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Mon, 24 Apr 2017
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Health & Wellness


Overweight American Children and Adolescents Becoming Fatter

Overweight American children and adolescents have become fatter over the last decade, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and National Institute on Aging (NIA). They examined adiposity shifts across socio-demographic groups over time and found U.S. children and adolescents had significantly increased adiposity measures such as body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and triceps skinfold thickness (TST).

The increases in adiposity were more pronounced in some sex-ethnic groups such as black girls. In addition, these groups gained more abdominal fat over time, which was indicated by waist size and posed greater health risks than elevated BMI. Their results are featured in the August 2010 issue of the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.


The Hidden Cost of Smiling - Smiles Brighten Our Lives, But What's Lost in the Glare?

© Unknown
Psychologically-informed reflections on how we interact

Americans are over-socialized to smile. They smile upon introduction, smile at work, smile when their eyes meet accidentally on the street, and smile when they run for office. This seems a small matter, but it may help illustrate issues of greater importance.

First, humans at their core are not designed to deal with empty expressions. We are wired biologically to produce and interpret facial gestures as representations of certain internal states. All around the world, basic emotions such as fear, anger, and happiness are represented by--and readily inferred from--the same corresponding facial expressions. This is why we find it hard to comprehend the behavior of a psychopath. For the psychopath, by definition, gestures are severed from their natural underlying meaning. The psychopath doesn't smile to convey emotion, but merely to further his agenda.


Antibiotics on the Verge of Becoming Completely Useless

© binalshah.wordpress.com
The journal Lancet Infectious Diseases recently published a sobering piece about how antibiotics are becoming wholly ineffective as treatments for infection. According to the report, even the most powerful antibiotics available are largely inadequate at tackling the emerging forms of new and powerful "super" bacteria.

Antibiotic overuse has become a pandemic problem. They are used in animal feed to make animals grow more quickly and they are handed out like candy by many doctors to people with almost any ailment. And they are simply not working anymore to fight infection.


How Would You Fancy Cloned Beef?

© Alamy
Beef cattle in Britain
The news that modified meat has entered the food chain has left consumers with a nasty aftertaste, says Joanna Blythman.

The men in white coats are out in force, assuring us that milk and meat from cloned cattle presents no risk to human health. It's just food like any other food, they say. However, the Food Standards Agency seems startled, as though it has been roused from its bed in the middle of the night. It agrees that cloned food is safe to eat - or, rather, it prefers to hedge its bets, saying that there is no evidence to the contrary. Its only objection to the cloned milk and meat that has slipped silently into our food appears to be bureaucratic: the necessary forms have not been filled in nor permissions sought.

Consumers, on the other hand, can't get rid of the persistent, queasy feeling that there is something disturbing about food from clones. This isn't a uniquely British attitude, another expression of our dewy-eyed fondness for cuddly pets. Only last month, the European Parliament voted to ban cloned meat and milk. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration has been attacked by consumer and environmental groups for approving cloned food without adequate safety checks.

Red Flag

Drug Recalls Way Up In 2009

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that 426 prescription and over-the-counter drugs were recalled. In 2009, that number surged to 1,742, according to a report on NJ.com, which cited the Gold Sheet. The Gold Sheet is a trade publication analyzes FDA data.

Drug repackager Advantage Dose - which has since closed down - was linked to over 1,000 of 2009's recalls, said NJ.com. But even taking Advantage Dose out of the analysis, recalls increased by a massive 50 percent last year. And, there is no slow down in sight, noted NJ.com.

From January to June of this year, 296 drugs have been recalled, said Bowman Cox, managing editor of the Gold Sheet, wrote NJ.com. "If we continue at this same rate, we could get 600 or more recalls by the end of the year," Cox said. "That's still a very high rate of recalls," quoted NJ.com. "We've seen a trend where the last four years are among the top five for the most number of drug recalls since we began tallying recalls in 1988," said Cox, quoted NJ.com "That's a meaningful development," added Cox.


Why are Food Allergies on the Rise?

Ethan Wily, center, is allergic to certain nuts. His parents, Preston and Jen, are concerned about their next child.
Two-year-old Ethan Wily had a cold recently, so at first it wasn't surprising that he started coughing last week after eating some pistachio gelato.

But he started coughing up mucus, and then gasping for air. His parents gave him an antihistamine, but it didn't stop the reaction. By the time the boy's parents brought him to their local hospital, he could barely breathe.

"His face was really swollen. He looked like an alien," said Ethan's father, Preston Wily of Lehi, Utah. "We didn't have any idea an allergy could be so bad."

