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Overview of Environmental Allergies

In case you have environmental allergies, you might find yourself sniffling, sneezing, coughing, or itching - and it’s your environment which are causing the issue. Thankfully, you’re not really doomed to times of misery. The key would be to avoid or get rid of airborne allergens, which can only help you obtain back again to feeling your very best. Here are usually six of the very most common environmental allergies.
Pollen
allergyPollen, the airborne allergen right behind hay fever, is among the most typical allergy triggers, in fact it is very hard to avoid. Many pollen allergy symptoms could be handled with avoidance steps. But it’s difficult in order to avoid outside allergy triggers like tree pollen or weed pollen, - if you don't want to reside in a bubble or on the moon!
Most people will get relief with over-the-counter or even prescription medication. You may use a nasal steroid for sneezing and itching or an antihistamine for occasional post-nasal drainage or itchy eye. Ultimately, if your asthma and allergies are poor enough, it is possible to explore the choice of traditional allergy photos, that may rid you of nagging symptoms for good allergy.
Dust Mites
Though pollen allergy will probably attack when you’re outside, being allergic to dust mites puts you vulnerable to experiencing environmental allergies indoors, including in your house. Dust mites are usually microscopic creatures which are within everyone’s mattresses, pillows, upholstered couches, and carpets. They're not bed bugs plus they do not bite. Nevertheless, in case you are allergic to them, they are able to cause significant problems with nasal congestion, sinus attacks, headaches, and problems sleeping. Dust mites feed off dead human skin really, so they are located in high volumes we have a tendency to shed dead skin anywhere, such as for example pillows and mattresses.
Pets and Animals
You don’t necessarily need to part with your dog in order to decrease your contact with this environmental allergen. If animals could be made outdoor animals, then this can diminish your contact with pet dander. Bathing pets weekly will certainly reduce shedding and lower your contact with pollens, like grass, embedded in the animal’s fur. Allergens may also be found in your dog’s saliva and urine, so be sure to minimize your contact with the cat kitty litter box.

Health Tips: Treatment for Ants, Centipedes, Millipedes

bed_bugCentipedes, millipedes, sowbugs, and pillbugs are usually arthropods (not bugs), although they do benefit from the same living problems as bugs. These creatures aren't harmful. They're unattractive and regarded as a nuisance merely, when found indoors especially.
Sowbugs and pillbugs
Sowbugs and pillbugs are usually significantly less than 2 cm long and so are usually black to slate gray. They're armadillo-like and participate in the same course of creatures as lobsters and shrimps. These tiny property crustaceans need moist problems to survive, and prefer to live under particles or rocks where they prey on decaying organic matter. They often die quickly as soon as inside homes because dampness levels aren't high sufficient for them.
Millipedes and centipedes
Wormlike centipedes and millipedes both have many entire body sections and several legs. However, the centipede includes a more flattened entire body and only one couple of legs per area, while the millipede's entire body is rounded at the top with two pairs of hip and legs per section. Also, the centipede 's hip and legs are longer, and can quickly move more. When disturbed, millipedes have a tendency to coil up, but centipedes run for the closest dark hiding place swiftly.
Centipedes are a competent method of controlling other bugs in your house.They prefer to eat spiders, bed bugs, cockroaches, silverfish, carpeting beetles, or ants. Millipedes, however, do not survive as soon as in the home since it is too dried out for them.
Should I get worried?
Although all centipedes have poison glands that open up through their jaws, almost all house centipedes cannot penetrate human skin with a bite. Nevertheless, the few that may will give an impact similar to a moderate bee sting, with signs and symptoms disappearing inside a few hours generally. The home centipede's bite won't cause any serious injury to pets like cats and dogs.
Sowbugs and pillbugs can enter damp regions of your house in good sized quantities sometimes. However, they don't bite, sting, or transmit illnesses, plus they don't infest food, clothes, or wood.
Sowbugs, pillbugs, and millipedes breakdown organic matter, releasing nutrition to garden vegetation. Centipedes help control some other bugs. For these reasons, this combined group can be viewed as beneficial and really should be tolerated whenever you can.
A new persistent infestation of sowbugs, pillbugs, or millipedes indoors might indicate a significant moisture problem inside your home, and the current presence of a food source such as rotting wood.
How can I eliminate them?
·Make sure the bottom slopes aside from your house in order to avoid drinking water and moisture retention close to the building foundation.
·Get rid of leaf litter and decaying vegetation round the foundation of your house. Other items providing hiding locations on the floor (like stones, boards, or boxes) ought to be moved away as well.
·Use coarse (rather than good) mulches that allow drinking water to drain.
·Foundation plantings ought to be pruned and cleaned to boost ventilation around your house.
·Allow the soil to dried out between waterings.
·Repair cracks in basis walls or about windows prior to the fall.
·Indoors, work with a dehumidifier or perhaps a small electric lover to dry damp areas inside the basement.
Chemical products
Changing the particular habitat of the creatures outside your house should reduce their figures. If these efforts usually do not handle them sufficiently, you may opt for a registered domestic-course pesticide product (that you can use yourself). Note that utilizing a pesticide indoors to regulate millipedes, sowbugs, or pillbugs isn't recommended because they will quickly die from dehydration as soon as indoors.
·Diatomaceous earth, a dynamic ingredient within many domestic pesticides, can be an ecological method of control. It is a good powder created from crushed microscopic marine fossils. As insects crawl on the powder, their external "pores and skin" is scratched, leading to them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth shall remain active so long as it really is kept dry. It is nontoxic to humans and animals, but take care not to inhale the dirt when applying the product. This powder may be used in crevices and cracks being an ongoing control measure.

