August 5, 2022

White House Declares Public Health Emergency

The Biden administration has officially declared a public health emergency over monkeypox.

“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Robert Fenton, the Biden administration’s national coordinator for the monkeypox response, said the declaration “will allow us to explore additional strategies to get vaccines and treatments work quickly out to the impacted communities.”

“And it will allow us to get more data from jurisdictions so we can effectively track and attack this outbreak,” Fenton said.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the ranking member of the Senate Health Committee, criticized the Biden administration’s response to the outbreak, saying it should have been swifter.

“A communicable disease outbreak following so closely on the heels of COVID-19 should be met with a swift, decisive, and organized response. Instead, HHS is repeating the exact same mistakes they made during the pandemic: painfully slow to begin testing, wholly disorganized in distributing vaccines and treatments, and messaging that’s confusing and outdated,” Burr said.

Meanwhile, House Democrats praised the White House’s announcement.

“This critical step will allow the Biden Administration to build on the progress it has already made to expand the availability of vaccines, testing, and treatment nationwide,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the move was “welcome news.”

“As we learned from the COVID crisis, we must act swiftly and decisively to get ahead and stay ahead of this virus,” Pelosi said.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly all of the 6,600+ monkeypox cases in the U.S. are among men who have sex with men, The Hill reported. The outlet noted that roughly a third of the cases are in New York state.

February 21, 2022

Study: Simple Change Could Add Years To Life

People who change their diet can add up to 13 years to their lifespan, a new study has found.

Researchers were inspired to conduct the study, in part, because, globally, dietary risk factors cause an estimated 11 million deaths and the loss of 255 million years of life each year.

The study estimated how life expectancy is impacted by sustained changes in the intake of food such as “fruits, vegetables, whole grains, refined grains, nuts, legumes, fish, eggs, milk/dairy, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages.”

Research found that making a sustained change at age 20 from a “typical Western diet” to an optimized diet would increase life expectancy by more than a decade for women from the United States and by 13 years for men.

But even those who do not completely overhaul their diets still see benefits.

The study found that making a sustained change at age 20 from a typical Western diet to a feasibility approach diet, a midpoint between the typical Western diet and an optimized diet, would increase life expectancy by 6.2 years for women and 7.3 for men.

Data shows a positive impact not just for people changing their diet at 20 years of age but for all age groups, though it noted that “gains are predicted to be larger the earlier the dietary changes are initiated in life.”

Changing from a typical Western diet to an optimized diet at age 60 would increase life expectancy by 8 years for women and 8.8 years for men, and those making a sustained change at age 80 would gain about 3.4 years. 

To maximize the impact on life expectancy, people should eat more legumes, whole grains and nuts and less red meat and processed meat, according to the study.


Estimating impact of food choices on life expectancy: A modeling study

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