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Sun, 28 May 2023
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Health & Wellness


H1N1 Tamiflu Resistance Rises in US

Today's CDC media update raised issues for all three seasonal flu serotypes. 93% of influenza B isolates was B/Yamagata/26/88, which doesn't match the vaccine strain (B/Victoria02/87). 87% of the H3N2 was A/Brisbane/10/2007, which doesn't match the vaccine strain (A/Wisconsin/67/2005). H1N1 did match the vaccine strain (Solomon Island/3/2006), but 8.1% was Tamiflu resistant in the United States. Moreover the incidence of flu positives was above the epidemic threshold for the four week in a row. Last week it rose dramatically above the threshold.


Thou shalt not smoke: WHO Launches Global Anti-Smoking Project

Tobacco could kill up to a billion people during the 21st century, as cigarette sales soar in poor and middle-income countries even as they drop in wealthier ones, says a report issued Thursday by the World Health Organization.

The report, financed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's foundation, suggests a six-point program for fighting the tobacco industry's influence.


Video Games Normalize Killing, Doctors Say

Playing video games increases aggression in some children and young adults and normalizes killing, some doctors said.


SAfrica Questions Circumcision Advice

Cape Town, South Africa - South Africa's health minister took another controversial foray into the AIDS debate Thursday by questioning international medical studies that say circumcision helps reduce HIV infections in men.

"She remains a minister who is addicted to folly," Lewis said in an interview from Canada. "There is overwhelming scientific evidence that male circumcision is one of the important ways of preventing transmission of the virus. This is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt."
Maybe there is no shadow of doubt in Lewis's mind, but what the article does not mention is that there is indeed doubt among several researchers.

Read this thread on the forum: Bogus Evidence That Male Circumcision Prevents HIV Spread

Other articles of interest:
Circumcision does not affect HIV in U.S. men
Male genital mutilation could save millions from HIV infection, AIDS conference told - and be an almost unlimited source for Western facial cream
Male circumcision overstated as prevention tool against AIDS

Magic Wand

Study: Acupuncture May Boost Pregnancy

It sounds far-fetched - sticking needles in women to help them become pregnant - but a scientific review suggests that acupuncture might improve the odds of conceiving if done right before or after embryos are placed in the womb.


Study finds high levels of chemicals in infants using baby cosmetics

Babies exposed to lotion, shampoo and powder had more than four times the level of phthalates in their urine as those whose parents had not used the products. Previous research found that the substances altered the children's hormones.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration OKs heart valve made from human tissue

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first replacement heart valve made from donated human tissue in which the cells have been removed.

Traditionally, when human tissue is recovered from a cadaver for future implantation, it is inspected, cleaned and decontaminated to prevent infection, but the allograft (human) product remains otherwise unchanged.

The FDA said CryoLife Inc. has added a manufacturing step to its CryoValve SynerGraft Pulmonary Valve and Valved-Conduit Allograft that removes the tissue's cells and cellular debris.

What remains is a scaffold of connective tissue that still functions like a human heart valve, potentially lowering the risk of an immune response and subsequent tissue rejection, the FDA said.

Evil Rays

Heavy cell phone use tied to poor sperm quality

Spending hours on a cell phone each day may affect the quality of a man's sperm, preliminary research suggests.


10 Myths About Canadian Health Care, Busted

2008 is shaping up to be the election year that we finally get to have the Great American Healthcare Debate again. Harry and Louise are back with a vengeance. Conservatives are rumbling around the talk show circuit bellowing about the socialist threat to the (literal) American body politic. And, as usual, Canada is once again getting dragged into the fracas, shoved around by both sides as either an exemplar or a warning -- and, along the way, getting coated with the obfuscating dust of so many willful misconceptions that the actual facts about How Canada Does It are completely lost in the melee.

I'm both a health-care-card-carrying Canadian resident and an uninsured American citizen who regularly sees doctors on both sides of the border. As such, I'm in a unique position to address the pros and cons of both systems first-hand. If we're going to have this conversation, it would be great if we could start out (for once) with actual facts, instead of ideological posturing, wishful thinking, hearsay, and random guessing about how things get done up here.

To that end, here's the first of a two-part series aimed at busting the common myths Americans routinely tell each other about Canadian health care. When the right-wing hysterics drag out these hoary old bogeymen, this time, we need to be armed and ready to blast them into straw. Because, mostly, straw is all they're made of.


New Way to Kill Viruses: Shake Them to Death

Scientists may one day be able to destroy viruses in the same way that opera singers presumably shatter wine glasses. New research mathematically determined the frequencies at which simple viruses could be shaken to death.