Health

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State health officials Friday were pressed into releasing numbers showing a statewide increase in the number of syphilis cases, after the Tippecanoe County Health Department announced a spike.

Tippecanoe County has seen 12 cases of the sexually transmitted disease this year. That’s a big increase over the last four years – none of which registered even five cases for the whole year.

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Attorney General Greg Zoeller says a new grant program to provide overdose intervention drugs to first responders will help save lives as Indiana braces for what he fears is a coming heroin crisis. 

Naloxone is a drug that immediately halts the effects of an opioid overdose, such as heroin.  55 of Indiana’s nearly 500 law enforcement agencies are trained and equipped with the drug. 

IUPUI To Study Living Wills Vs. Patient Wishes

Oct 27, 2015
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IUPUI will take a first-of-its-kind look at whether living wills adequately reflect patients' wishes.

IU nursing professor Susan Hickman is leading a four-year study of the advance directives completed by nursing home patients or their health care representatives. She says it's unclear how often those directives are updated.

Hickman says ideally, advance directives should be reviewed regularly.

Indiana House GOP

Governor Mike Pence has acted on eight recommendations from the first two meetings of the drug abuse task force, drawing praise from state and federal officials.  However, half of those actions largely rehash initiatives already in place.

Some of the directives Pence has issued include crafting substance abuse curriculum for children, developing guidelines for doctors prescribing acute pain medication and spreading successful youth assistance programs statewide. 

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  Farm fatalities jumped by almost 40 percent in Indiana in 2014, according to Purdue University’s annual Farm Fatality Survey.

Two trends stand out among the survey’s data: Of the 25 farming-related deaths last year, nearly a third were from tractors overturning, and almost two-thirds were the result of some sort of machinery-related incident. Also, a full three-quarters of ag-related deaths in the state were of people younger than 18 or older than 60.

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Members of the governor’s newly created Drug Abuse Task Force heard a common theme at their first meeting Wednesday: local communities and programs around the state need more money.  But addiction treatment professionals say money alone isn’t the solution.

Andy Chambers is an addiction psychiatrist with Eskenazi Health’s Midtown Community Mental Health clinic in Indianapolis.  He says 50-percent of Indiana’s psychiatrists are within 10 years of retirement and the IU School of Medicine only trains six psychiatrists per year.

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The Montgomery County Health Department is trying to build an area-wide health assessment through public survey.

The study asks residents and those who use the county’s services to answer questions about their personal health needs. Public Health Accreditation Coordinator Luke Wren says the anonymous responses will be built into a health improvement plan.

Wren says he’s hoping to get responses faster this year than during an earlier survey.

Ryan White
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Legislation inspired by Kokomo native Ryan White’s fight against HIV and AIDS discrimination recently marked its 25th anniversary. The Ryan White CARE Act has been re-authorized five times and provides funding for communities to combat the diseases.  The CARE Act offers healthcare assistance for those who can't afford or otherwise find treatment.

State Researchers Link Heart, Alzheimer's Diseases

Aug 11, 2015
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A group of Indiana researchers is finding evidence that better treatment of cardiovascular disease could reduce the chance of a person developing Alzheimer’s.

Researchers at Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis compared the rates of Alzheimer’s in Nigerians and African Americans over 20 years.

In 1991, African Americans were twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s as their Nigerian counterparts. Researchers attributed the disparity to genetics.

But 20 years later, the two groups experienced nearly the same rate of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Indiana’s annual measure of its homeless population shows a slight decrease since last year and a nearly ten percent drop since the start of the decade.  But homeless advocates say it’s not time to celebrate.

Indiana’s point-in-time homeless count – which took place on one night in late January – shows about 5,800 Hoosiers without a home, down 2-percent from last year. 

Alan Witchey is the executive director of the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention.  He says the count doesn’t reflect the actual number of homeless people in the state. 

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