HealthBeat

Madhwa Raj, Research Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and its Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, recently led a study finding a combination of plant nutrients to be effective in killing breast cancer cells. The research team used a cocktail of six chemical nutrients: Curcumin, a substance in turmeric; Isoflavone from soybeans; Indo-3-Carbinol from cruciferous plants; C-phycocyanin from spirulina; Reservatrol from grapes; and Quercetin, a flavonoid found in fruits, vegetables and tea. They found the compounds were ineffective individually, but in combination killed 100 percent of sample breast cancer cells without any toxic side effects on normal cells. The Journal of Cancer published the study in its November 2013 issue.




On Dec. 1, Ochsner Health System opened the new Women’s Pavilion at its Baptist campus Uptown, relocating its women’s services departments – including OB/GYN clinics, Labor and Delivery, Maternal Fetal Medicine and Gynecologic Robotic Surgery and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – from the Ochsner Medical Center on Jefferson Highway. Besides services previously available at the Jefferson Highway center, Baptist features the Perkin Alternative Birthing Center. The center, the only one of its kind in the Gulf South region, offers access to nurse midwives, comfortable beds and birthing tubs in a homelike environment.




A new report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids finds that Louisiana spends only 15 percent of recommended funding on tobacco prevention programs. The group’s annual “Broken Promises to Our Children” report tracks states’ use of funds following the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement to prevent public health problems caused by tobacco. Louisiana’s spending is better than average, which is 13 percent, ranking the state at No. 22. Only two states – North Dakota and Alaska – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended level. The report is available at TobaccoFreeKids.org.
 


New Orleans Smoking Bans:
Assessing the Impact

 

The Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act (Act No. 815), effective since Jan. 1, 2007, prohibits smoking in most public places – including all restaurants. Smoking is still allowed in bars without restaurants and casinos, despite efforts to ban it. In ’10, the House Health and Welfare Committee rejected legislation to ban smoking in bars and casinos that was unanimously approved by the Senate’s health committee. In ’11, the state House rejected a similar ban, Senate Bill 133, which would have exempted casinos. Nonetheless, local governments can and have acted individually to expand smoking bans to bars in their communities. For example, Ouachita Parish and the city of Alexandria instituted smoke-free ordinances that prohibit smoking in bars. While Lafayette has hosted public discussions of whether or not to ban smoking in bars, it hasn’t taken similar action.

New Orleans hasn’t expanded upon the restrictions of Act 815 due in part to fears that a total ban on smoking in bars would cause bars to suffer financially and put employees’ livelihoods at risk. However, research by the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) concludes that Act 815 had “no impact on employment rates in the state’s hospitality industry.” Tonia Moore, Associate Director of TFL, added “The results of the most recent research on the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act (Act 815) in Louisiana – supplemented and corroborated by many similar analyses in other states and metropolitan areas – strengthens the conclusion that expanding the reach of Act 815 to bars and nightclubs will have no impact on employment in these venues.”

According to some proprietors, customers welcome the existing ban. John Blancher, owner of Rock ‘n’ Bowl, reflected on the impact of Act. 815 and said, “I suspect that it has had a positive impact across the board for the restaurant business. People seem more likely to go out and eat when they know they’re going to experience a smoke-free environment. At this point, I’d suspect that restaurateurs would maintain being smoke-free even if the law was removed.”

Similarly, Evan Hayes of The Delachaise says, “The atmosphere is so much nicer now; customers can’t believe the place allowed smoking before. Can you really enjoy a nice dinner and a bottle of Chambolle-Musigny with the guy next to you puffing on a pack of Kools?” In fact, his food and beverage sales are up since eliminating smoking from inside the bar.

– MEGAN SNIDER

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