Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

“Did You Fall For the Green Light Bulb Scam?”

by Matt Rosenberg July 8th, 2014

Guest writer at the Washington Business Alliance blog Catalyst Jeannette Strole Parks asks Did You Fall For The Green Light Bulb Scam?

Unless we all return back to an agrarian, locavore lifestyle growing cotton, making our own clothes, tanning leather, cobbling shoes, growing crops, and going to bed at sunset, the trajectory is set. Small wonder the U.S. Energy Information Administration…projects 56 percent growth in global energy consumption between 2010 and 2040, fueled by developing nations and a continuing reliance on fossil fuels.

While global leaders struggle with that, the developed world must continue to do what it can and should. Innovation and energy-saving devices are great, and if the U.S. government could just step aside, forward-thinking inventors would eventually design a better light bulb, that consistently performs as touted, saves energy, doesn’t assault my eyes, and doesn’t rely on dangerous materials.

Read the whole thing.

Catalyst: Data Viz of Obesity in Washington State’s 39 Counties

by Matt Rosenberg May 28th, 2014

From Catalyst, the blog of the Washington Business Alliance, here’s a data visualization of obesity prevalence in Washington state’s 39 counties over a seven-year period.

From 2004 through 2010 in Washington state’s 39 counties, obesity was most prevalent in Adams, Cowlitz, Lewis, Gray’s Harbor and Pacific and least prevalent in San Juan, King, Jefferson, Whatcom and Chelan. Among the most improved were Klickitat (25th lowest to 11th) and Ferry (28th to 8th). Nationally Washington state is close to the middle of the pack: ….the state for the same seven year stretch had the 23rd lowest obesity rate of 50 states. However even the worst-performing Washington counties have slightly lower 2004-2010 obesity prevalence rates than the latest-reported average rate for the U.S., of 34.9 percent.

See the whole thing.

Catalyst: Obesity Rates in 50 States, a Data Visualization

by Matt Rosenberg May 27th, 2014

The Washington Business Alliance’s blog Catalyst recently published a data visualization of obesity rates in 50 states over seven years.

More than a third of U.S. adults are classified as obese and annual medical costs to the nation are $147 billion, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. A Catalyst data visualization developed in partnership with Tableau Software of Seattle shows the five least obese states from 2004 through 2010 were Colorado, Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Connecticut, and the five most obese Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama and Kentucky. Washington was 23rd lowest of 50 states over the seven years and showed little movement annually. States showing marked improvement included Georgia (38th best to 27th) and Alaska (35th to 24th).

See the whole thing.

Prescription Pot Could Be a Real Bummer, UW Doc Argues

by Matt Rosenberg November 5th, 2013

In a new editorial for the journal General Hospital Psychiatry, a University of Washington and Veterans Administration doctor argues the scientific literature shows that prescribing smoked marijuana for chronic pain isn’t smart because it can cause a range of harmful mental and physical effects or heighten risks. A Mayo Clinic doctor offers a counterpoint, arguing medical pot can make sense as part of a careful treatment program. Meanwhile, Washington is looking at tough new restrictions on medical weed, as legal recreational pot comes to market here.

Although medical and now recreational marijuana are legal in Washington that doesn’t mean it’s now smart for doctors to prescribe pot for pain relief, argues a University of Washington physician who heads the addiction psychiatry program there, and the Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education for the U.S. Veteran’s Administration Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle. In the new editorial for General Hospital Psychiatry, titled “Marijuana Not Ready For Prime Time As An Analgesic,” Dr. Andrew J. Saxon argues that based on a review of the scientific literature, prescribing pot for chronic pain “is currently fraught with a number of concerns.”

State targets care quality problems at Central District facility

by Matt Rosenberg October 21st, 2013

A 120-bed retirement home and assisted living facility in Seattle’s Central District named Cannon House is now dealing with its fifth state enforcement action this year for substandard care of paying residents. Operated since 2009 by the major regional health and social services non-profit Sea Mar, Cannon House was fined $9,200 in September by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services for 92 different patient care violations and earlier this year barred from admitting new residents until it straightens things out. Its administrator was ordered by the state to either retake training classes or hire a management mentor to help improve performance. The state also required Cannon House to hire a registered nurse to develop and implement a plan to better monitor resident health and ensure appropriate medication, care and planning are provided.

Washington State database tracks assisted living mishaps

by Matt Rosenberg October 20th, 2013


It can be hard to know if you’re selecting the right assisted living facility for yourself or an aging relative or friend. A facility’s history may include failure to implement prescription drug regimens or individual medical care plans of residents; lax safety, sanitation, or health conditions; or even risk of financial fraud against residents. For Washingtonians though, choices are made easier thanks to a free online database provided by the state. The Assisted Living Facility Locator allows consumers to delve into public records of state enforcement actions for violations of proper care standards, and to see who’s clean as a whistle and who’s not, enforcement-wise. It includes facilities not listed in the helpful federal site Nursing Home Compare, which is limited only to those participating in Medicare and Medicaid.

Study: Pre-Pregnancy Drinking Boosts Breast Cancer Risks

by Matt Rosenberg September 4th, 2013

A new study funded by the National Cancer Institute finds that between the onset of menstruation and first pregnancy the risk of breast cancer for women grows 11 percent for each 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day and 34 percent if average consumption equals 15 grams per day, or about 1.3 drinks. Even for non-drinking women, the longer the gap between start of menstruation and first pregnancy, the greater the breast cancer risk: the study said women who reported no alcohol consumption at all but waited more than 10 years between menstruation onset and first pregnancy, had a 26 percent increased risk of breast cancer. There are a range of other risk factors. These appear to include certain types of oral contraceptives, according to a report from Seattle-area researchers last year.