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Wed, 04 Aug 2021
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Health & Wellness


Hospital Fined for Wrong-Side Surgery

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island Hospital was fined $50,000 and reprimanded by the state Department of Health Monday after its third instance this year of a doctor performing brain surgery in the wrong side of a patient's head.

Magic Wand

Researchers find mirror fools phantom limb pain

Viewing the reflected image of an intact limb in a mirror can fool the mind into thinking that a lost leg or foot still exists, dramatically relieving phantom limb pain, researchers reported on Wednesday.

At least 9 out of 10 amputees report feeling sometimes-severe pain in the missing limb, often the result of a sensation that the arm or leg is stuck in the wrong position. The sensation can be excruciating and pain drugs often do little to help.

But some studies have suggested that using a mirror to trick the mind into thinking the lost limb is still there may help. Doctors do not understand why it works, but it appears to help a confused brain reconcile sensations coming from the severed nerves.


Family says shots gave son autism

Yates, 7, loves chewing gum. He'll go through every compartment in a purse looking for it intently. He doesn't give up unless he's distracted with something else.

He loves to flush the toilet, and once he put tennis balls down the toilet so it overflowed and he could watch the water run. He's also shut the bathtub drain and turned the water on.

©Jackson Sun
This portrait of Yates was taken when he was 6 months old.


Drug firms accused of biasing doctors' training

Can the pharmaceutical industry be trusted to fund doctors' compulsory education without introducing bias? The issue is dividing Congress, academics and drugs companies. Now, preliminary data have emerged suggesting that industry-sponsored courses skew training material in favour of commercial interests.


Are your products safe? You can't tell

Take a look at your shoes, your shampoo, your carpet, your baby's bottles, even the dental sealants in your mouth. These products contain chemicals that disrupt the natural way hormones work inside of you.

The chemicals known as endocrine disruptors are all over your house, your clothing, your car. The chemicals are even in you.

They promise to make skin softer, clothes smell fresher and food keep longer. The problem is, neither the companies that make these products nor federal regulators are telling you that some of these substances may be dangerous. Many have been found to cause life-threatening illnesses in laboratory animals.

Evil Rays

Magnetic pulses to brain can treat depression: study

Stimulating the brain with rapid bursts of magnetic energy is a safe and effectively treatment for major depression, a new large-scale study has found.

The finding offers a ray of hope to the 20 to 40 percent of patients who do not respond to antidepressants and psychotherapy and to those who do not wish to treat their illness with drugs.

"This study provides new support for the efficacy of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) as a 'stand alone' treatment for depression," said John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry which will publish the study on December 1.

"This finding could be particularly important for patients who do not tolerate antidepressant medications, for whom they are not safe, or who have not benefited from other alternative treatments."

Magic Wand

The therapeutic role of melatonin in cancer worthy of study

The role of melatonin for the treatment of cancer is looking compelling, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pineal Research. Researchers say that the results are so compelling that cancer funding agencies should be eager to support clinical trials to evaluate its therapeutic role in a variety of cancers.

Melatonin is a hormone naturally found in humans. Its association with cancer has been shown in many studies assessing links between shift work and cancer rates, and shown a consistent relationship. The association between melatonin levels and cancer progression has suggested to some that melatonin may be a modifier of cancer progression. In this latest study, researchers examined all clinical trials assessing the role of melatonin as a therapy for solid tumor cancers. They used a methodology called meta-analysis, a technique of analyzing multiple studies.

The authors reviewed 10 randomized clinical trials that included a total of 643 cancer patients with a variety of different solid tumor cancers. The types of cancers involved included lung, brain, skin, renal and breast cancer. "In this analysis, the effects appeared to be consistent across studies" say the authors. The researchers examined the effect of large doses of melatonin (10-40mg/day) on survival rates at one year. Melatonin reduced the risk of death at one year by 34%. "Effects this large certainly warrant further clinical trials" say the authors. The study also showed that melatonin was predominantly safe and had a beneficial effect on sleep patterns of patients.


Sinus problems are treated well with safe, inexpensive treatment

An inexpensive, safe and easy treatment is an effective method for treating chronic nasal and sinus symptoms - more effective, in fact, than commonly used saline sprays, according to a new study from University of Michigan Health System researchers.

The study is the first of its kind to show greater efficacy of saline irrigation treatments versus saline spray for providing short-term relief of chronic nasal symptoms, the authors report. Participants in the study who were treated with irrigation experienced a much greater benefit than those who were treated with saline spray, in terms of both the severity and frequency of their symptoms.

"The irrigation group achieved a clinically significant improvement in quality of life in terms of the severity of their symptoms, whereas the spray group did not," says lead author Melissa A. Pynnonen, M.D., clinical assistant professor in the U-M Department of Otolaryngology. "Strikingly, they also experienced 50 percent lower odds of frequent nasal symptoms compared with the spray group."


People with rare type of memory loss still sensitive to others, study shows

People with a devastating brain injury that has wiped out many of their personal memories may still be able to understand other people's feelings and intentions, according to a joint study by the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Centre for Aging and the Brain, and York University's Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health.


Disturbing! FDA staff urge psych warnings for two flu drugs

U.S. Food and Drug Administration staffers are recommending new warnings about psychiatric events observed in some patients taking Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Relenza, according to documents released on Friday.

An FDA advisory panel will review the recommendations for the anti-viral influenza drugs at a meeting next week.

The FDA held a similar meeting two years ago in response to reports of a dozen deaths of children in Japan who had been taking Tamiflu.