Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The test to cut down on unnecessary use of antibiotics was named the “Best Prevention Idea of the Week,” while cities shortening yellow lights to nab drivers with a ticket was named “Worst Prevention Idea of the Week.”

The “Best/Worst” awards are announced each week in “Prevention Matters,” the blog of Partnership for Prevention. Nominees are submitted by Partnership staff as well as the general public, and are voted on by the staff. Partnership for Prevention is a nonpartisan organization of business, nonprofit and government leaders who are working to make evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion a national priority. More information is available at http://www.prevent.or/


Simple Test Could Cut Excessive Antibiotic Use

German researchers found that testing for a marker of bacterial infection known as procalcitonin (PCT) helped identify patients whose respiratory tract infections would respond to antibiotics, and stopped others being offered unnecessary drugs. Respiratory infections are very common and doctors are taught to prescribe antibiotics on the basis of features like sputum or fever, which suggest there may be bacterial infection. But this judgment is not always easy, the researchers said, and lab tests can help sort bacterial from viral infections. Excessive prescribing of antibiotics adds to healthcare costs and to the worldwide problem of multi-drug resistant bacteria, or "superbugs," like MRSA.


Cities Shortening Yellow Traffic Lights for Deadly Profit

Some cities have been shortening yellow lights to nab drivers with a ticket. But studies show that they're raking in the bucks at the expense of public safety. "With all of the stories we hear on a daily basis, there is little doubt that the desire for ticket revenue trumps safety concerns," Gary Biller, executive director of the National Motorists Association told AlterNet. "A quick current example is California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who a few weeks ago proposed state budget including a proposal to add speed sensors to 500 existing red-light cameras. The reason? Safety wasn't mentioned, but an expected additional annual revenue of $338 million was."


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