Monthly Archives: May 2014

Are older sexual partners a major risk factor for HIV for young women in sub-Saharan Africa?

Although it is commonly thought that older sexual partners are a major risk factor for HIV for young women in sub-Saharan Africa (and there have been public health campaigns launched to discourage these relationships) in a recent study co-authored by Harvard Pop Center affiliated faculty members Ichiro Kawachi, SV Subramanian, and Till Bärnighausen partner age-disparity did not predict HIV acquisition amongst young women.

Temporary migration and epidemiology trends in rural South Africa

Harvard Pop Center affiliated faculty Kathleen Kahn and Stephen Tollman have co-authored a study that finds that in the Agincourt sub-district of northeast South Africa, temporary migration (migrants relocating mainly for work purposes and remaining linked to the rural household) is more important than age and gender in explaining variations in mortality, whatever the cause. The study suggests that public health policies should account for population mobility, and that the rural health care system should be strengthened, because migrants tend to return to rural households when they need health care.

“Widowhood effect” may be in effect prior to bereavement

It is well documented that recently bereaved spouses are exposed to an increased mortality risk (known as the “widowhood effect”). Harvard Pop Center affiliated faculty members SV Subramanian (Subu), PhD, and Maria Glymour, ScD, have co-authored a study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry that reveals that spousal health actually starts to decline prior to the death of the loved one, suggesting that interventions designed to mitigate the “widowhood effect” should begin prior to bereavement.

Videos of Speaker Presentations at 50th Anniversary Symposium

In honor of its 50th anniversary, the Harvard Pop Center recently held a symposium titled Reimagining Societies in the Face of Demographic Change that featured presentations by Julio Frenk, Lisa Berkman, Babatunde Osotimehin, Jack Rowe, and Sir Michael Marmot, as well as a panel discussion including Pop Center Associate Director David Canning and faculty members Amitabh Chandra, SV Subramanian (Subu), and Mary Waters. Video recordings of these presentations and discussions are now available on our website.

Rural South Africa seeing increase in mortality in population aged over 50 due to HIV/TB

Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, and affiliated researchers Kathleen Kahn, PhD, and Stephen Tollman, PhD, have co-authored a study published in the International Journal of Social Epidemiology that examines the social conditions and disability related to the mortality of older people in rural South Africa.

Study shows link between lack of sleep and increased body fat in children

As reported on the Harvard Medical School’s website, a new study by Pop Center affiliated faculty members Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH and Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM published in Pediatrics shows a strong link between chronic lack sleep (from infancy through mid-childhood) and increased body fat.

Maybe not everything gets better with time; a first long-term study of lifetime exposure to solvents and cognitive functioning

As reported in Time and Reuters, Harvard Pop Center fellow Erika Sabbath, ScD, and Harvard Pop Center affiliated faculty member Cassandra A. Okechukwu, ScD, have published a study in Neurology that examines the effects of lifetime solvent exposure among retired French utility workers. Those at greatest risk for cognitive deficits had experienced long-term exposure, even though the exposure might have ceased as long as 30 years prior.

Do reintegration programs have a positive impact on mental health of young females who had been abducted?

Harvard Pop Center affiliated faculty member Theresa Betancourt has co-authored a study published in Conflict and Health that examines the impact of reintegration programs on the mental health of formerly abducted young females in Northern Uganda.

Study shows increased cardiometabolic risk for female workers prone to work-related stress who don’t get adequate sleep or exercise

Harvard Pop Center affiliated faculty member Orfeu Buxton served as PI on a recently published paper in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine that investigated the effect of work-related stress, sleep deficiency, and physical activity on 10-year cardiometabolic risk among an all-female worker population.