Daily Rounds: Lingering Chernobyl Risk; Dangers Of Nurse Shortage; White House Reform Push

Chernobyl Study Finds Lingering Cancer Risk -
Nearly 25 years after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, children and teenagers who drank contaminated milk or ate affected cheese in the days and weeks after the explosion still suffer from an increased risk of thyroid cancer, according to a study released Thursday by the National Cancer Institute. The study confirms earlier research about the risks of radioactive iodine, which can accumulate in the thyroid gland and lead to cancer later. Potassium iodide is often given as a supplement to prevent the accumulation of the radioactive type in thyroid glands, but Russian authorities failed to provide the supplement to all those at risk. (

Medical News: Nurse Shortages Linked to Patient Survival - in Hospital-Based Medicine, Nursing from MedPage Today Inpatient mortality rose significantly at a large hospital during shifts when nurse staffing failed to reach target levels, researchers said. In the latest study to link hospital nursing shortages to increased patient mortality and complications, Marcelline Harris, PhD, RN, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues found a 2% increase in mortality (HR per shift 1.02, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.03) when nurse staffing fell at least eight hours short of target levels per shift per unit. ( House Seeks to Boost Health Reform - (Wall Street Journal) Next week, nearly a half dozen cabinet secretaries will fan out across the country to promote the law's early benefits: tax credits that offset the cost of insurance for small businesses, rebate checks for seniors with high prescription costs that fall into a drug insurance coverage gap and rules that let parents keep their children on their insurance plan until their 26th birthdays. Democrats intentionally scheduled these changes to go into effect in the early months after enactment, hoping they would help win over a skeptical public. Polling data suggest that while the early steps might have chipped away at some negative views of the law, they haven't measurably boosted its popularity.

‘You’ve got cancer’ - The Boston Globe She heard the word “cancer’’ and went immediately to a place of no hope. Then people started showing up with their own cancer stories. Some were friends whose stories she’d heard before, but now she listened with a different kind of attention and sympathy and, yes, self-interest. Others were people she knew, but not well enough to know that they’d had cancer. A colleague. My old boss. A distant cousin, whom my mother hadn’t seen for years and who insisted, now, on visiting. (

Decontamination After Radiation Exposure: Simpler Than You May Think : Shots - Health Blog : NPR "Decontamination is very simple," says Dr. Eric Toner of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biosecurity, who has studied what might happen in the wake of a terrorist's "dirty bomb" attack. "As a rule of thumb, 80 percent of decontamination is removing your clothes," says Toner, an emergency physician. "And 95 percent is removing your clothes and taking a shower — if possible, shampooing your hair. That's all that's involved. No fancy chemicals." (

This program aired on March 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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