Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for March, 2013

Washington tops U.S. in 12-year Alzheimer’s Death Rates

by Matt Rosenberg March 28th, 2013

Earlier this month, the U.S. government reported the death rate for Alzheimer’s disease rose 39 percent from 2000 to 2010 and that in 2010 Washington had the highest rate among U.S. states. Yet which states had the highest Alzheimer’s death rates not just for 2010, but over the entire last decade? Digging into the Compressed Mortality File of the National Center for Health Statistics, using the “Wonder” data retrieval tool of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, we found that from 1999 through 2010, Washington state by a wide margin had the highest age-adjusted average annual death rate from Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. It was 39.75 per 100,000 population. Of the top ten counties for Alzheimer’s deaths in Washington nine were western. This most prevalent type of dementia strikes mainly older people, but life expectancies statewide for both men and women in Washington are only slightly above national averages – as shown in the most recent data (2009, Excel) from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The CDC says the most closely-correlated risk factors for Alzheimer’s are age and genetics but that high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes may also figure in.


Map: Alzheimer’s Disease Death Rate Per 100K Pop., by U.S. State, 1999-2010

From National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Compressed Mortality File, 1999-2010. Rates are age-adjusted, with 95% confidence interval


Rounding out the top ten U.S. states in 1999-2010 age-adjusted Alzheimer’ death rates per 100,000 population after Washington are North Dakota (32.70), Arizona (30.82), South Carolina (30.76), Tennessee (30.68), Maine (29.75), Louisiana (29.38), Alabama (28.80), Oregon (28.50) and Colorado (28.35).

Top three WA counties for Alzheimer’s death rates are Kitsap, Wahkiakum, Skagit
Within Washington, nine of the ten counties with the highest Alzheimer’s death rate over the 12-year stretch from 1999 through 2010 were in the western part of the state. The 10 were Kitsap (55.91), Wahkiakum (53.38), Skagit (49.42), Thurston (47.18), Island (46.36), Cowlitz (46.32), Pend Oreille (44.73), Pierce (42.91), Lewis (42.73), and Snohomish (42.62).


Map: Alzheimer’s Disease Death Rate Per 100K Pop., by WA Counties, 1999-2010

From National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Compressed Mortality File, 1999-2010. Rates are age-adjusted, with 95% confidence interval

The NCHS reports Alzheimer’s is now the sixth most frequent cause of death in the U.S. and fifth for those 65 and up. Non-Hispanic whites have a 26 percent greater risk of death from Alzheimer’s than African-Americans and a 30 percent greater risk compared to the Hispanic population. An estimated $200 million was spent in 2012 caring for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the U.S. That amount is projected to more than quintuple by 2050.


RELATED:

  • Explore NCHS’s Compressed Mortality File 1999-2010 with CDC “Wonder” tool
  • Mortality From Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States – Data From 2000 and 2010,” CDC/NCHS Data Brief, March 2013
  • CDC feature, Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, University of Washington

  • Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

    Port of Seattle porn probe prompts painter’s exit

    by Matt Rosenberg March 25th, 2013

    Internal reports obtained by Public Data Ferret through a public records request reveal a Port of Seattle sign painter and Snohomish County resident named David John Swensen resigned from his job after confessing to viewing pornography on workplace computers. A Port of Seattle Police investigation found “numerous pornographic images” on one computer used at work by Swensen, plus “several pornographic photos” on another. A third computer placed into evidence in the investigation had on it a special application that could have been used to sweep it clean, according to Port police reports. Port documents show Swensen also admitted to accessing child pornography “by accident” on work hardware, but none was found in the police review and no criminal charges were filed.

    Seattle Central’s Tougher “Occupy” Code Advances

    by Matt Rosenberg March 20th, 2013

    Under proposed new state regulations all-night vigils by off-campus groups would be allowed outside of Seattle Central Community College, but a no-camping proviso already enacted would stay in place and a series of other guidelines would be enacted around the exercise there of First Amendment-protected free speech rights. Non-college protest groups such as “Occupy Seattle” – whose wild and wooly days-long encampment on the college’s grounds in fall 2011 sparked conflict with the college and neighbors while inspiring declarations of support from faculty and students – would be subject to a registration clause. They’d have to comply with provisions to limit noise; clean-up; pay costs for any litter left and damages caused; and refrain from blocking students and faculty from using college facilities. There’s also a long list of what constitutes prohibited “camping,” as well as a ban on leaflets with obscene language or incitements to violence, and a strong suggestion such flyers include author or group contact information, to encourage accountability.

