Edited by Annette Flanagin, RN, MA, and Thomas B. Cole, MD, MPH
Empirical data on the psychological effects of terrorist attacks are
limited. One to 2 months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,
in New York City and the Washington, DC area, Schlenger and colleaguesArticle surveyed
individuals in a previously established national probability sample using
a Web-based survey instrument to assess postattack symptoms of psychological
distress. The prevalence of probable posttraumatic stress disorder related
to the September 11 attacks was significantly higher in the New York City
metropolitan area than in the Washington, DC, area, or elsewhere in the country.
The overall level of clinically significant psychological distress for the
country as a whole, however, was within normal limits. In an editorial, North
and PfefferbaumArticle discuss essential elements of well-designed studies of mental
health effects of disasters and terrorism.
Approximately 20% of the 1.5 million US women who experience intimate
partner violence annually obtain civil protection orders. In this retrospective
study, Holt and colleagues found that women with a police-reported incident
of intimate partner violence who had permanent protection orders in effect
were significantly less likely than women without protection orders to be
physically abused in the 12 months following the index incident. Women with
temporary protection orders were significantly more likely than women without
protection orders to be psychologically abused in the 12 months after the
To obtain basic information on reproductive health outcomes among refugees
and internally displaced persons in postemergency phase camps, Hynes and colleagues
analyzed data collected from persons living in 52 postemergency phase camps
in 7 countries between August 1988 and March 2000. Reproductive health outcomes
in most of the displaced groups, including crude birth rate, neonatal mortality
rate, maternal mortality ratio, and percentage of newborns with low birth
weight, were better than those in the host country or country of origin.
Buchholz and colleagues investigated an outbreak of gastrointestinal
tract illness among patrons at a Thai restaurant in central California that
occurred once in December 1998 and again 12 days later. Epidemiologic and
laboratory evidence indicated that the outbreak was associated with consumption
of food contaminated with methomyl, a highly toxic restricted-use carbamate
pesticide, that was identified in a sample of vomitus and in salt from containers
in the restaurant (Figure 1).
Data about refugee trauma and health status are often inconsistent and
difficult to interpret. In this critical review of articles evaluating measurement
of refugee trauma and health, Hollifield and colleagues found that about half
of 183 eligible articles reported quantitative data but did not evaluate measurement
properties of instruments used in refugee research. Only 12 of 125 different
measurement instruments used to measure refugee trauma and/or health status
had been specifically developed in a refugee sample.
"The human species will evolve, or die out, but will certainly not remain
unchanged for very long." From "Uphill Falling."
A new, extensively revised list of Physician Service Opportunities Abroad
provides a ready reference for those who wish to offer short-term medical
assistance to people in developing nations.
Even as federal planners create a new facility that will test technologies
to counter threats from international terrorists, psychiatrists are encouraging
innovative programs to deter violence and crime among US adolescents.
Gostin and coauthors discuss the Model State Emergency Health Powers
Act—a model for state public health reform drafted to provide states
with the powers they need to detect and contain potentially catastrophic public
health emergencies resulting from bioterrorism or naturally occurring disease
while safeguarding individual rights and interests.
Multimodal analgesic strategies for pain management for office-based
and ambulatory surgical procedures.
For your patients: Information about partner violence.
This Week in JAMA. JAMA. 2002;288(5):543. doi:10.1001/jama.288.5.543