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Wed, 21 Oct 2020
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United States Continues to Have Highest Level of Health Spending

The United States continues to spend the most on health care when compared to other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Health care prices and higher per capita incomes are major factors for higher U.S. spending, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Princeton University.

Compared to the average OECD country in 2004, the United States has fewer health resources - physicians, nurses and hospital beds - and lower utilization of these resources. Health spending for chronic health issues, such as obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking, also contributes to high health spending in the United States. The study is published in the September/October 2007 issue of Health Affairs.

Attention

Toxoplasma gondii turns women into sex kittens, Makes Men Stupid

A common parasite can increase a women's attractiveness to the opposite sex but also make men more stupid, an Australian researcher says.

About 40 per cent of the world's population is infected with Toxoplasma gondii, including about eight million Australians.

Human infection generally occurs when people eat raw or undercooked meat that has cysts containing the parasite, or accidentally ingest some of the parasite's eggs excreted by an infected cat.

The parasite is known to be dangerous to pregnant women as it can cause disability or abortion of the unborn child, and can also kill people whose immune systems are weakened.

Bizarro Earth

Sleeping Beauty: The hibernation diet

Hibernating animals survive the winter months in a state of torpor. Their body temperature plummets, their heart and breathing rates drop, and their metabolism changes from primarily glucose burning to fat burning. They then live on body fat reserves, sometimes for many months at a time.

Could inducing a similar state of torpor in humans also change our metabolism from glucose burning to fat burning? And if so, would this be an effective treatment for obesity?

Comment: Next step is to stop breathing and avoid aging. Forever young and slim!


Attention

Thirty years: difference in life expectancy between the world's rich and poor peoples

Life expectancy in the richest countries of the world now exceeds the poorest by more than 30 years, figures show. The gap is widening across the world, with Western countries and the growing economies of Latin America and the Far East advancing more rapidly than Africa and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Cut

'Skinny Gene' Exists

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that a single gene might control whether or not individuals tend to pile on fat, a discovery that may point to new ways to fight obesity and diabetes.

"From worms to mammals, this gene controls fat formation," said Dr. Jonathan Graff, associate professor of developmental biology and internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of a study appearing in the Sept. 5 issue of Cell Metabolism. "It could explain why so many people struggle to lose weight and suggests an entirely new direction for developing medical treatments that address the current epidemic of diabetes and obesity.

Ambulance

Analysis: Deaths From Drug Reactions Up

CHICAGO - Reports of dangerous side effects and deaths from widely used medicines almost tripled between 1998 and 2005, an analysis of U.S. drug data found.

Magic Wand

Foetal testosterone linked to autistic traits

Researchers who having been tracking a group of children since birth have found that the level of testosterone they were exposed to in the womb is linked to whether they show autistic traits throughout childhood.

The children are now 8 years old. Questionnaires filled out by their parents show that those who had experienced higher levels of testosterone in the womb generally have better pattern recognition and numerical skills, such as remembering car number plates, but are less keen on socialising. None have been diagnosed with autism, but these are traits which, when taken to an extreme, are often present in autistic children.

Magic Wand

Yawners aren't bored, they're just empathising

They might look sleepy, bored and switched off, but people with a tendency to yawn a lot actually do so because they are highly attuned to the social world around them.

Those who are prone to contagious yawning - the mysterious phenomenon by which the urge to yawn can be "caught" by watching others doing it - also have particularly high empathy for the emotions of others, research has suggested. They notice that others are yawning and then unconsciously mirror their actions.

Question

Yawning, a test of your empathy?

Today as I was riding home from campus on the bus, I was talking on the phone, and my interlocutor yawned. Almost immediately, I yawned as well. She made a joke about it, and I said that it wasn't my fault, because yawning is contagious -- when you see or hear someone yawn, you tend to yawn as well. I thought that was a well-known fact, but apparently she had never heard it, or noticed it before, so my first instinct was to prove that it was true by explaining to her why it happened. Then I realized that I had no idea why it happened. So I decided that when I got home, I would look it up. Let it never be said that I am not a geek.

Attention

Fluoride in Southern California Tap Water Puts 64,000 Kids at Risk

Four years ago, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) decided to add fluoride to the tap water of millions of Californians as of October 2007.

Since then, the American Dental Association (ADA), scientists at Harvard University, and the prestigious National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences have all raised serious concerns about the safety of fluoridated water for infants and young children.