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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

Reversing the deadly side effects of Tylenol overdose

New research could help reverse deadly side effects caused by excessive doses of the drug acetaminophen, the major ingredient in Tylenol and many other medicines. Researchers have developed a mathematical model of acetaminophen metabolism based on data from rats. The findings suggest that giving patients glutamine -- a common amino acid in the body -- alongside the standard antidote for acetaminophen overdose could prevent liver damage and boost the body's ability to recover.

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Cell that replenishes heart muscle found by researchers

Regenerative medicine researchers have identified a cell that replenishes adult heart muscle by using a new cell lineage-tracing technique they devised. Adult heart muscle is comprised of cells called cardiomyocytes. Most cardiomyocytes don't replenish themselves after a heart attack or other significant heart muscle damage. The new cell-tracing technique allows them to detect cells that do replenish themselves after being damaged.

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Clients lost in system when safety-net agencies close

Safety-net agencies, such as food banks and nonprofits offering health care, serve vulnerable individuals who are uninsured or underinsured and help them connect with services, such as health care, legal aid and housing. An American researcher offers recommendations for agency leaders and policymakers to make sure safety-net agencies are sustainable and, if they do close, clients continue to receive the services they need.

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Has Meat Met Its Match?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Illustration by Jericó Santander

Sensitized to the environmental costs of livestock, a new generation eyes options for changing our carnivorous ways.

July 28, 2014 — The future of food arrived at Waitsfield Elementary School — a tiny brick throwback in Vermont’s pastoral Mad River Valley — just after lunch on May 15, 2014, in a handmade straw basket on the shoulder of Rachael Young. The cafeteria was still full of kids, so Young slipped into the kitchen as surreptitiously as possible. “Let’s see if we can do this on the sly,” she said to me. “I don’t want them to see anything ahead of time.”

We unpacked in a far corner of the kitchen, shooing away the occasional set of prying eyes. While I spread a ramp-knotweed pesto onto tortillas and cut them into eighths, Young found a pan, fired up the stove and dry-fried the main ingredient. “You may get a really weird smell in a moment,” she apologized. “It has something to do with the chitin when it’s heated. But it still tastes great!”

Young is the 34-year-old founder of Eat Yummy Bugs, a Vermont-based enterprise that encourages people to do just that, and a consultant with World...

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Sense Of Smell Linked With Mortality Risk

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Halfpoint/ Shuttersock

Dramatic headlines such as “Your sense of smell could predict when you’ll DIE” understandably caused quite a stir last year, which were the result of a study that found how well an older person’s olfactory, or smell, system is functioning can strongly predict the likelihood of death within five years. People may raise their eyebrows over this conclusion, but there is science behind the madness: Olfaction is actually linked to a wide range of physiological processes in the body. And now, it seems there is further evidence to support this idea, as a large new study has just backed up these findings.

For this latest investigation, researchers from Columbia University enrolled more than 1,000 older adults from a range of ethnicities. Individuals were provided with 40 “scratch and sniff” strips, each one laced with a different scent. After giving them a good old whiff, participants were asked to identify each individual odorant from a multiple choice list displaying four different possibilities. Participants were then followed up at two-year intervals, for an average of four years, using either interviews or...

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New Method Could Reveal Your Entire Viral Infection History With A Single Drop Of Blood

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Vitstudio via Shutterstock

By analyzing just a single drop of blood, scientists could reveal every virus you’ve ever been infected with. This new method, developed by researchers from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), is called ‘Virscan’ and it could revolutionize existing diagnostics.

Traditional blood tests, known as ELISA assays, are only able detect one pathogen at a time and scientists have yet to develop ELISA assays against all viruses. In comparison, Virscan can simultaneously test for more than a thousand different strains of viruses that have previously or currently infected a person. 

 “What makes this so unique is the scale: right now, a physician needs to guess what virus might be at play and individually test for it. With VirScan, we can look for virtually all viruses, even rare ones, with a single test,” says corresponding author Stephen Elledge, in a statement.

For the study, Elledge and his team developed a large number of peptides, which are short protein fragments derived from viruses, to find evidence for previous and current viral exposure.  This screening technique was tested on 569 people from...

