Health and Medicine

Bacteria hitch a ride on raindrop spray - News

John Kerr Mar 09, 2017

New research reveals how raindrops on soil create bioaerosols – tiny droplets of bacteria-laden water – which can help spread harmful microbes, including kiwifruit pathogen Psa. Although soil bacteria are usually pretty slow at getting around, wet weather has been suggested to give them a hand travelling large distances. But exactly how rain gets bacteria from the soil into the air has been … Read More

Reducing the alcohol purchase age and risky driving - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Mar 07, 2017

Reducing the alcohol purchase age from 20 to 18 did not increase the number of road accidents. If anything, risky driving dropped for a while. Stefan Boes and Steve Stillman have updated their earlier work (noted here) on New Zealand’s alcohol purchase age to bring in some more recent accident data to allow for longer term trends. It’s … Read More

In places where it’s legal, how many people are ending their lives using euthanasia? - Guest Work

Guest Work Mar 06, 2017

By Andrew McGee, Queensland University of Technology The Victorian Parliament will consider a bill to legalise euthanasia in the second half of 2017. That follows the South Australian Parliament’s decision to knock back a voluntary euthanasia bill late last year, and the issue has also cropped up in the run-up to the March 11 Western … Read More

WHO VigiBase study does not find HPV vaccine unsafe. - Diplomatic Immunity

Helen Petousis Harris Mar 03, 2017

A new study used the World health Organization’s global database of reports of adverse events associated with the use of a medicine (VigiBase), including vaccines, to look at reporting patterns after HPV vaccine. The cases in VigiBase are collected for 125 member states, including NZ, who participate in the WHOs International Drug Monitoring Programme. The data from all the member … Read More

Mexican soda and sweet storable substitutes - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Mar 02, 2017

A couple more important points on the Mexican soda tax,  which I discussed in relation to a recent report on sugar taxes in New Zealand. First from the comments on Tuesday’s post: Mexicans also love to drink uncarbonated sugary drinks, like horchata, and drink more of those now carbonated beverages are more dear. Much of that market doesn’t go … Read More

The marked decline of sudden mass fatality events in NZ (1900 to 2015) - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Mar 01, 2017

By Professor Nick Wilson and Associate Professor George Thomson Our recently published study on sudden mass fatality events in NZ (10+ deaths per event) found that the occurrence and mortality burden of these events has declined over time. In this blog we consider possible reasons for this trend and make suggestions for improving the knowledge base around these events.  … Read More

Reading Creedy: Sugar tax report - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Mar 01, 2017

John Creedy is really good at using complicated maths to make simple points. I’ll summarise the simple points in Creedy’s working paper on sugar taxes, issued earlier this month. Section 2.1 shows that, whenever people enjoy a bundle of goods of various healthiness, and whenever people are likely to shift from one good to another if prices change, any … Read More

Analysis of a new NZ Treasury Report on soft drink tax - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Feb 28, 2017

By Professors Tony Blakely, Nick Wilson, Boyd Swinburn and Cliona Ni Mhurchu The Government has an action plan to tackle childhood obesity, but it lacks a tax on sugary drinks – a strategy for which there is good evidence.  A new Treasury Report on soft drink tax price elasticities has just emerged. It has the look of a strategically published … Read More

EPA comprehensively debunks anti-fluoride claims of a fluoride-IQ effect - Unsorted

Ken Perrott Feb 26, 2017

The US environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied an anti-fluoride petition to ban community water fluoridation. The document outlining its reasons for declining the petition is valuable because it considers all the arguments and evidence presented in the petition and comprehensively shows them to be misleading or even false. This is a humiliating defeat for the petitioners – the US  Fluoride Action … Read More

Anti-fluoridationists go to Supreme Court – who is paying for this? - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott Feb 22, 2017

The costly battle to prevent fluoridating the water supply of two small Taranaki towns has gone on for four years – and it looks like continuing. Last October the South Taranaki District Council won a costly four-year court battle for the right to fluoridate the water supplies of Patea and Waverley. New Health NZ, which took High Court action to … Read More