Health & Wellness


Patch-wearing MRI patients risk burns

© unknown
Patients can risk a burn during an MRI scan if wearing a nicotine patch or any other medical patch.
Patients can risk a burn during an MRI scan if wearing a nicotine patch or any other medication patch.

Patches that ooze medication slowly through the skin are becoming more popular, from over-the-counter nicotine patches to prescription patches that deliver estrogen, pain medication, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's drugs, even an anti-nausea drug for chemotherapy recipients.

But the US Food and Drug Administration just discovered that some are missing a safety warning about MRI compatibility. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging.


Fertility: Sharp rise in egg donations to Israel from abroad

The global economic crisis has led to a rising number of eastern Europe women offering to donate their eggs to Israelis, the Fertility Medical Center in Tel Aviv reported on Wednesday.

According to the center's Chairman Dr. Ilya Barr, one of the first doctors in Israel to deal with egg donations from abroad, "The financial compensation the donors receive at about € 1,000 ($1,261) per cycle, makes it very tempting at a time where getting a job has become as difficult a mission in eastern European countries as in the rest of the world.


PTSD but not trauma itself ups suicide risk

Results of a study confirm that young adults who develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after traumatic events are at increased risk of attempting suicide later on. Importantly, the researchers say, the study also shows that people who experience a traumatic event but do not develop PTSD are not at increased risk of attempting suicide.

"It is not trauma but PTSD that is an independent predictor of subsequent suicide attempt," Dr. Holly C. Wilcox told Reuters Health.

Wilcox of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland and her colleagues examined the association between exposure to traumatic events -- with and without the development of PTSD -- and the risk of subsequent suicide attempt.


UK: A thousand of Heston's diners become mysteriously and violently ill

© Press Association
Chef Heston Blumenthal, whose restaurant, The Fat Duck, is at the centre of an investigation by health officals after 400 people fell ill
Investigation into mystery bug widened as hundreds more report violent sickness

More than 1,000 people face medical checks after health officials widened their investigation into a mystery illness which has struck diners at one of Britain's best restaurants.

Hundreds more people have reported falling violently sick after eating the exquisitely complex dishes at the Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire. In an extraordinary turn of events in the week-long enquiry, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the possible number of cases at Heston Blumenthal's world-renowned establishment was 400 - 10 times as many as was previously known.


Scientists remove cancer genes from stem cells

Washington - Scientists have taken another important step toward using ordinary skin cells that are made to behave like embryonic stem cells to find treatments for conditions like Parkinson's disease.

Researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Massachusetts removed a stumbling block in using so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, by taking out potentially cancer-causing genes.

Writing in the journal Cell on Thursday, the scientists said they then turned these iPS cells into brain cells involved in Parkinson's disease.

Light Saber

UK: Southampton residents threaten to withhold payment if fluoride is added to their water

Scores of Hampshire residents say they will not pay their water bills if fluoride is added to their supplies.

Campaigners fighting the controversial plans, which were approved by health chiefs last week, say they have been inundated with calls from people saying they want to take action to stop fluoride being added to the water.

Most insist they will withhold their cash from Southern Water, which supplies the 200,000 affected residents in and around Southampton. But the company insists it has no say over fluoridation, and will take all action necessary to recover money from any one who refuses to pay.


Poison in the drinking water -- China's appalling pollution problems

Thousands of Chinese people are making their way to Beijing this week to lodge their complaints during the anual sitting of parliament. Some of these grievances will concern the appalling pollution that reaches to the remotest corners of the country. Only a quarter of China's surface water is fit for industrial use. For drinking water almost exclusively groundwater is used, but even that is seriously polluted. In the poverty-stricken village of Leifeng, a local drinks manufacturer dumped toxic hydrofluoric acid.

The thousand inhabitants of Leifeng couldn't have lived in a more remote spot. The village, near the border with Siberia, is covered in a thick layer of snow during the winter. Not surprisingly, then, it is home to a small alcohol factory, which produces 'baijiu', the Chinese version of vodka. But the factory proved to be more of a curse than a blessing, as 14-year-old Zhang Guanghui explains:


Baby Olympian? DNA test screens sports ability

© Duane Hofmann /
Ava Anderson can't run - not yet anyway. And the only iron she pumps comes via her tiny spoon. Then again, she's just 13 months old.

But Ava was born with a genetic blend that will infuse her body with the explosive bursts of a power athlete and the steady engine of marathoner. Someday, this baby may blossom into a multisport, cross-training double threat. That's not parental conjecture. That's her DNA profile.

Her mom and dad had her tested.

Like more than 200 other parents to date, Hilary and Aaron Anderson paid $149 to Atlas Sports Genetics - a Boulder, Colo. company - for a sneak peek at their kid's athletic horizons.

The Andersons received a home-analysis kit to check whether Ava has the inborn knack for strength sports (like sprinting) or endurance sports (like cycling). Then, to get the genetic scoop, they simply brushed the inside of Ava's cheek with two cotton swabs, sealed the samples in a baggie and mailed them to an Australian lab used by Atlas. Although there are 20,000 strands of human DNA, the lab hunts for variations of just one: ACTN3, which can predict certain athletic skills, some experts believe. Five weeks later, the Andersons heard the verdict.

"She's a mix," said Hilary Anderson, who wasn't surprised by the results given that she is tall and lean and that her husband once trained for the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team. "If she came back all endurance, we'd probably focus more on the long-distance type things. Likewise, if she was all strength, we would direct her toward power sports. This will let her try all sorts of things."


State Slaps Dr. Do-Good


Dr. John Muney's unlimited office care for uninsured patients got the thumbs down from the state.
Insurance Bureaucrats reject $79 Health Plan

The state is trying to shut down a New York City doctor's ambitious plan to treat uninsured patients for around $1,000 a year.

Dr. John Muney offers his patients everything from mammograms to mole removal at his AMG Medical Group clinics, which operate in all five boroughs.

"I'm trying to help uninsured people here," he said.

His patients agree to pay $79 a month for a year in return for unlimited office visits with a $10 co-pay.

But his plan landed him in the cross hairs of the state Insurance Department, which ordered him to drop his fixed-rate plan - which it claims is equivalent to an insurance policy.


Musicians are fine-tuned to others' emotions

Musical training might help autistic children to interpret other people's emotions. A study has revealed brain changes involved in playing a musical instrument that seem to enhance your ability to pick up subtle emotional cues in conversation.

"It seems that playing music can help you do all kinds of things better," says Nina Kraus from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. "Musical experience sharpens your hearing not just for music, but for other sounds too."

Earlier studies suggested that musicians are especially good at identifying emotions expressed in speech, such as anger or sadness. But it wasn't clear what kind of brain activity makes the difference.