Health & Wellness

Heart - Black

Low approval rate for vets' chemical tests claims

WASHINGTON - The Veterans Affairs Department has granted only 6 percent of health claims filed by veterans of secret Cold War chemical and germ warfare tests conducted by the Pentagon, according to figures obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

Veterans advocates called the number appallingly low.

Salmonella's Tricky Attack Plan Revealed

As the tomato scare spreads across the country, scientists have discovered how the salmonella bacteria silently builds to formidable numbers while lurking inside your body for days.

More than 380 people have been infected with a rare strain of salmonella bacteria in the recent outbreak, most likely spread by shipments of tainted tomatoes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most of the victims became ill between April 10 and June 5, and could have eaten the toxic food up to three days before they actually got sick, the CDC said.

This lag time between infection and the onset of symptoms is extremely significant, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

US: Arkansas health clinic evacuated after illnesses

LITTLE ROCK - A state-affiliated health clinic in northwestern Arkansas was evacuated on Thursday after more than 30 people were sickened with symptoms including nausea, dizziness and in some cases, uncontrollable drooling.

Lifestyle can alter gene activity, lead to insulin resistance

A Finnish study of identical twins has found that physical inactivity and acquired obesity can impair expression of the genes which help the cells produce energy. The findings suggest that lifestyle, more than heredity, contributes to insulin resistance in people who are obese. Insulin resistance increases the chance of developing diabetes and heart disease.

The study, "Acquired obesity and poor physical fitness impair expression of genes of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in monozygotic twins discordant for obesity," appears in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, published by The American Physiological Society.

Japan caught up in suicide epidemic

Japan's national police agency said on Thursday that 33,093 Japanese people committed suicide in 2007 up 3% from 2006, with depression being the main cause followed by health and debt worries.

The figure is the second worst for recorded suicides since 2003, when there were 34,427 cases and the 10th year in a row that numbers have exceeded 30,000 in a nation with a population of around 128 million. The rise also undermines government campaigns to reduce the country's suicide rate.

The number of people taking their own lives in Japan skyrocketed after the economic crisis in the late 1980s left many jobless and in debt.

Australians more obese than Americans, study finds

Australia has a higher proportion of obese people than the United States, with the health system facing a "fat bomb" unless action is taken, a study warned Thursday.

The report from the Baker Heart Institute found that 70 percent of men and 60 percent of women aged 45-65 had a body mass index of 25 or more, meaning they were overweight or obese.

Titled "Australia's Future Fat Bomb," the study compiled the results of height and weight checks carried out on 14,000 adult Australians in 2005.

The institute's head of preventative cardiology professor Simon Stewart said the results meant Australia probably had the highest rate of obesity in the world, outweighing even the United States.
Alarm Clock

US: Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies - more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there's been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town.

School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Sullivan says.

All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. "We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal says, shaking his head.

U.K. to Begin Harvesting Organs from Dead Patients Without Consent!


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced his support for the harvesting of organs from dead patients without prior consent, and said that he hopes for such a policy change to take place within the year.

"A system of this kind seems to have the potential to close the aching gap between the potential benefits of transplant surgery in the United Kingdom and the limits imposed by our current system of consent," Brown wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.

The Silence Surrounding Diagnostic Errors

Despite all of the talk about medical errors and patient safety, almost no one likes to talk about diagnostic errors. Yet doctors misdiagnose patients more often than we would like to think. Sometimes they diagnose patients with illnesses they don't have. Other times, the true condition is missed. All in all, diagnostic errors account for 17 percent of adverse events in hospitals according to the "Harvard Medical Practice Study," a landmark study that looks at medical errors.

Poll says debt stress tears at body

The stress from deepening debt is becoming a major pain in the neck - and the back and the head and the stomach - for millions of Americans.

When people are dealing with mountains of debt, they're much more likely to report health problems, too, according to an Associated Press-AOL Health poll. And not just little stuff; this means ulcers, severe depression, even heart attacks.

Take Edward Driscoll, 38, of Braintree, Mass. He blames debt - $10,000 worth - for contributing to his ulcers and his wife Kimberly's panic attacks. "Just worrying, worrying, worrying, you know, where the next payment of this is going to come from," he says.