Health & WellnessS


Ultrasound sends neurons down wrong path

The type of ultrasound used to scan babies in the womb disturbs brain cells in mouse fetuses, say researchers. The finding fuels a debate about the safety of the technique for unborn babies.

Babies in the womb are routinely scanned using high-frequency sound waves. The scans allow doctors to check on growth rates and spot developmental abnormalities.


Drug 'treats depression in hours'

An anaesthetic can treat depression within hours, US research suggests. The study involving 17 patients found ketamine - used as an anaesthetic but also taken as a recreational drug - relieved symptoms of depression.

Most existing treatments for depression take weeks or even months to relieve people's symptoms.

But the team, writing in Archives of General Psychiatry, said ketamine would need to be altered so it lost its existing hallucinatory side-effects.


Victim of drugs trial in Britain shows signs of cancer

London - One of six men who fell violently ill in March during clinical trials of a new drug has been told by his doctors that he is showing early signs of cancer, a newspaper has reported.

David Oakley, 35, from London, has been told by doctors that he is showing "definite early signs" of lymph cancer, the Mail on Sunday reported.

He has also been warned that he faces the risk of multiple sclerosis, lupus, ME, rheumatoid arthritis and other illnesses.


Antidepressants prove addictive to some

When Gina O'Brien decided she no longer needed drugs to quell her anxiety and panic attacks, she followed doctor's orders by slowly tapering her dose of the antidepressant Paxil. The gradual withdrawal was supposed to prevent unpleasant symptoms that can result from stopping antidepressants cold turkey. But it didn't work.

"I felt so sick that I couldn't get off my couch," O'Brien said. "I couldn't stop crying."

Overwhelmed by nausea and uncontrollable crying, she felt she had no choice but to start taking the pills again. More than a year later the Michigan woman still takes Paxil, and expects to be on it for the rest of her life.


Scientists take step toward obesity vaccine

Washington - A vaccine that slows down a key hunger hormone kept rats from gaining weight, even when they over ate, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

The team at The Scripps Research Institute in California cautioned that such a vaccine is a long way from being tested in human volunteers, and that it may not work in people.

But the study shed light on how hunger and weight gain work, they reported in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


No easy fix for emergency rooms, experts say

Washington- A lack of staff, space and equipment hobbles the U.S. emergency medical system and almost no steps have been taken to improve things despite numerous warnings, emergency room professionals told Congress on Wednesday.

But emergency room physicians and members of Congress alike were at a loss about what to do to fix a system that almost everyone agrees is at a breaking point.

"It isn't too clear and that is because what is required is so big," Dr. Rick Blum, an emergency room doctor from West Virginia who is president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in an interview.

"These are really problems of the healthcare system overall. Our health care delivery system is flawed." he added. "There is no band-aid for this. What is required is major surgery."


State to check on residents' health

Washington state health officials will soon start asking detailed questions about the health of some state residents - and even give them brief physical exams.

The door-to-door survey of 1,100 randomly selected households across the state will try to learn more about our health, and especially about our risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, to better target preventive educational programs.


X-rays linked to breast cancer risk

Tens of thousands of women have a dramatically increased risk of breast cancer if they have a chest X-ray, according to research.

A study found that women genetically susceptible to breast cancer were 54 per cent more likely to get the disease if they had been given a chest X-ray. If they were younger than 20 when X-rayed, the risk of contracting the disease before the age of 40 increased two and a half times.

Comment: Yaaay modern medicine!

Eye 1

Drugs firm blocks cheap blindness cure

A major drug company is blocking access to a medicine that is cheaply and effectively saving thousands of people from going blind because it wants to launch a more expensive product on the market.

Ophthalmologists around the world, on their own initiative, are injecting tiny quantities of a colon cancer drug called Avastin into the eyes of patients with wet macular degeneration, a common condition of older age that can lead to severely impaired eyesight and blindness. They report remarkable success at very low cost because one phial can be split and used for dozens of patients.


Educators promote weighing students

Little Rock - It's been two years since Arkansas schools started sending letters home to parents with their kids' report cards - letters telling them if their children were fat.

Plenty of parents weren't happy. But a lot of them did something about it.

Suddenly there were more visits to the pediatrician for talks about weight problems. Fitness class attendance is up. Diet pill use by high-schoolers is down.

And more states are following Arkansas' lead, including California, Florida and Pennsylvania, which have adopted similar programs.