Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Raw (Unpasteurized) Milk

"If you’re thinking about drinking raw milk because you believe it has health benefits, consider other options. Raw milk can contain harmful germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can make you very sick, or even kill you or a loved one.
Developing a healthy lifestyle involves making many decisions about what you eat and drink. Raw milk is milk from any animal that has not been pasteurized (heated to a specific temperature for a set amount of time) to kill harmful germs that may be in it. Because these germs usually don’t change the look, taste, or smell of milk, pasteurization is the best way to make sure your milk is safe.

Questions and Answers about Raw Milk

Can raw milk hurt me or my family?
Yes. Raw milk can carry harmful germs that can make you very sick or even kill you. These germs include Brucella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
Getting sick from raw milk can mean many days of diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting. Less commonly, it can lead to severe or even life-threatening illness, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis, and hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can result in kidney failure, stroke, and even death.
Who has a greater chance of getting sick from drinking raw milk or eating products made from raw milk, such as cheese, ice cream, and yogurt?
The chance of getting sick from drinking raw milk is greater for infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems (such as people with cancer, an organ transplant, or HIV), than for healthy adults. However, healthy people of any age can get very sick or even die if they drink raw milk contaminated with harmful germs..".
Raw milk

Spring Break Travel

"Wherever your travels take you this spring break, stay healthy and safe with these tips from CDC Travelers’ Health.
As March approaches, many spring breakers will be looking forward to sunny destinations and a long week of relaxation. Some may travel to tropical hot spots, like Cancun or islands in the Caribbean, while others may opt for bustling cities, like Amsterdam or Bangkok. Not all spring break destinations are created equal: Some have specific health risks that you should be aware of.
Before you go
  • Find out about vaccines needed and any other health concerns at your destination.
  • Visit a travel medicine specialist or your healthcare provider at least 1 month before you leave the United States.
  • Pack smart and prepare a travel health kit with the items you may need on your trip, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, insect repellent, sunscreen, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and condoms.
  • Find out if your health insurance covers medical care abroad—many plans don’t! Consider additional insurance that covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas.
  • Check the US Department of State website for information on security risks. Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the US embassy or consulate can contact you in an emergency..."

Spring Break

Epilepsy: Improving Quality of Life

"Learn how a program developed by Dartmouth College’s Prevention Research Center improves quality of life and attention span for people with epilepsy.
Up to 50% of people with epilepsy have memory problems that affect their health, productivity, and quality of life. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes people to have recurrent seizures. It is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system and affects people of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds.
Researchers from Dartmouth College’s Prevention Research Center (PRC) developed an effective program known as HOBSCOTCH to improve lives of people with epilepsy. Participants in HOBSCOTCH showed improved quality of life and attention. HOBSCOTCH stands for Home-Based Self-Management and Cognitive Training Changes Lives. Dartmouth is part of the CDC PRC Managing Epilepsy Well (MEW) network, a network of CDC-funded university PRCs..."

Epilepsy managment

Grand Jury Indicts Thirteen Russian Individuals and Three Russian Companies for Scheme to Interfere in the United States Political System

"The Department of Justice announced that a grand jury in the District of Columbia today returned an indictment presented by the Special Counsel’s Office. The indictment charges thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the United States political system, including the 2016 Presidential election. The defendants allegedly conducted what they called “information warfare against the United States,” with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”  

“This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the Internet,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. “The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy. We must not allow them to succeed. The Department of Justice will continue to work cooperatively with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and with the Congress, to defend our nation against similar current and future schemes. I want to thank the federal agents and prosecutors working on this case for their exceptional service. And we received exceptional cooperation from private sector companies like Facebook, Oath, PayPal, and Twitter.”

According to the allegations in the indictment, twelve of the individual defendants worked at various times for Internet Research Agency LLC, a Russian company based in St. Petersburg, Russia. The other individual defendant, Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, funded the conspiracy through companies known as Concord Management and Consulting LLC, Concord Catering, and many subsidiaries and affiliates. The conspiracy was part of a larger operation called “Project Lakhta.” Project Lakhta included multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in multiple countries..."  
Federal Grand Jury Indictment of Russians

Characteristics of Same-Sex Couple Households: 2005 to Present

Use this resource to find data on same-sex and opposite-sex households for the period 2005-2016.
Same-Sex households

Monday, February 19, 2018

Evolving Assessments of Human and Natural Contributions to Climate Change

"As Congress continues to deliberate whether and how to address climate change, a key question has been the degree to which humans have influenced observed global climate change.1 Members of Congress sometimes stress that policies or actions “must be based on sound science.”2 Officials in the Trump Administration have expressed uncertainty about the human influence, and some have called for public debate on the topic.

