Health News Roundup

Calls for more diversity in genetics studies, and more in this week’s roundup

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Genetics studies have a diversity problem that researchers struggle to fix
Lauren Sausser, KFF Health News, April 25
Lee Moultrie makes sure to keep brochures about In Our DNA SC in his car, so he can encourage others to sign up for the study underway at the Medical University of South Carolina. It aims to better understand how genes affect health risks such as cancer and heart disease. To do so, researchers are seeking to enroll 100,000 South Carolinians, including a representative percentage of Black people. For decades, the field of genetics research has used research that is based mostly on DNA from white people. According to experts, lack of diversity in genetics research has real health care implications.

10% of CT adults have diabetes – and disparities remain, data show
José Luis Martínez and Kat Struhar, The Connecticut Mirror, April 26
Estimates from the Connecticut Department of Public Health show that 10.7% of Connecticut adults had diagnosed diabetes. Officials suggest it is an underestimate because many people go undiagnosed. Connecticut’s rate of diabetes is lower than the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black residents had the highest rates of diabetes at 15%, compared to 13% for Hispanics and 9% for white residents. State researchers said disparities have remained fairly consistent. Researchers said it highlights the need to concentrate type 2 diabetes prevention and diabetes management efforts in communities with populations at highest risk.

OPINION: Colorectal cancer is on the rise among young people. It’s time to boost research on it
Simone Ledward-Boseman, STAT News, May 1
Actor Chadwick Boseman was 39 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. At the time, that was 11 years before the recommended age at which to begin screening for this disease. The recommended age is now 45, but some believe that is still too late. The late Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, is calling for more research on colorectal cancer. She writes that there is an increasing number of diagnoses among young people (49 and under) and researchers don’t understand why.

CT expanding program offering home visits to families of newborns
Ethan Fry, The New Haven Register, May 1
A pilot program at Bridgeport Hospital has offered at-home visits to the families of nearly 500 newborns. The program, Family Bridge, will be expanding this month. Since the program launched in 2023, families of newborns from eight Connecticut towns and cities have had the option of having a nurse or community health worker visit their homes in the immediate days and weeks following birth. The services are offered at no cost, with no eligibility criteria. Officials announced expansion of the program to babies born at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, starting on May 31st.

How state legislators are combatting the maternal mortality crisis
Darreonna Davis, The 19th, April 26
Advocates and lawmakers are increasingly turning to statewide maternal mortality review committees to make progress in addressing the United States’ maternal mortality crisis. Guttmacher Institute reports that nearly all states have a committee tasked with investigating pregnancy-related deaths and their causes and making prevention recommendations. “State legislators play a critical role in advancing and protecting reproductive rights. While often, folks look at Congress or the administration or the courts, what we know, especially in 2024, that all of those are really kind of stalled,” said Jennifer Driver, the senior director of reproductive rights at the advocacy group State Innovation Exchange.