Health & Wellness

Heart - Black

Forced fights at Corpus Christi State School raise disturbing questions

Austin - Cellphone videos of Corpus Christi State School employees forcing mentally disabled residents into late-night prize fights have left Texas families and advocates for people with disabilities in search of answers - not just about security but about human nature.

How can one human being treat another in such a wicked way? Experts disagree on the roots of such abuse. It might be a byproduct of the stressful situations people are in. It could also be innate sadism.

But they concur that the formula at Texas' 13 institutions for the disabled - young, inexperienced and underpaid workers in charge of the state's most vulnerable residents - lays the groundwork for disaster.

"Left alone, human beings will engage in the most surprising kinds of misconduct and adjust their mentality to fit," said David Crump, a University of Houston Law Center professor who specializes in the psychology of evil behavior. "We should expect this unless we take concrete and meaningful steps to prevent it.


Toxoplasmosis linked to schizophrenia

Leeds, England -- British scientists say toxoplasmosis parasite may trigger the development of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.

The team from the University of Leeds shows the parasite may play a role in the development of the disorders by affecting the production of dopamine -- the chemical that relays messages in the brain controlling aspects of movement, cognition and behavior.


Chemical traces found in child bath items

Washington -- Dozens of top-selling children's bath products are contaminated with trace amounts of cancer-causing chemicals, a U.S. health advocacy group says.

Officials of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics says it commissioned an independent laboratory to test 48 children's bath products that documented the widespread presence of both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.

The chemicals were not disclosed on product labels because contaminants are exempt from labeling laws, officials of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said.


Baby bottle chemical is removed

The makers of babies' bottles in the US are to remove a controversial chemical from their products, amid growing concern over its possible effects.

The six manufacturers say they are reacting to consumer demand by removing Bisphenol A (BPA) from their bottles.

But they will continue selling bottles containing BPA in the UK, a decision which has angered campaigners.


S. C. Johnson to Cleanse Phthalates from Their Household Products

The mammoth manufacturer promises to disclose all ingredients by 2012

A top manufacturer of household cleaners announced plans yesterday to eliminate a controversial plastics additive from its brand and voluntarily disclose all product ingredients.

S.C. Johnson - maker of Windex, Shout and Glade - said that it has begun working with its suppliers to end the use of phthalates, which soften plastics.

The move comes as lawmakers are debating regulations for many industrial chemicals as research suggests potentially serious health impacts. Phthalates, for example, interfere with hormones and have been linked to genetic abnormalities in baby boys.

Congress passed a bill last year banning certain phthalates in toys as part of a broad consumer-protection bill, and some states are considering bans on the chemical in children's products


Our Pigs, Our Food, Our Health

The late Tom Anderson, the family doctor in this little farm town in northwestern Indiana, at first was puzzled, then frightened.

He began seeing strange rashes on his patients, starting more than a year ago. They began as innocuous bumps - "pimples from hell," he called them - and quickly became lesions as big as saucers, fiery red and agonizing to touch.

They could be anywhere, but were most common on the face, armpits, knees and buttocks. Dr. Anderson took cultures and sent them off to a lab, which reported that they were MRSA, or staph infections that are resistant to antibiotics.


Drink Green Tea For Healthy Teeth And Gums

© Stockphoto/Ron Hohenhaus
Recent study suggests that antioxidants in green tea may help reduce periodontal disease.
With origins dating back over 4,000 years, green tea has long been a popular beverage in Asian culture, and is increasingly gaining popularity in the United States. And while ancient Chinese and Japanese medicine believed green tea consumption could cure disease and heal wounds, recent scientific studies are beginning to establish the potential health benefits of drinking green tea, especially in weight loss, heart health, and cancer prevention.

A study recently published in the Journal of Periodontology, uncovered yet another benefit of green tea consumption. Researchers found that routine intake of green tea may also help promote healthy teeth and gums. The study analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men, and found that those who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects that consumed less green tea.


Paraplegic Man Suffers Spider Bite, Walks Again


Brown Recluse Spider
Manteca, California -- He has been confined to a wheelchair for 20 years. Now a paraplegic man is walking again, and his doctors call it a miracle. CBS13 went to Manteca to find out how a spider bite helped get him back on his feet.

"I closed my eyes and then I was spinning like a flying saucer," explains David Blancarte.

A motorcycle accident almost killed David 21 years ago. At the time he might have wished he was dead.

"I asked my doctor, 'Sir what happened? I can't feel my legs'," said David.

Ever since, David's been relying on his wheelchair to get around. Then the spider bite. A Brown Recluse sent him to the hospital, then to rehab for eight months.

"I'm here for a spider bite. I didn't know I would end up walking," says David.

Bad Guys

FDA Scientists Accuse Agency of Corruption, Intimidation

A group of nine FDA scientists has sent letters to top politicians, accusing agency managers of intimidating and coercing scientists into changing or suppressing scientific data. In October, the scientists sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In early January, they sent another to then-president-elect Barack Obama.

The medical device review process, in particular, has been "corrupted and distorted by current FDA managers, thereby placing the American people at risk," the letter to Obama reads.


Music lessons provide a workout for the brain

© Stock.xchng/Dikmorales
Regular keyboard practice has been found to improve manual dexterity and discrimination of sounds.

Scans of the brains of child musicians before and after musical training have yielded compelling evidence that proficiency and skill relies on hard graft, not innate genius.

Earlier studies have shown that adult musicians have different brains to adult non-musicians. But the latest results settle arguments about whether the brain differences were there from birth, or developed through practice.

"This is the first paper showing differential brain development in children who learned and played a musical instrument versus those that did not," says Gottfried Schlaug of Harvard Medical School.

Schlaug's team tested musically untrained six-year-olds from the Boston area, 15 of whom then received weekly keyboard lessons for 15 months, and 16 of whom didn't. When they compared magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans taken before and after for both groups, they found that auditory and motor areas of the brain linked respectively with hearing and dexterity grew larger only in the trainee musicians.