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There's No Evidence Of Any Health Benefits To Eating Your Placenta

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Placenta pills. Dan Ox / Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Do you want it in a smoothie, encapsulated in a pill or would you like to eat your placenta raw? This is a question a growing number of mothers are asking themselves. Women who are digging into their placentas for the supposed health benefits should probably stop, as a new study suggests that these claims are not based on any scientific evidence.

“There are a lot of subjective reports from women who perceived benefits, but there hasn't been any systematic research investigating the benefits or the risk of placenta ingestion. The studies on mice aren't translatable into human benefits,” said corresponding study author Dr. Crystal Clark in a statement.

The study, published in the journal Archives of Women's Mental Health, reviewed 10 published papers that looked at the health benefits of placentophagy – the practice of consuming the placenta. Researchers weren’t able to find any conclusive data to support the claims that eating your placenta could prevent postpartum depression, reduce pain or boost energy.

The placenta is what separates a mother's blood supply from her fetus' and...

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Four Myths About Allergies You Thought Were True – But Aren’t

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: I can’t believe it isn’t true. Hayfever by Shutterstock

Allergies are on the rise across the developed world and hay fever and eczema have trebled in the last 30 years. Yet allergies are an area of much confusion and concern. Although 40% of people report having a food allergy, in fact only 1-5% do, and allergists commonly report spending most of their consultations refuting firmly held beliefs that have no scientific foundation.

Theories about allergy – some from medical research and some from lifestyle “gurus” – have led to conflicting information, making it hard to know what to believe. Because of this, Sense About Science worked with me and a number of allergists, immunologists, respiratory scientists and pharmacists to produce Making Sense of Allergies, a guide tackling the many myths and misconceptions about allergies. One common myth – something that I work on – is the link between allergies and exposure to microbes.

So here is a hygiene and allergy reality fact check:

Do Fewer Childhood Infections Mean More Allergies?

No. Although a link between allergies and microbes is largely accepted, the idea that more infections...

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Muscle Engineered To Respond To Light

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki/shutterstock

Muscle that has been genetically engineered to contract when flashed with light could be used to help patients with paralysis, a new study suggests. Scientists have been able to introduce a gene for a light-sensing protein into the muscles of a mouse’s larynx and successfully stimulate it with pulses of light.

Known as “optogenetics,” the technique makes cells that would ordinarily respond to electrical signals respond instead to light. The team behind this new study, published in Nature Communications, had already shown that heart muscle can be engineered to contract when hit by light, but this is the first time that they’ve been able to achieve the same with skeletal muscles, which is normally moved under conscious command.

“Depending on where we point the light beam, we can also stimulate individual muscle groups—exactly the same way the body does it through the nerves," explained Dr. Tobias Bruegmann, the lead author of the study.

For their experiment, the researchers used the genes that code for a family of proteins called channelrhodopsins, originally discovered in blue-green algae. As...

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FDA Panel Backs Experimental Drug That Improves Women's Sex Drives

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: MOSO IMAGE / shutterstock

Government health officials who advise the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have given the “female Viagra” drug their backing and recommended that the FDA approve it, but with safety restrictions and conditions attached.

The panel voted 18-6 in favor of the drug, called flibanserin, designed to boost the sexual desire of women who have lost their libido. It has so far been rejected twice by the FDA, once in 2010 and again in 2013, due to worries over side effects. But other groups claim that the real barrier to getting the pill approved is one of inherent sexism.

The main concern over the drug's use (and the reason it’s been stalled for the past five years) is one of safety. The FDA claims that this is the real issue and not some underlying bias. They say that the side effects, such as dizziness, nausea and low blood pressure, simply outweigh any benefits derived from it. They highlight the fact that some women had to drop out of the trial due to such extreme negative effects.

Other women involved in the clinical trial of the “little pink pill” have, however, sung its praises. Some of these 11,000...

