Health & Wellness


'Wiring' in the brain influences personality

Connections between the nerves is one factor determining whether a person welcomes a change or tends to avoid anything new.

Have you got the new iPhone yet? Do you like changing jobs now and again because you get bored otherwise? Do you go on holiday to different places every year? Then maybe your neural connection between ventral striatum and hippocampus is particularly well developed. Both of them are centres in the brain. The reward system which urges us to take action is located in the striatum, whereas the hippocampus is responsible for specific memory functions.

TV Ads Contribute to Childhood Obesity, Economists Say

Banning fast food advertisements from children's television programs would reduce the number of overweight children in the U.S. by 18 percent and decrease the number of overweight teens by 14 percent, economists have estimated in a new study.

The researchers used several statistical models to link obesity rates to the amount of time spent viewing fast food advertising, finding that viewing more fast food commercials on television raises the risk of obesity in children. The study appears in this month's issue of The Journal of Law and Economics.

It's Not a Tumor - Doctors Find Worm In Woman's Brain Instead

Doctors in Arizona thought a Phoenix-area woman had a possible brain tumor, but it turned out there was something else penetrating her brain - a worm.

Rosemary Alvarez started experiencing numbness in her arm and blurred vision. She went to the emergency room twice and had a cat scan, but everything came up clear, reported.

Click here for a video.

It wasn't until doctors took a closer look at an MRI that they discovered something very disturbing.
Monkey Wrench

Holes drilled in the wrong side of heads during surgery NHS watchdog warns

Surgeons are drilling holes in the wrong side of people's heads during brain surgery despite a warning issued three years ago.

So-called wrong site surgery has been a consistent problem in the NHS and in some cases patients have died as result of having the wrong organ removed.

In 2005 the National Patient Safety Agency issued an alert to all neurosurgical units after an audit found there was no standard method of identifying which side the patient was to have surgery with some units marking with pen the side to be operated on and others marking the side not to.

Since the alert the NPSA have had another 15 reports of incidents in nine of the 36 neuro centres where surgeons have begun brain surgery on the wrong side of the head.
Alarm Clock

Toxic contamination starts at home: Study

When women from 120 middle-class homes learned their bodies contained low levels of toxic chemicals, most of them blamed chemical spills, waste dumping or secret military experiments.

They were stunned to learn the truth was closer to home. Most of their exposure came from harmless-looking plastics, flame-retardant clothing, beauty products and household cleaners.

A new study says we tend to put too much blame on environmental disasters that don't actually affect us.

"It's the consumer products" that bring chemicals into our bodies, says Kathleen Cooper, a researcher for the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

And while a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior was done in Cape Cod, she says exactly the same mindset prevails here. Canadians "are surprised when we talk about consumer products as a key source.

Nebraska, US: Fluoridation voted out across area

Public fluoridation was a big loser Tuesday not only in Grand Island but across Central Nebraska.

Every other Central Nebraska town that had the issue on the ballot -- Aurora, Broken Bow, Central City, Hastings, Ord, Ravenna, St. Paul, Shelton, Stromsburg and Wood River -- voted to opt out of the state's fluoride requirement.

Nowhere was the vote more emphatic than in Hastings, where three fluoride-related ballot issues all passed with at least 66 percent of the vote.

Marvin "Butch" Hughes of Hastings, who led that community's anti-fluoride petition drives, said he was surprised and gratified to see such overwhelming support for the measures.

Hairspray link to genital birth defects

Pregnant hairdressers may be exposing their unborn children to harmful chemicals that can lead to genital birth defects.

A new study shows that the sons of hairdressers and beauticians frequently exposed to hairspray were more than twice as likely to be born with hypospadias, in which the urinary opening appears on the underside of the penis.

Paul Elliott from Imperial College London, and colleagues, interviewed 471 mothers whose sons had been born with the defect and 490 mothers of children not born with the disorder, to try to find out which chemicals the mothers had been exposed to: including exhaust fumes, printing ink, hairspray, or glues.

Cholera Epidemic And Health System Disarray Deepen In Zimbabwe

International and non-governmental organizations were working nonstop in the Glen View and Budiriro suburbs of Harare treating victims of an expanding cholera epidemic, but the death toll continued to mount due to the numbers of patients presenting themselves.

Nurses working without doctors labored to save hundreds at the Budiriro Polyclinic. Medical workers and families said treatment was coming too late in many cases, as reporter Sylvia Manika of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from Budiriro.

Elsewhere in Zimbabwe's troubled health sector, striking medical workers rejected an offer from the Ministry of Health proposing to provide them with hampers of food, free transport to work and a review of salaries if they would return to their jobs in state hospitals.
Evil Rays

Connecticut takes on slippery olive oil standards

When food importer Luciano Sclafani spied a three-liter tin of extra virgin olive oil a couple of years ago selling for $9.99, he could tell without tasting a drop that it wasn't legitimate.

Lab tests proved him right. The oil, which should have sold for $25 or $30, was a cheap knockoff, 90 percent soybean oil and 10 percent pomace, the oil that's collected from the ground flesh and pits after pressing.

"Olive oil is the closest thing to my heart that I sell," said Sclafani, president of his family's 97-year-old food-importing and distribution business in Norwalk, Conn.

Boy, 12, collapsed and died after 'using too much Lynx deodorant'

A boy of 12 collapsed and died after using 'copious' amounts of deodorant in a cramped bathroom, an inquest heard.

Daniel Hurley was overcome by solvents in the Lynx Vice spray and his heart began to beat irregularly, the hearing was told.

His father Robert found him collapsed in the bath at the family home after spraying on too much of the deodorant.