moving hundreds of elderly, poor and vulnerable individuals out of the county to other facilities at this time unknown. And, at this point, there is no guarantee other facilities would be willing or able to receive our local residents. There have been a number of stakeholder meetings in the district, and formal requests have been made to the California Department of Public Health to reject Rockport’s closure and relocation plan to give more time to develop contingency plans to ensure patient safety.
STD rates hit 20-year high in California
from San Luis Obispo Tribune
California’s rate of sexually transmitted diseases is at a 20-year high. The California Department of Public Health said the state ranks first for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and congenital syphilis. And the rates are up for the second year in a row. “Cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are going up in California at a concerning rate,” Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, said Tuesday. “This is the second year in a row that we have seen increases in all three diseases.”
The report found an 11.6 percent increase in STDs from 2014, with a total of 249,224 reportable cases in California for 2015. State health officials cite less condom use, people having sex with more partners and barriers to care and testing as reasons for the rising STD rates. Improved reporting of the diseases by public health agencies could also be a contributing factor, the state said.
Exide, state fight over lead contamination data
from 89.3 KPCC
Exide Technologies is suing the California Department of Public Health to obtain more data about the sources of lead contamination around its former battery recycling plant in Vernon. The state is pushing back, arguing that releasing the information would threaten the privacy rights of lead-poisoned children. Exide says it’s seeking the data so it can more accurately evaluate lead contamination in the community and its potential sources. Critics suggest the suit is an attempt by Exide to dodge financial responsibility for the lead cleanup around its facility.
Exide filed its suit in April. In a statement to KPCC, the company says the state Department of Public Health had previously released “incomplete information, which Exide believes has portrayed an inaccurate picture of the extent and sources of lead impacts, and has led to inaccurate statements by others about the situation.” Its lawyer declined requests for an interview.
The 2016 Ig Nobel Prize winners were recently announced. Each year, scientists (and others) vie (or are chosen without their knowledge or consent) for this sought-after prize.
This year’s winners include:
REPRODUCTION PRIZE [EGYPT] — The lateAhmed Shafik, for studying the effects of wearing polyester, cotton, or wool trousers on the sex life of rats, and for conducting similar tests with human males. REFERENCE: “Effect of Different Types of Textiles on Sexual Activity. Experimental study,” Ahmed Shafik, European Urology, vol. 24, no. 3, 1993, pp. 375-80. REFERENCE: “Contraceptive Efficacy of Polyester-Induced Azoospermia in Normal Men,” Ahmed Shafik, Contraception, vol. 45, 1992, pp. 439-451.
MEDICINE PRIZE [GERMANY] — Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas Münte, Silke Anders, and Andreas Sprenger, for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa). REFERENCE: “Itch Relief by Mirror Scratching. A Psychophysical Study,” Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas F. Münte, Silke Anders, Andreas Sprenger, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no 12, December 26, 2013, e82756.
PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE [BELGIUM, THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, CANADA, USA] — Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers. REFERENCE: “From Junior to Senior Pinocchio: A Cross-Sectional Lifespan Investigation of Deception,” Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon D. Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, Acta Psychologica, vol. 160, 2015, pp. 58-68.
PERCEPTION PRIZE [JAPAN] — Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs. REFERENCE: “Perceived size and Perceived Distance of Targets Viewed From Between the Legs: Evidence for Proprioceptive Theory,” Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, Vision Research, vol. 46, no. 23, November 2006, pp. 3961–76.
… and several more.
CDPH in the News
Public health officials upgrade Isabella algae warnings
The Kern County Department of Public Health has raised its water contact advisory from “warning” to “danger” for the Kissack Cove area of Lake Isabella, and has issued a new warning at Isabella’s Paradise Cove.
One week after it posted cautionary notices at three locations due to the discovery of potentially harmful blue-green algae in parts of Isabella Lake and the Kern River, the department said in a news release Wednesday that further sampling has indicated toxins produced from blue-green algae are indeed present in the Kissack Cove area of Isabella at levels that warrant raising the notice from warning to danger.
A separate news release from the California Department of Public Health indicates Kern is hardly alone in experiencing this seasonal phenomenon. Since June of this year, blue-green algae blooms have been identified in more than two dozen freshwater reservoirs, lakes and streams statewide.
State rejects closure plans for 3 Eureka nursing homes
from Times Standard
The California Department of Public Health has rejected Rockport Healthcare Services’ plans to close three of its Eureka nursing homes due to low staffing, stating the plans did not properly address health impacts to patients.
“If it is your intent to close Seaview Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, Pacific Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, and Eureka Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, please submit new closure plans that adequately addressed the issues as outlined in this correspondence,” the department states in a Thursday letter to Rockport Healthcare Services.
However, that does not mean that the closures are completely off the table.
Immunization law targets school vaccination exemptions
from Richmond Confidential
California’s new immunization law, which went into effect in July, requires students to be fully vaccinated for school unless they have a medical reason and a doctor’s signature to prove it.
The new law shouldn’t be a burden for Richmond families this fall, said West Contra Costa County Unified School District Communications Director Marcus Walton. That’s because it was designed to eliminate so-called personal belief exemptions-which allow parents to forego required vaccines they object to for their children-and few such exemptions were filed in Richmond schools.
But the law does not address the most common reason some students in Richmond schools lack required vaccines: so-called conditional admission. Children who have not been fully vaccinated for their age or grade can start school “conditionally”-which means they pledge to get vaccinated eventually, but are not fully protected against the infectious diseases vaccines are meant to prevent.
The number of personal belief exemptions filed in Richmond has been historically low. A report released by the California Department of Public Health for the last school year shows that they were filed for just six students in the city’s schools. The tiny Contra Costa town of Byron, by contrast, has one school, Vista Oaks Charter, at which 47 percent of students lacked vaccines due to personal beliefs.
CDPH begins ALD screening in California infants
from Kern Golden Empire
The California Department of Public Health has announced that starting today its Genetic Disease Screening Program will now screen infants for adrenoleukodystrophy. Adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD, is a progressive neurological disease that is found in roughly one in 20,000 newborn boys. Without care, those afflicted with the disease can quickly die after complications are identified.
ALD complications can include adrenal gland dysfunction, which can cause weight loss, muscle weakness and fatigue. Complications from the disease do not usually occur until after the age of three.
Asian Pacific Islander Health Data Disaggregation Bill Signed into Law
from Christian Daily
A bill that requires California’s Department of Public Health to record the data separately for each Asian and Pacific Islander group was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday. Current state law already requires certain departments, including the Department of Industrial Relations and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, to collect data separately for each specific group among Asians and Pacific Islanders when conducting decennial census reports. This bill, AB 1726, would include the Department of Public Health in that existing law. Advocates who have been pushing for this legislation have said that the law would help to close disparities in health needs among Asian and Pacific Islanders.
First ever state hearing on aquaculture to be held in Bodega Bay next week
from Lake County News
Sen. Mike McGuire, chairman of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Congressman Jared Huffman will convene a special hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Bodega Marine Laboratory to take an in-depth look at the aquaculture industry in California, as well as receive an update on the outlook for the upcoming Dungeness and rock crab seasons. This hearing will be the first time that the Joint Committee has focused primarily on aquaculture, which can be thought of as “farming in water.”
The farmed fish, oysters and seaweed industry is larger than ever and panelists will explore finfish, shellfish, inland production and perspectives from state agencies. The public is encouraged to attend. The hearing, “Crab Season Outlook for 2016-17 and Modern Aquaculture in California,” will feature testimony and updates on the upcoming crab season and current and anticipated domoic acid levels from representatives with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Public Health and top ocean scientists.