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Your Blood Type Could Influence Your Chance Of Developing Alzheimer's

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: sfam_photo/shutterstock

Blood types have previously been linked to a variety of medical conditions, from influencing heart disease risk to thinking and memory problems. Now, some new research, published in the Brain Research Bulletin, may have revealed the role that your blood type plays in the chance of developing cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Sheffield, looked at the amount of grey matter, a type of nervous sytem tissue, in people’s brains and then compared this with their blood type. They found that those with blood type ‘O’ had more grey matter than those with any of the other three types. A greater volume of grey matter has been previously linked to protection against diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The participants involved in the study were mentally healthy adults who had previously undergone MRI scans for other research. After collecting details on their blood type, the scientists began examining their brain data to look for any apparent associations. What they found was that people with types ‘A,’ ‘B,’ and ‘AB’ had smaller amounts of grey matter in the...

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Man Receives First Scalp And Skull Transplant

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: MD Anderson Cancer Center

U.S. doctors have successfully performed the world's first partial scalp and skull transplant. James Boysen received the craniofacial tissue transplant, as well as a kidney and pancreas transplant, after a rare cancer left him with a severe head wound.

Boysen is in “awe” that he’s up and walking just two weeks after his surgery. He was first diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that develops in smooth muscle, on his scalp in 2006. Though he was treated with chemotherapy and radiation, Boysen was left with a 25-by-25-centimeter (10-by-10-inch) hole on his head that left his brain vulnerable. To add to his misery, Boysen’s kidney and pancreas, which he received in 1992 to treat his diabetes, were failing. But doctors could not perform a much needed double-organ transplant if he still had an open wound.

The immune suppression drugs he was on to prevent his body rejecting the donor organs created "a perfect storm that made the wound not heal," Boysen told the Associated Press (AP).   

Dr. Jesse Selber, a reconstructive plastic surgeon at MD Anderson, soon made a connection between Boysen's...

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Engineered Viruses Could Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: nobeastsofierce/ Shutterstock

In the war against antibiotic resistance, which threatens to send medicine spiraling back into the dark ages, scientists are racing to try and find desperately needed replacements before an extra 10 million people worldwide are killed each year due to the problem. Although we’re still very dependent on antibiotics, some promising alternatives have been proposed recently, and we may now have another on our hands.

Scientists from Tel Aviv University (TAU), Israel, have engineered viruses in such a way that they not only seek and kill bacteria, but also destroy antibiotic resistance in the bugs they target, rendering them susceptible to drugs. According to the researchers, viruses designed using this novel strategy could have a place in hand sanitizers or cleaning fluids to prevent the spread of drug-resistant microbes in hospitals and other clinical settings, which are hotspots for these life-threatening pathogens.

The viruses exploited in this latest study are natural predators of bacteria called bacteriophages, or phages, which are harmless to humans. These fascinating, sci-fi-style killers are...

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How Your Parent's Environment Can Affect Your DNA

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: petarg/ Shutterstock

Who you are is not just down to your DNA; your environment plays a big role, too. Lifestyle factors such as stress and diet can alter the way your genes are tagged with on and off switches, which modify the way your genes are expressed. While this much was known, how these changes seem to be passed on to future generations has puzzled scientists. Now, a new study has finally provided some insight into what’s going on.

Although early cells destined to become eggs and sperm are wiped of these changes early on in embryo development, scientists have revealed that some stretches of DNA resist this so-called reprogramming, allowing the modifications to persist and thus become heritable. Importantly, the researchers discovered that some of the resistant genes are associated with certain diseases, including obesity and schizophrenia. These intriguing findings have been published in the journal Cell.

While DNA contains the codes necessary to build an organism, not all of our genes need to be active at the same time or in the same place throughout the body. This is where epigenetics come in; these modifications to...

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An initiation mechanism for dendritic spines discovered

An initiation mechanism illuminates the molecular processes involved in learning and cognitive dysfunction. The discovery is important, as most of the neuronal connections, called synapses, are build to dendritic spines. In many central nervous system diseases, the dendritic spine density is altered.

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Missing teeth predict cardiovascular events

Advanced tooth loss often indicates that a person has a history of inflammatory oral diseases. In an extensive cohort study, it was shown that tooth loss associate with future cardiovascular events, diabetes and death.

