Health & Wellness


Kentucky: Mysterious death of ducks at Nicholasville lake

University of Kentucky animal disease experts have determined that ducks found dead at a lake in Nicholasville were killed by botulism.

The university's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center in Lexington says the botulism is the type that occurs naturally when air temperatures rise and water and oxygen levels drop in ponds.


Rodents might be behind mysterious South African disease

Johannesburg: The mysterious disease in South Africa that bleeds its victims to death, is suspected to be carried by rodents, as per the health department in the country.

Already claiming three lives and subjecting many to the isolation wards, the disease causes the patient to bleed internally as well as externally, finally leading to his or her death.


Excess Drinking Shrinks the Brain

The more alcohol you drink, the more your brain shrinks, a new study has found.

"The take-home message is that, if you drink a lot, you're going to hurt your brain," said Rajesh Miranda, an associate professor of neuroscience and experimental therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. "This is something we knew, but this is a huge study that quantifies that."


Childhood Schizophrenia Linked to Slow Brain Growth, Study Says

Schizophrenic children have slower brain growth, a government study found.

Kids with schizophrenia had growth of 1.3 percent a year in their brain's white matter compared with 2.6 percent growth in normal children, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. White matter is the tissue nerve cells use to send messages in the brain.

Previous studies had shown that gray matter, which is the part of nerve cells responsible for processing signals, also grows more slowly in schizophrenic patients.


Parkinson's linked to lack of vitamin D

Parkinson's gets progressively worse
Scientists are testing whether vitamin D supplements can ease symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

A US team found 55% of Parkinson's patients had insufficient levels of vitamin D, compared to 36% of healthy elderly people.

However, the Emory University researchers do not yet know if the vitamin deficiency is a cause or the result of having Parkinson's.

The study appears in the journal Archives of Neurology.

Comment: There is also evidence that nicotine helps prevent the types of brain damage associated with Parkinson's disease.


South Africa: Mystery disease not airborne - Medi-Clinic

The flu-like illness which has killed four people in Johannesburg is not airborne but is contracted through bodily fluids, said a spokesperson at the Morningside Medi-Clinic on Monday.

"The disease is transferable through bodily fluids and is not airborne. We want to ensure that there's no panic in the broader public... There is no outbreak at the hospital. We currently don't have patients with the same symptoms," said regional marketing manger Malinda Pelser.

Tests were not conclusive of any particular disease including viral haemorrhagic fevers.


Israeli hospital treats sick Iranian child

A 12-year-old cancer-stricken Iranian boy arrived at an Israeli hospital on Friday for emergency treatment on his brain tumor.

The boy - who was identified only as Roy, to protect his privacy - was wheeled on a stretcher into the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, after treatments in Iran and Turkey failed. His face was puffy, apparently due to the drugs administered to ease his pain.

Israel granted the child a special permit to enter the country and he arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday. The rare arrangement was mediated by an Israeli businessman of Iranian origin. The boy was accompanied to the hospital by his father and veiled mother, who were also granted special entrance permits into Israel.

Comment: As usual, the mainstream news agencies - and Israel - have to get the digs in while the digging is good. But as many SOTT readers know, the Iranian president never said that Israel should be wiped off of the map. Nor is Iran a Holocaust denier. There is a lot of deliberate misinterpretation being done in the case of Iran as in all countries who don't bow down to the West.

But the important thing here is that all of these bigotries and prejudices have been put aside for the sake of a child. Now that is wonderful.


Babies And Beethoven: Infants Can Tell Happy Songs From Sad

A new study shows that 5-month-old babies can distinguish an upbeat tune, such as "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, from a lineup of gloomier compositions.

By age 9 months, babies can do the opposite and pick out the sorrowful sound of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony from a pack of happy pieces.

The musical experiments offer another example of how babies make sense of the world long before they can talk, says Brigham Young University psychology professor and study author Ross Flom.

"One of the first things babies understand communicatively is emotion, so for them the melody is the message," Flom said. "Our study showed that by nine months, babies are categorizing songs as happy or sad the same way that preschoolers and adults do."

The results of the musical study will be published in the upcoming issue of the academic journal Infant Behavior and Development.


South Africa: Hunting Virus X

JOHANNESBURG - A virus new to humanity, or an old acquaintance dressed up in slightly new clothes, the disease that so far appears to have achieved a 100% kill rate in Johannesburg, is now up against the full might of humanity's scientific detectives.


Pollution From Livestock Farming Affects Infant Health

A new study in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics explores the effects of pollution from livestock facilities on infant health and finds that production is associated with an increase in infant mortality.

Stacy Sneeringer of Wellesley College utilized data on spatial variation in livestock operations from the past two decades to identify the relationship between industry location and infant health. As livestock production has become more concentrated in larger farms, production has become more concentrated in certain areas.

Previous studies have found that animal production can result in high concentrations of potentially harmful byproducts. Effluent from livestock farms can contaminate the groundwater and air. Certain gases associated with livestock farming have been found to be toxic and to contribute to overall air pollution levels. Livestock farming has also been associated with air-borne particulate matter.