South Korea recently broke its own record for the world’s lowest fertility rate. Figures released in November showed the average number of children a South Korean woman will have in her lifetime is down to just 0.79.
That is far below the 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population and low even compared to other developed countries where the rate is falling, such as the United States (1.6) and Japan – which at 1.3 reported its own lowest rate on record.
And it spells trouble for a country with an aging population that faces a looming shortage of workers to support its pension system.
What did this new study show about the effectiveness of colonoscopies?
In this study, about 12,000 people in Sweden, Poland and Norway got colonoscopies. They saw a 31% reduction in their risk of colon cancer and a 50% reduction in their risk of dying from colon cancer compared with people who were not invited to get a colonoscopy.
Was that about what would be expected?
Some US studies have suggested that colonoscopies are even more effective. One study followed nearly 90,000 health care professionals for 22 years. Some of them chose to receive a screening colonoscopy, and some did not. The researchers estimated that screening colonoscopy was associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of getting colon cancer and a 68% reduction in the risk of dying of colon cancer.
Why would there be different success rates in the three European countries compared with the US?
Dominitz says one reason might be that most people in the European study didn’t have sedation when they got their colonoscopies. Only 23% of the patients in the European study received sedation, but virtually everyone having a colonoscopy in the US gets it. Colonoscopies can be uncomfortable, and doctors might, without even realizing it, be less thorough if people are in pain. Thoroughness – getting the scope into the folds and crevices of the colon – is important for finding growths called polyps. The more polyps doctors are able to find, the more they can reduce the person’s risk of being diagnosed with or dying from colon cancer.
The vast majority of Americans of all ages, races, generations and backgrounds say the US has a mental health crisis.
Nine in 10 Americans in a new survey from CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation say the country as a whole is facing a crisis on this front and about half of adults say they’ve experienced a severe mental health crisis in their family.
CNN published a series of stories this week based on the poll in conjunction with KFF. Read the main report here. And read this from CNN’s polling team about how the survey was conducted.
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and senior producer Amanda Sealy went to Durham, North Carolina, to look at how cities are changing the way they respond to 911 calls and utilizing mental health professionals.
There’s also 988 – the three-digit number anyone in crisis can call, but which the survey found few people know about.
About 14.9 million people around the world died as a direct or indirect result of Covid-19 in the period between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, according to new estimates from the World Health Organization — nearly three times more deaths than were officially reported.
There were 5.4 million Covid-19 deaths reported to WHO during that timeframe, resulting in an excess mortality estimate of 9.5 million more deaths than what was reported.
“Excess mortality is the difference between the number of deaths that have been recorded and those that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic,” said Samira Asma, assistant director-general for the Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact Division of WHO.
At least 169 cases of acute hepatitis in children aged one month to 16 years old have been identified in an outbreak that now involves 11 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday.
Among the cases of acute hepatitis, at least one child has died and 17 children have required liver transplants, the WHO said in a news release.
“It is not yet clear if there has been an increase in hepatitis cases, or an increase in awareness of hepatitis cases that occur at the expected rate but go undetected,” the WHO said in a statement. “While adenovirus is a possible hypothesis, investigations are ongoing for the causative agent.”
Frail older adults are finding it harder than ever to get paid help amid acute staff shortages at home health agencies.
Several trends are fueling the shortages: Hospitals and other employers are hiring away home health workers with better pay and benefits. Many aides have fallen ill or been exposed to Covid-19 during the recent surge of omicron cases and must quarantine for a time. And staffers are burned out after working during the pandemic in difficult, anxiety-provoking circumstances.
The implications for older adults are dire. Some seniors who are ready for discharge are waiting in hospitals or rehabilitation centers for several days before home care services can be arranged. Some are returning home with less help than would be optimal. Some are experiencing cutbacks in services. And some simply can’t find care.
More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States during the 12-month period ending April 2021, according to provisional data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s a new record high, with overdose deaths jumping 28.5% from the same period a year earlier and nearly doubling over the past five years.
Opioids continue to be the driving cause of drug overdose deaths. Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, caused nearly two-thirds (64%) of all drug overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending April 2021, up 49% from the year before, the CDC’s ‘s National Center for Health Statistics found.
San Juan County, Colorado, can boast that 99.9% of its eligible population has received at least one dose of covid-19 vaccine, putting it in the top 10 counties in the nation, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If vaccines were the singular armor against covid’s spread, then on paper, San Juan County, with its 730 or so residents on file, would be one of the most bulletproof places in the nation.
Yet the past few months have shown the complexity of this phase of the pandemic. Even in an extremely vaccinated place, the shots alone aren’t enough because geographic boundaries are porous, vaccine effectiveness may be waning over time and the delta variant is highly contagious. Infectious-disease experts say masks are still necessary to control the spread of the virus.
“If the point of the stimulus bill is to just prevent state and local governments from having to cut back on spending or having to implement tax increases, then the $350 billion is way too much,” said Dan White, director of public-sector research at Moody’s Analytics. “Is that money better spent directly in terms of federal fiscal stimulus, as opposed to it flowing through states? If you use that money for PPP or for enhanced unemployment insurance, does it have a bigger bang for the buck in terms of economic stimulus?”
Moody’s Analytics now pegs the state and local budget shortfall at $61 billion when taking existing federal help into account. The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently estimated that the budget gap is around $225 billion, but it noted that that doesn’t include states’ and localities’ costs to continue fighting the virus or helping their struggling residents and businesses.
“A year of life expectancy lost doesn’t really give you a true sense of how serious this has been. Millions of life years were actually lost,” Eileen Crimmins, a professor at the University of Southern California who has researched changes in mortality, told CNN. “Covid is on track to cause more deaths than cancer or heart disease, and that’s important.”Most deaths due to Covid-19 have been among older adults, which would have a small effect on overall life expectancy.
But Theresa Andrasfay, a researcher at the University of Southern California who has published work on the potential impact of Covid-19 on life expectancy, notes that while deaths among younger adults may be less common, the numbers are still substantial.
Late last month, New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued a scathing report about how nursing homes in the state handled Covid-19, including a finding that the state’s Department of Health undercounted Covid deaths at nursing homes by approximately 50%. While the discrepancy didn’t change the overall number of New York Covid-19 deaths, it attributed deaths where a nursing home resident had been transferred to a hospital for treatment to the hospital instead of the nursing home.
This undercount (a term New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has pushed back on) downplayed the high rates of transmission at nursing homes, at a time when the state mandated that nursing homes re-admit patients with Covid-19 who had been receiving treatment in a hospital, a policy that was reversed a couple of months later. (Cuomo has long said the decision to send recovering Covid-19 patients back to nursing homes was based on federal guidance to do so.)