1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

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"Mildly premature" infants. The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses announced the "Near-Term Infant Initiative," a multiyear project designed to call attention to the unique needs of "mildly premature" infants born between 34 and 37 weeks' gestation. The initiative stresses the need for research into the infants' physiologic function, the nursing and postnatal care they receive, and support of the family. Go to for more information.


Tracking diabetes in the Big Apple. In January the New York City public health department became the first government agency to track diabetes-or any chronic (rather than infectious) illness. The department is requiring laboratories to report the hemoglobin AIc levels of people with diabetes so that the department can use the data for planning health programs, measuring outcomes, and in some cases, "direct more efficient interventions." Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in New York City residents. Many health advocates have applauded the monitoring, while others have voiced concern over the possible misuse of personal information. For more information, visit


Snake oil for the flu, anyone? Nine companies marketing products as treatments for or preventive agents against influenza or avian influenza received warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration in November, advising them to cease the claims. Most of the products are dietary supplements, with no scientific evidence to support the claims made. One company, Sacred Mountain Management, Inc., in Deer Trail, Colorado, stated on its Web site that its product could "ward off attacks from mutated forms of the influenza virus." Providers should alert patients that any such claims are bogus.