    $16K lifted from Seattle Central in parking garage caper

    by Matt Rosenberg March 18th, 2013

    According to the results of a fraud investigation made public last week by Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley, two attendants at the Harvard Garage of Seattle Central Community College on Capitol Hill misappropriated $15,932 in mid-2011, and another $31,532 may have also been skimmed away but internal accounting controls were too poor to tell. The lot was cash-only and there were initially no security cameras. The Auditor’s Office says employees used voided and reprinted receipts to cover up pocketing of the $15,932; and for the $31,532 in question, were able to classify some paying customers as unpaid visitors, staff or ride-sharers, in order to apparently funnel away proceeds.

    One worker has admitted to his misdeeds and is paying back the college district; and several corrective measures have been put in place. Both were terminated. The news comes in the wake of six other 2010-2012 cases of misappropriated funds by district employees verified by the state auditor last fall.

    Washington combined cancer rates tops in western counties

    by Danning Chen March 15th, 2013

    Five years of data from the National Cancer Institute’s State Cancer Profiles database show that within Washington state, the overall rate of cancer is highest in western counties and lowest in rural and eastern counties. From 2005 through 2009 it was highest in Mason County, at an annual average rate of 554.6 cases per 100,000 population versus 476 per 100,000 across the whole state. Among the state’s 39 counties the rest of the top 10 for 2005-2009 in overall cancer rate, in order, are Grays Harbor, Whatcom, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit, Thurston Jefferson, Cowlitz and Kitsap. King County ranked 13th. Lowest overall cancer rates were, in order, in the counties of Klickitat, Skamania, Garfield, Asotin and Ferry. Hover over any Washington county in the mapped visualization below to get its overall – known as “all types” – cancer rate, and also use the pull-down menu to select mapped data by Washington county on rates of breast, lung and prostate cancer. A tab atop the map also provides access to U.S. cancer rates by state, for 2009. As we reported recently, Washington ranked 13th among 50 states in the “all types” rate in 2009, but first in breast cancer.

    For breast cancer by county in Washington for 2005-09, Walla Walla County had the highest annual average rate, 159.4 diagnosed cases per 100,000 population. It was followed by the counties of Mason, Cowlitz, Snohomish, Whatcom, King and Thurston. Douglas County had the highest rate of prostate cancer, followed by San Juan, Chelan and Whitman. Grays Harbor County had far and away the highest rate of cancer of the lung and bronchus.

    Contributing to the “all types” rates, according to NCI, are “all invasive cancer sites combined, bladder, breast, brain, cervix, childhood cancers all sites combined, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney, leukemias, liver and bile duct, lung and bronchus, melanomas of the skin, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, oral cavity and pharynx, ovary, pancreas, prostate, stomach, thyroid, and uterus.”

    (UPDATE: Why one county has a higher rate than another is hard to determine precisely. However in a backgrounder the Washington State Department of Health notes that cancer risk factors include exposure to tobacco and second-hand smoke, excessive alcohol use, excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds, lack of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, unhealthy weight, physical inactivity, and not regularly seeking medical care. Additionally, the National Cancer Institute provides an online collection of fact sheets on risks related to different types of cancer.)

    An average annual count of newly-diagnosed cancer cases in each jurisdiction, along with official population data and other statistical and methodological controls are used to develop the rates. More details are available under the links titled, “Interpret,” “About This Table” and “Quick Reference Guide” at the NCI State Cancer Profiles chart for Washington state “all types” rates by county.


    Assistance on the data visualization provided by Mike Klaczynski. Additional reporting by Matt Rosenberg. Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.


    Thurston County eighth-graders middling on state tests

    by Matt Rosenberg March 14th, 2013

    In 2012, pass rates on the eighth-grade state achievement test exceeded the state average of 56.6 in four of nine Thurston County School Districts, and were lower in the other five. The best pass rate on that test among the county’s districts was in Olympia, where 66.9 percent of eighth-graders met the state performance standard in math. Three of the five districts which underperformed the state average on this metric had markedly low pass rates. They were Yelm, 39.2 percent; Tenino, 39.4; and Centralia, 43.8 percent. The Centralia, Yelm and Rochester districts include parts of neighboring counties.

    The data come from the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and are viewable through customized visualizations users can create with the Washington Achievement Data Explorer (WADE) developed by the Center for Education Data and Research at the University of Washington-Bothell. The first visualization below portrays the eighth grade state math test pass rates for Thurston County districts versus the state average. They are ranked on the right by 2012 outcomes, but by hovering over any district’s name, the seven-year history for the chosen metric can be tracked.

    On the eighth grade state reading achievement test, five of nine Thurston school districts outperformed the state average in 2012 and four underperformed it.