How to Deal with Asthma?

asthmaAsthma is really a long-term ailment that has simply no cure. The particular goal associated with asthma therapy is to manage the condition. Right there are the most of asthma symptoms and treatment:
·Prevent chronic plus troublesome signs and symptoms, for example breathing problems and shortness of breathing
·Reduce your own requirement for quick-relief medicines
·Help you preserve good lung perform
·Let you preserve your regular activity degree and rest through the particular night
·Prevent asthma episodes that can lead to a good emergency area visit or even hospital remain
To handle asthma, companion with your physician to control your asthma or your own child's asthma. Children old 10 or even older-and younger kids who are usually able-should consider an energetic function within their asthma care.
Using an energetic function to manage your own asthma requires:
·Working along with your physician to deal with other circumstances that may intervene with asthma management.
·Avoiding things that will worsen your own asthma (asthma triggers). Nevertheless, one cause you must not prevent is actual physical activity. Physical exercise is an essential portion of the healthy life-style. Talk along with your physician regarding medicines that will can assist you keep active.
·Working along with your physician as well as other wellness care suppliers to generate and stick to an asthma plan of action.
A good asthma motion plan offers guidance in obtaining your drugs properly, staying away from asthma sets off (except actual physical activity), monitoring your height of asthma control, reacting to deteriorating symptoms, plus seeking crisis care as needed.
Asthma is usually treated along with two varieties of medications: long-term handle and quick-relief medicines. Long lasting control medications help decrease airway irritation and stop asthma symptoms. Quick-relief, or "rescue, " medications relieve asthma symptoms that will may surface.
Your preliminary treatment is determined by the intensity of your own asthma. Followup asthma treatment is determined by just how well your own asthma activity plan is usually controlling your own symptoms plus preventing asthma attacks.
Your height of asthma handle can differ as time passes plus with adjustments in your own home, college, or function environments. These types of changes can modify how usually you're subjected to the elements that may worsen your own asthma.
Your own doctor might need to increase your own medicine when your asthma doesn't remain under manage. However, when your asthma is properly controlled for a number of months, your physician may reduce your medicine. These types of adjustments for your medicine can help you maintain the particular best manage possible along with the minimum amount associated with medicine essential.
Asthma therapy for many groupings of people-such as kids, pregnant females, or individuals for who exercise provides on asthma symptoms-will end up being adjusted in order to meet their particular special requirements.
Follow a good Asthma Plan of action
You may work together with your own doctor to produce a personal asthma action program. The master plan may describe your own daily remedies, such like which medications to consider plus when to consider them. The master plan also can explain whenever to contact your physician or even navigate to the crisis room.
In case your child provides asthma, all the people who else take care of your pet or the girl ought to know regarding the kid's asthma plan of action. This contains babysitters plus workers from daycare facilities, schools, plus camps. These types of caretakers may help your kid follow their action program.
Avoid Items That Can easily Worsen Your own Asthma
Several common items (called asthma triggers) may set away from or aggravate your asthma symptoms. As soon as you understand what these types of things are usually, you may take procedure for control most of them.
For illustration, contact with pollens or atmosphere pollution will make your asthma worse. If you are, try in order to limit time period outdoors whenever the degrees of these elements in the particular outdoor air flow are higher. If pet fur sets off your asthma symptoms, maintain pets along with fur out there of your own home or even bedroom.
A single possible asthma trigger a person shouldn’t prevent is physical exercise. Physical exercise is an important component of a proper lifestyle. Talk to your physician about medications which will help a person stay energetic.
In case your asthma symptoms are usually clearly associated to contaminants in the air, and a person can't prevent contact with individuals allergens, your own doctor might advise a person to obtain allergic reaction shots.
A person may require to visit a specialist in case you are thinking regarding getting allergic reaction shots. These types of shots may lessen or even stop your asthma symptoms, yet they aren't cure your own asthma.
Many health circumstances could make asthma harder in order to manage. These types of conditions consist of runny nasal area, sinus bacterial infections, reflux condition, psychological tension, and stop snoring. Your physician will deal with these circumstances too.
Medications
Your physician may consider several things whenever deciding which usually asthma drugs are very best to suit your needs. He or she or the lady will verify to notice how properly a medication works. After that, she or he may adjust the particular dose or even medicine since needed.
Asthma medicines may be consumed pill type, but many are used utilizing a device called a good inhaler. A good inhaler enables the drugs to look straight to your own lungs.
Not every inhalers are utilized the exact same way. Request your physician or even another physician to present the correct method to make use of your inhaler. Review how you use your own inhaler from every healthcare visit.
Long lasting Control Medications
Most individuals who may have asthma require long lasting control medications daily in order to help avoid symptoms. The very best long-term drugs reduce respiratory tract inflammation, which usually helps avoid symptoms through starting. These types of medicines may provide you with fast respite from signs and symptoms.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Announces Health IT Summit in Denver July 24-25

The iHT2 Health IT Summit in Denver, will bring together C-level, physician, practice management, and IT decision-makers from North America’s leading provider organizations and physician practices. For two full days, executives interact with a national audience of peers, national leaders and solutions providers featuring the latest solutions for practice management, mobility, telemedicine, outsourcing, IT infrastructure, next-generation electronic medical records, disease management, and more.

The Summit will feature keynote presentations from Peter Fine, FACHE, President & CEO, Banner Health, and Bernard Harris, Jr., MD, MBA, President & CEO, Vesalius Ventures, and President, American Telemedicine Association.

Featured Speakers include: Dana Moore, SVP & CIO, Centura Health; Gregory Veltri, CIO, Denver Health; Russell Leftwich, MD, CMIO, Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives; Neal Ganguly, VP & CIO, CentraState Healthcare System; Andrew Steele, MD, MPH, Director, Medical Informatics, Denver Health; Jonathan Gold, MD, MHA, MSc, Regional CMIO, Catholic Health Initiatives; Charles Doarn, MBA, Research Professor and Director, Telemedicine & e-Health Program, University of Cincinnati; Mark Caron, SVP & CIO, Capital BlueCross, and many more.

Panel Discussions for the Health IT Summit in Denver include: Accountable Care Organizations: Taking on Risk & Identifying Critical Tools, Leveraging Data to Improve Outcomes & Safety, Preparing for 2013: Organizational Strategies for the Transition to ICD-10, Breach Avoidance: Strategies to Protect Patient Data, HIE Performance: Defining Your Objectives & Measuring Progress, Meaningful Use Stage 2: Reaching the Next Stages of Quality & Care, and Mobile Health: Leveraging Data at the Point of Care.