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Moderate exercise helps prevent gestational diabetes, reduce weight gain during pregnancy

Women who exercise during pregnancy are less likely to have gestational diabetes, and the exercise also helps to reduce maternal weight gain, finds a study. Gestational diabetes is one of the most frequent complications of pregnancy. It is associated with an increased risk of serious disorders such as pre-eclampsia, hypertension, preterm birth, and with induced or caesarean birth.

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Planarian regeneration model discovered by artificial intelligence

An artificial intelligence system has for the first time reverse-engineered the regeneration mechanism of planaria -- the small worms whose power to regrow body parts makes them a research model in human regenerative medicine. The discovery presents the first model of regeneration discovered by a non-human intelligence and the first comprehensive model of planarian regeneration, which has eluded human scientists for a century.

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Rabbit virus improves bone marrow transplants, kills some cancer cells

For patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and multiple myeloma, a bone marrow transplant can be both curative and perilous. It replenishes marrow lost to disease or chemotherapy but raises the risk that newly transplanted white blood cells will attack the recipient's body. Now researcher have found that a rabbit virus can deliver a one-two punch, killing some kinds of cancer cells while eliminating a common and dangerous complication of bone marrow transplants.

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Daily sugar-sweetened beverage habit linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

A daily sugar-sweetened beverage habit may increase the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), researchers report. NAFLD is characterized by an accumulation of fat in the liver cells that is unrelated to alcohol consumption. NAFLD is diagnosed by ultrasounds, CT, MRI, or biopsy, and many of the approximately 25% of Americans with the disease don’t experience any symptoms.

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Biochemists devise snappy new technique for blueprinting cell membrane proteins

Biochemists have devised a new technique that will make the job of blueprinting certain proteins considerably faster, cheaper and easier. The breakthrough will make a big splash in the field of drug discovery and development, where protein blueprints help researchers understand how individual proteins work and allow drug developers to draw up specific battle plans in the fight against diseases and infections.

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Mixing Marijuana With Alcohol Increases THC Concentrations in Your Blood

Health and Medicine
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Combining alcohol with marijuana increases your blood’s concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, according to a new study published in Clinical Chemistry this week. 

The most frequently detected combination of substances linked to car accidents is cannabis with alcohol. Previous analyses have found that the increased accident risk of pot and booze use combined were higher than for either alone. Yet surprisingly, how the two compounds interact remain poorly understood. 

To investigate, a team led by Marilyn Huestis from the National Institute on Drug Abuse recruited 32 adult cannabis users who smoked at least once in three months but not as much as four times a week. The participants were asked to drink a placebo or a low-dose alcohol 10 minutes before inhaling one of three things: a placebo, low-dose THC, or high-dose THC vaporized cannabis. Blood samples were taken before and up to eight hours after ingestion; 19 of the participants completed all the sessions. 

With alcohol, the blood concentrations for both low and high THC doses were significantly...

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White House Halts US Experiments on the Human Germline

Health and Medicine
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Clinical experiments that use DNA-editing methods to alter the human germline will not be undertaken in the United States until further notice. In a statement issued on May 26, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren wrote in support of suspending the clinical use of these methods that could cause inherited changes in human genes.

Such methods could help treat genetic mutations that lead to health deficiencies developed during gestation or that arise later in life. But there are discussions that people could abuse the technology to enhance preferred traits in their offspring.

“The Administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time,” Holdren writes on the official White House blog. "The full implications of such a step could not be known until a number of generations had inherited the genetic changes made — and choices made in one country could affect all of us.”

The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine will jointly hold an international summit this fall to...

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Genetically Engineered Bacteria Could Detect Cancer And Tell You By Making Your Pee Glow

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Illustration: Christine Daniloff / MIT

When you go for a pee, you don’t expect your urine to be luminous. But with a newly developed diagnostic system, this could be an early sign of liver cancer and an indication that you’d better get to the doctor sharpish. By modifying the bacteria commonly used in the production of probiotic yoghurt, researchers think they’ve created a novel cancer test that would only require a pee sample.

