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Thu, 07 Dec 2023
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Health & Wellness


Australia: Mystery illness plagues QFRS training facility

Queensland Health is investigating the cause of a mysterious illness that has gripped staff at the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) training facility in Brisbane's east.


US: Smog rule tightened - 345 counties fail

WASHINGTON - The air in hundreds of U.S. counties is simply too dirty to breathe, the government said Wednesday, ordering a multibillion-dollar expansion of efforts to clean up smog in cities and towns nationwide.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it was tightening the amount of ozone, commonly known as smog, that will be allowed in the air. But the lower standard still falls short of what most health experts say is needed to significantly reduce heart and asthma attacks from breathing smog-clogged air.

Smog in the US
©(AP Photo/Adam Rountree, File)
Smog covers midtown Manhattan in New York in this July 10, 2007 file photo. Some of the biggest lobbying forces in Washington are waging an intense campaign to head off tougher regulations on smog that health experts blame for hundreds of premature deaths to asthma and other respiratory diseases. The EPA within weeks will decide whether it should further reduce the allowable amount of ozone, a precursor of smog, in the air. The tougher standard would require hundreds of counties across the country to find new ways to reduce the smog-causing emissions to meet the revised federal health standard. Groups representing manufacturers, automakers, electric utilities, grocers and cement makers, met with White House officials recently in a last ditch effort to keep the health standard unchanged.

Comment: Interesting how smoking is always blamed as the key cause for respiratory diseases. Coincidence?


Scientists claim cannabis can offer hope for Alzheimer's sufferers

Cannabis: Opinion is divided over the health benefits of the plant

New cannabis-based treatments could improve memory loss in Alzheimer's sufferers, scientists claim.

One of the 400 compounds in the drug can significantly slow memory problems caused by the disease, tests show.


Protecting Yourself (Or a Loved One) in the Hospital

Julia Hallisy recently sent me her book, The Empowered Patient (PatientsafetyCA.org, 2008). It is at once one of the most pragmatic and one of the most moving healthcare books that I have ever read.

Hallisy's daughter, Kate, was diagnosed with an aggressive eye cancer when she was five months old. Over the next decade, she went through radiation, chemo, reconstructive surgery, an operation to remove her right eye, a hospital-acquired infection that led to toxic-shock syndrome and an above-the-knee amputation. Kate died in 2000. She was eleven years old.

Remarkably, The Empowered Patient is not an angry book. It is not maudlin. To her great credit, Hallisy manages to keep her tone matter-of-fact as she tells her reader what every patient and every patient's advocate needs to know about how to stay safe in a hospital.


More Education Means a Longer Life, Harvard Researcher Says

College-educated people live seven years longer on average than those who never went beyond high school, according to a Harvard University researcher.

Those who were 25 in 2000 and better educated could expect to live to the age of 82, compared with age 75 for those less educated, according to research in the journal Health Affairs. Smoking-related illnesses were more prevalent in the group with less education, accounting for about one-fifth of the mortality difference, the study found.


Third child dies of 'flu' in Hong Kong

A seven-year-old boy died in Hong Kong on Tuesday after being hospitalized late last week with a suspected strain of bird flu, national media said.

Law Ho-ming had had a fever and a persistent cough for about two weeks before being hospitalized on March 6. He was later discharged, but rushed to the emergency department at Tuen Mun Hospital on March 8. The boy lapsed into a coma and was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from swelling of the brain.


One Woman's Astonishing Experiment With Aspartame

Aspartame Rats Tumor Cancer

Victoria Inness-Brown's family was addicted to diet soda. After researching the effects of aspartame, she strongly believed the artificial sweetener might one day lead to their illness or even their early deaths.


Short-term stress as bad as long-term stress

Heated discussions with work colleagues and tight deadlines can undermine memory and learning, according to new research.

Researchers found chemicals released in response to acute stress undermined communication between brain cells involved in the formation and processing of memories.

Comment: Stress shocks the system and wears it down, as well as reducing the ability of the general populace to put two and two together, and thus understand what is being done to them. With bad times around the corner economically, it looks like an awful lot of people are likely to die because of the stress and shocks of the economy melting down.


When It Comes To Red Cabbage, More Is Better

Plant pigments called anthocyanins provide fruits and vegetables with beneficial blue, purple and red coloring. Now Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are learning more about these compounds and their absorption into the human blood stream.

red cabbage
©iStockphoto/Christine Balderas
Anthocyanins are a group of healthful compounds that fall within the flavonoid class of plant nutrients. ARS scientists have identified 36 anthocyanins in red cabbage, including eight that had never before been detected in the cabbage.


Certain Oral Contraceptives May Pose Health Risks, Study Suggests

The widely used synthetic progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) decreased endothelial function in premenopausal women in a study done at the University of Oregon. The finding, researchers said, raises concerns about long-term effects of MPA and possibly other synthetic hormones on vascular health in young women.

©J. Meendering
Jessica Meendering, right, works with a young woman who participating in a study of MPA and its effects on the brachial artery.