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between asthma, allergies and GBM. But those studies were based only on information that participants gave about their history of asthma and allergies, not on information from DNA testing. “We needed an objective way to measure the accuracy of allergy self reports, one that isn’t affected by the presence of a brain tumor” Schwartzbaum said. “Looking at genetic variation is one way to do this.” – from an article by Holly Wagner, OSU Research Communications
NetWellness web site rated tops by journal NetWellness.org was rated as one of the best consumer health websites by Medicine on the Net, a national journal that is published by HCPro. NetWellness.org is a consumer health web site operated by three health-related schools in Ohio, including The Ohio State University’s School of Public Health. Now in its 10th year, NetWellness.org provides a wide range of free health information for those with medical questions. The site has more than 30,000 pages of information on numerous health topics. Phyllis Pirie, chair of SPH’s Division of Health Behavior and Health Promotion, is NetWellness.org’s program director at Ohio State. “NetWellness is a unique resource which is used by a worldwide audience, but it is particularly relevant to Ohioans – it provides responses from health care professionals from leading Ohio institutions and includes links to Ohio healthrelated resources. We hope that by allowing people to get their questions answered by reputable health professionals, they will be able to make better choices about protecting and improving their health,” said Pirie. NetWellness.org is operated by The Ohio State University School of Public Health, the University of Cincinnati College
of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University College of Medicine. The site features an “Ask an Expert” section that includes information on 100 different topics and questions answered by medical experts from the three universities. Users can also submit questions that will be answered by a real doctor.
MDs often give addictive meds for sleep problems Rajesh Balkrishnan, associate professor in SPH’s Division of Health Services Management and Policy, is the lead author on a study showing that doctors frequently prescribe potentially addictive medications for sleep disorders. Balkrishnan has a joint appointment with the College of Pharmacy. “The drugs, called benzodiazepines, are often a cheaper alternative to some newer types of medicines that don’t have the same potentially addictive side effects,” said Balkrishnan. Benzodiazepines are typically effective for a short time when used to treat insomnia but addiction can quickly develop. A person can acquire a strong psychological and physical dependence on these drugs and experience severe withdrawal symptoms once they stop taking the medication. The study includes data from 94.6 million ofﬁce visits in the US over six years. Patients included in the data set sought help for sleep-related difﬁculties in outpatient physician ofﬁces. Balkrishnan and his colleagues gathered outpatient ofﬁce visit data from 1996 to 2001 from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. They analyzed the treatment patterns of patients 18 and older and found nearly two-thirds of those visits resulted in medication prescriptions for sleep problems. Three-quarters of those prescriptions were for a benzodiazepine. “Overall, the study suggests that some physicians do consider other options before jumping to prescribe a drug to treat sleep problems,” he said, “But many health care providers don’t take public health insurance.” 15
The research magazine of Ohio State's College of Public Health