Briefly Noted

Southerners are 77 percent more likely to fill a prescription for a stimulant, 46 percent more likely to fill one for an antidepressant, and 42 percent more likely to fill one for an antipsychotic than people in the rest of the United States, according to a study by Yale University researchers. The study looks at data on 60 percent of prescriptions written in the United States in 2008…. Very good news has arrived about the rate of premature births, which declined to 11.7 percent in 2012, according to the March of Dimes. That is the lowest it’s been in a decade, and the fifth straight year that the rate has dropped. The largest rate of decline was seen in babies born during weeks 34 to 36 of pregnancy. The March of Dimes estimates that this means a savings of about $3 billion in health care costs…. Advanced practice clinicians (APCs) are in demand, and their salaries are rising as a result, according to a survey by Sullivan Cotter & Associates, a consulting company. Of the approximately 275 hospitals and group practices surveyed, 63 percent reported a 17 percent increase in their APC workforce in the last year, while 53 percent say they will increase the APC workforce by 15 percent this year. The survey, which defines APCs as nurse anesthetists, midwives, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants, also says that 54 percent of respondents plan to offer raises to ACPs of about 3 percent this year…. The Obesity Society claims that the problem of obesity now surpasses smoking as the most serious preventable cause of death in the United States. A Gallup poll found that 36 percent of Americans are overweight and 26 percent are obese. More than 350,000 people participated. A person with a body mass index of over 25 is overweight; 30 or higher is obese; 40 or more is morbidly obese…. The health care industry is hiring, even in a slow economy. The industry added 23,000 jobs in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These included about 9,200 jobs in doctors offices, 3,600 in hospitals, and 28,000 in ambulatory health care services. The news is not all good, however. The Bureau records a loss of about 8,400 jobs in the nursing and residential care facilities sector…. You can’t escape Old Man Winter, or at least some of his effects, according to a study in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association. Fatal heart attacks and strokes occur more often in December, January, February, and the beginning of March than at any other time of year. It doesn’t matter whether you live in warm or cold sections of the United States either. Researchers reviewed about 1.7 million death certificates for 2005 to 2008.

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