The full agenda can be viewed by visiting: http://ihealthtran.com/2012denveragenda.html

Sponsors and Partners include: ICA, Quantix, Extract Systems, SLI Global Solutions, Nuance, Comcast, Altus, Rubbermaid Healthcare, VMware, Healthcare IT News, CMIO, FierceHealthIT, ADVANCE, NASCIO, AMDIS, eHealth SmartBrief, Frost & Sullivan, IDC Health Insights, Mobile Healthcare Today, SearchHealthIT.com, and more.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Appoints New Health IT Leaders to Advisory Board

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT²) announced ten new members to their Advisory Board this week. These members represent some of the brightest minds in healthcare information technology, and they will work to provide thought leadership and valuable industry connections to expand and improve the quality of the Institute’s initiatives throughout the year.

The Institute’s Advisory Board is a group of health care thought leaders representing the diverse stakeholders involved in the integration of health information technology. This esteemed group provides iHT² with insight and guidance throughout the year on how it can better serve the health care industry in their goal of fostering the adoption and implementation of health IT.

“Members of the iHT² Advisory Board greatly enhance our ability to offer health IT leaders superior educational and collaborative opportunities,” said Barry P. Chaiken, MD, MPH, Senior Fellow & Health IT Chair, Institute for Health Technology Transformation, CMO, DocsNetwork & former HIMSS Chair. “The insight provided by these distinguished professionals allows iHT² to keep pace with developing trends in healthcare, and offer conferences, webinars and publications that satisfy the needs of a wide range of industry professionals.”

The new members join a board of over twenty health IT leaders representing organizations throughout the country including: Kaiser Permanente, Catholic Health Initiatives, Capital BlueCross, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Delaware Health Information Network, and more.

The newly appointed members are:

  •     Samantha Burch, VP, Quality & Health IT, Federation of American Hospitals
  •     Mary Carroll Ford, MBA, VP & CIO, Lakeland Regional Medical Center
  •     Dick Gibson, MD, Chief Health Intelligence Officer, Providence Health & Services
  •     Fred Galusha. CIO & COO, Inland Northwest Health Services
  •     Chris Jaeger, MD, VP, Medical Informatics, Sutter Health
  •     Elizabeth Johnson, SVP, Applied Clinical Informatics, Tenet Healthcare
  •     Bill Phillips, CIO, University Healthcare System
  •     Justin Graham, CMIO, NorthBay Healthcare
  •     Andy Steele, MD, Medical Director, Informatics, Denver Health
  •     Doris Crain, CIO, Broward Health
  •     John Santangelo, Director of IT, Cleveland Clinic Florida

“The Advisory Board contributes invaluable industry insight that results in some of the most comprehensive, intimate, and informative programs taking place year after year,” said Waco Hoover, CEO, Institute for Health Technology Transformation. “The accomplishments and dedication of the Advisory Board is what truly separates the Institute apart from other organizations.”

Intermountain Healthcare, Partners Healthcare System, and Kaiser Permanente to Deliver Keynote Presentations at the Health IT Summit in San Francisco

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation announced the keynote presenters for the Health IT Summit in San Francisco, which will take place March 27-28th at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport. The keynote presenters at the annual program will be Mark Probst, CIO, Intermountain Healthcare, Blackford Middleton, MD, Corporate Director of Clinical Informatics Research & Development, Partners Healthcare System, and Hal Wolf, SVP & COO, The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente.

The iHT2 Health IT Summit, will bring together C-level, physician, practice management, and IT decision-makers from North America’s leading provider organizations and physician practices. For two full days, executives interact with a national audience of peers, national leaders and solutions providers featuring the latest solutions for practice management, mobility, telemedicine, outsourcing, IT infrastructure, next-generation electronic medical records, disease management, and more.

“We are dedicated to continuous improvement that enhances patient care. I look forward to learning from health care leaders and sharing our experience in improving outcomes by putting advanced health IT in the hands of clinicians, care teams, and patients,” said Hal Wolf, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente.

Panel discussions for the Health IT Summit in San Francisco include: Accounting for Assumptions: Taking a deeper look at reforming our healthcare delivery system, HIE & HIX: The convergence of healthcare information, Securing Electronic Personal Health Information (ePHI): From the Data Warehouse to the Point of Care, Analytics in Healthcare: Improving Outcomes Through Data Management, The Cloud in Healthcare, Stage 2 Meaningful Use: Leveraging Technology to Improve Outcomes & Efficiency, Patient Management Without Walls: Enabling mHealth and Telemedicine, and more.

“Healthcare I.S. leadership is consumed with the demands of ARRA HITECH (meaningful use), ICD-10 (maybe we are going to get some relief) and a barrage of requests to meet the demands of a changing healthcare landscape,” said Mark Probst. “I believe that even though the demands are great – as I.S. leaders, we must not simply follow and adopt aging solutions, rather we have the responsibility to innovate.”

Sponsors and Partners include: ICA, InnerWireless, CloudPrime, Accellion, ICW, SLI Global Solutions, VMware, athenahealth, Comcast, InterSystems, LANDesk Software, Pano Logic, Aventura, Key Info, AUXILIO, Somansa Technologies, Inc., Salesforce.com, EMC2, AMDIS, The California Association of Healthcare Leaders (CAHL), California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH), CMIO, DOTmed, eHealth SmartBrief, Executive Insight, Frost & Sullivan, Healthcare IT News, IDC Health Insights, MarketsandMarkets, NASCIO, ReportsandReports, SearchHealthIT.com, and more.

Health Care Thought Leaders Release Research Report Finding Automation Is Key to Population Health Management

The Institute for Health Technology Transformationtoday released findings from an Automating Population Health Research Project, which seeks to educate the healthcare industry on how best to apply technology in meeting the challenges of population health management.

Prepared in consultation with a broad range of industry experts, the Population Health Management: A Roadmap for Provider-Based Automation in a New Era of Healthcare report finds that population health management requires healthcare providers to develop new skill sets and new infrastructures for delivering care. To make the transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to accountable care, which depends on the ability to improve population health, providers will need to automate many routine tasks, ranging from identification of care gaps and risk stratification to patient engagement, care management, and outcomes measurement.

“In the era of healthcare reform, provider organizations must change their traditional approach and embrace new ways of thinking about their mission,” said Waco Hoover, CEO of the Institute for Health Technology Transformation. “They must not only care for the sick, but also strive to keep their patient populations healthy. Information technology is the key to doing this cost efficiently, and automation can enable care teams to identify and work with the patients who truly need their help.”

