Bits and bytes of local and national health, wellness and scientific news:

•    According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. birth rate has dropped for the second year in a row, with births falling 2.7 percent, possibly due to the recession. In New Orleans, however, post-Super Bowl euphoria may have caused an opposite effect. Touro Infirmary has recently expanded its birthing center to accommodate 33 expectant mothers in order to alleviate the anticipated over-crowding of maternity wards during the months of October and November. Locals are calling the products of this potential baby boom “New Dats.”


•    Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced last week that the  network of community primary care health clinics that have served nearly 300,000 New Orleanians since Katrina will be preserved. Thanks to a partnership among the federal, state and local governments, low-income and uninsured residents will continue to have access to the network, which had previously been provided for by three years’ worth of funding from a national grant. Fourteen of the 25 clinic organizations are recognized as Patient Centered Medical Homes by the National Committee on Quality Assurance, which is the largest concentration of such clinics in the country. 


•    New Orleans Saints cornerback Malcolm Jenkins joined the Louisiana Dental Center at the LSUHSC School of Dentistry yesterday to present a check for $5,000 to the school. The LDC kicked off its Big Turnover program last year, pledging $250 to the School of Dentistry for ever turnover committed by a Saints opponent. Jenkins contributed to the cause by kicking ass and taking names, recording 51 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in his rookie season last year.


•    LSU’s Breast Center (2025 Gravier St., across from the Interim LSU Public Hospital) is holding an open house Friday, Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to commemorate its new permanent home. The Breast Center, a collaboration between the LSUHSC Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program and the Interim LSU Public Hospital, offers comprehensive breast cancer early detection services, including walk-in mammography and clinical breast exams, care coordination and diagnostic services –– all at no cost to uninsured, low-income patients.