LSU talk, exhibit mark smoking report

The LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health will present a special talk and exhibit next week marking the 50th anniversary of the U.S. surgeon general’s landmark report on smoking and cancer.

University of Alabama visiting professor Alan Blum, a recognized authority on the tobacco industry, will give a free talk titled “The Surgeon General vs. the Marlboro Man: Who Really Won?”

In a presentation that traces both the anti-smoking movement and the promotion of smoking over the past century, Blum will highlight the 1964 report that linked cigarette smoking to cancer. “The 50th anniversary of the report is not a celebration but rather a sobering reminder of missed opportunities to curb the nation’s No. 1 avoidable cause of cancer, heart disease, emphysema and high health care costs,” he said.

Blum will speak at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 17 on the third floor of the Medical Education Building, 1901 Perdido St. His exhibit will be on display in the John P. Isché Library through Nov. 19, coinciding with the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

Study: Gulf shrimp from spill-affected area safe

Shrimp coming from an area of the Gulf of Mexico impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill are safe to eat, according to a study by Tulane University scientists.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Heath Perspectives, analyzed shrimp for oil contaminants and surveyed commercial shrimpers working in southeast Louisiana.

The team was led by Mark Wilson, a research assistant professor of global environmental health sciences in the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

The study largely examined a population of Vietnamese-Americans working in the shrimping business. According to the researchers, those workers likely were consuming more shrimp and seafood than average Louisiana residents.

About 115 members of the seafood industry answered questions about how often they ate shrimp, how much they ate, how they prepared the seafood and demographic questions such as gender, age and weight.

Experts were concerned that seafood would be contaminated with hazardous chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons after the oil spill, increasing cancer risks. However, shrimp collected and tested by the researchers showed very low levels of PAHs and didn’t pose excessive health hazards, Wilson said.

Loyola alumni to beautify KIPP school

Loyola University alumni will help beautify the school grounds of KIPP Central City Primary School on Saturday.

The alumni will volunteer as part of Wolves on the Prowl, a national day of service that’s become a Loyola tradition over the past 15 years.

“By improving the appearance of our outside spaces, we’re showing our students that they are important and deserve to have a safe, appealing place to play,” said Andy Lewis, business operations manager with KIPP.

Alumni and students will build benches and planters for the courtyard, paint bathrooms, catalog library books and more.

On the same day, other Loyola alumni will work to clean up a national park, serve at rescue missions and assist other schools with cleanup projects.

LSU to help survivors of breast cancer

The LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health has been awarded a $2.2 million grant to support young breast cancer survivors in the Gulf South.

The money, awarded over five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will provide health information and support services through multimedia campaigns.

The money will help form a three-state coalition called the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivors Network. Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama will participate. Donna Williams, associate professor and director of the LSU School of Public Health’s Cancer Prevention and Control Programs, will oversee the program.

By disseminating health information through social media, organizers hope to empower young breast cancer survivors to advocate for their care and increase their quality of life.

Messages will address family history, psychosocial health, reproductive health and more, as well as preventive lifestyle factors like healthy weight, tobacco use and excessive alcohol use. About 11 percent of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45.