HEALTH

Prilosec OTC, Larry the Cable Guy team up for Facebook tailgate contest

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s Prilosec OTC and comedian Larry the Cable Guy are teaming up this season on a Facebook-driven contest in search of "parking lot pros who know ‘a better way to tailgate,’" beginning Tuesday.

Football fans can register and upload photos of their "pigskin parties" on TailgateFan.com/contest through Jan. 4, 2012, to win the one-of-three Prilosec OTC prize packs, including two tickets to Super Bowl XLVI, as part of the "A Better Way to Tailgate" promotion.

Larry the Cable Guy will be making appearances at stadiums throughout the season, beginning in New York on Tuesday. At each stop, attendees will be able to take advantage of his “A Better Way to Tailgate” tips and learn how to block the acid that causes frequent heartburn with Prilosec OTC.

“As a frequent heartburn sufferer and a die-hard football fan, Larry the Cable Guy wants Americans to recognize the importance of effectively treating their frequent heartburn,” said Phil McWaters, Prilosec OTC brand manager at Procter & Gamble. “Fans can eat the foods they love and celebrate their love of the game this football season, making him a perfect partner for Prilosec OTC.”

Larry’s search will conclude Jan. 4 when he and Prilosec OTC will pick three “A Better Way to Tailgate” winners.


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Survey: Text service improves healthcare engagement, compliance among expectant, new mothers

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — A free mobile service providing healthcare information via text message helped improve both engagement with healthcare providers and compliance with regimens, researchers revealed Tuesday.

The free mobile service, Text4baby, provided pregnant women and new mothers in San Diego with maternal, fetal and newborn health information via text messages and connected them to national health resources. Funded by the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, the study took place with Text4baby users in San Diego County and included interviews with 38 women and a phone survey with 122 users.

“Initial research indicates Text4baby is increasing users’ health knowledge, facilitating interaction with health providers, improving adherence to appointments and immunizations and strengthening access to health services,” stated Yvette Lacoursiere, of the University of California, San Diego Health System Department of Reproductive Medicine.

Women reported high satisfaction with Text4baby, with Spanish-speaking women reporting even higher satisfaction scores than English‐speaking women. As many as 63.1% of women reported that Text4baby helped them remember an appointment or immunization that they or their child needed. Approximately 75.4% reported that Text4baby messages informed them of medical warning signs they did not know. And 71.3% reported talking to their doctor about a topic that they read on a Text4baby message.

“These results show that mobile technology is an emerging force in health care," LaCoursiere said. "Text4baby provides an easy, free service to patients with a variety of resources that improve the health care of both the new parent and their baby."

The San Diego research team is the first in the nation to evaluate the Text4baby service through partnerships with the National Latino Research Center, San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, Voxiva, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition and the San Diego Text4Baby Coalition.

To date, more than 2,200 individuals have enrolled and used Text4baby in San Diego. Expectant new parents can enroll in the service by simply texting “baby,” or “bebe” for Spanish language messages, to 511411.


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Hearing loss more prevalent than previously thought

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE — Nearly one-fifth of all Americans ages 12 years and older have hearing loss so severe that it may make communication difficult, according to a new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the Nov. 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The findings, thought to be the first nationally representative estimate of hearing loss, suggest that many more people than previously thought are affected by this condition.

The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys, a research program that has periodically gathered health data from thousands of Americans since 1971. The researchers analyzed data from all participants ages 12 years and older, whose hearing was tested during NHANES examinations from 2001 to 2008. Unlike previous estimates, NHANES includes men and women of all races and ages, from cities scattered across the country, so it’s thought to statistically mimic the U.S. population.

Using the World Health Organization’s definition for hearing loss (not being able to hear sounds of 25 decibels or less in the speech frequencies), the researchers found that overall, about 30 million Americans, or 12.7% of the population, had hearing loss in both ears. That number jumps to about 48 million, or 20.3%, for people who have hearing loss in at least one ear. These numbers far surpass previous estimates of 21 to 29 million.

Hearing loss prevalence nearly doubled with every age decade, with women and blacks being significantly less likely to have hearing loss at any age. Lead researcher Frank Lin surmised that the female hormone estrogen, as well as the melanin pigment in darker skin, could have a protective effect on the inner ear and is worth exploring in future studies.


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