Engineers working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have taken the “good bacteria” found in most probiotic yoghurts and altered them to produce a luminescent protein when feeding on dead liver tumor cells. This protein can then be detected via a urine test. The study is published in Science Translational Medicine.

Currently, diagnosing cancer can be a tricky business, and there are few more difficult than liver cancer. As an organ that filters the blood, it is often the first site to which cancer spreads when metastasized. Yet it is one of the hardest organs in which to detect tumors using conventional techniques such as CT and MRI scans. This means that tumors are often only detected when...

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There's An Effective Vaccine For Lyme Disease - But You Can't Get It, Thanks To Anti-Vaxxers

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: PHOTO FUN/ Shutterstock

It’s that time of year again: days are growing longer, trees are blossoming, birds are tweeting, and the ticks are biting. Spring may bring about heightened moods, but in the U.S. it also marks the more unpleasant beginning of Lyme disease season. That’s because the nasty arthropods that transmit the disease are most active from May through August, conveniently when humans begin to frolic in the grass and bask in the long-awaited sunshine.

With around 30,000 cases reported each year to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Lyme disease has become the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. While that may not sound like a huge number, it’s estimated that the actual figure could be five-fold higher due to underreporting.

It’s transmitted to humans through bites from blacklegged ticks infected with the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. While the disease is rarely fatal, if treatment is absent or delayed it can lead to arthritis, neurologic problems like meningitis or nerve inflammation, and sometimes even heart problems.

Although most patients will fully recover after a course...

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Toddler Tantrums Might Be Influenced By Their Gut Bacteria

Health and Medicine
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We carry them around with us everywhere we go, outnumbering our own cells ten to one. But over the past decade, research has increasingly been hinting that the freeloading, hitchhiking bacteria that cover us might actually be contributing far more than we thought. So much so that they could actually be affecting our behavior.

Researchers from The Ohio State University have found that the abundance and diversity of bacteria found in the gut appear to influence the behavior of young children, especially boys. They found that children with the most genetically diverse composition of bacteria are more likely to show behavior related with positive mood, curiosity, sociability, and impulsivity. But the researchers point out that they’re still unsure if it’s the bacteria influencing the brain, or the other way around.

“There is definitely communication between bacteria in the gut and the brain, but we don't know which one starts the conversation,” said Dr. Michael Bailey, who co-authored the study published in Science Direct. “Maybe kids who are more outgoing have fewer stress hormones impacting their gut than shy...

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How A Journalist Tricked Millions Of People Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss

Health and Medicine
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About a month ago, millions of people around the world cheered when a team of German researchers revealed how people on a low-carb diet could lose weight faster if they ate chocolate bar every single day. These surprising findings were apparently published in the International Archives of Medicine, and the press release, “Slim by Chocolate,” is available here. It opens with: “Can you indulge your sweet tooth and lose weight at the same time? If it’s chocolate you crave, then the answer seems to be: yes.” The joyous news was shared online, on TV, and in print across 20 countries.  

Well, it was a hoax. In io9 this week, John Bohannon the science journalist -- aka lead author Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health -- details exactly how he and his fellow perpetrators pulled it off. For starters, their randomized clinical trial with 16 recruits was flawed, their “statistically significant” result was an artifact of chance, and the paper was published without any peer review.

It started last December when Bohannon was approached by a duo making a documentary...

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Woman Meets The Man Wearing Her Dead Brother's Face

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: 60 Minutes Australia

When Rebekah Aversano’s brother was killed three years ago, she didn’t expect she’d ever get the chance to touch his face again. In a remarkable series of events that wouldn't have been out of place in the 1997 film Face/Off, Aversano saw her dead brother's face on another man. The emotional segment, which was filmed by 60 Minutes Australia, saw Rebekah meet Richard Norris—the man who received her dead brother’s face in a cutting-edge transplant surgery.

Richard Norris was disfigured in a shotgun accident 15 years ago, which caused him to lose his jaws, lips and nose. Norris became depressed and suicidal after a series of surgeries, which had limited success. "For the past 15 years I lived as a recluse hiding behind a surgical mask and doing most of my shopping at night when less people were around," Norris said in a statement.

