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Health

Do Jerusalem's Arabs and Jews receive a different quality of medical care?

Researchers Amit Tirosh, Bmed, Ronit Calderon-Margalit, MD, MPH, Marianna Mazar, MD and Zvi Stern, MD compared the quality of care delivered to Jewish and Arab diabetes sufferers who were admitted to four major hospital emergency rooms in Jerusalem, to evaluate whether differences existed between the two groups and, if they did, their causes, given the common basis of health insurance coverage. The researchers found significant differences. As compared to the Jewish patients, Arab patients received:

* less diet counseling
* fewer recommendations and less support for physical activity
* less guidance in performing self foot examinations
* fewer medications prescribed

Syringe

Dental Decay: The Hidden Health Crisis

Last Spring, following the death of twelve-year old Deamonte Driver of Maryland whose untreated tooth infection spread to his brain, I wrote about the national epidemic of dental disease and the lack of access to dental care faced by the poor and working class. Last month, an article in The New York Times painted a horrifying picture of the state of dental care, where bootleggers sell dentures that would otherwise be unaffordable to many people missing teeth; where low Medicaid reimbursement rates perpetuate a dearth of participating dentists; where untreated cavities are a leading cause of kids missing school, people use Krazy Glue to reattach broken teeth, or swish rubbing alcohol to treat an infection, "burning the gums and creating ulcers."

Magic Hat

The helmet that could turn back the symptoms of Alzheimer's

An experimental helmet which scientists say could reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease within weeks of being used is to be tried out on patients.

The strange-looking headgear - which has to be worn for ten minutes every day - bathes the brain with infra-red light and stimulates the growth of brain cells.

Its creators believe it could reverse the symptoms of dementia - such as memory loss and anxiety - after only four weeks.

Alzheimer's disease charities last night described the treatment as "potentially life- changing" - but stressed that the research was still at the very early stages.

Wine

Alcohol-related deaths 'rising'

The number of people in the UK dying from alcohol-related problems is continuing to rise.

Office for National Statistics figures show there were 13.4 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 population in 2006 - up from 12.9 in 2005.

The mortality rate in men (18.3/100,000) was more than twice the rate for females (8.8/100,000).

The overall death rate has almost doubled from 6.9 deaths per 100,000 people in 1991.

Syringe

University of Manitoba researcher links asthma, early vaccinations

Children who have their routine vaccinations delayed by two months or more cut their risk of asthma by half, a University of Manitoba researcher has found.

Health

New bird flu outbreak found in Northern Thailand

BANGKOK -- A new bird flu outbreak has been detected at a farm in Thailand's lower northern province Nakhon Sawan, Thai livestock officials said Thursday.

Thailand's Livestock Development Department director-general Sakchai Sriboonsue said the laboratory found the virus H1N1 in the dead chicken samples from a farm in Chumsaeng district, Nakhon Sawan on Jan. 22.

More than 4,000 chickens died suspiciously on Jan. 18 at the Sri Thai Farm and the farm owner informed local animal husbandry officials to collect samples of dead chickens for lab tests.

Health

Bird flu outbreak nears Calcutta

The bird flu epidemic in the Indian state of West Bengal has inched closer to the capital, Calcutta, with an outbreak reported close to the city.

Tests on dead birds from Balagarh, less than a two-hour drive from Calcutta, have tested positive for the disease.

Nine of the state's 19 districts have been already hit by the flu. Officials say more than 2m birds would be culled.

Pills

Update: Cold medicines offer little or no relief

Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines have recently come under fire as risky - even potentially fatal - for children under the age of 2. Now, a review of existing research suggests there is little evidence that these medications even work for either children or adults.

Bulb

An open door for manipulation: The mind and body together lean toward 'truthiness'

'Truthiness,' according to television satirist Stephen Colbert, represents the human preference to follow our intuition despite the presence of facts or evidence. For example, the more ambiguous an answer to a question, the more likely an individual will believe it is truthful.

At least that is what psychologists Rick Dale of the University of Memphis, Michael Spivey of Cornell University and the late Chris McKinstry found when they asked college students questions that ranged in levels of vagueness and tracked their corresponding arm movements to clicking 'yes' or 'no' on a computer screen.

Specifically, questions such as "is murder sometimes justifiable?" are considered ambiguous and could cause the sensation of being 'pulled' in both directions at once; however, questions like "can a kangaroo walk backwards?" have a high probability of 'no' responding.

People

Don't worry, be (moderately) happy, research suggests

Could the pursuit of happiness go too far" Most self-help books on the subject offer tips on how to maximize one's bliss, but a new study suggests that moderate happiness may be preferable to full-fledged elation.

The researchers, from the University of Virginia, the University of Illinois and Michigan State University, looked at data from the World Values Survey, a large-scale analysis of economic, social, political and religious influences around the world. They also analyzed the behaviors and attitudes of 193 undergraduate students at Illinois.

Their findings, which appear in the December 2007 Perspectives on Psychological Science, challenge the common assumption that all measures of well-being go up as happiness increases. While many indicators of success and well-being do correspond to higher levels of happiness, the researchers report, those at the uppermost end of the happiness scale (people who report that they are 10s on a 10-point life satisfaction score) are in some measures worse off than their slightly less elated counterparts.