Headlines: June 8, 2010
by Meg Larkin
First in health care news, higher rates of obesity among expectant mothers have been shown to increase the risks associated with giving birth. Higher rates of obesity among mothers are linked to higher rates of Caeserian births, and increased occurrence of birth defects and deaths for mothers and babies. According to the New York Times, “Studies have shown that babies born to obese women are nearly three times as likely to die within the first month of birth than women of normal weight, and that obese women are almost twice as likely to have a stillbirth.” Hospitals are considering actions to combat the problem including the development of centers that specialize in OBGYN services for obese women.
In recent years, there has been a rise in suicides among middle aged Americans, and the latest data shows that trend is continuing. The 45-54 age group has the highest suicide rate, at 17.6 per every 100,000 people, followed by the 75-84 age group and the 35 to 44 age group. Most suicides are linked to mental disorders, but suicide rates can also be impacted by health, jobs, finances, and relationships.
Finally, many European countries are criticizing the World Health Organization’s response to the H1N1 flu. The countries questioned the WHO’s failure to disclose possible links to pharmaceutical manufacturers, and accused the WHO of causing “widespread, unnecessary fear and prompt[ing] countries around the world to waste millions of dollars.” The WHO has strongly disputed the reports, and pointed out that it was preferable to have an overzealous response to a potential pandemic than to have an inadequate response that could lead to a higher death toll.
Meg Larkin is a law student at Boston University. Please feel free to email her with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.