To help inform policymaking, researchers and major scientific assessment processes have analyzed the attribution of observed climate change to various possible causes. Scientific assessments of both climate change and the extent to which humans have influenced it have varied in expressed confidence over time but have achieved greater scientific consensus. The latest major U.S. assessment, the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), was released in October 2017 by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). It stated: It is extremely likely [>95% likelihood] that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th Century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.

This CRS report provides context for the CSSR’s statement by tracing the evolution of scientific understanding and confidence regarding the drivers of recent global climate change..."
Climate Change Assessment

GPO Issues Digital Release of Federal Register for the 1960s

"he U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register (OFR) digitally release historic issues of the Federal Register from 1960-1969. The complete collection of issues of the Federal Register from 1960 to the present is now available digitally on GPO’sgovinfo. https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/FR.
This project is digitizing a total of 14,587 individual issues, dating back to the first Federal Register in 1936. Nearly two million pages are being digitized. The 1960s era of the Federal Register covers the Administrations of Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon, and includes such highlights as:
  • The first executive order of the Kennedy administration expanded food aid to needy families: January 24, 1961
  • Proclamation by President Johnson of a national day of mourning for President Kennedy: November 27, 1963
  • Notice of an establishment of a quarantine period for extraterrestrial exposure for the astronauts on the Apollo 11 space mission: July 25, 1969..."
    Federal Register for 1960s

Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC): Structure and Activities

"The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and its Office of Financial Research (OFR) were established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111- 203) to address several potential sources of systemic risk. Some observers argue that communication and coordination of financial regulators was insufficient to prevent the financial crisis of 2008. To foster coordination and communication, the FSOC assembles the heads of federal financial regulators, representatives from state regulatory bodies, and an independent insurance expert in a single venue. The OFR supports the FSOC with data collection, research, and analysis.

The FSOC does not generally have direct regulatory authority; its role is to make policy recommendations to member agencies where authority already exists or to Congress where additional authority is needed. However, it is responsible for monitoring financial stability and designating nonbank financial companies and financial market utilities as systemic, which subjects those entities to heightened prudential regulation and the direct regulatory authority of other agencies. The FSOC considers a company to pose a threat to financial stability if a company’s financial distress or activities could be transmitted to other firms or markets, causing broader disruptions to financial intermediation or other financial market functions. Three of the many relevant factors used for designation include leverage, interconnectedness with other systemically important nonbank financial institutions (SIFIs), and whether a primary prudential regulator already has responsibility for the SIFI and the activity..."
Financial Stability Oversight

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

"Recent debates about U.S. nuclear weapons have questioned what role weapons with shorter ranges and lower yields can play in addressing emerging threats in Europe and Asia. These weapons, often referred to as nonstrategic nuclear weapons, have not been limited by past U.S.- Russian arms control agreements, although some analysts argue such limits would be of value, particularly in addressing Russia’s greater numbers of these types of weapons. Others have argued that the United States should expand its deployments of these weapons, in both Europe and Asia, to address new risks of war conducted under a nuclear shadow. The Trump Administration addressed these questions in the Nuclear Posture Review released in February 2018, and determined that the United States should acquire two new types of nonstrategic nuclear weapons: a new low-yield warhead for submarine-launched ballistic missiles and a new sealaunched cruise missile.

During the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union both deployed nonstrategic nuclear weapons for use in the field during a conflict. While there are several ways to distinguish between strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons, most analysts consider nonstrategic weapons to be shorter-range delivery systems with lower-yield warheads that might be used to attack troops or facilities on the battlefield. They have included nuclear mines; artillery; short-, medium-, and long-range ballistic missiles; cruise missiles; and gravity bombs. In contrast with the longer-range “strategic” nuclear weapons, these weapons had a lower profile in policy debates and arms control negotiations, possibly because they did not pose a direct threat to the continental United States. At the end of the 1980s, each nation still had thousands of these weapons deployed with their troops in the field, aboard naval vessels, and on aircraft..."
Nonstrategic nuclear weapons

D.C. Circuit Upholds as Constitutional the Structure of the CFPB – Part I

"The entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) issued a potentially important decision on January 31, upholding the structural design of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The en banc court held by a vote of 7-3 that the agency’s various statutory elements of independence, including a provision that limited the President’s authority to remove the CFPB Director, do not infringe upon the President’s powers under Article II of the Constitution. The decision, PHH Corp. v. CFPB, comes after a previous (but since vacated) three-judge panel decision held that providing removal protections to the sole director of the CFPB violated the Constitution. Although the en banc court rejected the earlier panel’s constitutional reasoning, the D.C. Circuit nonetheless reinstated the previous decision’s statutory holding, which had invalidated the CFPB’s interpretation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA). The D.C. Circuit’s latest decision therefore effectively rejected the CFPB enforcement action that gave rise to the case, but reaffirmed, and may expand, what is likely Congress’s chief tool for ensuring agency independence: the use of “for-cause” removal protections. This two-part Sidebar series begins with a brief summary of the Supreme Court’s views of the President’s removal power before addressing the PHH litigation and the en banc majority opinion. Part II of this series will address some of the separate opinions issued in the case and then highlight certain implications for Congress..."
CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Burea)

