Health & Wellness


WHO confirms first bird flu case in Bangladesh

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday confirmed the first human case of bird flu in Bangladesh, a baby boy who has recovered, bringing the number of countries which have recorded human infections to 15.

Bangladesh authorities announced the case on Thursday, and the WHO said it had been confirmed by a laboratory at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

"The case was confirmed by CDC in Atlanta. It is the first in Bangladesh," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Reuters.

Hospital-bred Superbugs Escaping into Communities, Threatening Children

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains are becoming increasingly common outside of hospital settings and are posing an increasing risk to communities, according to research findings presented at a conference of the Federation of Infections Societies.

Irish researchers warned of bacteria that have evolved to carry enzymes called extended spectrum beta lactamases (ESBLs), because they are antibiotic-resistant. A strain of E. coli with ESBLs is thought to be responsible for an outbreak of cystitis in the UK in 2003 and 2004.

American Red Cross 'Donates' Free Gas in Exchange for Blood

As the number of people willing to donate blood has going down in recent years, the U.S. is now facing an increased demand for blood supply. Therefore, the American Red Cross has come up with a plan meant to boost the number of donors, namely they are offering free gas and other gifts to those who donate blood.

The plan is also intended to keep the high level of blood donations coming in through the summer months, as the supply usually decreases during this period of the year, because they are not able to go to high schools and recruit more donors.

FDA reviewing Pfizer anti-smoking drug after reports of bad side effects

The Food and Drug Administration is taking a closer look at Pfizer Inc's anti-smoking drug Chantix after reports of hundreds of patients experiencing serious problems, an agency official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the agency is reviewing all the reported cases. "We're are looking at them, but it takes awhile," she said in an interview.

The drug, which aims to help smokers quit their habit in part by mimicking some of nicotine's effects, has already been linked to psychiatric side effects such as depression and suicide.

Lead-tainted lunchboxes trigger $10 million fine

A San Francisco judge sent a $10 million message Tuesday to a Los Angeles company that repeatedly ignored warnings to reduce the amount of lead in its lunchbox products, two of which were found at a Hillsborough elementary school.

Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer fined T-A Creations Inc. for violations of state laws on toxic substances. The fine was issued as a "default judgment," since the company failed to appear for the hearing.

"We are shocked that a company would knowingly sell lead-tainted lunchboxes intended for California's children," said Michael Green, executive director of the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health, which filed the lawsuit leading to Tuesday's decision.

Canada: Military drug tests find 1 in 20 using

More than one in 20 Canadian soldiers and sailors in non-combat roles tested positive for illicit drug use in random tests conducted on more than 3,000 military personnel from coast to coast.

The results provided to The Canadian Press show that over a four-month period, 1,392 sailors in the navy's Atlantic and Pacific fleets and 1,673 soldiers in the army's four regions and training branch were subjected to blind drug testing.

British Kids Leading the Way in Obesity Epidemic

A recent study of 27 European countries points to the children of the United Kingdom (UK) leading the way in the obesity crisis that is sweeping the industrialized world in recent years. Almost one-third of all British children weigh more than they should.

Doctors from all across Europe report seeing a dramatic rise in obesity-related illnesses among children, including type 2 diabetes, a disease which has historically stricken overweight, middle-aged adults, and the need for children to sleep with masks to prevent suffocation caused by excessive weight blocking the airways. Doctors say measures as drastic as stomach surgery, including gastric banding, is becoming more common as children are thus treated as a means of last resort.

Video game consoles are "toxic" - Greenpeace

A Greenpeace report has called video game consoles a "toxic menace", saying they contain chemicals that could affect memory and sexual development.

Critical Pesticide Program Cut

The USDA Is Eliminating a Program That Many Groups Rely on to Track Pesticide Use and Safety - but Why?

Study identifies food-related clock in the brain

In investigating the intricacies of the body's biological rhythms, scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have discovered the existence of a "food-related clock" which can supersede the "light-based" master clock that serves as the body's primary timekeeper.

The findings, which appear in the May 23 issue of the journal Science, help explain how animals adapt their circadian rhythms in order to avoid starvation, and suggest that by adjusting eating schedules, humans too can better cope with changes in time zones and nighttime schedules that leave them feeling groggy and jet-lagged.

"For a small mammal, finding food on a daily basis is a critical mission," explains the study's senior author Clifford Saper, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Neurology at BIDMC and James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. "Even a few days of starvation is a common threat in natural environments and may result in the animal's death."