Health & Wellness


Mineral Oil Contamination In Humans

From a quantitative standpoint, mineral oil is probably the largest contaminant of our body. That this contaminant can be tolerated without health concerns in humans has not been proven convincingly.

The current editorial of the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology reflects on this and concludes that this proof either has to be provided or we have to take measures to reduce our exposure - from all sources, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and the environmental contamination.

In Ukraine recently around 100,000 tonnes of sunflower oil were contaminated with mineral oil at concentrations often above 1000 mg/kg. Much of the contaminated oil was withdrawn, but there are products on the market which were produced before this contamination was detected; and this autumn there are still several 10,000 tonnes of contaminated oil in Ukraine and other parts of the world. To protect consumers, a broad analytical campaign was initiated throughout Europe. The European Commission decided to apply a legal limit of 50 mg/kg to the mineral paraffins in Ukrainian sunflower oil and in September 2008 it organized a workshop together with the Official Food Control Authority of Zurich, Switzerland, to promote this campaign.

Pharmaceutical Deception - Are Prescriptions Really Safe to Take?

Drug pills
Most of us believe that prescription drugs are tested for safety. And we believe that theses tests are reviewed and drugs which are not safe are not prescribed. Yet, according to a recent review of over 900 clinical drug trials, most failed clinical trials are never published. In fact, more than half the studies showing a drug was ineffective were never published.

Sponsors seek approval by submitting a new drug application (NDA) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The application includes information about the ingredients, pharmacology, manufacturing, processing, and packaging of the drug. It also includes clinical trial information.

The FDA assumes that sponsors submit all data, including data from failed trials, so that the FDA can decide whether to approve the drug based on the sponsor´s conclusion that it is safe and effective. However, this is not the case according to a recent study.

'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.