    Public Data Ferret’s Education archive

    By clicking on “Explore The Data” in the lower right-hand corner of either of the above charts, you can enter the WADE interface at Google Public Data Explorer and devise a customized report from the state data, choosing different measures, grades and districts. Demographic data for each district or school, which is often correlated with outcomes, is also available. Among other features, Google Public Data Explorer provides customized HTML embed code for each data set that is constructed by users. This can be used to easily create charts like those displayed here, for Web sites or blogs. You can also enter the WADE interface, with a tutorial, through the the UW-Bothell/CEDR gateway.

    Some previous reports we’ve generated here recently have compared statewide eighth-grade pass rates on the state math and reading tests with results from among major urban region school districts in Washington; and between districts in Pierce, in Snohomish and in King counties. We also examined trends in statewide average pass rates in math and reading for all K-12 grades which take the tests.

    Editor’s Note: some of the general explanatory verbiage in this article was borrowed from our own above-linked articles.


    Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

    New defense awards worth up to $82M to Washington firms

    by Matt Rosenberg March 13th, 2013


    Another few weeks, and another batch of U.S. defense contracts for Washington state companies worth tens of millions of dollars. Under the new contracts, companies in Seattle, Lakewood, Bremerton and Bingen will provide channel dredging, construction and base operations services, and support for unmanned drones gathering images and data over Afghanistan. The following are via recent announcements from the Department of Defense, at its weekday contract notices hub.

    Manson Construction Co. of Seattle has been awarded an $8 million contract for maintenance dredging of Mobile Harbor Channel, Alabama, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mobile.

    The MACNAK Corte Design Build partnership of Lakewood, Wash. won from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, Kentucky a $14.3 million contract to perform construction work at an Army Reserve site in Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, New York. The work is to be competed by July, 2014.

    A sister enterprise, Macnak-Saybr Joint Venture 1, also of Lakewood, won a bid worth up to $30 million over the next three years to deliver general construction services for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle.

    Skookum Contract Services of Bremerton, Wash. won a $22.5 million incrementally dispensed award from the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Fort Lee, Virginia to provide base operations services at Fort Lee over the next two years. The first chunk of funding is for $2.2 million.

    On the same day, InSitu, Inc. of Bingen, Wash. won from the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland a $7.8 million modification to a previously-awarded contact for operational maintenance and support for the ScanEagle unmanned drones used to deliver real-time images and data for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The contract runs to January, 2014.

    Public Data Ferret’s Military+Contracting archive


    Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.



    WA led U.S. in breast cancer, for most recent year reported

    by Danning Chen March 12th, 2013

    Recently-updated data from the National Cancer Institute’s State Cancer Profiles database show that for incidence of breast cancer in the most recent year for which data are currently available, 2009, Washington ranked highest in the United States with a rate of 139.20 reported cases per 100,000 population. It was followed by Connecticut, Hawaii, Rhode Island and North Dakota. For prostate cancer Louisiana, Utah and Georgia ranked highest and for lung cancer, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Maine. Looking at overall rates of cancer, seven of ten states with highest rates in the United States were in the Northeast. The top 10 in order, were Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Maine, Iowa, New York, New Jersey, Vermont. Washington ranked 13th of 49 states (data for Wisconsin was not available), with 474.5 cases of cancer per 100,000 population. Select from the four visualizations accessible below to compare state cancer rates in 2009 – for all types combined, plus breast, prostate and lung cancer. Contributing to the “all types” rates, according to NCI, are “all invasive cancer sites combined, bladder, breast, brain, cervix, childhood cancers all sites combined, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney, leukemias, liver and bile duct, lung and bronchus, melanomas of the skin, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, oral cavity and pharynx, ovary, pancreas, prostate, stomach, thyroid, and uterus.”

    According to a recent article in the U.S. Centers For Disease Control’s journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, the overall cancer rate in the U.S. in 2009 was higher for men than women; and among racial groups was highest among African-Americans and lowest among Native Americans/Alaska Natives.

    An article last fall in the National Cancer Institute Bulletin cites research that increased breast cancer screening since the 1970s has resulted in some cases being diagnosed which posed no risk to the subjects.

    Related Findings
    At the same time, research continues into various factors which may contribute to breast cancer risk. Work published last year by Seattle researchers from Group Health Cooperative and the University of Washington included detailed data from electronic pharmacy records of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and found that use of certain types of oral contraceptives within the year prior to diagnosis may increase that risk for women aged 20 to 49. (UPDATE – Another recent study, from the National Cancer Institute, accents the connection between regular alcohol consumption prior to first pregnancy, and breast cancer risk.)

    More information on breast cancer risk factors is provided by the American Cancer Society.


    Assistance on the data visualization provided by Mike Klaczynski. Additional reporting by Matt Rosenberg. Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.