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Wed, 04 Oct 2023
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Health & Wellness


US: Hospital 'Code Blue' Deadlier at Night

Chicago, Illinois - Many hospitals call it "code blue," a signal given over the intercom when a patient's heart has stopped. When code blue works well, a team speeds to the bedside and revives the patient. The graveyard shift is the worst time to call code blue, a new study finds. Patients who go into cardiac arrest while in the hospital are more likely to die if it happens after 11 p.m., when staffing may be lower or patients watched less closely.


Many Pharmacy Lawsuits Settled Quietly

Chanda Givens wanted to ensure the health of her unborn child when she became pregnant last February. Her doctor prescribed a prenatal vitamin, Materna. But instead, a Walgreens store in suburban St. Louis gave her Matulane, a chemotherapy drug that interferes with cell growth.

According to the federal lawsuit she later filed against Walgreens, Givens, then 29, suffered weeks of "nausea, vomiting, neurologic symptoms -- dizziness, lightheadedness, chills and shortness of breath." A medical exam showed her fetus was not developing normally. She miscarried in early April.

She said the loss of her baby was a direct result of Walgreens' giving her the wrong drug, and she and her husband, Courtenay, sought actual and punitive damages in excess of $75,000. Her attorneys contended Walgreens failed her on multiple levels in terms of supervising its personnel and verifying the prescription with her doctor.

Was Walgreens really to blame? What caused the error? There is no way to know: The case was settled out of court a few weeks after the lawsuit was filed. Givens, her husband and her attorneys now cannot talk about it publicly because they signed a confidentiality agreement.


Advertisers, neuroscientists trace source of emotions in brain

First came direct marketing, then focus groups. Now, advertisers, with the help of neuroscientists, are closing in on the holy grail: mind reading.

At least, that's what is suggested in a paper published today in the journal Human Brain Mapping authored by a group of professors in advertising and communication and neuroscience at the University of Florida.

The seven researchers used sophisticated brain-scanning technology to record how subjects' brains responded to television advertisements, while simultaneously collecting the subjects' reported impressions of the ads. By comparing the two resulting data sets, they say, they pinned down specific locations in the brain as the seat of many familiar emotions that ripple throughout it. The feat is another step toward gauging how people feel directly through functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, and other brain-scanning technology - without relying on what they claim to be feeling, the researchers say.


Women who suffered child abuse spend more on health care

Middle-aged women who suffered physical or sexual abuse as children spend up to one-third more than average in health-care costs, according to a long-term study of more than 3,000 women.

Even decades after the abuse ended, these women used health services at significantly higher rates than did non-abused women, the research found.


Art therapy helps to draw out deep trauma

During her most recent six-month tour of the Central African Republic, art therapist Karen Abbs saw firsthand the effects of enforced female circumcision, ritualized burning and cutting, and ongoing fighting between government and rebel forces. The result was kids suffering from sleep disorders and nightmares, and a population beset by general anxiety.

The 36-year-old, who was on her second stint with Médecins Sans Frontières, has just returned to visit family in 100 Mile House and recharge her batteries.

"I saw people with such bad trauma issues," Abbs told the Georgia Straight by phone. "You have no idea."


China confirms new human death from bird flu

Beijing - A 22-year-old Chinese man from the central province of Hunan has died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the second death from the disease since late last year, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

Cow Skull

Damage control! Beef Industry Responds to Secret Video

DENVER - Despite a secretly taped video showing workers at a Southern California slaughterhouse abusing sick or crippled animals, nearly all cattle bound for American dinner tables are treated humanely, a cattle industry spokesman said Monday.

The undercover video taken at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. of Chino, Calif., by the Humane Society of the United States shows workers shocking, kicking and shoving debilitated cattle with forklifts, and has led to the largest recall of beef in U.S. history.


Anti-AIDS Gel Fails in Study

The first anti-AIDS vaginal gel to make it through late-stage testing failed to stop HIV infection in a study of 6,000 South African women, disappointed researchers announced Monday.

The study was marred by low use of the gel, which could have undermined results, they said. Women used it less than half the number of times they had sex, and only 10 percent said they used it every time as directed.

Bad Guys

Iraqi Medical System Wrecked by War

Baghdad - Already a troubled system, Iraqi medical care has fallen to the brink of collapse since the U.S.-led invasion five years ago. Scores of doctors have been slain, cancer patients have to hunt down their own drugs - even IV fluid is in short supply. On Tuesday, a former deputy health minister and the head of the ministry's security force will stand trial, a year after they were accused of letting Shiite death squads use ambulances and government hospitals to carry out kidnappings and killings.


School Shootings The Result Of Crisis Of Masculinity, Gun Culture, Professor Argues

The recent fatal shooting rampage at Northern Illinois University, and similar attacks at a Missouri city hall and in a Los Angeles suburb, again raise questions about the eruption of mass violence in America in recent years. What is behind these acts and, more importantly, can anything be done to stop them?