IOM assesses program for low-income kids with mental disability

A Social Security program that supports low-income children with disabilities is not overserving the estimated need, but may be underserving it. Those are main conclusions from a new Institute of Medicine report co-authored by Brown University epidemiologist Stephen Buka.


(Distributed September 16, 2015)

Study backs flu vaccinations for elderly

Vince Mor:

Amid debate about whether flu vaccination really helps the elderly, a new study provides fresh evidence that it does. Brown University researchers found vaccines well matched to the year’s flu strain significantly reduce deaths and hospitalizations compared to when the match is poor, suggesting that vaccination indeed makes a difference. They project that well-matched vaccines saves thousands of lives every flu season.


(Distributed September 16, 2015)

Number of 80°-plus days rising steadily in RI

Number of 80°-plus days rising steadily in RI:

After a study showed that Rhode Islanders are more likely to seek emergency care and die on days hotter than 80 degrees, Brown University researchers have counted such days over the last six decades. The researchers found the yearly total is increasing.


(Distributed September 16, 2015)

Joseph Lau retires

Joseph LauJoseph Lau

At the end of August, Joseph Lau, MD, retired from the School of Public Health. During his career he has earned a reputation as invaluable collaborator, mentor, pioneer, innovator, and beloved colleague.

(Distributed August 19, 2015)

As days warm, emergency visits, deaths rise

HeatHeatA new study finds that in Rhode Island heat-related emergency department visits and deaths increase notably among people of all ages as temperatures rise above 75 degrees. The study projects that if the population were living with the warmer temperatures forecast for the end of the century, emergency department visits and deaths would be measurably higher. 

“Our primary finding is that as temperatures increase, the number of emergency room visits and deaths increase,” said Samantha Kingsley, a Brown University public health graduate student and lead author of the study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. “But people were going to the hospital for heat-related reasons at temperatures below what we would typically consider extreme.”

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(Distributed August 13, 2015)

Brown experts to advise R.I. overdose task force

Dr. Jody RichDr. Jody RichDr. Jody Rich, Traci Green, and Brandon Marshall, members of the Brown University faculty, will advise a new task force that Gov. Gina Raimondo appointed Aug. 4 to develop a plan to combat the state's epidemics of opioid addiction and overdose.

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(Distributed August 5, 2015)

Waiving Medicare’s three-day rule lessens hospital stay

Amal TrivediAmal TrivediA new study – the first on the topic in a long while – finds that when Medicare Advantage plans have waived a rule requiring a minimum of three days in the hospital before skilled nursing care can be covered, the effect was less time in the hospital, which can save money and reduce potential hospital complications for patients. Potentially negative implications were not in evidence. 

"This policy dates back to the mid-1960's, when the average length of a hospital stay was two weeks," said Dr. Amal Trivedi, associate professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University and corresponding author of the study in the August issue of Health Affairs. "Requiring patients to stay in the hospital for three days before they can be transferred to a skilled nursing facility may unnecessarily lengthen hospital stays, leading to more spending, but also subject patients to unnecessary complications arising from hospital care."

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(Distributed August 4, 2015)

Brown to help Ghana build HIV, TB research capacity

Omar GalarragaOmar GalarragaWith $1.45 million over five years from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, a pair of Brown University professors will work with colleagues in Ghana to build the research capacity needed to address the deadly co-epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis.

The principal investigator of the project is Dr. Awewura Kwara, professor of medicine in the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. In addition to Kwara, other key faculty members on the grant are Omar Galarraga, of the Brown University School of Public Health and professors Margaret Lartey and Richard Adanu of the University of Ghana.

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(Distributed August 4, 2015)

Cell phones and risk of brain tumors: What's the real science?

David SavitzDavid Savitz(CNN) The city of Berkeley, California, passed a law that goes into effect next month requiring cell phone stores to inform customers about safety recommendations. The move reopened a decades-old debate about whether mobile phones cause brain tumors.

"There are individual studies and findings that do produce a risk, but on balance the judgment has to be made on the totality (of the evidence)," Savitz said, adding that there is error in even the best and biggest studies.

"We know quite a bit (about the risk) actually and it seems extremely unlikely that there is an effect. We are down to the range that there is no risk or a risk that is almost too small to detect," Savitz said.

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(Distributed July 29, 2015)
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