Public health officials encourage seniors to walk the mall

Shopping malls’ level surfaces, good lighting, climate control, and access to water fountains and rest rooms make them ideal for seniors who want to exercise by walking, says nursing school professor Basia Belza, who co-wrote a CDC resource guide on mall walking. Mall-walking clubs have been around for decades but are usually not well publicized. Some are partnerships of the mall, health care providers, hospitals and community groups, and may offer health screenings and nutrition talks. Kaiser Health News (4/20)

Aggressive care after mini-stroke cuts secondary stroke risk, study finds

Aggressive treatment following a transient ischemic attack can substantially cut the likelihood of another stroke or death, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Patients who received the most aggressive care available after a mini-stroke had only a 3.7% risk of recurrent stroke or cardiovascular event 90 days after the treatment, well below the expected 12% to 20% risk seen in previous studies. The international study analyzed data from 4,789 patients from 61 sites. United Press International (4/21)

Study: EHR use tied to success in population health management processes

Patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations that used EHRs in 2012 were 15% more likely to engage in population health management processes and 25% more likely to have effective communications with patients than non-users, according to ONC and CDC researchers. The findings in the American Journal of Managed Care also showed physicians who joined an ACO or adopted a patient-centered medical home model were more likely to participate in EHR-driven patient management activities. Health IT Analytics (4/18)

Managing chronic conditions is difficult for patients, physicians

People with multiple chronic conditions often have trouble managing their health care, but the HHS last month released a free training curriculum to help practitioners with such patients. Dr. John Piette at the University of Michigan’s Center for Managing Chronic Disease said medication conflicts and physicians not talking with each other are big problems. He said electronic health records can help track patient care, and patients can write down information during physician visits and encourage their doctors to communicate about their care. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (8/10)

CDC: 197 of 4,534 travelers tested positive for Zika

The CDC reported on Friday that 197 travelers out of 4,534 who were tested were found to be positive for the Zika virus. The travelers screened from January to March had been to areas where the virus was spreading, and 3,335 of them were pregnant women, of whom 28 were positive for Zika. Beginning in February, the CDC called for testing of asymptomatic pregnant women who travel from areas where Zika is endemic. CNN (4/16)

App-Sensor System Helps Track Parkinson’s Progression

Researchers in Spain are developing the PERFORM system, which uses a smartphone application and a network of sensors to monitor patients with Parkinson’s disease. The system identifies abnormalities and transmits data to a clinician for evaluation.

Drinking Alcohol In Middle-Age Raises Stroke Risk

A study published in the journal Stroke found that middle-age adults who drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day may increase their risk of stroke between ages 60 and 75, compared with those who drank less. The study found people who drank, on average, less than half of one alcoholic drink per day had the lowest stroke rate. Consuming more than two drinks per day in middle age was a stronger risk factor for stroke before age 75 than diabetes or hypertension, research showed.

Hospitals Go After Heart Care Quality From New Angle

Hospitals have made big improvements in accelerating treatment for patients whose heart attacks occur outside their walls. Now, cardiology teams and other clinicians are turning their attention to improving care for those who experience a heart attack as inpatients. According to estimates, 10,000 people experience a heart attack while under treatment for another issue. Signs of heart trouble in such patients can be difficult to identify, but experts believe they can improve treatment by addressing avoidable delays, and early results from such efforts are promising. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)

U.S. Sees Increase In Diabetes-Related Expenses

U.S. sees increase in diabetes-related expenses A study in Diabetes Care showed the annual diabetes-related cost per person grew to $5,378 in 2010-2011, up from $4,205 in 2000-2001 and $2,588 in 1987. Data also showed 55% of health expenses went to prescription drugs, while 24% was for inpatient visits and 15% for outpatient visits. Reuters

Healthy Habits Cut Women’s Risk of Heart Disease By 90% Over 20 Years

Healthy habits cut women’s risk of heart disease by 90% over 20 years. Adhering to six healthy habits can reduce a woman’s chances of getting heart disease by 90% over 20 years, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers followed about 90,000 nurses from 1991 to 2011, focusing on behaviors that include maintaining a normal weight, getting 2.5 hours a week of exercise, eating a healthy diet and not smoking. HealthDay News (1/5)