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Fatal Crashes in the U.S.: Fewer Canadian Drivers Under The Influence

Psychiatry / Psychology • • Tobacco & MarijuanaOct 18 11

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and Columbia University finds alcohol-related fatal motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. are much lower among drivers with Canadian licenses than drivers with U.S. or Mexican licenses. The prevalence of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes was 27 percent for both U.S. and Mexican drivers, and 11 percent for Canadian drivers. Similarly, alcohol impairment was found in 23 percent of U.S. and Mexican drivers and 8 percent of Canadian drivers involved in a fatal crash. Research from other countries finds foreign drivers are at greater risk of crashes than native drivers. In contrast, this study shows that drivers licensed in Mexico and Canada who were involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. had the same or less alcohol impairment than U.S.-licensed drivers. The report is published in the October issue of Injury Prevention and is available on the journal’s website.

“Our findings were unexpected, partly because the substantial cultural differences between the U.S. and Mexico led us to anticipate differences in alcohol-related crashes,” said lead study author Susan P. Baker, a professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “We also anticipated that Canadian drivers in U.S. crashes would be similar to U.S. drivers because the rate of alcohol-related fatal crashes is similar within the two countries.” Together, Mexican and Canadian drivers comprise more than 70 percent of all foreign-licensed drivers involved in fatal crashes in the U.S.

As a possible explanation, the researchers speculate that the less prominent role of alcohol in fatal crashes of Canadian-licensed drivers in the U.S. may suggest that a larger proportion of Canadians were traveling on vacation or business, situations that may be less likely to involve alcohol. Crashes at night (when alcohol is more likely to be involved) were also least common among Canadian-licensed drivers. And finally, it is also possible that Canadians are less likely to drive after drinking.

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China vaccinates 4.5 million people in fight against polio

Immunology • • Infections • • Public HealthOct 18 11

China vaccinated 4.5 million children and young adults over the last five weeks in the western region of Xinjiang in a fight against polio after the disease paralyzed 17 people and killed one of them, the World Health Organization said.

Polio has broken out in China for the first time since 1999 and scientists say the strain originated from Pakistan. The outbreak marked the latest setback to a global campaign to eradicate polio, now endemic in only four countries—Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nigeria.

“Even if they don’t come down with any symptoms (carriers), by giving them polio vaccine we make that person less infectious,” said Oliver Rosenbauer, WHO spokesman for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Geneva.

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