Public Health Study Committee Wraps Up Summer Work

Oct 26, 2017

A legislative study committee on public health issues voted Thursday to recommend the General Assembly take action on diabetes and the state’s nursing shortage as it wrapped up its work ahead of the next legislative session.

In recent years diabetes action plans have failed at the Statehouse. But this year’s study committee showed momentum.

Eskenazi pharmacist Jasmine Gonzolva, a non-legislative member of the committee, says much of the focus is on screening and prevention.

More than 32 percent of Hoosiers are obese according to the latest assessment in the so-called State of Obesity Report.

The annual report from the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks Indiana 10th worst in the country for obesity. It was 15th last year.

The Indiana University School of Medicine is getting $25 million from the Lilly Endowment to recruit new scientists to Indiana, and to pair them up directly with big Indiana companies.

Medical school research dean Anantha Shekhar says it aims to fast-track the creation of treatments from discoveries about cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more.

He says new technologies like gene sequencing are facilitating those applications faster than ever.

Global Panorama / https://www.flickr.com/photos/121483302@N02/

Two congressmen are calling on the federal Justice Department to investigate drug companies—including Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly—for possible price fixing of insulin products.

In a letter, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and Maryland representative Elijah Cummings criticize three insulin manufacturers for skyrocketing insulin prices. The letter alleges the prices have been raised in tandem with each other, indicating potential collusion.

Alex E. Proimos / https://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/

A diabetes prevention program developed in Central Indiana is the first preventative care program eligible for Medicare expansion. The initiative is now being offered at YMCAs across the country.

The model for the The Diabetes Prevention Program was developed by Dr. David Marrero, a researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Eligibility for Medicare expansion is a win he’s been waiting for.

Steve Baker / https://www.flickr.com/photos/littlebiglens/15609140207

Indiana ranks 41st in the country for overall health, according to the latest America's Health Rankings report from the United Health Foundation.

And it's the third year in a row Indiana has landed in the exact same spot.

United Healthcare of Indiana Medical Director Julie Daftari says even though the state's ranking is unchanged from last year, Indiana still had several victories.

State Researchers Link Heart, Alzheimer's Diseases

Aug 11, 2015
Alex E. Proimos / https://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/

A group of Indiana researchers is finding evidence that better treatment of cardiovascular disease could reduce the chance of a person developing Alzheimer’s.

Researchers at Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis compared the rates of Alzheimer’s in Nigerians and African Americans over 20 years.

In 1991, African Americans were twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s as their Nigerian counterparts. Researchers attributed the disparity to genetics.

But 20 years later, the two groups experienced nearly the same rate of Alzheimer’s disease.

Taki Steve / https://www.flickr.com/photos/13519089@N03/

Indiana University researchers are seeing success with a new treatment for adult-onset diabetes and obesity.

The research found that a new treatment combining three hormones—glucagon, glucagon-like-peptide and gastric-inhibitory-peptide—into a single molecule can help lower blood sugar levels and address excess body weight.

IU Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Richard DiMarchi co-led the research, and he says bringing those three hormones together increases their effectiveness.

A new study in the journal Health Affairs estimates that a penny-per-ounce tax on soft drinks and other sugary beverages could prevent about 240,000 cases of diabetes per year, and 8,000 strokes and 26,000 premature deaths over a decade (or 2,600 per year).

Yes, death by soda.

So the analysis got me thinking: Our behavior is hard to predict, right? I know mine is.