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Daily Rounds: Infant Mortality Fix; Cancer Center Glut; Needless CT Scans For Kids; Higher Autism In Korea; Depression Foretold

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Infant Death Rate Drops After Low-Cost Training for Zambian Midwives - NYTimes.com Midwives from 18 Zambian clinics were taught a basic course in newborn care and encouraged to teach their colleagues as well. The course covers simple interventions like cleaning and warming a newborn, resuscitation, breast-feeding and diagnosing common illnesses. (Above, a birth attendant listened for a baby’s heartbeat with a clay stethoscope.) The midwives normally handled births that were expected to be uncomplicated, with women typically going home with their babies after one night in the clinic. The researchers compared survival rates among 20,000 babies born before the teaching and 20,000 afterward. The first-week death rate among babies had dropped by almost half, they found, to 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births from 11.5 deaths. (nytimes.com)

How Many Cancer Centers Is Too Many? | Worcester Business Journal (Worcester Business Journal Online) When Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester recently announced that it would build a new $21-million cancer center, some in the area may have felt a sense of déjà vu. Just last month, Marlborough Hospital unveiled plans for an $11.7-million cancer treatment wing. Less than two years ago, the $14-million Cancer Center at Harrington opened in Southbridge. Two years before that the $25-million Cancer Center at Milford Regional Medical Center — a partnership among the medical center, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital — opened its doors. The proliferation of cancer centers undoubtedly reflects a growing effort by health care institutions to bring services like radiation treatments close to the patients who need them. There’s also no doubt that these services are typically good sources of income for hospitals — the kind of medical area where competition among institutions can be fierce."

Many Kids With Head Injuries May Not Need CT Scans : Shots - Health Blog : NPR Using CT scans to diagnose head injuries in children may needlessly expose them to radiation. And the scans also don't catch minor injuries any better than observing the child, according to a new study in the latest issue of Pediatrics.
But good luck getting your local emergency room to back off of them. They've become the go-to test for quickly diagnosing soft-tissue injuries, like bleeding on the brain, that won't show up in an X-ray. (npr.org)

Higher autism rate found in Korea, but what's it mean for US? - Daily Dose - Boston.com "The study, led by researchers at Yale University, finds that 1 in every 38 children in South Korea is on the autism spectrum — compared with 1 in 110 in the United States. That figure raises some provocative questions: Could the figures in the US be that high, too? Could rates be rising that fast? Is there some terrible trigger for autism in Korea? But after listening to an hour-long news conference and talking to a handful of researchers in the field, I’ve come to a different conclusion: The new numbers don’t change much about what we know — but they point up how little we do know. "(boston.com)

Depression May Be Foretold in How We Remember - NYTimes.com Some forgetting is essential for healthy functioning — “If you’re trying to remember where you parked the car at the supermarket, it would be disastrous if all other times you parked the car at the supermarket came to mind,” said Martin Conway, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Leeds in England. But, a chronic tendency to obliterate details has been linked to longer and more intense episodes of depression. Now researchers at Oxford, Northwestern University in Illinois and other universities are conducting studies with thousands of teenagers to determine whether those with overgeneral memory are more likely to develop depression later on. If so, then a seemingly innocuous quirk of memory could help foretell whether someone will experience mental illness." (nytimes.com)

Face transplant recipient embarks on new beginning - BostonHerald.com The nation’s first full transplant recipient today said he is headed home to hold his daughter. “There are truly no words to describe the debt of gratitude I have,” said Dallas Wiens, 26, who spoke at a Brigham and Women’s Hospital news conference before leaving for Texas to be reunited with his 4-year-old, Scarlette. (Boston Herald)

This program aired on May 10, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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