Health & WellnessS


U.S.: Meatpacker to Shut Down in Wake of Massive Recall

Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., which issued the biggest meat recall in U.S. history last week, probably will shut down permanently, the company's general manager told The Wall Street Journal.


Web suicide predator 'discovered' - Law can do nothing!

An internet stalker who encourages children to kill themselves has been uncovered by a Berkshire woman.

Historian Celia Blay, from Maidenhead, said she came across the man when speaking to a troubled teenager.

He makes contact with vulnerable children and encourages them to take their lives while he watches them through a webcam, she said.


Premature births linked to physical abuse

Premature birth can have serious effects on the development and growth of children. In many parts of the world, preterm deliveries are increasing in frequency. In a study published in the February 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers from the University of Porto Medical School and the Hospital S. João, Porto, Portugal, found that there was a strong link between physical abuse during pregnancy and premature births.

Using a well-validated questionnaire, the Abuse Assessment Screen, 2660 Caucasian women consecutively delivered of singleton births at the Hospital S. João were surveyed to assess their experiences during pregnancy. This survey captured demographic, behavioral and obstetric data, including the type and frequency of physical abuse, if any.


Cut-off cancer patient to get $9M

LOS ANGELES - A woman who had her medical coverage canceled as she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer has been awarded more than $9 million in a case against one of California's largest health insurers.

Patsy Bates, 52, a hairdresser from Lakewood, had been left with more than $129,000 in unpaid medical bills when Health Net Inc. canceled her policy in 2004.


Stroke more prevalent in United States than in Europe

American adults have a higher prevalence of stroke than their European counterparts, due in part to a higher rate of stroke risk factors among Americans and barriers to care in the United States, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2008.

Compared to European men, U.S. men had 61 percent higher odds of having a stroke and U.S. women had almost twice the odds of stroke as European women.


Are You Sleeping in a Dangerous, Electrically Polluted Bedroom?

Vicki Warren is the program director for the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology (IBE). For more details on this exciting and growing movement, see How Bau-Biologie Can Keep You and Your Home Healthy.


Will Consumer-Driven Medicine Really Cut Health Care Costs?

One of the most common justifications for consumer-driven medicine is reduced health care costs. The reasoning here is two-fold:
1. Since they're high-deductible and low premium, consumer-driven health plans require more out-of-pocket spending. Consumers are more cost-conscious when they have to actively shell out for purchases. As a result, they will user fewer health care services - and thus overall health care costs will fall.

2. If consumers are in the driver's seat, competition in an open market will drive prices down. For-profit providers will want to offer the best deal to get the most business. Consumers will also have better information thanks to the commoditization of medicine, which will translate medical jargon into universally comprehensible knowledge. Smarter consumers translate into less over-payment for services.
This is standard-issue free market orthodoxy at its finest. Unfortunately, this isn't the whole story. In fact, there's an even stronger argument to be made that consumer-driven health plans could lead to higher health care costs.


Surrogate-Mother Business Booming In India

While medical ethicists continue to debate the morality of the practice, couples from the United States and elsewhere are increasingly turning to India for the ultimate outsource - surrogate mothers.

One such couple is Lisa and Brian Switzer. After spending seven years and $90,000 trying to get pregnant, the American couple last year engaged a surrogate in India to carry their child.


Is cabin air making us sick?

More and more pilots are reporting that air polluted by engine fumes is making them ill and even incapable of handling their aircraft. So why are passengers not being told? Charles Starmer-Smith reports.

"It was during the descent that my first officer told me he was feeling really bad and very close to vomiting. He went on to oxygen. I felt confused and five seconds later I, too, was close to vomiting. I just managed to put on my mask, after which I could hardly move. We were sitting there flying at 600 miles an hour, late at night, both of us more or less incapacitated. I could not even raise my hand; I could not talk; it was like I was paralysed."

This is not a script for a Hollywood action film but the account of Neils Gomer, a captain on a Swedish aircraft, who was almost completely incapacitated by toxic fumes. He also stated that many of the 73 passengers on the flight were so deeply asleep that it was difficult to wake them up - a fact confirmed by the accident investigator, who noted that passengers were in a "zombie-like condition". He managed to land, but said later that if he had delayed by seconds going on to oxygen the plane would have crashed.


Losing your temper can delay healing

Some say it is harmful to bottle up anger.

Now evidence has been found that suppressing rage delays healing, suggesting that anger management courses could help wounded people to leave hospital sooner.

Earlier work showed how stresses hold up healing, from the chronic stress caused by caring for a parent with dementia to the burst of hostility caused by everyday events, such as a marital spat.