Leaks from the Lab: 3.14/10

Soda policy not effective, study finds

Eliminating vending machines in schools and making soft drinks more expensive by adding soda taxes are not curbing childhood obesity, according to a Yale School of Public Health study published online April 1 in the journal Health Affairs. Many students, the study reported, simply head elsewhere to buy soft drinks, which are currently the single largest source of calories for children. In schools that allowed vending machines, 86 percent of students said they had drunk soft drinks in the past week, compared to 84 percent of students in schools that banned vending machines. In addition, the researchers found that increasing soda taxes to 6 percent — more than double the current rate — was only marginally effective in curbing childhood obesity, which has become three times more common than in the late 1970s. The results of the study come less than two months after the federal government proposed banning vending machines in public schools. PepsiCo — whose fellowship grant to the Yale School of Medicine has come under fire from food activists — announced in March that the corporation would stop selling full-sugar soft drinks in primary and secondary schools worldwide by 2012, a moved praised by Kelly Brownell, the director of the University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Imaging firm to work with Yale-New Haven Hospital

Yale-New Haven Hospital will use imaging firm lifeIMAGE’s technology to share diagnostic imaging information at the Smilow Cancer Hospital and within in the trauma unit when patients are transferred from other locations, the hospital announced April 9. LifeIMAGE’s technology, which is used for nearly four million imaging exams annually, will allow patients, doctors and hospitals to view diagnostic imaging records from any facility, reducing the time and cost associated with redundant exams and minimizing radiation exposure for patients. Currently, diagnostic images at Yale New-Haven Hospital are shared through compact discs, which are often incompatible between viewing systems.

Older people need help with daily activities at the end of life

According to a Yale School of Medicine study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, older people — especially those dying from advanced dementia — need assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing and walking as they near the end of life. To reach their conclusions, the researchers followed the daily activities of 383 people in their last year of life. The study is part of the ongoing Precipitating Events Project at Yale, which tracks 754 people age 70 and older from the greater New Haven area.

Many mothers still do not put babies to sleep on their backs, study finds

While babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a quarter of all babies, especially those from black families, are not placed on their backs to sleep, according to a Yale School of Medicine study published in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The researchers interviewed over 2,000 mothers, most of whom were black, and found that about 63 percent of the mothers believed that their babies were most comfortable sleeping in a position other than their backs. Fifty-six percent of mothers believed that their babies were more likely to choke if placed on their backs.

Comments