Monday, June 29, 2009

Dr. Icilma Fergus: Black Health at TheGrio

Dr Icilma Fergus

Dr Icilma Fergus


Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson’s Death a Mystery

One day after Michael Jackson's sudden death, speculation was already turning to what killed the 50-year-old "King of Pop" just weeks before a long-awaited series of comeback concerts.

A family attorney said on Friday he had been concerned that Jackson's use of prescription drugs for dancing-related injuries would eventually prove fatal and that the entertainer's inner circle had ignored his warnings.

Authorities scheduled an autopsy for Friday. But they cautioned it could take weeks to determine a cause of death, which will likely have to wait for the return of toxicology tests. Those tests will determine if Jackson had any drugs, alcohol or prescription medications in his system.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Government Map Shows HIV Rates Growing in Black Communities in the South

AP Medical Writer

ATLANTA (AP) - A new Internet data map offers a first-of-its-kind, county-level look at HIV cases in the U.S. and finds the infection rates tend to be highest in the South.

The highest numbers of HIV cases are in population centers like New York and California. However, many of the areas with the highest rates of HIV _ that is, the highest proportion of people with the AIDS-causing virus _ are in the South, according to the data map, which has information for more than 90 percent of the nation's counties and Washington, D.C.

HIV infection rates are higher in African-American communities, and high minority populations in the South help explain the finding. While that's not surprising, the high rates seen throughout states like Georgia and South Carolina were, said Gary Puckrein, president of the National Minority Quality Forum, the nonprofit research organization that put the map together.

Of 48 counties with the highest prevalence rates for HIV that had not yet progressed to AIDS, 25 were in Georgia, according to the map. Those were counties in which more than 0.7 percent of the population was infected with HIV.


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Monday, June 22, 2009

Black Politics: Over a quarter of All South African Men Admit to Rape

South Africans received a horrifying measure of just how bad their country's rape crisis is with the release this week of a study in which more than a quarter of men admitted to having raped, and 46% of those said that they had raped more than once.

The study, conducted by South Africa's Medical Research Council, reveals a deeply rooted culture of violence against women, in which men rape in order to feel powerful, and do so with impunity, believing that their superiority entitles them to vent their frustrations on women and children. The men most likely to rape, the researchers found, were not the poorest, but those who had attained some level of education and income.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Black Legal News: Inmates Handcuffed While Giving Birth

Former Chicago inmates Simone Jackson and Danielle Bryant are seeking to file a class action lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff's Department. Both claim they were forced to give birth while shackled and handcuffed to the hospital bed.

Jackson said, "It's dehumanizing. It's degrading. It's immoral." Jackson and three other former Cook County inmates described how they felt when they gave birth while imprisoned.

"I couldn't have family there," Bryant said. "Nobody to support me, help me. The nurses were in and out. All I had was the police officer."

Jackson and Bryant were being held on theft charges when they went into labor and were transferred to Chicago's Stroger Hospital to give birth.

Bryant's restraints were removed right before the actual birth. But Jackson says her restraints never came off.

"It is not even feasible to run when you are actually going to have a baby," Jackson said. "There is no way to do that."

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Porn Star’s HIV Status Leads to speaking Out

Darren James

Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Darren James vividly remembers the 2004 phone call that changed his life. He hopes that by getting his story out, the porn industry will be moved to require condom use to protect the health of its stars.

Porn production shut down for a month after Darren James tested positive in 2004, changing his life. Now he hopes he can protect others by telling his story.

By Rong-Gong Lin II
June 15, 2009

Darren James saw the news flash on his TV screen last week: A porn actress had tested positive for HIV. James, 45, felt a moment of shock, then sadness.
"I feel really bad for this girl," he said. "One thing I can say, I just wish her well. It's the worst thing to get that call."

It's the call James got in 2004 when the well-liked porn star known for his courteous nature on set found himself at the center of an HIV outbreak in the San Fernando Valley's multibillion-dollar porn industry. His diagnosis, and the spread of the virus to three actresses he had worked with, shut down porn production for a month.
He had tested HIV negative just days before performing on screen.
"I predicted it would happen again," he said late last week in an interview at his attorney's Woodland Hills office, his second since his name became public five years ago.

James, dressed in trim black slacks and a fitted black T-shirt that showed off his muscular frame, said he decided to speak out now because he hoped his story would spur the porn industry to require condoms, rarely used in straight porn films.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

What’s Wrong with Health Care?

Despite spending more money than any other country on health care, the United States does not lead the world in life expectancy, a long-known fact that some experts say could raise more questions in the health-care reform debate.

A study found that better-educated doctors increase the growth rate of life expectancy.

The United States ranks 50th out of 224 nations in life expectancy, with an average life span of 78.1 years, according to 2009 estimates from the CIA World Factbook.

Some argue part of the problem stems from the privatized nature of the U.S. health care system, whose reform is being vigorously debated on Capitol Hill.

"What we are able to find in the industrialized world is that life expectancy will be influenced in a beneficial manner to the extent that health care expenditure is publicly financed," said Harvey Brenner, professor of public health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and Johns Hopkins University. "The higher the government expenditure on health care, the lower will be the mortality rate."

In countries where individuals pay for their own care, people often don't get treatment until their symptoms have become serious, Brenner said. There is also less emphasis on preventative care in those countries, he said.

An analysis by Bianca Frogner, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health, supports the view that a single-payer system may be associated with higher life expectancy. The federal governments of countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and Canada are the payers for the respective systems, and these countries have some of the highest life expectancies in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

"Inevitably the conversation about reforming our health care system focuses on the question of what are we getting for our money and how are others doing with their health care dollars. Life expectancy, along with mortality and morbidity rates, are fairly straightforward numbers to rely on," Frogner said in an e-mail.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Black Women in DC Have Very Poor Health

Black women in the District suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and generally poor health in alarmingly high numbers, and white women do not.

That is the finding of a study released early today by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The study said there is a large disparity in the incidence of certain chronic diseases between black and white women.

Kaiser's study was based on data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Current Population Survey from 2004 to 2006. The study reflected health statistics in the states and the District.

In the District, the study also found wide gaps between black and white women in the incidence of other illnesses such as cancer and HIV and AIDS. According to the study, black women's poor health is tied to low education, poverty, unemployment, stress, bad living conditions and poor health care coverage.

Black women's health in the District also compared unfavorably with that of other minority women. According to the study, 36 percent of black women were overweight or obese, compared with about 10 percent of Hispanic and Asian women in the city. More than 7 percent of black women suffered from diabetes, compared with 2 percent of Hispanic women and 3 percent of Asian women. Fewer than 1 percent of white women suffered from diabetes, and 7 percent were overweight or obese.

"Black women in the District are really struggling," said Cara James, a senior policy analyst at Kaiser and the study's lead author. "This is a chronic condition that we know is related to poverty and the availability of nutritious food and the opportunity to exercise."

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Link Found Between Teen Sleep and Depression


Teens whose parents let them stay up after midnight on weeknights have a much higher chance of being depressed or suicidal than teens whose parents enforce an earlier bedtime, says research being presented today at a national sleep conference.

The findings are the first to examine bedtimes' effects on kids' mental health — and the results are noteworthy. Middle- and high-schoolers whose parents don't require them to be in bed before midnight on school nights are 42% more likely to be depressed than teens whose parents require a 10 p.m. or earlier bedtime. And teens who are allowed to stay up late are 30% more likely to have had suicidal thoughts in the past year.

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