Health & Wellness


Tough job: Volunteers needed for chocolate study

Cacao beans
©REUTERS/Daniel LeClair
A farmer shows cocoa beans at his farm outside Punta Gorda, Belize, May 31, 2007. British researchers recruiting volunteers willing to eat a bar of chocolate daily for a year, guilt-free and all in the name of science. The trial starting in June will explore whether

London - Calling all chocoholics: British researchers recruiting volunteers willing to eat a bar of chocolate daily for a year, guilt-free and all in the name of science.

The trial starting in June will explore whether compounds called flavonoids found in chocolate and other foods can reduce the risk of heart disease for menopausal women with type 2 diabetes, the researchers said on Monday.

Hair of the dog keeps children's allergies at bay

Shar Pei puppies
©REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic
A owner holds two Shar Pei puppies during an international dog show in Belgrade February 10, 2008.

London - Having a dog in the house reduces the risk that young children will develop allergies, German researchers said on Tuesday.

The finding, based on a six-year study of 9,000 children, lends weight to the theory that growing up with a pet trains the immune system to be less sensitive to potential triggers for allergies like asthma, eczema and hay fever.

Just why this should be is unclear but scientists believe youngsters may get beneficial early exposure to germs carried into the house on the animal's fur, which helps their immune systems develop.

US, California: Hepatitis Outbreak Widens

Chipotle Mexican Grill
©Scott Olson/Getty Images

San Diego - County health officials said Friday they have identified two new cases of Hepatitis A that may be linked to a Chipotle restaurant in La Mesa.

That brings the total number of cases of the disease to 14, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. Those sickened include six women and eight men, ranging in age from 23 to 55.

The Enduring Mystery of Suicide

Thomas Szasz, a Hungarian psychiatrist prominent in the anti-psychiatry movement, once called suicide "a fundamental human right." He did not mean that killing oneself is morally desirable. "It only means," he wrote, "that society does not have the moral right to interfere."

Szasz didn't say whether his icy dictum applies to children and adolescents, who continue to kill themselves by the dozen in Canada. Among the sobering body count is Nadia Kajouji, the 18-year-old Carleton University student. Her apparent suicide has triggered a debate over privacy and whether Carleton did all it could to prevent her death, and has also shone a light on the chilling phenomenon of young people snuffing out their own short lives.
Eye 1

Gene therapy 'aids youth's sight'

A 18-year-old whose sight was failing has had his vision improved in a pioneering operation carried out by doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

The London researchers used gene therapy to regenerate the dying cells in Steven Howarth's right eye.

As a result he can now confidently walk alone in darkened rooms and streets for the first time.

China steps up monitoring of deadly virus outbreak

An eastern Chinese province has introduced a daily reporting system to monitor the spread of a virus that has killed 19 children and spread panic among residents, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The enterovirus 71, or EV71, which can cause hand, foot and mouth disease, began spreading in Anhui province's Fuyang city from early March, Xinhua said, but was only publicly reported on Sunday.

Pushing the Single-Payer Solution

It's time for the candidates to stop dancing around real health-care reform and get behind a single-payer system.

As the media coverage of the Democratic presidential race continues to focus on lapel pins and pastors, America is ailing. As I travel around the country, I find people are angry and motivated. Like Dr. Rocky White, a physician from a conservative, evangelical background who practices in rural Alamosa, Colo. A tall, gray-haired Westerner in black jeans, a crisp white shirt and a bolo tie, Dr. White is a leading advocate for single-payer health care. He wasn't always.

Keep the slaves entertained: Workplace flexibility associated with reduced absences and improved job commitment

Workers who reported increased work flexibility from one year to the next also had fewer absences for illness and improved job commitment, according to new research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. In addition, these workers were less likely to say that health problems affected their job performance.

The study's results, based on a health survey completed by 3,193 employees of a large multinational pharmaceutical company, are reported in the current issue of the Psychologist-Manager Journal.

"This study provides evidence that flexibility is associated with health or well-being over time," said Joseph G. Grzywacz, Ph.D., senior author and an associate professor of family medicine. "For managers, the results suggest that implementing flexible work arrangements can contribute to the bottom-line."

The Criminalization of Raw Milk: A Mennonite Farmer is Hauled Away

On April 25, 2008, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Mark Nolt, a Wenger Mennonite (Horse and Buggy Mennonite) dairyman, threatened for months with arrest for selling raw milk without a permit was removed from his property by state troopers.

Jonas Stoltzfus, a friend, fellow farmer, and Church of the Brethen, was asked by Mr. Nolt to speak for him, and said of the raid yesterday - "Six state troopers and a man with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture trespassed onto his property, and stole $20-25,000 of his product and equipment."

UK: Mother and baby contract superbug

A mother and her newborn baby girl contracted the superbug MRSA, a hospital trust has confrimed. Razvana Ali, 19, was diagnosed with the superbug after the caesarean section at Bradford Royal Infirmary in February.

Mrs Ali, of Little Horton, suspected baby Marwha had caught the same bug when she developed a rash on her body. A spokesman for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation said: "Cases of MRSA in mums and babies are very rare and taken extremely seriously."