Health & Wellness


Zebrafish may help solve ringing in vets' ears

Ernest Moore, an audiologist and cell biologist at Northwestern University, developed tinnitus -- a chronic ringing and whooshing sound in his ears -- twenty years ago after serving in the U.S. Army reserves medical corps. His hearing was damaged by the crack of too many M16 rifles and artillery explosions. He suspects his hearing also suffered from hunting opossum with rifles as a kid on his grandmother's farm in Tennessee.

Ever since his ears began ringing, Moore has been researching a cure. He's at the forefront of just a small band of such scientists in the country. There's a lot riding on his work.

Half of the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan exposed to explosive devices suffer from tinnitus. The major cause is exposure to loud noises, which can damage and destroy hair cells of the inner ear. It's the number one war-related disability.

Nearly 400,000 troops collected disability for service-related tinnitus in 2006, which cost $539 million in 2006. The number climbs nearly 20 percent each year. It could hit $1 billion by 2011, according to the American Tinnitus Association.
Evil Rays

Patients endangered in 'secret science' trials of risky blood substitutes

U.S. and Canadian regulatory rules allowed companies to conduct "secret science" that jeopardized the lives and health of hundreds of people who took part in clinical trials for a human blood substitute, even though earlier tests had shown the existing products were dangerous, researchers reported Monday.

A review of data from 16 clinical trials showed people who got blood substitutes were 30 per cent more likely to die than those who did not. And the risk of heart attack in patients who received the products was nearly three times higher, according to the study.
Eye 1

Delusions 'haunt' sick children

Children Intensive Care
Children had few real memories of their time in intensive care

One in three children admitted to intensive care will suffer powerful and frightening hallucinations which stay with them, say UK researchers.

A study of 100 children found those who had hallucinations were more likely to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder three months later. The "delusional memories" may be linked to medication, such as painkillers and sedatives, the researchers said.
Arrow Up

Drug resistant TB 'rising in UK'

TB bacteria
TB bacteria are fighting back against drugs

Drug resistant tuberculosis is posing a growing threat in the UK, probably fuelled by immigration, say experts. A Health Protection Agency team examined 28,620 TB infections in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 1998 and 2005.

They found the proportion of cases resistant to any of the first-line drugs rose from 5.6% to 7.9%. The British Medical Journal study also found a small increase in cases of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).

Keyboards 'dirtier than a toilet'

Some computer keyboards harbour more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat, research has suggested.

Consumer group Which? said tests at its London offices found equipment carrying bugs that could cause food poisoning.

Out of 33 keyboards swabbed, four were regarded as a potential health hazard and one harboured five times more germs than one of the office's toilet seats.

Mystery leak leaves 55 sick in Spain: fire service

Barcelona - Fifty-five people became sick Monday after inhaling an unidentified substance at an industrial park outside Barcelona, the fire service said.

Most of those treated for vomiting and sore eyes worked at a factory producing DVDs and CDs, according to the interior ministry of the regional Catalan government said.

A health alert was first issued at around 6:20 am local time (0420 GMT) at the Rubi industrial park in a suburb of Barcelona when workers noticed a strong odour and some became sick.


Intestinal virus kills at least 21 children in China

Beijing - An outbreak of intestinal virus in eastern China has claimed the lives of at least 21 children and the number of reported cases has risen to nearly 2,500, the official Xinhua News Agency said Friday.
Magic Wand

Night club drug could ease depression: scientists

London - Scientists have unraveled how a horse tranquilizer and hallucinogenic night club drug known as "Special K" can ease depression, researchers said on Friday.

Ketamine, which can also cause feelings of detachment, could pave the way for new treatments for people suffering from depression, the researchers added.

U.S. Health Care Gets Boost From Charity

One of the decisive issues in the presidential campaign is likely to be health insurance. Texas and Ohio vote on Tuesday, and those states alone have nearly seven million uninsured residents; nationwide, 47 million have no health insurance. But that's just the start: millions more are underinsured, unable to pay their deductibles or get access to dental care.

Recently, 60 Minutes heard about an American relief organization that airdrops doctors and medicine into the jungles of the Amazon. It's called Remote Area Medical, or "RAM" for short.

As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, Remote Area Medical sets up emergency clinics where the needs are greatest. But these days, that's not the Amazon. This charity founded to help people who can't reach medical care finds itself throwing America a lifeline.

Doctors to reassess antibiotics for 'chronic Lyme' disease

HARTFORD, Conn. - Patients who believe they suffer long-term problems from Lyme disease are claiming victory over a national doctors group. The Infectious Diseases Society of America has agreed to review its guidelines, which say there's no evidence long-term antibiotics can cure "chronic Lyme" disease - or even that such a condition exists.