Report coauthor Paul Grundy, MD, Global Director of Healthcare Transformation for IBM, and President of Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, commented, “Patient-centered medical homes based on primary care are the building blocks of accountable care, and information technology is the key to successful medical homes. With the help of registries, electronic health records, health information exchanges, and other tools for care coordination and automation, healthcare providers can manage their populations effectively and keep their patients as healthy as possible.”

Andy Steele, MD, MPH, Director of Medical Informatics at Denver Health, and another of the report’s contributing authors, said, “Given potential health care reform and efforts to increase quality and efficiency of care in the setting of persistent fiscal limitations, the importance of leveraging information technology and focusing on population health management has become a top priority for many health care institutions. Our goal for the project is to provide resources that health care providers can utilize as they are considering and implementing population health management initiatives.”

Richard Hodach, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief Medical Officer of Phytel and chair of the report’s research committee, commented, “This important new report underscores the message that Phytel has been spreading among physician groups for the past several years. By using technology to identify subpopulations and patients who are at risk, to reach out to those patients, and to automate care management, healthcare providers can provide optimal preventive and chronic care to their patient populations. Providers can also use technology to engage patients in their own care, which is the real key to lowering costs and improving population health. We are proud of our participation in this project, and we hope that the report will be helpful to providers who plan to move in this direction.”

Among the healthcare thought leaders who contributed to the Automating Population Health Research Project are Alide Chase, MS, Senior Vice President for Quality and Service, Kaiser Permanente; Robert Fortini, Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Bon Secours Health System; Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, School of Nursing Professor & Dean, Academic Health Center Director, Associate Director of Biomedical Health Informatics, and Acting Director of the Institute for Health Informatics, University of Minnesota; Richard Hodach, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, Phytel; Paul Grundy, MD, MPH, Global Director of Healthcare Transformation, IBM; Margaret O’Kane, President, National Committee for Quality Assurance; Andy Steele, MD, MPH, Director of Medical Informatics, Denver Health; and Dan Fetterolf, Principal, Fetterolf Healthcare Consulting.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Appoints Jay Srini Senior Fellow & Innovation Chair

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation announced today that Jay Srini, Chief Strategist at SCS Ventures has been appointed Senior Fellow & Innovation Chair for the Institute’s 2012 series of educational programs and meetings.

Jay Srini is an internationally recognized thought leader on national and international trends that are changing the face of healthcare. In her current role at SCS Ventures, Jay works with startup companies internationally to help them with their business development, technology strategy, and expansion. She also advises established companies on their strategies to enter and grow their healthcare vertical.

“We’re thrilled to work with Jay in a concerted effort to move our health system forward with programs that foster the more innovative use of information technology,” said Waco Hoover, the Institute’s CEO. “Jay has a wealth of industry expertise that will make a meaningful and lasting impact on programs and initiatives developed at the Institute.”

In Jay Srini’s role as Senior Fellow and Innovation Chair she will work with the Institute’s Advisory Board and other industry leaders to program and develop leading educational programs and collaboration opportunities for health care leaders. In tandem with the Institute’s mission to promote the effective use of technology across the U.S. health system, Mrs. Srini will engage leaders from the community to ensure the Institute continually provides timely and relevant resources.

“We are in the midst of tectonic shifts in healthcare on all fronts ranging from new discoveries to new payment models and new stakeholders entering the healthcare sector,” said Jay Srini. “Finding innovative ways to deliver cost effective patient centered health care has never been as important as now. Innovation is virtually impossible without collaboration! I am honored and excited to take on this new role at iHT2 to develop new programs and platforms to drive innovation in healthcare through collaboration knowledge acquisition and knowledge dissemination.”

Jay’s prior experience includes her role as Chief Innovation Officer for UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Insurance Services Division as well as her role as Vice President of Emerging Technologies for UPMC. Jay was Managing Director for e-Health Initiatives at Internet Venture Works where she led technology and industry assessments of opportunities presented by strategic partners, investors and external sources and served in executive management roles for its’ portfolio companies. She has served on several healthcare boards including HIMSS (himss.org), PRHI (prhi.org) and is a frequent speaker on International Healthcare forums. She serves on several HHS (Health and Human Services –hhs.gov) related advisory panels and serves in an advisory capacity to International healthcare Institutions and Venture capitalists.

Jay has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from New York University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Bucknell University and her executive education from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She also serves as one of the commissioners at CCHIT (Certification Commission of HealthCare Information Technology) in addition to her role as adjunct faculty Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and advisory board of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

 

About iHT2

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation is the leading organization committed to bringing together private and public sector leaders fostering the growth and effective use of technology across the healthcare industry. Through collaborative efforts the Institute provides programs that drive innovation, educate, and provide a critical understanding of how technology applications, solutions and devices can improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare.

The Institute engages multiple stakeholders:

• Hospitals and other healthcare providers
• Clinical groups
• Academic and research institutions
• Healthcare information technology organizations
• Healthcare technology investors
• Health plans
• Consumer and patient groups
• Employers and purchasers
• Device manufacturers
• Private sector stakeholders
• Public sector stakeholders

Can Noise Pollution Damage Your Health?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Just Go for it: programming a computer to play an ancient game. Donar Reiskoffer/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

It’s almost impossible to find complete peace and quiet. Even if you live deep in the countryside away from aircraft routes, traffic and building work, your home is probably filled with the buzz of computers and other modern appliances. In some locations, there are even claims of mysterious low-pitched noises with no known origin. For example, residents of Bristol in the west of England recently complained of a “hum”, which followed reports of a similar sound in the city in the 1970s.

Such sounds aren’t just annoying. There is increasing evidence that long-term environmental noise above a certain level can have a negative influence on your health. These effects can be physical, mental and possibly even disrupt children’s learning.

Physical Reaction

Recent research shows that road traffic and aircraft noise increase the risk of high blood pressure, especially noise exposure at night. A study of aircraft noise around London’s Heathrow airport found that high levels of aircraft noise was associated with increased risks of...

