Health & Wellness


They Left the Corporate Cocoon to Blossom

Big company. Big salary. Big sendoff.

That's the formula millions of American workers used for years to map their career trajectory. Conventional wisdom advised workers to land a job with a big company and retire with generous benefits.

But there's a new breed of worker who is making that formula seem as quaint as a VHS tape. They are the ultimate risk-takers -- they leave large, successful companies to pursue their own dreams even though the economy is reeling.

Brain Circuit Abnormalities May Underlie Bulimia Nervosa In Women

Women with bulimia nervosa appear to respond more impulsively during psychological testing than those without eating disorders, and brain scans show differences in areas responsible for regulating behavior, according to a new report.

Bulimia nervosa often begins in the adolescent or young adult years, according to background information in the article. "Primarily affecting girls and women, it is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting or another compensatory behavior to avoid weight gain," the authors write. "These episodes of binge eating are associated with a severe sense of loss of control."
Alarm Clock

Birth of first British baby to be genetically screened for breast cancer

The first baby in Britain to be screened for a deadly breast cancer gene while still an embryo has been born safely in London.

Her parents, who wish to remain anonymous, opted for screening because three generations of women in the father's family had suffered the disease.

Had the baby been born with the BRCA1 gene she would have had an 80 per cent chance of developing breast cancer as a direct result and a 60 per cent chance of ovarian cancer.

A Good Night's Sleep Protects Against Parasites

Animal species that sleep for longer do not suffer as much from parasite infestation and have a greater concentration of immune cells in their blood according to a study published in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

The question of why we sleep has long puzzled scientists. Brian Preston from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, led an international team of researchers who tested the theory that sleep improves immune function. He says, "Sleep is a biological enigma. Despite occupying much of an animal's life, and having been scrutinized by numerous experimental studies, there is still no consensus on its function. Similarly, nobody has yet explained why species have evolved such marked variation in their sleep requirements (from 3 to 20 hours a day in mammals). Our research provides new evidence that sleep plays an important role in protecting animals from parasitic infection."

FDA scientists complain to Obama of 'corruption'

Washington - In an unusually blunt letter, a group of federal scientists is complaining to the Obama transition team of widespread managerial misconduct in a division of the Food and Drug Administration.

"The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the scientific review process for medical devices at the FDA has been corrupted and distorted by current FDA managers, thereby placing the American people at risk," said the letter, dated Wednesday and written on the agency's Center for Devices and Radiological Health letterhead.

Since nanomaterials are now in everything, it's time to see how much damage they cause

Edmonton - The tiny critters had seemed so content, swimming around under the microscope.

Scientist Shirley Tang was studying how living organisms might be affected by nanomaterials. These minute particles assembled from just a few molecules offer great promise but also pose a lot of questions - and can cause surprising and unpredictable harmful effects.

In an effort to understand those effects, Tang had just exposed some protozoa to nanoparticles. The one-celled animals promptly absorbed them, ejected them, and then carried on.

"They seemed happy," says Tang, a chemistry professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

"They would eat bacteria as normal. We didn't see any mortality to the protozoa."

But a closer look showed they weren't happy at all. Sure, they'd eat bacteria, but instead of absorbing their prey, they'd simply excrete it.

"Now they can only digest 40 per cent, 20 per cent, 10 per cent of their food."

Brazil: 340 on cruise ship sickened; cause unknown

Hundreds of passengers on a Swiss-owned cruise ship were stricken with severe vomiting and diarrhea caused by a mysterious ailment, Brazilian health officials said Thursday.

At least 340 victims have been sickened on the MSC Sinfonia, now docked in Salvador, Bahia, according to a spokeswoman for the National Agency for Sanitary Vigilance. She spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with department policy.

The illness didn't appear to be life-threatening and most passengers were recovering Thursday.

Goat modified for drug making sparks fears

A U.S. government regulator's positive review of an anti-clotting drug made from the milk of a genetically modified goat has sparked consumer-group concerns.

"The regulatory process seems to have put the cart before the horse, analyzing the safety of the product before it has opined on the safety of the manufacturing process," Greg Jaffe of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration "clearly needs to impose cradle-to-grave conditions to prevent the goats from leaving the farm or their products from entering the food supply," Jaffee told USA Today.

An FDA evaluation, to be presented to its Blood Products Advisory Board Friday, finds the drug ATryn to be effective and safe.

Cyprus: 3rd baby dies of Legionnaires' disease

Nicosia, Cyprus - Officials say a third baby has died from an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at a private clinic in the Cypriot capital.

A total of 11 babies were infected, and one is on a respirator in critical condition at the state-run Makarios Hospital, according to Andreas Hadjidemetriou, a doctor there.

UC Davis Study: "Autism is Environmental" (Can We Move On Now?)

I have always said there may be a small percentage of people with autism spectrum disorder (perhaps those with Asperger Syndrome) whose symptoms are a result only of their genetic makeup, with no environmental factors involved at all.

But a new study out of UC Davis' MIND Institute says that it's time to abandon science's long, expensive, and not very fruitful quest to find the gene or genes that cause autism alone, without any environmental triggers.

"We need to keep (environmental) studies going," Irva Hertz-Picciotto, the co-author of the study and professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology at UC Davis, said in a statement.

"We're looking at the possible effects of metals, pesticides and infectious agents on neurodevelopment," Hertz-Picciotto said. "If we're going to stop the rise in autism in California, we need to keep these studies going and expand them to the extent possible."

Autism is predominantly an environmentally acquired disease, the study seems to conclude. Its meteoric rise, at least in California, cannot possibly be attributed to that shopworn mantra we still hear everyday, incredibly, from far too many public health officials: It's due to better diagnosing and counting.