Study Links Silica Dust to Appalachian Black Lung Outbreak

A serious black lung disease afflicts coal miners in Appalachia, and a study has now blamed silica dust as the cause of the problem. A deepening crisis around infant formula, efforts to end the black maternal health crisis, and good news about repairing Achilles tendon damage are also in the media.

NPR: Study: Severe black lung disease in Appalachian coal miners linked to silica

Exposure to toxic rock dust appears to be “the main driving force” behind a recent outbreak of severe black lung disease among coal miners, according to the results of a new study. Lawmakers have debated and failed to adequately regulate dust for decades. The study, which examined the lungs of modern miners and compared them to miners who worked decades ago, provides the first evidence of its kind that silica dust is responsible for the rising tide of advanced disease, including included among the Appalachian miners. (Benincasa, 4/13)

In Maternal and Pediatric Health Care News —

ABC News: What parents need to know about the national formula shortage

As the shortage of infant formula continues, experts say parents and caregivers should contact pediatricians and seek help from resources such as the Federal Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). . If a child needs a specialized formula, such as hydrolyzed formula for a baby with allergies, they should talk to their child’s pediatrician or healthcare team, such as a pediatric dietician, gastroenterologist, or a nephrologist. (Yu, 04/13)

ABC News: Woman works to end black maternal health crisis after daughter dies after giving birth

When Wanda Irving looks her 5-year-old granddaughter Soleil in the eye, she says she instantly sees her daughter, Shalon Irving, whose death shortly after giving birth to Soleil has since shaped the trajectory of their lives. . “She has her mother’s eyes and her mother’s smile and her mother’s fearlessness and her mother’s perseverance,” Wanda Irving told “Good Morning America” ​​of her granddaughter, whom the family calls Sunny, after her middle name, Sunshine. “She has her mother’s memory, because her mother wouldn’t forget anything.” (Kindelan, 04/14)

KHN: Persistent Problem: High C-Section Rates Plague the South

From the start, Julia Maeda knew she wanted to have her baby naturally. For her, that meant in a hospital, vaginally, without an epidural for pain relief. It was her first pregnancy. And although she was a nurse, she was working with cancer patients at the time, not mothers or babies in labor. “I really didn’t know what I was getting into,” said Maeda, now 32. “I didn’t do much preparation.” (Sauser, 04/14)

Also, some good news for Achilles sufferers –

AP: Heal Yourself: Most Achilles Tendon Tears Can Avoid Surgery

It’s a weekend warrior’s nightmare. You play hoops in the driveway and go up for a layup. You land and hear a pop: you’ve torn your Achilles tendon. Do you have surgery or are you hoping it heals with just a cast and rehab? New research indicates that both options led to similar results about a year later. … In the largest study ever of the best treatment, Norwegian scientists followed 526 patients – mostly men with an average age of 39 – who tore their Achilles tendon. They underwent minimally invasive surgery, standard surgery or non-surgical treatment, a splint to immobilize the affected foot, and physical therapy. All patients received rehabilitation therapy and were told to avoid risky activities for six months. (Cheng, 04/13)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.

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