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Defunding Planned Parenthood Led To A Huge Increase In Medicaid Births In Texas

Health and Medicine
Texas excluded all Planned Parenthood clinics from its Women's Health Program in January 2013
Photo credit: Texas excluded all Planned Parenthood clinics from its Women's Health Program in January 2013. Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

State legislation excluding Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics from access to Medicaid funding in Texas has resulted in a decrease in the level of birth control care received by low-income women attending these centers. This, in turn, has caused an increase in the number of babies born to poorer women who had sought these services.

The new statistics, which appear in the New England Journal of Medicine, were compiled by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin in order to gauge the effects of a spate of measures introduced between late 2011 and early 2013 affecting family planning facilities across the state. Among these were the closure of 82 family planning clinics, the redistribution of state funding away from family planning centers, and the exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Texas Women’s Health Program.

Planned Parenthood is the largest reproductive healthcare provider in the U.S., although it is not supported by certain state governments due to the fact that it provides...

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Zika Via Sex And Blood: How Worried Should We Be?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Zika has reportedly been transmitted via blood transfusions and sex, so how worried should we be about it spreading? from www.shutterstock.com.au

For a fairly non-descript virus, Zika continues to surprise us. Zika has hit the headlines yet again with the news that there’s been transmission in Brazil of two cases by blood transfusion.

This is on top of the recent news about sexual transmission of the virus in the United States. Zika is a “vector-borne” virus – that is, it is transmitted by a vector, in this case a mosquito. In general, you need to get bitten by an infected mosquito before you can be infected by Zika. At least that’s what we thought.

With the news that this mosquito-borne virus has likely been transmitted by blood transfusion and sex, Zika is now set to become a widely researched and much-pondered phenomenon.

Blood Transmission

The potential for Zika transmission via blood transfusion has been speculated for some time. The two cases in Campinas, Brazil, are the first known Zika infections acquired through this transmission method.

Britain, the US, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia are all now deferring blood...

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Zika, Dengue, Yellow Fever: What Are Flaviviruses?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is responsible for transmitting some flaviviruses, including Zika. Ian Jacobs/Flickr, CC BY-SA

You might have heard the term flavivirus recently due to the outbreak of Zika virus in Central and South America. Zika, along with West Nile virus, dengue, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis, belongs to this family of virus – of which many are threats to public health.

Flaviviruses are defined by the shape and size of the virus particle (which is extremely small and not visible by the naked eye but requires a high powered electron microscope). They are able to replicate and spread within both insects and mammals, and they infect humans and domesticated animals.

How Are Flaviviruses Spread?

Flaviviruses are arboviruses, which means they are spread via infected arthropod vectors such as ticks and mosquitoes.

Some flaviviruses (such as West Nile) exist in a bird-mosquito cycle and infections in humans are typically incidental and a “dead-end” for the virus. This means it cannot be transmitted to a new mosquito.

However, yellow fever, dengue and Zika exist predominantly in a human-mosquito cycle. These...

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Why Do Our Muscles Twitch Sometimes?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: These twitches tend to appear after exercise, when people are stressed, tired or are lacking nutrients in their diet. from www.shutterstock.com.au, CC BY-SA

You’re sitting in a meeting and your left eyelid is twitching uncontrollably. You wonder if the person opposite can see it, and why it’s happening.

Many people experience neurological symptoms that are quite normal for healthy individuals including cramps, pain, dizziness, numbness and muscle twitches. Light, involuntary muscle twitches are very common and can occur in any skeletal muscle.

They often involve a single motor unit, which is made up of one motor nerve (a nerve that carries information from the brain to the muscle) and all the muscle fibres to which it connects.

A voluntary muscle contraction can involve thousands of motor units depending on how much force is being applied. So a twitch from just one unit may be barely noticeable but if you sit still or if it occurs in a place that is distracting, it can become quite an annoyance.

They are known as muscle fasciculations, but when the twitches occur often and persist for long periods it is diagnosed as benign...

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What Is Guillain-Barré Syndrome And Is It Caused By The Zika Virus?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: The Zika virus is suspected of causing this rare autoimmune disorder. Jason Corneveaux/Flickr, CC BY-SA

The recent outbreak of Zika virus in South America has been a cause of concern. This is not because Zika itself is a serious condition, but because it is believed to be linked to birth defects when expectant mothers are infected, and to a rare but severe and progressive neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The syndrome is triggered by an infection and can cause temporary or long-term paralysis. It is quite rare, occurring in approximately one in 100,000 people per year.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is not new. This is the 100-year anniversary of its description. The French researchers Giullain, Barré (and Strohl) first diagnosed Guillain-Barré syndrome in Paris.

A link between Zika and Guillain-Barré syndrome was first proposed in 2014 in French Polynesia. With the World Health Organisation reporting the “explosive spread” of Zika virus, there are concerns that Guillain-Barré syndrome levels may also increase.

In January 2016, El Salvador reported an increase in Guillain-Barré cases (46 in one month, which is...

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What Is Microcephaly And What Is Its Relationship To Zika Virus?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: The link between Zika and microcephaly is not proven, but the incidence of both have greatly increased in the same areas. Percio Campos/Flickr

This week the World Health Organisation declared Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern.

Despite high rates of infection, the outbreak would not have been particularly alarming – since the infection is usually asymptomatic (80% of cases) or mild and self-limiting – had it not been for the sudden and (apparently associated) increase in numbers of infants born with microcephaly.

What Is Microcephaly?

Microcephaly is a condition in which the infant’s head is smaller than “normal” for the infant’s age and gender, because of delayed or arrested brain growth. There is no universally agreed definition. Most authorities suggest it should be defined by a head circumference of two – but some say three – standard deviations or more below the average.

It is often first diagnosed by ultrasound examination during pregnancy. The incidence of microcephaly – in the absence of Zika virus infection – is difficult to determine.

Apart from the lack of an agreed definition or...

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Viking Worm Infestation May Provide Genetic Link To Modern Lung Disease

Health and Medicine
Viking Worm Infestation May Provide Genetic Link To Modern Lung Disease
Photo credit: A genetic mutation that helped the Vikings combat a parasitic worm infestation may increase modern-day smokers' susceptibility to emphysema. Fernando Cortes/Shutterstock

Evolutionary adaptations developed to protect the Vikings from an infestation of parasitic worms may have resulted in certain genetic traits that increase vulnerability to certain lung diseases. During ancient times, the side-effects of this adaptation were probably harmless, although as people later began smoking and living longer, the removal of certain anti-inflammatory mechanisms appears to increase carriers’ susceptibility to pulmonary complications, like emphysema.

