School of public health

Women delay seeking medical help

Younger women may ignore or dismiss the earliest symptoms of heart attack, such as pain and dizziness, and delay seeking emergency medical care, potentially contributing to disproportionally high death rates as compared to similarly aged men. In-depth interviews with women aged 30 to 55 years old, who were hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), revealed that the women’s initial symptoms varied widely in both nature and duration; patients inaccurately assessed their personal risk of heart disease; external factors (such as work and family) sometimes influenced the decision to seek emergency medical help; not all patients received a prompt or complete workup for their AMI symptoms or a formal diagnosis; and they did not routinely access primary care, including preventive care for heart disease. Judith Lichtman, associate professor and chair of the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, was lead researcher. 

Energy drinks linked to hyperactivity

Middle-school children who consume heavily sweetened energy drinks are 66 percent more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms. The finding has implications for school success and lends support to existing recommendations to limit the amount of sweetened beverages schoolchildren drink. The research team, led by Professor Jeannette Ickovics, director of CARE (Community Alliance for Research and Engagement) at the School of Public Health, surveyed 1,649 middle-school students randomly selected from a single urban school district in Connecticut. They found that boys were more likely to consume energy drinks than girls and that black and Hispanic boys were more likely to drink the beverages than their white peers. The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the New Haven Public Schools collaborated on this research. 

Coffee and cancer

According to a YSPH-led study, drinking at least four cups a day of caffeinated coffee reduces the risk of cutaneous melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. YSPH researchers followed over 400,000 retirees ranging in age from 50 to 71 years old, for an average of ten years, during which participants were asked to report typical coffee intake. Over the ten-year period, nearly 3,000 cases of malignant melanoma occurred in this group; but those who reported drinking four or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day were 20 percent less likely to contract the disease. This research was published in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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