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UW study: many older adults do not safely store guns

UW Medicine, Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A UW study found that roughly one-third of older adults do not safely store firearms, posing a risk to themselves and others. Elders were asked whether they had firearms at home and if so, how they were stored; separately, they were asked whether they experienced depression or memory loss. Dr. Frederick Rivara and doctoral student Erin Morgan are written about with regard to their part in conducting the study.

What is Syphilis, and why are rates rising?

U.S. News, Monday, April 22, 2019

With the incidence of Syphilis rising almost every year since 2000, it is important that populations refresh themselves regarding the nature of this once eliminated bacterial infection. Dr. Julie Dombrowski, an associate professor at the University of Washington and deputy director of Public Health Seattle & King County HIV/STD Program, warns that pharmaceutical advances in HIV treatment have led individuals to be more lax in preventing the transmission of other STIs.

What we know about school mass shootings since Columbine and how to prevent them

The Seattle Times, Friday, April 19, 2019

School shootings are a public health problem because they affect the health and well-being of communities and individuals. So why don't we know the exact tally of how many school shootings there have been in the past 20 years? Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, PhD and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, along with Caitlin Moe, an Epidemiology PhD student, outline the barriers associated with understanding school shootings from a public health standpoint. 

Many older U.S. gun owners don't store firearms safely

Reuters, Thursday, April 18, 2019

Roughly one-third of older people in the U.S. may live in households with guns and a new study suggests that many of those firearms are not stored in the safest way: locked and unloaded. “There is some evidence that safe storage of firearms can mitigate the risk of suicide in homes of older adults with dementia or depressive symptoms,” said lead study author Erin Morgan of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and PhD student at the University of Washington in Seattle. 

Global study ranks nations on diet-related deaths

Know Where Your Food Comes From, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The results of a global study evaluating the health effects of dietary risks concluded that one-fifth of deaths around the world are associated with poor diets. Adding healthier foods and cutting unhealthy ones can reduce mortality rates. The study’s lead author, Dr. Ashkan Afshin, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, also noted the importance of national policies to boost the availability of fruits and vegetables, especially in low-income countries where fresh produce can be costlier than processed food.

When older Americans with depression and dementia have access to firearms

Pacific Standard, Monday, April 15, 2019

When it comes to gun violence in America, one solution politicians and citizens often talk about is better mental-health screenings. But a new study suggests there's little being done to mitigate the risks of gun ownership and unsafe gun storage among older Americans who have guns at home and might be especially prone to hurting themselves or others. Lead author Erin Morgan, an Epidemiology PhD student, and others found that more than one in five seniors living with depression in a gun-owning household stored all of their firearms unlocked and loaded.

Air pollution linked to psychotic experiences among teenagers

Bustle, Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A first-of-its-kind study published in JAMA Psychiatry has now found a link between air pollution and psychotic experiences in teens. People living in cities are twice as likely to have psychotic experiences, the researchers said in the study, but there are a lot of factors in cities that could cause these experiences. Although this is the first study to connect air pollution to psychosis, it’s not the first to connect air pollution to mental health. University of Washington researchers, including the Department of Epidemiology's Dr.

Lack of diversity in genetic research could be detrimental to our health

PBS, Thursday, March 21, 2019

Despite people of European descent making up only 16% of the global population, up to 78% of data used in the study of human genetics comes from European descendants. This lack of global, generalized data creates an issue that could result in worsened global health. Dr. Malia Fullerton, a bioethicist and adjunct associate professor at the University of Washington Department of Epidemiology, is referenced in this article.

Study finds inequity in access to healthy foods among marginalized communities in Seattle area

ASPPH Connect, Thursday, March 21, 2019

Seattle neighborhoods that are lower income or that have more Black or Hispanic residents have fewer options for healthy foods, more fast food restaurants and longer travel times to stores that sell produce, according to a new study by the University of Washington School of Public Health. “Lower-income neighborhoods tend to have small stores and convenience stores, which on average offered fewer of the 21 healthy food items we looked for than say, a supermarket,” remarked lead author Dr. Jessica Jones-Smith, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology.

Philadelphia soda tax study corroborates aspects of findings from Seattle's

Route Fifty, Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Philadelphia’s soda tax has not cut down on the average consumption of sweetened beverages among adults or children overall, according to a study of the levy. Furthermore, the researchers noted that retailers in the city are passing the full cost of the tax onto consumers. This particular finding mirrors the results of a study released on Seattle’s sugary drink tax. “Although we weren’t surprised, it wasn’t guaranteed the tax would be passed on,” Jessica Jones-Smith, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington, noted at the time the study was released.