Health & Wellness


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.


Early autism detection helps development

Children are being diagnosed with autism before their second birthday in a breakthrough trial that promises to save countless dollars and family heartache.


List of medications with potential safety problems

Drugs under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, what they are used for and the potential problem:

R-Gene 10, a growth hormone, pediatric overdose due to labeling/packaging confusion.

Suprane, an anesthetic, cardiac arrest.

Cymbalta, for depression and other conditions, urinary retention.

Intelence, an HIV medication, bleeding into joints.

Carac and Kuric, creams for skin conditions and fungal infections, name confusion.

Heparin, a blood-thinner, serious allergic reactions.

Extraneal, used in kidney dialysis, low blood sugars.


Infant formula from China tainted by chemical

Washington - Tainted infant formula from China may be on sale at ethnic groceries in this country, even though it is not approved for importation, federal officials warned on Thursday.

However, the Food and Drug Administration stressed that the domestic supply of infant formula is safe.

FDA officials are urging U.S. consumers to avoid all infant formula from China, after several brands sold in that country came under suspicion of being contaminated with melamine, a chemical used in plastics. Officials said there have been reports from China of babies developing kidney stones as a result. There have been no reports of illnesses in the U.S.

"We're concerned that there may be some infant formula that may have gotten into the United States illegally and may be on the ethnic market," said Janice Oliver, deputy director of the FDA's food safety program. "No infant formula from China should be entering the United States, but in the past we have found it on at least one occasion."


FDA cites brain virus with Genentech, Biogen drug

Washington - Federal regulators said Thursday one case of a deadly brain infection has been reported in a patient taking Genentech and Biogen Idec's blockbuster arthritis and cancer drug Rituxan.

The Food and Drug Administration said the woman died of the rare viral infection more than a year and a half after discontinuing the drug. Genentech and Biogen Idec comarket the drug in the U.S.

Cases of PML have previously been reported in patients taking Rituxan for unapproved uses, including blood cancer. But FDA said the latest case is the first reported in a patient taking the drug for arthritis. The drug is also approved for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

A company spokeswoman for Genentech noted the drug's label already mentions risks of the infection.


Infectious Heart Disease Death Rates Rising Again

Infectious heart disease is still a major killer in spite of improvements in health care, but the way the disease develops has changed so much since its discovery that nineteenth century doctors would not recognise it, scientists heard at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Infective endocarditis is a devastating, progressive and frequently fatal heart disease usually caused by bacterial pathogens. It was first identified in the nineteenth century and has changed beyond all recognition due to evolution of the disease itself and developments in modern healthcare such as open-heart surgery, antibiotics and new medical imaging techniques.

"In spite of these medical advances, infective endocarditis is still evolving and we are seeing new patterns of the disease and its complications. Despite all our improvements in health care, the death rate has been virtually unchanged for the last 20 years, and now seems to be rising again," said cardiologist Dr Bernard Prendergast from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, UK.


Unproven therapies used on traumatized kids: study

Many doctors and therapists use unproven approaches such as drugs, art or play therapy on children suffering trauma when old-fashioned talk therapy has been shown to work, a report released on Tuesday said.

A review of a dozen different studies showed no evidence that alternative therapies helped children traumatized by violence or abuse, even though more than 75 percent of U.S. mental health professionals who treat children and teens with post traumatic stress disorder may use them.