Health & Wellness
Tue, 01 Jan 2008 15:27 CST
Armies of invisible creatures are spreading across the planet, infesting local communities and claiming the lives of innocent children in their wake. And the attackers are immune to some of the world's best weaponry.
It sounds more like a sci-fi movie plot than reality, but "superbugs" - deadly microbes that can resist drugs designed to wipe them out - are far from imaginary. Schoolchildren in several states recently have died from infections caused by MRSA bacteria, otherwise known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and medical recordkeeping shows such cases are increasing annually.
MSRA spreads via surface-to-surface contact, developing into a staph infection if conditions are right. The first symptoms can include pimple-like sores on the skin where the bacteria launch their attack, while rarer but more advanced infections can enter the bloodstream, attack organs and lead to death.
Tue, 01 Jan 2008 15:22 CST
Out with stainless steel, in with copper? It might be a new hospital trend - not for looks, but for germ-fighting. Some intensive-care units in New York and South Carolina are about to get copper fittings as part of a project to test if drug-resistant bacteria survive better on hospitals' ubiquitous stainless steel than on copper.
About 1.7 million Americans a year develop infections while hospitalized and almost 100,000 of them die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists have long preached better hygiene to control hospital spread of germs, but increasingly medical manufacturers are looking to anti-germ coatings to help.
University of Chicago Medical Center
Tue, 01 Jan 2008 15:00 CST
Suppression of slow-wave sleep in healthy young adults significantly decreases their ability to regulate blood-sugar levels and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, report researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center in the "Early Edition" of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, available online as soon as Dec. 31, 2007.
Deep sleep, also called "slow-wave sleep," is thought to be the most restorative sleep stage, but its significance for physical well-being has not been demonstrated. This study found that after only three nights of selective slow-wave sleep suppression, young healthy subjects became less sensitive to insulin. Although they needed more insulin to dispose of the same amount of glucose, their insulin secretion did not increase to compensate for the reduced sensitivity, resulting in reduced tolerance to glucose and increased risk for type 2 diabetes. The decrease in insulin sensitivity was comparable to that caused by gaining 20 to 30 pounds.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Tue, 01 Jan 2008 14:50 CST
Bad dreams in pre-schoolers are less prevalent than thought. However, when they do exist, nightmares are trait-like in nature and associated with personality characteristics measured as early as five months, according to a study published in the January 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
The study, led by Valérie Simard, under the direction of Tore Nielsen, PhD, of the University of Montreal, sampled 987 children in the Province of Quebec, who were assessed by their parents at the 29-month, 41-month, 50-month, five-year and six-year mark. Parents were asked in a questionnaire about the frequency of their child's bad dreams without requiring that they attempt to judge whether or not awakenings occurred.
American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Tue, 01 Jan 2008 14:48 CST
Phantom noises, that mimic ringing in the ears associated with tinnitus, can be experienced by people with normal hearing in quiet situations, according to new research published in the January 2008 edition of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.
The Brazilian study, which consisted of 66 people with normal hearing and no tinnitus, found that among subjects placed in a quiet environment where they were asked to focus on their hearing senses, 68 percent experienced phantom ringing noises similar to that of tinnitus. This is compared to only 45.5 percent of participants who heard phantom ringing when asked to focus on visual stimuli and not on their hearing, and 19.7 percent of those asked to focus on a task in a quiet environment.
Tue, 01 Jan 2008 14:02 CST
Britain introduced a ban on advertising junk food to under-16s Tuesday, aimed at promoting healthy eating and countering growing child obesity.
The ban, which extends measures already in place for under-10s, will curb television adverts for food and drink products with high fat, salt and sugar content.
Yahoo! News India / ANI
Sun, 30 Dec 2007 13:15 CST
A new survey has found that Chinese university students regard "Internet love" as a means of satisfying their needs.
The survey, conducted by the Northeast China Normal University, found that about 90 percent of Chinese university students regard "Internet love" as an effective way to gratify their emotional needs.
Tue, 01 Jan 2008 02:50 CST
WASHINGTON - A simple mouth rinse may provide a new way to screen for head and neck cancers in people at high risk for these diseases, researchers said on Tuesday.
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore are developing a saliva test -- inexpensive, easy to perform and painless -- that could spot diseases like mouth and throat cancer in heavy smokers, heavy drinkers and others at high risk.
The Boston Globe
Mon, 31 Dec 2007 19:34 CST
|©Dominic Chavez/Globe Staff
|Joel Weinstock thinks lack of exposure to worms leads to a rise in immunological diseases.
"What if I told you," Joel Weinstock said, "there were countries where the doctors had never seen hay fever?"
It is another piece of evidence, another "aha" moment in the global medical mystery that Weinstock - the chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts-New England Medical Center - has narrowed down to one chief suspect: the worms.
Mon, 31 Dec 2007 00:46 CST
A 25-year-old Egyptian woman died of bird flu on Sunday, the second fatality among humans in Egypt in less than one week, the Health Ministry said.
Fatma Fathi Mohamed died in hospital in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, three days after she was admitted to a smaller local hospital with a high temperature and difficulty breathing, it said in a statement carried by the state news agency MENA.