• According to a study published in Applied Nursing Research, nurses and health care providers only complied with hand hygiene guidelines – such as hand-washing – before medical procedures less than half of the time.

Hand-washing compliance showed a much better rate (72 percent) for post-procedure hygiene; however, such measures primarily protect the health and safety of the healthcare providers themselves rather than the safety of patients, which pre-procedure guidelines are meant to protect. Such lax hygiene standards contribute to the 2.5 million healthcare-associated infections developed by patients in the U.S. each year, which lead to around 90,000 deaths and $4.5 to $5.7 billion in costs to the health care system.

• New Orleans’ own Dr. Howard J. Osofsky, professor and Chairman of Psychiatry at     LSUHSC New Orleans School of Medicine, has been honored with the Humanitarian Award, which recognizes service and advocacy for mental illness, at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Society for Biological Psychiatry in New Orleans. Previous recipients include former first lady Rosalynn Carter as well as Tipper Gore and CBS news correspondent Mike Wallace. Dr. Osofsky also received the Special Presidential Commendation from the President of the American Psychiatric Association. He is co-chair of the Louisiana Rural Trauma Services Center and of the Harris Program for Infant Mental Health.

• Dr. Liwei Chen, Assistant Professor of Public Health at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, found a link between high-sugar drinks and blood pressure; cutting daily consumption of such drinks by one serving a day could significantly lower blood pressure. This research subverts the popular belief that caffeine, not sugar, is a leading culprit to high blood pressure. The study of 810 adults over an 18-month period actually found no connection between caffeine or diet beverage consumption and high blood pressure. People with the condition are more likely to experience stroke, cardiovascular disease and shortened life expectancy. One in three people age 20 and older have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.

• A study by University of Rochester Medical Center’s Dr. Karen Mustian determined that hatha yoga, a slow-moving version of the popular practice, drastically improved the quality of life for cancer survivors. During a four-week program, Dr. Mustian observed 410 participants who were divided into two groups: one experienced traditional follow-up care and the other practiced hatha yoga twice a week for 75 minutes. Participants in the latter group recorded almost double the improvement in fatigue and sleep quality and reported better overall quality of life than the other group. The study was presented in a paper at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in June.