Diversity Immigrants’ Regions and Countries of Origin: Fact Sheet

"Ongoing congressional deliberations over whether to maintain, alter, or eliminate the diversity immigrant visa program1 (also known as the “lottery” or DV program) include an interest in the geographical origins of immigrants who have been admitted through this program. This fact sheet provides data on the regional and national origins of diversity immigrants (DV immigrants) and how they have shifted over time.
Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

The purpose of the DV program is to provide an avenue for immigration from countries other than the major sending countries2 of current immigrants to the United States. It was added to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by the Immigration Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-649) to stimulate “new seed” immigration (i.e., to foster new, more varied migration from other parts of the world). DV immigrants account for about 5% of all immigrants admitted to the United States annually. The program went into full effect in 1995.

The DV program makes 50,000 visas available annually to natives of countries from which immigrant admissions were lower than a total of 50,000 over the preceding five years.3 The formula for allocating visas is based on statutory specifications; visas are divided among six global geographic regions according to the relative populations of the regions, with their allocation weighted in favor of countries in regions that were under-represented among immigrant admissions to the United States during the past five years. The INA limits each country to 7% of the total..."
Immigrant's origins

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New Federal Standard to Improve Safety of Infant Slings Takes Effect

"If you, or anyone you know, uses an infant sling carrier, a new federal standard aimed at making sling carriers safer is now in effect. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved the standard to prevent deaths and injuries to young children.  The new standard applies to any infant sling carrier manufactured or imported after January 30th 2018.
What are the new rules?
Among other things, all infant slings must have permanently attached warning labels and come with instructions, like illustrated diagrams, to show the proper position of a child in the sling. Warning labels must include statements about:
  • The suffocation hazards posed by slings and prevention measures,
  • The hazards of children falling out of slings, and
  • A reminder for caregivers to check the buckles, snaps, rings and other hardware to make sure no parts are broken
The mandatory standard also requires sling carriers to:
  • Be able to carry up to three times the manufacturer’s maximum recommended weight,
  • Be more durable to avoid seam separations, fabric tears, breakage, etc., and
  • Be able to keep the child being carried from falling out of the sling during normal use...".

Infant slings

National ALS Biorepository

"Learn how ALS researchers from around the world can access and use ALS Biorepository samples as a valuable resource in their fight to identify the causes of ALS.
The National ALS Biorepository is a component of the National ALS Registry that will increase the number of biological samples from persons with ALS available for research.  These samples, along with the extensive epidemiologic data collected by the National ALS Registry, are a valuable resource in the fight to identify the causes of ALS.

The National ALS Biorepository collects, processes, stores, and distributes a variety of biological specimens such as blood, urine, and tissue from a sample of persons with ALS enrolled in the National ALS Registry who agree to take part in the Biorepository.

The National ALS Biorepository is different from other biorepositories because it collects specimens from a geographically representative sample of people with ALS that is not tied to a specific clinic or location..."
ALS Biorepository

Lower Your Risk for the Number 1 Killer of Women

"Learn about heart disease and women and what you can do to keep a healthy heart.

Get Informed: Facts on Women and Heart Disease

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.
  • Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States.
  • Some conditions and lifestyle choices increase a person’s chance for heart disease, including diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use.
  • High blood pressure, high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol because having high levels can lead to buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease and stroke. Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, not smoking, and regular physical activity will reduce your chances for heart disease..."

Women and Heart Disease

Heart Disease: It Can Happen at Any Age

"Heart disease doesn’t happen just to older adults. It is happening to younger adults more and more often. This is partly because the conditions that lead to heart disease are happening at younger ages. February is Heart Month, the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take now to help your heart.
Heart disease—and the conditions that lead to it—can happen at any age. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (ages 35-64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking).

You Could Be at Risk

Many of the conditions and behaviors that put people at risk for heart disease are appearing at younger ages:
  • High blood pressure. Millions of Americans of all ages have high blood pressure, including millions of people in their 40s and 50s. About half of people with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
  • High blood cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease. Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
  • Smoking. More than 37 million U.S. adults are current smokers, and thousands of young people start smoking each day. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease..."
    Heart disease