Health & Wellness


UW study reaffirms nature's stress relieving powers

In a study that reaffirms the restorative powers of nature, researchers at the University of Washington report that for stress relief, looking outside trumps toiling away in a windowless room or viewing a digital version of that outdoor scene.

UW researchers found that plasma screens displaying an outdoor scene were about as effective as a blank wall in reducing test subjects' tension, as measured by a drop in heart rates.

'Dead' man wakes as transplant surgeons prepare to remove his organs

A man whose heart had stopped beating woke up just as surgeons were about to remove his organs for donation, it was disclosed yesterday.

Doctors in Paris earlier this year called in transplant surgeons after failing to resuscitate a 45-year old man believed to have suffered a massive heart attack in the French capital.

According to a report by the Paris university hospital's ethics committee - seen by Le Monde newspaper - doctors continued providing a heart massage for an hour and a half while they waited for the surgeons to arrive.

When the surgeons began operating on the man to remove his organs, he began to breathe, his pupils became responsive and he reacted to a pain test.

Good Dental Hygiene May Help Prevent Heart Infection

Good dental hygiene and health may be crucial in preventing heart valve infection, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In a study of 290 dental patients, researchers investigated several measures of bacteremia (bacteria released into the bloodstream) during three different dental activities -- tooth brushing, a single tooth extraction with a preventive antibiotic and a single tooth extraction with a placebo.

Chemical changes may help detect colon cancer early

British scientists said on Tuesday they had identified subtle chemical changes that allow abnormal cells to multiply out of control, a finding that could help detect colon cancer earlier.

The researchers looked at changes affecting 18 genes that play a key role in the very early stages of colon cancer and found a pattern of chemical changes in people who had pre-cancerous polyps likely to develop into a tumor.


Research Psychiatrists Fail to Report Earnings From Drug Companies

Call it a psycho conflict of interest affecting the health and lives of thousands of children, an Iowa senator has discovered 3 Harvard researchers earned millions of dollars in consulting fees from drug companies, for performing research and evangelizing antipsychotic drug use in children.

Food Dyes Linked to Hyper Kids, Group Asks FDA to Ban

DANGEROUS DYES? A food safety advocacy group claims eight dyes commonly used in food, from Lucky Charms to M&Ms, cause behavioral problems in children. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration disputed these claims in the past, it seems unlikely it will ban the artificial colorings.

Monday the Center for Science in the Public Interest formally petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban eight food dyes, including the two most common - Red 40 and Yellow 5. The United Kingdom already phased out several of these dyes.

Medical geneticist cautions against rushing into genetic testing

Just because scientific advances now allow individuals to learn their genetic make-up doesn't mean they should rush into genetic testing in hopes of making revolutionary improvements to their health, cautions a geneticist and practicing physician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"From a basic science perspective, the advances being made in genomics are important discoveries, but it's unrealistic for individuals to believe those advances can yield meaningful information that will improve their health," said James P. Evans, M.D., Ph.D., professor of genetics and medicine in the UNC School of Medicine. "And even saying 'It's not there yet' is too optimistic. It's going to be a long time before the potential is realized."

Hong Kong slaughters chickens after H5N1 bird flu virus found

Hong Kong health officials have slaughtered 2,700 chickens in a local market after five birds were found to be carrying the H5N1 bird flu virus.
Alarm Clock

New method to analyse sleep pattern

A new and "non-invasive" technique to identify a person's natural sleep pattern has been developed, university researchers have said.

Researchers from the School of Medicine at Swansea University tested the method at Cheltenham Science Festival to identify their natural pattern of wake and sleep - known as the circadian rhythm.

All that is required from the subject is a quick cheek-swab. Previously, blood samples were required to obtain the ribonucleic acid (RNA) needed for this type of research, the university said.
Evil Rays

Excessive mobile phone use affects sleep in teens

Teenagers who excessively use their cell phone are more prone to disrupted sleep, restlessness, stress and fatigue, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Gaby Badre, MD, PhD, of Sahlgren's Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden, focused on 21 healthy subjects, between 14-20 years of age, with regular working/studying hours and without sleep problems. The subjects were broken up into two groups: a control group (three men, seven women) and the experimental group (three men, eight women). The control group made less than five calls and/or sent five text messages a day, while the experimental group made more than 15 calls and/or sent 15 text messages a day. The subjects were then asked questions regarding their lifestyle and sleep habits.

Comment: The fact is that any mobile use (brief or excessive) effects the brain in quite an alarming way. Consider the following:

From Dumbing and Numbing Down: Mind Control by Cell Phone
Brainwaves change with a healthy person's conscious and unconscious mental activity and state of arousal. But scientists can do more with brainwaves than just listen in on the brain at work-they can selectively control brain function by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This technique uses powerful pulses of electromagnetic radiation beamed into a person's brain to jam or excite particular brain circuits.[...]

Not only could the cell phone signals alter a person's behavior during the call, the effects of the disrupted brain-wave patterns continued long after the phone was switched off.

"The significance of the research," he explained, is that although the cell phone power is low, "electromagnetic radiation can nevertheless have an effect on mental behavior when transmitting at the proper frequency."