Health & Wellness


UK - Woman dies after being scratched by rat

A woman has died from a rare disease after she was scratched by a rat that she was trying to free from her garden bird feeder.

Carol Colburn, 56, ignored pleas from her husband to wear gloves and suffered scratches and cuts to her fingers as she struggled to free the rodent from the wire feeder. Four days later she developed flu-like symptoms, and within 48 hours she was dead. An inquest heard she had contracted Weil's disease, a severe form of leptospirosis, which is caused by bacteria found in the urine of wild animals.


Women 'more prone to nightmares'

Women experience significantly more nightmares than men and have more emotional dreams, research suggests. In a study of 170 volunteers asked to record their most recent dream, 19% of men reported a nightmare compared with 30% of women.

Researcher Dr Jennifer Parker of the University of the West of England said there was no difference in the overall number of dreams reported. Other research has shown women tend to have more disturbed sleep than men. One factor which has been linked to this is changes in a woman's body temperature during her monthly cycle.


Fatal superbug 'epidemic' risk worries Oz scientists

Melbourne - Leading scientists in Australia have warned that a drug-resistant superbug that attacks healthy teenagers, and can be fatal is posing threat to the country.

The global health threat posed by resistant staphylococcal infections, also known as MRSA superbugs, was discussed at a summit of 350 international microbiologists in Cairns on Saturday.

The experts said that the concern was mainly because of a new virulent form of the flesh-eating bug that can lead to a severe form of pneumonia, which causes death in up to 50 per cent of cases.


Gut Flora: A Digestible Account of Probiotics

© The Naked Scientists
Figure 1: A substance in porridge oats, known as beta glucans, helps gut microbes to grow.
Every morning I eat porridge, and then, as the warm oats land in my belly and their complex carbohydrates burn slowly to energise my body for hours, I develop an internal glow, albeit less radiant and a lot more natural than the orange kids in the 1980's advert for Ready Brek.


Strict Mediterranean Diet Can Help Reduce Deaths From Major Chronic Diseases

Sticking to a full Mediterranean diet provides substantial protection against major chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published on the British Medical Journal website.

©iStockphoto/Steve Weaver
The Mediterranean diet has a reputation for being a model of healthy eating. It is rich in olive oil, grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish, but low in meat, dairy products and alcohol.

A 'score' based on adherence to the Mediterranean diet could be used as an effective preventive tool for reducing the risk of premature death in the general population, say the authors.

The Mediterranean diet from populations bordering the Mediterranean Sea has a reputation for being a model of healthy eating and contributing to better health and quality of life. It is rich in olive oil, grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish, but low in meat, dairy products and alcohol.

Previous research on the Mediterranean diet suggests that it has a protective role in cardiovascular disease and cancer, but no study has reviewed all the available data for a possible association between sticking to the Mediterranean diet, premature death, and the occurrence of chronic diseases in the general population.


Is Probiotic Yakult Helpful In The Treatment Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a common feature in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and in fact may be directly related to the genesis of IBS symptoms. An ERBHAL on a lactulose breath test may indicate SIBO. Antibiotics and elemental diets have been shown to be effective in treating SIBO, but the efficacy of probiotics is untested.

A pilot study was undertaken to determine the effect of L. strain Shirota (Yakult®) on intestinal fermentation patterns of IBS patients. After 6 week of treatment with 1 x 65 mL dose of Yakult(R) daily, 9 of 14 patients (64%) completing the study had reversal of ERBHAL, with the median time of first rise increasing from 45 to 75 min (P = 0.03). Furthermore, symptoms improved in those in whom ERBHAL was corrected.

The results indicate that Yakult(R) alters fermentation patterns suggesting a reduction in SIBO. ERBHAL can also indicate rapid small intestinal transit and therefore, in order to confirm the effect of Yakult(R) on SIBO, future studies will include monitoring of transit time in addition to placebo control.


Lavender 'calms dental patients'

It soothes headaches and aids sleep - now lavender has been shown to help cope with a trip to the dentist. A study of 340 people by King's College London researchers found those exposed to lavender oil scent were less anxious about the treatment ahead.


Bisphenol A Linked to Metabolic Syndrome in Humans

New research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) implicates the primary chemical used to produce hard plastics - bisphenol A (BPA) - as a risk factor for the metabolic syndrome and its consequences.


Has American Society Gone Insane?

America's mental health problems may be more than a matter of some "unadjusted" individuals. The entire culture might well need adjusting.

For many Americans who gain their information solely from television, all critics of psychiatry are Scientologists, exemplified by Tom Cruise spewing at Matt Lauer, "You don't know the history of psychiatry. ... Matt, you're so glib." The mass media has been highly successful in convincing Americans to associate criticism of psychiatry with anti-drug zealots from the Church of Scientology, the lucrative invention of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.


Pharmaceutical drugs found in water affects 46 million Americans

Federal officials tested the waters and found pharmaceuticals in drinking water in 17 of 27 metropolitan areas they inspected. They claim at least 46 million people are affected by this drug-tainted water.

AP posted a story some months ago about trace amounts of pharmaceuticals found in drinking water. They said it affects 41 million nationwide. The federal officials investigated it after the story broke and have found even more water areas tainted with drugs.

Positive tests were reported in 17 cases, including Reno, Nev., Savannah, Ga., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Huntsville, Ala. More results are pending in three others.

These results showed at least 46 million people are exposed to drugs tainted water. Many cities have not tested their waters, though.