Emphysema occurs when air sacks in the lungs, called alveoli, become damaged, causing them to merge into one large air chamber as opposed to many small ones. This reduces the surface area of the lungs, which subsequently become less efficient.

Alveoli can become damaged by certain enzymes called proteases, which are secreted by cells involved in inflammation, one of the body’s key immune processes. To keep these enzymes under control, a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) acts as a...

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Biotech Company Says It Has Two Candidate Zika Vaccines

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: We are still unfortunately years away from a Zika vaccine. urfin/Shutterstock

Among the panic-inducing headlines and alarming statistics, there may finally be some positive news regarding the exploding Zika epidemic. An Indian pharmaceutical company has claimed it is making progress on the development of two candidate vaccines for the virus, now considered a global public health emergency.

Reported by Reuters, Bharat Biotech has said the vaccines have been in the works for around a year, slightly longer than the current outbreak has been plaguing Latin America and the Caribbean. While this emerging pathogen may have only recently gained worldwide attention, we’ve known about it since the 1940s, although it hadn’t been high on the list of vaccine priorities due to the fact that infection is mild or symptomless in the majority of people.

Unlike current reactive endeavors, Bharat said it began working on an immunization shot during its efforts to create vaccines for two other diseases: dengue and chikungunya. Alongside yellow fever, all of these are insect-borne viral diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and all but...

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Toxic Lead Can Stay In The Body For Years After Exposure

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Lead can linger in bones. X-ray via www.shutterstock.com.

The ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan has highlighted just how harmful lead contamination is. What you may not realize, however, is that lead exposure is a problem throughout the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over four million households with children in the U.S. are exposed to elevated levels of lead. At least half a million children have blood lead levels above five micrograms per deciliter, the threshold that prompts a public health response.

Lead used to be commonly used in gasoline, household paints and even coloring pigments in artificial turf through the end of the last century. And although today lead is no longer used in these products, there is still plenty of it out there. Lead does not break down in the home or the environment, and the result is that we still have to be concerned about lead poisoning today.

As a university-based researcher who focuses on children’s health, I have spent the past 30 years trying to understand how exposure to environmental toxins happens, and how to prevent it.

So where and how do...

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More detailed analysis of how cells react to stress

Stress in the body’s cells is both the cause and consequence of inflammatory diseases or cancer. The cells react to stress to protect themselves. Researchers have now developed a new technique that allows studying a fundamental response to stress in much more detail than previously possible: the ADP-ribosylation of chromatin. In the long term, this method could help finding ways of blocking disease-causing processes.

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Pioneering discovery leads to potential preventive treatment for sudden cardiac death

Roughly 15 years ago, a team of researchers discovered the precise malfunction of a specific protein in the heart that leads to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common culprit in cases of sudden death in young athletes. A team of scientists have now used some of these findings to develop a possible treatment to prevent this inherited disease that can cause the heart to thicken and stop pumping blood effectively, leading to heart failure.

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Proteomics and precision medicine

Researchers have used personalized proteomics to devise a successful treatment strategy for a patient with uveitis, a potentially blinding eye disease that can have many causes, making it particularly difficult to diagnose and treat effectively.

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Chromosomes reconfigure as cell division ends

Cells reach a state called senescence when they stop dividing in response to DNA damage. This change can matter greatly to health, but scientists do not yet have a clear picture of how this change impacts the genome. A new study shows that a cell's chromosomes become physically reconfigured at senescence, leading to significant differences in what genes are expressed.

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New type 2 diabetes biomarker identified

Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90 percent of diabetes cases as well as being one of the major cardiovascular risk factors. Researchers have found an epigenetic mechanism implicated in the regulation of blood sugar. The results of this work could help identify patients at risk of developing diabetes, control treatment response, and generate possible future therapies for this disease.

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Past experiences affect recognition, memory

New research on the brain and memory could help in developing therapies for people with schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. This work sheds new light on the internal workings of the brain, specifically regions involved in recognizing and remembering objects.

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Ultra runner Susie Chan sets new 12-hour treadmill world record

Ultra runner Susie Chan has set a new 12-hour treadmill world record with the support of sport science and exercise experts. The 40 year old, from Farnham, Surrey, ran a total distance of 68.54 miles (110.3km) in 12 hours – beating the previous women's record for the same time period of 66.79 miles.

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Why your muscles get less sore as you stick with your gym routine

Scientists have studied the reduced-soreness phenomenon for decades, but they still can't figure out exactly why people feel less sore the second time around. What they do know is the immune system plays some role in how the muscle repairs itself and protects against additional damage. But now exercise science researchers have produced evidence that shows for the first time the surprising presence of very specific immune workers: T-cells.

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Turning the volume of gene expression up and down

Gene expression in a fruit fly embryo can be accurately and predictably tuned, new research shows. This study has important implications in cellular and developmental biology, with potential applications in stem cell reprogramming and regenerative medicine.

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Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease Spreading In Northeastern U.S.

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: The ticks have the Lyme disease-causing bacteria in their mouth pieces. Steven Ellington/Shutterstock

Almost half of all counties in the U.S. now have established populations of ticks that can carry Lyme disease. The arthropods have dramatically increased their range over the past 20 years, putting many people under threat who historically had little risk of catching the disease. 

The distribution map of the blacklegged tick and eastern blacklegged tick – both known to carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease – had not been updated since 1998. To rectify this, researchers did a comprehensive analysis of papers with state and county tick surveillance data going back to 1996. The two species were classed as being established in a county if there had been six or more reportings of them in a year. The full study is published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. 

What they found was that the number of counties in the United States with established populations of potentially Lyme disease-carrying ticks has doubled since 1998, when the last map was drawn up. This means that the ticks are now present in almost half of all...

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Man Undergoes Surgery To Remove A Live Worm From His Eyeball

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: The coiled Loa loa worm (arrowed) clearly visible in the man's eye. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd 2015

A man from eastern India has recently undergone some rather eye-watering surgery after doctors found a live worm squiggling in his eyeball.

