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This Week in JAMA
August 7, 2002

This Week in JAMA

JAMA. 2002;288(5):543. doi:10.1001/jama.288.5.543
Violence and human rights

Edited by Annette Flanagin, RN, MA, and Thomas B. Cole, MD, MPH

Psychological Distress After Terrorist Attacks

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.

Intimate Partner Violence After Civil Protection Orders

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 index incident.

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Reproductive Outcomes in Postemergency Phase Camps

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.

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Food-Borne Illness Associated With Contaminated Salt

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).

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Measurement of Trauma and Health Status in Refugees

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.

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A Piece of My Mind

"The human species will evolve, or die out, but will certainly not remain unchanged for very long." From "Uphill Falling."

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Physician Service Opportunities Abroad

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.

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Medical News & Perspectives

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.

Model State Emergency Health Powers Act

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.

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Clinician's corner

Multimodal analgesic strategies for pain management for office-based and ambulatory surgical procedures.

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JAMA Patient Page

For your patients: Information about partner violence.

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