PHARMACY

Publix joins H1N1 efforts during National Influenza Vaccination Week

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. To coincide with National Influenza Vaccination Week, Publix Pharmacies announced Wednesday an inoculation offer of the H1N1 vaccine for $10. The special pricing for the vaccine will remain in effect until the vaccine supply is depleted. Customers do not need an appointment for the vaccination, but are encouraged to call their local Publix Pharmacy to ensure an immunizing pharmacist is on duty and vaccine supply still is available.

In addition, every customer who receives an H1N1 vaccine from a Publix Pharmacy will also receive a coupon good for a $10 Publix gift card with a new or transferred prescription.

“While influenza is unpredictable, we know that if more people are vaccinated, the disease is less likely to spread in the upcoming months,” stated Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “Our Publix Pharmacists are committed to the total health and wellness of our customers and their families.”

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Study: Some African-American diabetics at risk of developing retinal disease

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK African-American diabetics who consume large amounts of calories and sodium risk developing more severe retinal disease than those who don’t, according to a study published in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

Researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry and the New Jersey Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey examined 469 African-American patients with Type 1 diabetes who enrolled in the study between 1993 and 1998, administering eye exams, blood tests and a diet questionnaire after a six-year follow-up.

Those with the highest caloric intake at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop retinopathy leading to vision loss by the end of the six-year period, while those with high sodium intake had the highest risk of developing macular edema.

“In African American patients with Type 1 diabetes, high caloric and sodium intakes are significant and independent risk factors for progression to severe forms of diabetic retinopathy,” the authors wrote. “These results suggest that low caloric and sodium intakes in African American individuals with Type 1 diabetes mellitus may have a beneficial effect on the progression of diabetic retinopathy and thus might be part of dietary recommendations for this population.”

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Google.org to expand Google Flu Trends tracking

BY Michael Johnsen

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. Google.org on Tuesday announced on its blog site that it is expanding its Google Flu Trends tracking capabilities from the macro to the micro.

“We’ve been chatting with public health officials about new ways we can help people understand the spread of flu during this unusual time and today we’re excited to bring city level flu estimates to 121 cities in the United States,” the company wrote in its blog.

The city level estimates are “experimental,” the company cautioned, meaning they haven’t been validated against official data. However, the estimates are made in a similar manner to its U.S. national estimates, which have been validated.

In contrast to the unusually early spike of flu activity this October, Google Flu Trends is currently showing a low level of activity in the United States.

Google Flu Trends helps estimate flu trends in real time by tracking the popularity of certain Google search queries.

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