Health Briefs

By Triplicate Staff January 28, 2013 04:59 pm

Another local  apartment site now smoke-free

The Seaside Apartments complex on Harding Street in Crescent City has implemented a smoke-free policy.

There will be no more smoking in individual units, patio areas, laundry room or other common areas. A designated smoking area has been established away from all units to still allow people to smoke.

Tiffany Kostakos, the new property owner, is taking steps to make her property more attractive and safer for residents, according to a press release from the Tobacco Use Prevention Program. She recently completed phase one of the Crime Free Multi-Unit Housing Program and will also be installing a children’s playground.

Seaside Apartments joins other apartment communities in Crescent City and Del Norte County in implementing smoke-free policies. Crescent Arms Apartments has had a long-standing smoke free policy and Gomez Apartments in Smith River has begun implementing a smoke free policy as well as completing phase one of the Crime Free Multi-Unit Housing Program.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Tobacco Use Prevention Program, has teamed up with the Crescent City Police Department’s Crime Free Multi-Unit Housing Program to assist communities in becoming safer and healthier for all residents. This is the first partnership of this kind in California. An added benefit for property owners participating in both these programs is the increase in property value and decrease in insurance and maintenance cost.

The Tobacco Use Prevention Program is campaigning for Crescent City to restrict the location of new tobacco retailers from opening within 1000 feet of schools, parks, and youth centers. TUPP is also creating collaborative partnerships to increase support for tobacco-related community norm changes.

Numerous community organizations have implemented smoke-free policies, including the Family Resource Center, Sutter Coast Hospital, the Community Wellness Center, and most recently the Crescent Fire Protection District, located on Washington Boulevard.

For more information, call 464-3191.

Medford news anchor takes diet on the air 

Losing nearly 60 pounds would be a major milestone for almost anybody on the path to physical transformation.

But television news anchor Larry Miller is still going the distance — literally — more than a year after embarking on a highly public weight-loss and fitness challenge.

“I didn’t think it was going to be that profound,” says the co-host of KOBI-TV’s morning show. “You can change if you really want to.”

Viewers of local NBC broadcasts in April saw Miller, 28, cap off six months of changing his diet and body composition by finishing Medford’s 10-mile Pear Blossom Run. When the cameras stopped rolling, though, Miller kept running.

He participated in July’s 50-kilometer Siskiyou Outback near Ashland. Less than a year after tipping the scales at 247 pounds, Miller ran the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon. He’s now “hooked” on the sport.

States rethinking mental health cuts 

Dozens of states have slashed spending on mental health care over the last four years, driven by the recession’s toll on revenue and, in some cases, a new zeal to shrink government.

But that trend may be heading for a U-turn in 2013 after last year’s shooting rampages by two mentally disturbed gunmen.

The reversal is especially jarring in statehouses dominated by conservative Republicans, who aggressively cut welfare programs but now find themselves caught in a crosscurrent of pressures involving gun control, public safety and health care for millions of disadvantaged Americans.

In many states, lawmakers have begun to recognize that their cuts “may have gone too deep,” said Shelley Chandler, executive director of the Iowa Alliance of Community Providers. “People start talking when there’s a crisis.”

About 30 states have reduced mental health spending since 2008, when revenues were in steep decline, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In a third of those states, the cuts surpassed 10 percent.

Lung cancer risk: Women catch up

 Smoke like a man, die like a man.

U.S. women who smoke today have a much greater risk of dying from lung cancer than they did decades ago, partly because they are starting younger and smoking more — that is, they are lighting up like men, new research shows.

Women also have caught up with men in their risk of dying from smoking-related illnesses. Lung cancer risk leveled off in the 1980s for men but is still rising for women.

“It’s a massive failure in prevention,” said one study leader, Dr. Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society. And it’s likely to repeat itself in places like China and Indonesia where smoking is growing, he said. About 1.3 billion people worldwide smoke.

Radon levels are high in Portland 

The percentage of Portland-area homes with elevated levels of the cancer-causing gas radon is double the national average, according to new estimates.

The figures show that about 25 percent of homes in the Portland area have a radon level above what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says should prompt fixes to keep the radioactive gas outdoors, said Scott Burns, a Portland State University professor who worked with students to compile radon tests statewide.

The new results, the first update since 2003, drew on testing in 33,000 homes in the Portland area — 10 times more than last time. The expanded data also showed high levels in metro areas previously unreported, such as Clackamas, Gladstone, Lake Oswego, Sherwood and Wilsonville.

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking, killing about 21,000 people each year, according to the EPA.

Large cancer study for dogs shapes up

When Jay Mesinger heard about a study seeking golden retrievers to help fight canine cancer, he immediately signed up 2-year-old Louie.

He and his wife know firsthand the toll of canine cancer: Louie is their fourth golden retriever. The first three died of cancer.

For Louie and 2,999 other purebred goldens, it will be the study of a lifetime. Their lives — usually a 10-to-14-year span — will be tracked for genetic, nutritional and environmental risks to help scientists and veterinarians find ways to prevent canine cancer, widely considered the No. 1 cause of death in older dogs, said Dr. Rodney Page.

The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study will be the largest and longest dog study ever conducted, said Page, the study’s principal investigator, a professor of veterinary oncology and the director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University.