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New Walgreens, SSM collaboration

Walgreens and SSM Health have announced an agreement under which SSM will own and operate the clinical practice and management operations of 27 retail health clinics at Walgreens locations in the St. Louis region.

Existing Walgreens Healthcare Clinics will transition in the fall, at which point they will be known as SSM Health Express Clinics at Walgreens.

“This collaboration is an important step in SSM Health’s commitment to improving the health of our community,” James Bleicher, M.D., regional president of SSM Medical Group and ambulatory services in St. Louis, said in a news release. “By combining the convenience of Walgreens locations with the personalized care and expertise of the SSM Health Medical Group, we will provide a seamless healthcare experience for our patients. This means care that is truly integrated whether you visit an SSM Health physician, hospital, urgent care or Express Clinic at Walgreens.”

The clinics will operate seven days a week, including evenings, providing patient access to a variety of healthcare services without an appointment.

An emergency medicine doctor discovered a simple way to prevent painful foot blisters.

An emergency medicine doctor discovered a simple way to prevent painful foot blisters.

A simple solution

An emergency medicine physician who has worked extensively with endurance runners has discovered a simple solution for a common complaint. According to Grant Lipman, M.D., the best way to prevent painful foot blisters is with inexpensive paper tape.

Lipman said that despite decades of scientific studies on blister prevention, no definite method ever was determined until now.

“What I kept hearing (from runners) was, ‘Doctor, I’d be doing so well, if only for my feet,’” said Lipman, who put paper tape to the test on 128 runners in a 155-mile, seven-day ultramarathon event.

For the test, paper tape was randomly placed by trained medical assistants on just one foot of each runner. The tape was placed on blister-prone areas of those with a history of blister problems and on randomly selected areas of the other runners’ feet. It was applied in a smooth, single layer prior to the race and at subsequent stages of the race, Lipman explained.

No blisters formed where tape was applied on 98 of the 128 runners, but 81 runners got blisters in areas that were not taped.

“It’s kind of a ridiculously cheap, easy method of blister prevention,” Lipman said. “You can get it anywhere. A little roll costs about 69 cents, and that should last a year or two.”

The tape used in the study is the kind commonly referred to as surgical tape. Since it is only slightly adhesive, removing it will not tear any blisters that might occur.

The Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine published the study.

Choosy bed bugs

It seems that bed bugs prefer some colors over others, according to an article published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

At the University of Florida and Union College in Lincoln, Neb., researchers ran some lab tests and discovered that bed bugs have a strong preference for hiding out in areas that either are red or black and shun places that are yellow or green.

“We originally thought the bed bugs might prefer red because blood is red and that’s what they feed on,” study co-author Corraine McNeill said. “However, after doing the study, the main reason we think they preferred red colors is because bed bugs themselves appear red, so they go to these harborages because they want to be with other bed bugs, as they are known to exist in aggregations.”

Fooled by the frosting

Pictures of food on product packaging can influence consumers to go overboard when portioning out individual servings, results of a new study suggest.

At Cornell Food and Brand Lab, researchers found that the image of a frosted cake on a box of cake mix impacted people’s estimates the of appropriate serving size, even though the recommended size was printed on the packaging.

“If we see a slice of cake smothered in frosting on the cake box, we think that is what is normal to serve and eat, but that’s not what is reflected in the serving size recommendation on the nutrition label,” researcher John Brand said.

When the words “frosting not included on the nutritional labeling” appeared product packaging, however, consumers’ estimate of the appropriate serving size is significantly reduced, researchers found.

“Undoubtedly, companies don’t intend to deceive us when they include frosting in cake box depictions, but these seemingly small elements of packaging can have a huge impact,” study co-author Brian Wansink said.

The take-home message, researchers concluded, is that reminding consumers of ingredients depicted on packaging that are not reflected on the nutrition label would result in people eating more appropriatelysized servings.

Just one question

One simple question could help doctors identify young people at risk for alcohol problems, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAAA) has reported.

Researchers queried about 1,200 12- to 20-year-old primary care clinic patients about their alcohol use and screened them for alcohol use disorder.

Adolescents aged 17 and younger who said they had at least one drink on three or more days during the previous year were at highest risk for alcohol problems, with 44 percent of them found to have alcohol use disorder. Almost all participants (99 percent) who reported having fewer than three drinks in the past year were free of the disorder.

“Primary care physicians are encouraged to screen adolescents for alcohol problems, yet many do not, citing time constraints and other issues,” said NIAAA Director George Koob, noting that even simple screening tools can be effective.

On the calendar

“Lower Back Pain – When to be Concerned?” is from noon-1 p.m. on Thursday, May 19 at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, 10 Hospital Drive in St. Peters. The Lunch-and Learn program offers the chance to receive expert information from a healthcare professional while enjoying lunch. The fee is $5, and registration is required. To enroll, call 344-2273.

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