He said the child had shown only a somewhat mild reaction to peanuts before this.
It seems like more and more children in the U.S. are developing food allergies, and there's data to back that up. The number of kids with food allergies went up 18 percent from 1997 to 2007, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 3 million children younger than 18 had a food or digestive allergy in 2007, the CDC said.

Scientists are still trying to figure out why food allergies seem to be on the rise, especially in industrialized countries such as the United States. Are children not getting exposed to enough bacteria? Should they eat common allergens such as nuts and shellfish at an earlier age?

Comment: With the continuing poisoning of the environment and food supply, is it any surprise that food allergy is sharply increasing? Check out our forum where we gather and discuss the best ways to protect our health from the onslaught of the environmental toxins.

Related articles:
Are Kids' ER Visits for Food Allergies on the Rise?
Gut Bacteria Reflect Dietary Differences
Food Allergies Get Curiouser and Curiouser
Cigarette Smoke Can Prevent Allergies, Study Suggests


UN Identifies Medical Use of Radiation as Main Source of Human Exposure

The use of radiation in medicine accounts for most human exposure to ionizing radiation, according to a report issued on 17 August by the United Nations scientific committee on the effects of atomic radiation.

"Medical exposures account for 98% of the contribution from all artificial sources and are now the second largest contributor to the population dose worldwide, representing approximately 20% of the total," the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) said in a summary of the report to the UN General Assembly.

Radiation produces toxic free radicals when absorbed by the body. Exposure to high levels can cause substantial damage to human body tissues, and may lead to death. Prolonged exposure to lower levels is also associated with an increased risk of ill-health.

The UNSCEAR report was discussed at a press conference today on the sidelines of the Committee's four-day 57th session, which got under way yesterday at the Vienna International Centre.

The findings of the report, based on data collected from 1997 to 2007, showed that about 3.6 billion X-ray examinations were performed each year, an increase of more than 40%, or 1.1 billion, from the previous decade.


New Research Fuels Skepticism (and Questions) About ADHD Diagnoses

© Don Kelsen/Los Angeles Times
New research raises questions about the number of ADHD diagnoses among children; many, the studies suggest, may simply be immature.
Suspicion has long existed that maybe a significant percentage of kids diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder were really just livelier than was warranted for a classroom environment. Or, rather, immature.

As staff writer Melissa Healy noted about a previous study detailed in the article Growing up with, and out of, ADHD:
"Researchers found it is the can't-sit-still kids -- the stereotype of the 'ADHD generation' -- who are most likely to mature out of the disease. Among those with persistent ADHD, they also found, half have problems with cognitive skills that are key to success in adulthood, but half have no such deficits."
Now research backing up such suspicion is growing, beginning to solidify into a less-than-reassuring picture about how kids have been assessed. And labeled. And treated.


FDA Raises Concerns About Fibromyalgia Drug

Washington - The Food and Drug Administration raised safety concerns about a proposed Jazz Pharmaceuticals Inc. drug to treat the pain disorder fibromyalgia, including the potential for misuse and abuse of the product.

The drug, which is currently sold under the brand name Xyrem to treat narcolepsy, faces a review Friday during a joint meeting of the FDA's arthritis and drug-safety advisory committees. The FDA posted background documents prepared for the meeting on its website Wednesday.

Xyrem is known by its generic name, sodium oxybate. However, the company is proposing to sell the product as Rekinla to treat fibromyalgia. It would be dosed in a different manner than currently used for narcolepsy, a condition marked by excessive daytime sleepiness.

Sodium oxybate is sold as part of a controlled distribution system through a central pharmacy that was designed to limit abuse and misuse of the product. In an illegal form, sodium oxybate is known as the street drug GHB.


Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation

Positive brain changes take hold after just 11 hours of practicing a form of meditation, the results of a new study suggest.

The study included 45 University of Oregon students who were randomly selected to be in either a study group that did integrative body-mind training (IBMT) or a control group that did relaxation training. IBMT was adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s.

A comparison of scans taken of the students' brains before and after the training showed that those in the IBMT group had increased brain connectivity. The changes were strongest in connections involving the anterior cingulate, an area that plays a role in the regulation of emotions and behavior, Yi-Yuan Tang of Dalian University of Technology in China, University of Oregon psychologist Michael I. Posner, and colleagues found.

The boost in brain connectivity began after six hours of IBMT and became more apparent after 11 hours of practice, according to the report published in the Aug. 16-21 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Comment: Losing Focus? Studies Say Meditation May Help