Health & Wellness


Moms-to-Be Who Drink May Damage Fetus' White Matter

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can damage white matter in a fetus' frontal and occipital lobes, which play a major role in executive function and visual processing. The finding may help explain problems seen in infants whose mothers drink during pregnancy, a new study says.

"The brain's white matter is made up of nerve bundles that transfer information between brain regions," study corresponding author Susanna L. Fryer, a researcher at San Diego State University's Center for Behavioral Teratology, said in a news release.


CDC Warns of Tamiflu-Resistant Flu Bug

A flu strain now spreading in the U.S. is resistant to the flu drug Tamiflu, the CDC today warned in an official health advisory to doctors. Flu is a dangerous and sometimes deadly disease. But the Tamiflu-resistant strain isn't any more or less dangerous than other flu strains.

The Tamiflu-resistant virus is the flu bug most commonly seen so far this year. It's been detected in 12 states so far, mostly in Hawaii and Texas.

Tamiflu resistance wasn't unexpected. What was surprising was the rapid rise of Tamiflu resistance in this particular flu bug. Last year, about 11% of type A H1N1 flu bugs were resistant. So far this year, 49 out of 50 H1N1 viruses have been resistant.

Comment: Oh yeah! Get the flu shot and a big dose of poisons in the vaccine as bonus. The danger and ineffectiveness of flu vaccine have been so clearly documented that one has to wonder why our "caring" government keeps pushing it onto us. Meanwhile, they keep on ignoring many safe, effective and cheap cures such as vitamin C that have been available for a long time.


US Medical 'Conscience Rule' May Be Ethical Hot Potato

Step aside, inaugural prayer furor, a new controversy is burning -- the Bush administration's newly approved "conscience rule" for health care workers.

Under the rule, which takes effect mid-January, anyone from the brain surgeon to the pharmacy cashier can opt out of participating in care to which they have a moral or religious objection. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt described it as a rule to protect "the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience."

The Family Research Council calls the rule "an early Christmas present to pro-lifers" which will "reinforce the rights of doctors, pharmacists, technicians, and even receptionists ...


Unhealthy Coverage: How the Media Loses Its Way

"Blaming the media" is a catch-phrase that is used in almost cliché-level proportions. But when it comes to health care, a new study indicates it may be appropriate to fault media coverage for a lack of public knowledge about health care policy -- and by extension the false perception of reproductive rights as ideological "hot rods" rather than women's health concerns.

A recently-released Pew Research study conducted with the Kaiser Family Foundation monitored health coverage from January 2007 to June 2008 to determine which subjects got the most coverage, and in which media. The study was designed to be particularly broad-ranging--rather than, for instance, analyzing how TV news covers breast cancer, the study looked at how television, radio, print, online outlets and other forms of media covered everything heath-related, from specific diseases to health policy and more.

Comment: From our observations, we can safely conclude that the Powers That Be do not want the public to be aware of health related facts, and the mainstream media just follow through with it.


Cholera Outbreak in Zimbabwe Is Crossing Borders

© Sky News
Women and children collect clean water from a UNICEF truck in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Graphic images of bodies stacked in the bathrooms of crumbling Zimbabwean hospitals and of hundreds of cholera-stricken victims fleeing across the border for medical treatment in South Africa have sparked fears that the epidemic in Zimbabwe is spinning out of control.

FOX News' sister network, SKY News, has obtained disturbing video showing just how bad it is: bodies of cholera victims piled up in a bathroom in the nation's capital, Harare, and makeshift hospitals on the border of South Africa treating patients who are close to death.


Epilepsy Drug May Raise Autism Risk in Offspring

Women taking the epilepsy drug valproate while pregnant are at increased risk of delivering a child who develops autism.

The British findings, appearing in the Dec. 2 issue of Neurology, add to previous research showing that valproate and other anti-epilepsy drugs can contribute to birth defects (particularly neural tube defects).

"There's a fair amount of early data that indicates, for instance, that valproate may cause neural tube closure problems. That's an indication that valproate affects brain development," said Dr. Michel Berg, medical director of the Strong Epilepsy Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "That's an indication that valproate affects brain development. It's not surprising that it might affect other aspects of brain development."


FDA orders suicidal action warning on epilepsy drugs

Washington - Makers of epilepsy drugs must add a warning that the medicines carry a risk of suicidal thoughts or actions, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.

The companies also must develop a patient-friendly guide explaining risks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.

Analysis of 199 clinical trials of 11 anti-epileptic drugs found twice the risk of suicidal behavior or thoughts with the drugs compared to a placebo, the FDA said.


New rule for health providers stirs objections

Washington - The Bush administration, in its final days, has issued a federal rule reinforcing protections for doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions and other procedures because of religious or moral objections.

Critics of the rule say the protections are so broad that they limit a patient's right to get care and accurate information. For example, they fear the rule could make it possible for a pharmacy clerk to refuse to sell birth control pills and face no ramifications from an employer.

Under longstanding federal law, institutions may not discriminate against individuals who refuse to perform abortions or provide a referral for one. The administration's rule, issued Thursday, is intended to ensure that federal funds don't flow to providers who violate those laws.


Experts urge safety probe of plastics chemicals

U.S. regulators should examine whether a controversial class of chemicals found in many plastic products including children's toys can hurt people, a panel of experts said on Thursday.

A panel of the independent National Research Council said the scientific evidence justifies an Environmental Protection Agency assessment of the health effects from cumulative exposure to chemicals known as phthalates.

Phthalates, which make plastic products soft and flexible, have been used commercially for decades. They are different from another chemical, bisphenol A, or BPA, found in plastic products including baby bottles that has also come under health scrutiny. The Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe at current levels of exposure but plans more research.

Animal studies cited by the panel indicated that exposure to phthalates affected male reproductive system development. Some phthalates reduce levels of the male hormone testosterone. Studies also link phthalates to liver cancer, the panel said.


Truth About Give And Take In Social Situations: The More You Take The More You Lose

In everyday social exchanges, being mean to people has a lot more impact than being nice, research at the University of Chicago has shown.

Feeling slighted can have a bigger difference on how a person responds than being the recipient of perceived generosity, even if the net value of the social transaction is the same, the research on reciprocity - giving and taking - shows.

"Negative reciprocity, or taking, escalates," said Boaz Keysar, Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago and lead author of the paper "Reciprocity is Not Give and Take: Asymmetric Reciprocity to Positive and Negative Acts," published in Psychological Science. The study was based on giving-and-taking games conducted on students and people in downtown Chicago.

The games provided data on how people respond to give-and-take social exchanges.

"For instance in driving, if you are kind and let someone go in front of you, that driver may be considerate in response. But if you cut someone off, that person may react very aggressively, and this could escalate to road rage," Keysar said.