Health and Wellness briefs: Oct. 3, 2017

Hearing loss meeting

scheduled Saturday

The Western Colorado Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America will sponsor its next free monthly meeting on Saturday, and the topic will be “Hearing Loss: It’s a Family Thing.” The facilitator will be Andriana Longwell, CACI.

Having a hearing loss can affect the individual, but it also affects family communication and dynamics. Often, strong feelings about how to deal with the communication issues create stress within the family.

At this session, these issues will be discussed and advice will be presented for dealing with emotions and tension during communication breakdown.

Longwell has worked at Mind Springs Health for two and a half years and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and counseling from Colorado Mesa University and certification in addictions counseling. She is beginning to experience some hearing loss, so she has an understanding of the impact that hearing loss can have.

Light refreshments will be served. An induction hearing loop and captions will be available. Captions are sponsored through a grant from the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

People of all ages and all types of hearing loss are welcome.

The meeting will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Center for Independence, 740 Gunnison Ave. in Grand Junction.

For information, contact Amy Becktell at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call 241-2592.

Cheaper cigarette brands

raise infant mortality rates


A new study suggests the availability of cheaper off-brand cigarettes is associated with a rise in infant mortality.

Researchers writing in JAMA Pediatrics studied the link between cigarette prices and infant mortality in 23 European countries from 2004 through 2014. During this time, there were more than 53 million live births.

After controlling for other factors, they found that a $1.18 increase in average price per pack was associated with a decline of 0.23 deaths per 1,000 babies in the first year of life and 0.16 deaths per 1,000 babies in the second year.

But when a cheap enough brand was available, the number of infant deaths increased.

A 10 percent difference between the median price and the price of an off-brand bargain pack was associated with an increase of .07 deaths per 1,000 live births, the researchers found.

Increases in average price between 2004 and 2014, which generally followed increases in tobacco taxes, were associated with 9,208 fewer infant deaths.

But if there had been no bargain cigarettes available, 3,195 more deaths could have been avoided.

“Tobacco companies can load price increases onto premium brands and sell cheaper cigarettes at a loss so that poor people and young people can still take up smoking,” said the lead author, Filippos Filippidis, a lecturer in public health at Imperial College London. “This is an effective marketing practice, but it’s terrible for public health. We would like to see government make increases in price happen across the board.”

Study links risk of lupus

to psychological trauma


Psychological trauma is associated with an increased risk for lupus, a new study reports.

Lupus is a potentially fatal autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the skin, joints and internal organs. Its cause is unknown.

Researchers studied 54,763 civilian women enrolled in a larger health study. They used questionnaires to determine exposure to trauma, including serious car accidents and sexual assault, and examined medical records to find diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Over the 24 years of the study, they found 73 cases of lupus. Compared with women without trauma, women with PTSD were almost three times as likely to have lupus. Exposure to trauma, even without having symptoms of PTSD, more than doubled the risk of developing the disease.

The study, in Arthritis & Rheumatology, controlled for oral contraceptive use, smoking, body mass index, physical activity, education and other characteristics.

“Things going on in our minds really affect our physical health,” said the lead author, Andrea Roberts, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


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