MMWR News Synopsis for November 23, 2018

Prevalence of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis — United States, 2015

The National Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Registry not only collects data, but also actively enables research across the country and helps connect patients to current clinical trials. Using the ALS Registry data, researchers are asking key questions about the causes and possible treatments for ALS. A new report presenting National ALS Registry findings about ALS prevalence for the year 2015 was released this November. The estimated prevalence — or the cases of people currently living with or recently diagnosed with ALS that year in the U.S.— was 5.2 per 100,000 people, with a total of 16,853 cases identified. Data collected by the National ALS Registry are used to better understand the patterns of ALS across the country, helping researchers look at possible similarities among patients. Being able to monitor the epidemiology of ALS is critical to better understanding the disease, identifying its possible causes, and ultimately discovering its treatment and prevention.

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Lead in Spices and Herbal Remedies Sampled from Home Investigations for Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels — North Carolina, 2011–2018

Cobey Culton
Press Assistant
Office of Communications, NC DHHS
Office number: 919-855-4840
Email: mailto:cobey.culton@dhhs.nc.gov

Spices and herbal remedies are increasingly part of children’s diets in the U.S. Increased chemical testing and consumer education may be needed to improve the safety of spices and herbal remedies and reduce childhood lead exposure. No national limit exists for lead contamination in spices, though children’s bodies quickly absorb any ingested lead. Lead has no nutritional value and causes developmental delays in children. A North Carolina study of reports from lead investigations between 2010 to 2017 in homes of children with elevated blood lead levels found that 28.8 percent of samples of spices and herbal remedies contained ≥1 mg/kg lead. The authors created a form to collect information on contaminated samples to report to the United States Food and Drug Administration for further investigation.

Outcomes of the Self-Directed Walk With Ease Workplace Wellness Program — Montana, 2015–2017

Walk With Ease is a self-directed workplace-wellness program that offers participants a simple and effective way to increase physical activity and reduce arthritis symptoms. The six-week, Walk With Ease program has been shown to be an effective exercise program leading to improvements in arthritis symptoms and more physical activity. From 2015 to 2017, over 3,000 State of Montana employees participated in the Walk with Ease program. Participants increased physical activity, with walking levels increasing significantly. Before the Walk with Ease program started, 5 percent of participants reported no physical activity. By the end of six weeks, 97 percent of those participants were walking at six weeks and 87 percent continued walking at six months, suggesting the program is reaching people at higher health risk from lack of physical activity. Public health professionals can promote physical activity programs in collaboration with employers to increase the health of workers and potentially prevent future chronic diseases.

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

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Page last reviewed: November 15, 2018