The patient, 25, went to the doctors after two weeks of pain in his left eye, along with redness and wavey "floaters" in his vision.

It transpired that there was a live worm living in the man’s vitreous cavity – the clear, jelly-like center of the eyeball. The doctors described it as a “fairly long live worm moving around in a haphazard and relentless manner” in a recent online case report published in BMJ Case Reports on January 8.

Doctors decided the only option was to remove the parasite through surgery, as antifilarial drugs could have resulted in a toxic reaction in the eye.

A microbiological examination of the removed worm proved it to be a species called Loa loa.

This parasitic nematode is transmitted to humans via bites from deer flies (also known as mango flies or mangrove flies). This led the doctors to the fairly straightforward conclusion that the man caught the parasite during his...

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Surgeon Claims He Has Performed A Successful Head Transplant On A Monkey

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: This is the second documented head transplant procedure in a monkey. XiXinXing/ Shutterstock

Warning: This article contains graphic content. 

We have been promised a head transplant by next year, and the main brain behind the highly controversial procedure shows no signs of retracting his wild claim. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the pioneering surgeon has now announced the procedure has been successfully carried out on a monkey.

As revealed by Motherboard and New Scientist, Italian doctor Sergio Canavero has teased the press with some details on progress made so far by himself and collaborator Dr Xiaoping Ren of China’s Harbin Medical University, among others. Ren has invested a significant amount of time perfecting the technique in mice, having performed the transplant on more than 1,000 mice. The animals were able to breathe and drink after the 10-hour surgery, but only lived for a matter of minutes.

Now, according to Canavero, Ren’s team has carried out the transplant on a monkey. Although, even if this does turn out to be true, it doesn’t seem that any significant increments have been made since the ‘70s, when Dr Robert...

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Doctors Have Warned Against Using Herbal Tampons To "Detox The Womb"

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Embrace Pangaea/YouTube

Doctors and health experts have strongly warned against using a “womb detox” product that has recently caught attention online.

Embrace Pangaea, a herbal and holistic product online company based in the United States, has been selling small bags of herbs, designed to be inserted into the vagina to “cleanse the womb and return it to a balance state.”

The bags contain a mix of perfumed herbs such as Mothersworth, Angelica, Borneol, Rhizoma and Cnidium monnieri.

One “pearl” costs $15 and is intended for once-a-day use. Alternatively, the company offers a “Monthly Womb Maintenance Package” for $75 to $180. It also has a scheme to encourage customers to distribute its products themselves.  

Dr. Jen Gunter, a gynaecologist from the United States, wrote a blog post strongly condemning the products, the Independent reports.

"Your uterus isn’t tired or depressed or dirty and your vagina has not misplaced its chakra," she said.

"These herbs... could be damaging to your lactobacilli (the good bacteria) or be directly irritating to the vagina mucosa (the lining) and both of these outcomes will increase your risk of...

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North Korean Scientists Reportedly Invent​ ​Hangover-Free​ Alcohol

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Astrelok/Shutterstock

Workers of the world unite: You have nothing to lose but your hangover.

The North Korean state-owned newspaper, Pyongyang Times, has reported that scientists from Taedonggang Foodstuff Factory claim to have developed an alcoholic spirit that doesn't give you a hangover.

Boasting a punchy 30 to 40 percent alcohol by volume, the spirit is distilled from organic glutinous rice and Kaesong Koryo insam – a type of ginseng indigenous to the hermit kingdom.

The Pyongyang Times article, titled “Liquor Wins Quality Medal For Preserving National Smack,” explains:

“Koryo Liquor, which is made of six-year-old Kaesong Koryo insam, known as being highest in medicinal effect, and the scorched rice, is highly appreciated by experts and lovers as it is suave and causes no hangover.”

The article also said that the drink, which "exudes national flavour," has "already been registered as a national scientific and technological hit." If true, this would not in fact be the first supposed "hangover-free" alcohol developed – a group in Australia has also reportedly brewed up a beer that won't give you the nasty after-effects of...

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Expanded GM Mosquito Project Could Curb Zika Virus Spread

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Aedes aegypti pupae emerging. Oxitec.

As the emerging Zika virus continues to rapidly spread in the Pacific, so do fears of the potential consequences, especially in light of strong links between the growing epidemic and a brain disorder in newborns. There’s no available treatment or vaccine, and given the length of time it takes to develop such interventions, it will be years before we see any on the market. But there could be a solution: genetically modified mosquitoes.

Zika virus is spread by the same mosquito as dengue and another disease called Chikungunya, a species called Aedes aegypti. Scientists in the U.K. have developed and are implementing an effective way to curb their populations, which involves genetic manipulation and controlled insect release programs.

Created by biotech firm Oxitec, the so-called “friendly Aedes aegypti,” or OX513A, contains a gene that causes offspring to die before reaching reproductive age. So when males are released into mosquito-riddled areas, they successfully compete with those in the wild for females, ultimately leading to a reduction in numbers, but not eradication, without the need...

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Child Develops Scurvy From Almond Milk-Based Diet

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Industrial processing of almond milk causes vitamin C to lose its activity. Freer/Shutterstock

You might associate scurvy with sailors of times gone by, but while our knowledge of exactly what causes it and how to get rid of it has meant that it’s rare in today’s world, it’s still not a disease of the past. As evidence of this, an unusual case report has surfaced in which an infant developed scurvy after being given a vitamin C-devoid diet almost entirely based on almond milk.

Likely the result of healthy food trends combined with environmental concerns, plant-based drinks have boomed in popularity in recent years, in particular in the Western world. From soy milk to hazelnut and rice drinks, shelves see no shortage of dairy-free alternatives. And while that’s not exactly a bad thing, this latest report highlights the need for parents to take into consideration the nutritional content when choosing a diet for their infants, namely the lack of vitamin C.

Described in the journal Pediatrics, the case involves an infant who was presented to doctors in Spain at 11 months old with tiredness, irritability, and a failure to thrive....

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Cyanobacteria Toxin May Cause Dementia

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: A blue-green algae outbreak in Lake Taihu, China, may contribute to neurodegeneration in people living nearby. Jixin YU/Shutterstock

A chemical produced by blue-green algae has been found to cause biological markers associated with Alzheimer's disease in vervet monkeys. The discovery strengthens a suspicion that the toxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is contributing to the dementia crisis. In better news, the same study added to evidence for the amino acid L-serine's protective potential.

