Health & Wellness


Study: Abused Children More Likely to Develop Asthma

A study by scientists at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has concluded that childhood abuse is a factor which influences chances that a person develops asthma. The researchers found that children in Puerto Rico who endure physical or sexual abuse are twice as likely to suffer from asthma as in their youth than those who do not face maltreatment.

The presence or absence of childhood abuse was shown to be more important for the development of asthma than the family's social status. Unfortunately, around 25 percent of Puerto Rican children are diagnosed with asthma during childhood. White, non-Hispanic children have a 13 percent chance of being diagnosed, while black children are facing a 16 percent chance.

Belief in conspiracy theories means less HIV testing in South Africa

South Africans who believe in a conspiracy theory that HIV was introduced by white people as a way of controlling the black population are significantly less likely to have had an HIV test, according to a study published in the September 1st edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. For the South African government to restore the public's faith in their response to HIV, they need to "present a consistent and strong prevention platform about the importance of testing", argue the investigators.
Eye 1

Culture of surveillance may contribute to delusional condition

Psychosis in the 21st century looks something like this: You think your every move is being filmed for a reality television show starring you, and that everyone in your life is an actor.

Or you think you are under intense surveillance by an army of spies, whom you refer to as the "www people," as in the World Wide Web, and they wiretap your furniture and appliances.

Or else you refuse to drink water because you fear that another cup drawn from your faucet will, once and for all, deplete the world's water supply.

Those thoughts are from three case studies of what psychiatrists interested in the intersection of mental illness, culture and society are calling, respectively, Truman Show delusion, Internet delusion and climate change delusion; all of them a window, through madness, into the modern world.

Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure, Statins Show No Effect

Daily supplements of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids -- the kind found in fish oil -- reduced deaths and hospitalizations of people with heart failure, an Italian study found. But a cholesterol-lowering statin drug had no beneficial effect in a parallel heart failure trial.

"This confirms what we've been seeing for a couple of decades in observational studies," Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, said of the fish oil trial. "There is a benefit of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for heart failure patients."

Both findings were published online Aug. 31 in the journal The Lancet and presented at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, in Munich, Germany.
Heart - Black

Hurt feelings 'worse than pain'

The old adage "sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you", simply is not true, according to researchers. Psychologists found memories of painful emotional experiences linger far longer than those involving physical pain.

US: Bone That Blends Into Tendons Created By Engineers

Collagen scaffold
©Georgia Institute of Technology
A microscopic image of a 10 mm collagen scaffold containing a uniform distribution of skin cells (blue) seeded on top of a 3-D polylysine gradient (green).

Engineers at Georgia Tech have used skin cells to create artificial bones that mimic the ability of natural bone to blend into other tissues such as tendons or ligaments. The artificial bones display a gradual change from bone to softer tissue rather than the sudden shift of previously developed artificial tissue, providing better integration with the body and allowing them to handle weight more successfully.

New lens implant offers hope for kids with lazy eye

Megan Garvin
©Associated Press
Megan Garvin wears oversize dark glasses and is still groggy after intraocular lens implant surgery.

Dr. Paul Dougherty delicately slipped a tiny lens inside the right eye of 7-year-old Megan Garvin - a last-ditch shot at saving her sight in that eye.

The California girl became one of a small number of U.S. children to try an experimental surgery to prevent virtual blindness from lazy eye diagnosed too late, or too severe, for standard treatment.

US: Small device provides big pain relief

Charleston, West Virgina - It's no coincidence Charleston anesthesiologist Tim Deer was the first physician to implant the world's smallest rechargeable spinal cord stimulator in patients who suffer from chronic pain.

Dr. Deer, a pain medicine specialist with St. Francis Hospital, helped to develop and test the silver-dollar-size medical device over the past five years.

"It's like a pacemaker for the spine," Deer explained. "I have the ideas, the engineers make it work."

Black raspberries slow cancer by altering hundreds of genes

New research strongly suggests that a mix of preventative agents, such as those found in concentrated black raspberries, may more effectively inhibit cancer development than single agents aimed at shutting down a particular gene.

Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center examined the effect of freeze-dried black raspberries on genes altered by a chemical carcinogen in an animal model of esophageal cancer.

The carcinogen affected the activity of some 2,200 genes in the animals' esophagus in only one week, but 460 of those genes were restored to normal activity in animals that consumed freeze-dried black raspberry powder as part of their diet during the exposure.

Neuroplasticity - Rewiring the Brain

Can a damaged brain change its own structure and learn to replace lost functions? Conventional neuroscience once said no, but pioneers in the field have achieved miraculous transformations. From his investigation of their work, Norman Doidge tells the story of the perpetually falling woman.