Health & Wellness


British drinking water 'may be tainted with prescription drugs'

Britain's drinking water supplies will be tested for safety amid fears that rivers are contaminated with prescription drugs.

Cancer drugs are of particular concern because they dissolve easily in water.

The "cytotoxic" drugs, which are used in chemotherapy, are potentially dangerous because they are hard to break down through traditional water purification methods and remain potent in low concentrations.

Deadly Rugby Virus Spreads In Sumo Wrestlers

Rugby players may get more than just the ball out of a scrum - herpes virus can cause a skin disease called "scrumpox" and it spreads through physical contact. Researchers have studied the spread of the disease among sumo wrestlers in Japan and have discovered that a new strain of the virus could be even more pathogenic, according to a new article.

"Scrumpox", or herpes gladiatorum, is a skin infection caused by the herpes virus, which can cause coldsores. It is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact so it is common among rugby players and wrestlers. Symptoms can start with a sore throat and swollen glands and the telltale blisters appear on the face, neck, arms or legs. The disease is highly infectious, so players who are infected are often taken out of competition to stop the virus from spreading.

"Scientists in Japan believe that a strain of herpes virus called BgKL has replaced the strain BgOL as one of the most common and pathogenic, causing a skin disease in sumo wrestlers," said Dr Kazuo Yanagi from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, Japan. "We wanted to see if this is the case, so we studied the spread of the disease in sumo wrestlers in Tokyo."

Getting Lost: A Newly Discovered Developmental Brain Disorder

Feeling lost every time you leave your home? You may not be as alone as you think.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute recently documented the first case of a patient who, without apparent brain damage or cognitive impairment, is unable to orient within any environment. Researchers also believe that there are many others in the general population who may be affected by this developmental topographical disorder.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, and led by Giuseppe Iaria, a UBC Faculty of Medicine and VCH postdoctoral fellow, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) together with behavioural studies to assess and characterize the navigational deficiencies of the patient, who is completely unable to orient within the environment, getting lost even within the neighborhood where the patient lived for many years.

Loneliness 'makes you cold'

Loneliness and coldness are often associated in everyday language, but psychologists have found that social isolation does make people feel cold. The University of Toronto team found people feeling excluded said a room was colder than those feeling included.

And people who felt left out also chose comforting hot soup, rather than an apple or soft drink. A UK psychologist said the findings could help people feeling isolated, particularly in the winter months.

EU bans children food imports from China

A Europe-wide ban on all food for children coming from China has come into force.

The European Commission's ban comes amid growing concern over contaminated milk powder which has already caused infant deaths in China and affected thousands more children.

A Commission spokeswoman said some EU countries - and some sectors of the food industry - had already announced their own bans, but now Brussels was activating an explicit total ban on all products from China aimed at infants and young children and which could pose a threat of contamination.

Autism Doc's claims led to witch hunt

The man at the centre of the triple jab controversy has accused the Government of conducting a witch hunt against him.

Dr Andrew Wakefield has been pilloried by the medical establishment after he voiced fears 10 yeas ago the Measles Mumps and Rubella inoculation could cause autism in some kids it was given to.

Pistachio Nuts May Improve Heart Health

Going green may be heart healthy if the green you choose is pistachio nuts, according to researchers at Penn State who conducted the first study to investigate the way pistachios lower cholesterol.

"We investigated mechanisms of action to explain the cholesterol-lowering effects of the pistachio diets," says Sarah K. Gebauer, recent Penn State Ph.D. recipient, currently a post-doctoral research associate, USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center.

The researchers conducted a randomized, crossover design, controlled feeding experiment to test the effects of pistachios added to a heart healthy moderate-fat diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Controlled feeding experiments provide all the food eaten by study subjects for the duration of the study segment.
Pistachio nuts.
© iStockphoto
Pistachio nuts.

New research finds workers more prone to lie in E-mail

A pair of recent studies suggest that e-mail is the most deceptive form of communications in the workplace - even more so than more traditional kinds of written communications, like pen-and-paper.

More surprising is that people actually feel justified when lying using e-mail, the studies show.

"There is a growing concern in the workplace over e-mail communications, and it comes down to trust," says Liuba Belkin, co-author of the studies and an assistant professor of management at Lehigh University. "You're not afforded the luxury of seeing non-verbal and behavioral cues over e-mail. And in an organizational context, that leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and, as we saw in our study, intentional deception."

Toddlers' focus on mouths rather than on eyes is a predictor of autism severity

© Yale University
Two-year-olds with autism look less at others' eyes and more at their mouths.
Scientists at Yale School of Medicine have found that two-year-olds with autism looked significantly more at the mouths of others, and less at their eyes, than typically developing toddlers. This abnormality predicts the level of disability, according to study results published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Lead author Warren Jones and colleagues Ami Klin and Katelin Carr used eye-tracking technology to quantify the visual fixations of two-year-olds who watched caregivers approach them and engage in typical mother-child interactions, such as playing games like peek-a-boo.

After the first few weeks of life, infants look in the eyes of others, setting processes of socialization in motion. In infancy and throughout life, the act of looking at the eyes of others is a window into people's feelings and thoughts and a powerful facilitator in shaping the formation of the social mind and brain.

Africa: Cholera Outbreak Claims 18 Lives in Zamfara

No fewer than 18 people have been confirmed dead following an outbreak of cholera disease at Asako village in Bungudu Local Council of Zamfara state.

Similarly, about 100 persons have been hospitalised in relation to the outbreak of the disease believed to have been caused by the contamination of the only open dug well used by the community to access water.