In the 1950s, the Chamorro people of Guam suffered an outbreak of dementia, along with neurofibrillary tangles in their brains, that resemble those seen in Alzheimer's sufferers. Evidence has since emerged that these symptoms were triggered by exposure to the chemical BMAA found in cycad seeds.

Cycad seeds are not a big global food source, but the BMAA came from cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae in the cycads' roots. Cyanobacteria, ancient single-celled organisms, inhabit oceans and deserts, and many produce BMAA in large quantities. A survey of the supposed health food spirulina found BMAA in 14 of 39 samples.

A team led by

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Exposure To Algae Toxin Increases The Risk Of Alzheimer’s-Like Illnesses

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Blue-green algae blooms are increasing in size and frequency as global temperatures rise.

A paper published today suggests chronic exposure to an environmental toxin may increase the risk of neurodegenerative illness.

For the first time, researchers have shown that feeding vervet monkeys a toxin produced by blue-green algae resulted in protein deposits in the brain, consistent with those seen in human Alzheimer’s.

Neurodegenerative disease is an umbrella term which includes Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease (MND). The causes remain largely unknown, and the role of environmental factors is poorly understood.

Owing to its role in an unusual illness suffered by Chamorro villagers on the Pacific island of Guam, researchers have been investigating an algal toxin called BMAA for more than 40 years.

The Chamorros' diet was contaminated with BMAA and they suffered from dementia as well as a combination of symptoms typical of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MND.

In the study published today in the Royal Society Proceedings B, researchers fed vervets fruit: some with BMAA, some with a placebo and some with a known...

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Death Rate For Young White Americans Is Rising, Due To Opioid Overdoses

Health and Medicine
The number of opioid overdose deaths among white American males aged 25-34 has increased five-fold over the past 15 years
Photo credit: The number of overdose deaths among white American males aged 25-34 has increased five-fold over the past 15 years. sirastock/Shutterstock

Throughout history, advancements in healthcare and technology have typically been accompanied by decreasing mortality rates, with this trend only halted by exceptional factors such as wars, natural disasters or disease epidemics. However, a recent investigation by the New York Times has revealed that the death rate for young white Americans is currently increasing, and suggests that opioid overdoses could be the main cause of this alarming shift.

Opioids are synthetic or natural compounds that bind to the brain’s opiate receptors in order to block pain. A number of opioids – such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine – are used to manufacture prescription painkillers, while others are found in street drugs such as heroin. According to the New York Times report, a sharp increase in overdose deaths over the past 15 years has resulted in white adults aged 25 to 34 becoming the first generation since the Vietnam War to experience higher death rates in early adulthood than the generation...

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Why mistakes slow us down, but not necessarily for the better

Taking more time to make decisions after a mistake arises from a mixture of adaptive neural mechanisms that improve the accuracy and maladaptive mechanisms that reduce it, neuroscientists have found. Their study also potentially offers insights into afflictions that impair judgments, such as Alzheimer's Disease and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

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Robotic arm developed for Duchenne patients

Researchers have developed the A-Gear: a robotic arm that can support the daily activities of people suffering the muscular disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. They recently put the final touches to the first prototype for a discreet, body-connected support aid that can be worn under the clothing and that can support independent operation of the arm during important daily activities. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy occurs in approximately 1 in 5000 live born boys. The muscles of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients become weaker during their life. As a result, boys with Duchenne lose the ability to use their arms until, eventually, they are unable to use them at all.

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Intensive instrument playing can lead to movement disorders

A musician takes up his/her violin and starts to play, but rather than gripping the strings, the fingers seize up—and this happens every time he/she takes up the instrument. Such a movement disorder—the so-called focal dystonia— is a dramatic disease for those affected, which has thus far barely been studied. In total, one in 6,600 persons will develop the disorder, whereas an estimated one in 100 musicians will succumb.

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Mitochondrial troublemakers unmasked in lupus

Mitochondria could provoke the inflammation characteristic of lupus, an autoimmune disorder affecting the joints, skin, heart and brain. Byproducts of cells' power stations goad certain white blood cells into making mesh traps as a precursor to cell death. Mitochondrial DNA is spewed out, triggering a warning and a response that can damage various organ tissues. Mouse studies suggest this disease mechanism might respond to potential drug therapies.

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Liberia Declared Ebola Free, Ending The Two-Year Outbreak

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: This is the first time all three nations at the center of the epidemic have been Ebola-free at the same time. European Comimission DG ECHO/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Two years after the worst outbreak of Ebola in history, the epidemic that claimed the lives of more than 11,000 people in West Africa has been declared to be over by the World Health Organization (WHO). This marks the first time since the outbreak started that the three main countries to be wracked by the disease have simultaneously had zero reported cases for the required period of time. While this is clearly good news, the WHO has warned that this is unlikely to be the end of Ebola, as more flare-ups are expected.

The announcement has come after Liberia, the last country to have a reported case of Ebola, recently made it through the required 42 days without another diagnosis. This period of time is twice that of the disease's incubation period, the time between contracting the infection and showing symptoms. This is the third time the country has managed this, but subsequent infections occurred in the following weeks. Today, however, marks the first time that...

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Another Way Mosquito Nets Can Save Lives

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Bed nets treated with insecticides stop the spread of malaria, but have a second life in surgery. U.S. Government Global Health Initiative/Public Domain

A rough and ready solution to the problem of inguinal hernias has been shown to be safe and effective, opening the way to treatment for tens of millions of people who can't afford surgical mesh. The finding is another reason why anti-malarial bed nets save lives.

Inguinal hernias occur in the abdominal wall around the groin. Fat, intestines, and sometimes other bodily organs can be pressed through weaknesses or holes. The result is painful, can prevent most forms of physical exertion, and complications cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.

In much of the world, hernia surgery is routine, with approximately 20 million operations occurring a year. On the other hand, almost 200 million people are estimated to have untreated hernias resulting from being unable to afford surgery. The cost of meshes produced to repair hernias can be as much as the surgeon's fees in Africa, taking operations out of the reach of many who need them most.

Hernia surgery being performed in...

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