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Sleep Awareness Month

Daylight Savings Time has come and gone, and so has an hour of sleep. It might not take very long to adjust to losing an hour of sleep, but some people lose hours every night. March is Sleep Awareness Month, and the Tufts Office of Public Health & Professional Degree Programs is reminding the Tufts community that sleep is in integral part of maintaining health. While there are many different sleep disorders, one of the most common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. Breathing pauses, or “apneas”, last for at least ten seconds when muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open. These pauses can cause night after night of fragmented, interrupted sleep. What causes OSA? There are several … Read entire article »

Filed under: Sleep

Staying Healthy in a Winter Wonderland

Winter Storm Juno has swept the East Coast, and the Tufts Health Sciences Campus has been buried in snow. Many students rejoiced at the news of two consecutive snow days, taking advantage of the time to relax, get ahead on work, and catch up on Netflix. The blizzard has passed, but the forecast predicts temperatures as low as 0° degrees over the next week, as well as the possibility of more precipitation. With snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, below are several recommendations for staying safe throughout the rest of the winter. Frostbite Now that the winds are dying down, it is more tempting than ever to go outside and indulge in that nostalgic desire to build a snowman or go sledding. These activities often require being outside for long periods of time, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blizzards, Emergencies, Emergency Preparedness, Winter Health

Using a Public Health Approach for Violence Prevention

On December 14th, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. It has been two years since that fateful and tragic day, and many parts of the country are still terrorized by the threat of violence. Violence emerged as a public health problem in the late 1970s and early 1980s, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish the Violence Epidemiology Branch (later integrated into the Division of Injury Epidemiology). They recognized that violence could have numerous health effects, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies, and even death. With these health consequences in mind, CDC and public health officials began to think about treating violence much as they would treat other health issues. Dr. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Violence

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

America’s obesity epidemic is far from over, and its effects have become clear. Diabetes, which is commonly caused by obesity, has taken its place as one of the most prevalent medical conditions. Almost 30 million Americans have diabetes, and another 86 million have prediabetes, making them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. It is projected that unless we take drastic steps to stop diabetes, as many as one in three American adults will have it by 2050. Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not make enough insulin (Type 1) or cannot use its insulin as well as it should (Type 2), resulting in sugar building up in the blood and blood glucose levels rising above normal. Symptoms include (but are not limited to) frequent urination, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Awareness, Diabetes

Brush Up on the Importance of Oral Health

  Halloween is around the corner, and it can be hard to say no to the abundance of candy corn and pumpkin sweets that are taking over the shelves. If you have decided to relax on your diet a little, make sure that you are at least taking precautions against cavities! While you’re at it, take a few minutes to learn about the importance of maintaining oral hygiene and health. Oral health is not always a main focus in public health, but there are plenty of reasons why public health officials should pay attention to this field. Oral bacteria and inflammation from periodontitis (severe form of gum disease) have been shown to cause health problems in other parts of the body. Bacteria from the mouth can spread through the bloodstream and attach to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Dental Health, Halloween, Oral Health

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: The Impact of Social Media on Health Communication

Facebook timelines were drenched in ice bucket videos this summer, as millions of people around the globe doused themselves in ice water. As the amount of videos increased, ALS became synonymous with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS (Amyotrphic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The disease causes motor neurons to die, eventually making it impossible for the brain to initiate and control muscle movement. At the beginning, patients may experience muscle weakness and difficulties with speech, swallowing, or breathing. In the later stages of the disease, patients may become completely paralyzed. The idea of challenging people to either douse themselves in cold water or donate to a charity has been popular in the sports arena … Read entire article »

Filed under: ALS, Awareness, Fundraising, Ice Bucket Challenge

Strength, Resilience, and Pride: The Medical Community Remembers the Boston Marathon 2013

I was home in Chicago when I heard the news. My mom had just picked me up after a long day of work, and I was dialing the Tufts phone number to inquire about on-campus housing.  As I was about to press “call,” my mom asked me, “Did you hear about the explosions at the Boston Marathon?” Quickly, I closed my phone. Having attended Emerson College for undergraduate school, located just a few blocks away from the Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, Boston was my second home. When she told me about the explosions, we did not yet know if they were terrorist attacks. The week continued and as the events unfolded, I prayed for the swift recovery of this incredibly strong city. One year later, as a Tufts … Read entire article »

Filed under: Awareness, Boston Marathon, Boston Strong, Emergencies, Emergency Preparedness, Medical Community, Uncategorized

Walking for a Cause: A Public Health Event

Each year, millions of people walk for hundreds of causes from cancer to infertility, from hunger to education. I have walked for several different causes, but most of them have been for epilepsy. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was thirteen, and the cause is near and dear to my heart. When I attended the National Walk for Epilepsy in Washington DC this year, however, it was no longer just about me or my epilepsy. It was my first year attending as a public health student, and it was the first time I realized why walks for causes are more than just fundraising events. They are a way of improving public health, especially for conditions that are difficult to manage or are highly stigmatized. My experiences have taught me … Read entire article »

Filed under: Awareness, Education

Biased Sex Education in the United States

After significant outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases among soldiers in World War I, the federal government became involved and allocated money to educate soldiers about gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. In 1919, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Children’s Bureau suggested that soldiers would have benefited from learning about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) during school. As a result in the 1920s, sex education began to be taught in public schools. Throughout the past century, sex education has become a hotly debated topic amongst legislators, public health officials, and state education boards. It is still a controversial subject, with people debating whether or not sex education mandates are constitutional, if sex education is appropriate for students, and what information should or should not be taught. Each state has its own policies about sex education in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Sex Education

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: How Women Can Decrease their Risk of Developing Cervical Cancer

In the U.S., 11,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every year and approximately 4,000 women pass away from the disease. Like any form of cancer, cervical cancer can greatly decrease quality of life and can ultimately result in death. Fortunately, these outcomes can often be avoided, as cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. One of the key tenets of the practice of public health is informing people about various health issues and what they can do to avoid contracting illness. Therefore, given that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, below is information on some of the ways women can decrease their risk of developing cervical cancer. Screening & Detection Methods of screening and early detection have improved, contributing to a 74% decrease in the mortality rate … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized