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Sat, 13 Feb 2016
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Bug

Thirteen die after C. diff outbreak at East Sussex hospital

Thirteen patients have died after an outbreak of C. diff at Eastbourne District General Hospital in East Sussex.

Three died as a direct result of clostridium difficile while the bug was linked to a further 10 deaths at the hospital.

A further 17 patients are still being treated for the fatal infection.

The deaths were revealed at a press conference following a week of ward closures as the hospital battles to contain the problem.

A special isolation ward has been opened and patients were last week diverted to other sites up to 30 miles away for operations while cleaning work is carried out.

Nuke

People died at Three Mile Island

People died---and are still dying---at Three Mile Island.

As the thirtieth anniversary of America's most infamous industrial accident approaches,
© na
we mourn the deaths that accompanied the biggest string of lies ever told in US industrial history.

As news of the accident poured into the global media, the public was assured there were no radiation releases.

That quickly proved to be false.

Health

Rehab centers see bankers driven to drink

Cocaine and martinis On Wall Street? Nothing new there. Masters of the Universe admitting they have an alcohol problem? Not so common.

Experts say more and more people in finance are seeking treatment for addiction as the global economic crisis sinks its teeth into a high-stakes industry where confidence is the name of the game and nobody wants to admit to a weakness.

"We absolutely do see more people coming in naming either a job loss or huge financial reversals or big investments with Bernie Madoff," said Sigurd Ackerman, medical director at Silver Hill Hospital rehabilitation facility in New Canaan, Connecticut.

"They're being admitted with depression or increases in substance abuse, or both."

Ackerman said there was a high concentration of financial professionals in the town, 40 miles from New York, whose main streets are lined with high-end boutiques catering to the well-heeled wives of hedge fund managers and bankers.

Heart - Black

Dirty Equipment May Have Infected Veterans With HIV

More than 3,200 veterans asked to visit their doctor

Doctors at a Miami Veterans Administration hospital may have operated on over 3,200 patients with dirty equipment that may have infected them with deadly diseases.

Officials said Monday colonoscopy patients should meet with a doctor to get screened for HIV, hepatitis and other diseases. That's probably not the best way to pay back people who laid their life on the line for this country.

Health

Steak and hot dogs linked to early death

Image
© Soren Hald/Taxi/Getty
Consuming lots of red and processed meats increases the chances of dying within a 10-year period

It gives a new meaning to the phrase "meat is murder": a study of more than half a million Americans has found that consuming steaks, hot dogs and other red and processed meats significantly increased participants' chances of dying during the decade in which they were tracked.

Women who consumed the most red meat - 66 grams (2.3 ounces) per 1000 calories - were roughly 36% more likely to die than women who ate the least red meat - 9.1 grams (0.3 ounces). For men, a similar difference in red meat consumption, upped death rates by 31%.

To put it the other way around, the researchers say that 11% of deaths in men and 16% of deaths in women could be prevented if people who eat a lot of red meat cut their consumption.

"This is probably the biggest and most carefully done study on the relationship between diet and mortality that I've seen," says Barry Popkin, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the study.

Health

HIV-TB 'double trouble' warning

One in four TB deaths is HIV-related, twice as many as previously recognised, experts say.

Co-infection remains a major challenge and more efforts are needed to spot and treat the two conditions in tandem, says the World Health Organization.

HIV and tuberculosis services must be joined up if we are to achieve global disease control, warn disease experts.

Despite TB killing more people with HIV than any other disease, in 2008 only 1% of people with HIV had a TB screen.

Arrow Down

Increasing Number of Americans Have Insufficient Levels of Vitamin D

Average blood levels of vitamin D appear to have decreased in the United States between 1994 and 2004, according to a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Clinicians previously believed the major health problems associated with vitamin D deficiency were rickets in children and reduced bone mineral content in adults, conditions reduced by fortifying foods with vitamin D, according to background information in the article. More recently, insufficient vitamin D levels have been associated with cancer, heart disease, infection and suboptimal health overall. Evidence suggests that levels of 30 nanograms per milliliter to 40 nanograms per milliliter may be needed for optimum health.

"Vitamin D supplementation appears to mitigate the incidence and adverse outcomes of these diseases and may reduce all-cause mortality," the authors write. However, currently recommended levels of supplementation - 200 international units per day from birth to age 50, 400 international units per day from age 51 to 70 and 600 international units per day for adults age 71 and older - focus primarily on improving bone health. In addition, decreases in outdoor physical activities and successful campaigns to reduce sun exposure may have contributed to vitamin D insufficiency, since sunlight exposure is a main determinant of vitamin D status in humans.

Sherlock

Gulf War Veterans Display Abnormal Brain Response To Specific Chemicals

A new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers is the first to pinpoint damage inside the brains of veterans suffering from Gulf War syndrome - a finding that links the illness to chemical exposures and may lead to diagnostic tests and treatments.

Dr. Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, said the research uncovers and locates areas of the brain that function abnormally. Recent studies had shown evidence of chemical abnormalities and shrinkage of white matter in the brains of veterans exposed to certain toxic chemicals, such as sarin gas during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The research, published in the March issue of the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, enables investigators to visualize exact brain structures affected by these chemical exposures, Dr. Haley said.

"Before this study, we didn't know exactly what parts of the brain were damaged and causing the symptoms in these veterans," he said. "We designed an experiment to test areas of the brain that would have been damaged if the illness was caused by sarin or pesticides, and the results were positive."

Butterfly

Leave No Child Inside

We could improve children's health, reduce crime and build a smarter workforce simply by fully funding parks and recreation at every level of government. Sound crazy? Maybe. But sometimes we miss a simple solution when it is staring us in the face.

We all know that children's chronic health issues -- obesity, ADHD, heart issues, diabetes -- are growing, so much so that Robert Wood Johnson researchers report that the United States has the potential of raising the first generation of children to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.

No wonder. Obesity in children increased from about 4 percent in the 1960s to close to 20 percent in 2004. ADHD diagnoses increased by 33 percent between 1997 and 2002. Kids (and adults) are spending less and less time outdoors.

Beer

Drinkers' Red Face May Signal Cancer Risk

People whose faces turn red when they drink alcohol may be facing more than embarrassment. The flushing may indicate an increased risk for a deadly throat cancer, researchers report.

The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry - Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.

The deficiency results in problems in metabolizing alcohol, leading to an accumulation in the body of a toxin called acetaldehyde. People with two copies of the gene responsible have such unpleasant reactions that they are unable to consume large amounts of alcohol. This aversion actually protects them against the increased risk for cancer.

But those with only one copy can develop a tolerance to acetaldehyde and become heavy drinkers.

"What we're trying to do here is raise awareness of this risk factor among doctors and their ALDH2-deficient patients," said Dr. Philip J. Brooks, an investigator with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and an author of the report published on Monday in the journal PLoS Medicine. "It's a pretty serious risk."