Norris' life was changed, however, when Aversano and her family donated the face of her brother—Joshua. In an extraordinary and extremely complex 36-hour full face transplant, surgeons were able to replace his jaws, teeth, tongue, skin and underlying tissue, from scalp to neck.

“I...

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Have Researchers Finally Settled The Nature Vs Nurture Debate?

Health and Medicine
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When it comes to the nature vs nurture debate, which camp do you sit in? Well, you're both right because it’s a draw. The study, published in Nature Genetics, reviewed almost every twin study done in the last 50 years and found that 49% of the average variation for human traits and diseases were down to genetics, and the other 51% were due to environmental factors.

"When visiting the nature versus nurture debate, there is overwhelming evidence that both genetic and environmental factors can influence traits and diseases," said lead researcher Dr. Beben Benyamin, from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), in a statement. "The findings show that we need to look at ourselves outside of a view of nature versus nurture, and instead look at it as nature and nurture."

Working with researchers at VU University of Amsterdam, Benyamin and his team studied 2,748 classical twin studies—involving 14.5 million pairs of twins—published between 1958 and 2012. These twin studies compared identical twins, which have the same genetic makeup, to non-identical twins, who only share half of their genes. The study...

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Success Against Most Common Form Of Cystic Fibrosis

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: John Teate via Shutterstock. Two drugs working together have been found to be effective against the most common cause of cystic fibrosis

A treatment for the most common cause of cystic fibrosis has exceeded expectations, significantly improving the quality of life of more than a thousand children with the genetic disease. The trial was too short to determine whether the drug combination also extends the life expectancy of children with the disease, but researchers are optimistic.

Cystic fibrosis affects the lungs, liver and pancreas of children born with one of several mutations. Proteins that act as channels for chloride cells fail to fold normally, trapping chloride inside cells. More seriously, lungs fill up with sticky mucus, making it hard to breathe and increasing vulnerability to lung infections.

Tens of thousands of people worldwide are affected, the frequency being highest among those with northern European ancestry. There has been some slow progress in reducing the mortality rates of those with the condition, but life expectancy remains at only around half of that of the general population.

Treatments that work...

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Watch T Cells Hunt Down And Kill Cancer Cells

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Gillian Griffiths/Jonny Settle

Cytotoxic T cells, which researchers describe as ‘serial killers,’ have a pretty important role to play in keeping your body healthy. They move rapidly around their environment looking for infected and cancerous cells. Once identified, cytotoxic T cells lock on to their target and kill them. This remarkable process has now been captured on film by researchers from the University of Cambridge using state-of-the-art imaging techniques.

There are billions of cytotoxic T cells in our body, which are the orange or green 'blobs’ in the video below, and they are able to recognize a variety of pathogens through the ‘markers’ on the surface of the cells. These markers, known as antigens, tell the cytotoxic T cells whether the cell is carrying foreign or abnormal molecules. Once cytotoxic T cells recognize unwanted intruders, they launch an attack by binding to the cell and injecting it with poisonous molecules called cytotoxins—shown in red in the film.

"In our bodies, where cells are packed together, it's essential that the T cell focuses the lethal hit on its target, otherwise it will cause collateral...

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23 Unusual Ways To Die In The US In One Handy Map

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Fer Gregory via shutterstock

“…in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” quoted Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789. The great dispatcher will come for us all in time, but this doesn’t mean you can’t leave in unusual style.

Published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the map shown below illustrates “the most distinctive causes of death” in each of the 50 states. Using data acquired between 2000 and 2010, the paper describes the cause of death in each state that most stands out when compared with how people in the US usually die.

Image Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

But if you’re a North Dakotan who is now alarmed by the significant amount of influenza deaths– relax, there is no need to panic. The map is meant to be a “colorful and provocative way of starting some conversations and highlighting some unusual things that are going on,” said study co-author Francis Boscoe to Live Science. “If something is almost nonexistent everywhere in the country, but there's a handful of them in one state, then that could show up."

The results, the...

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The Science Of Hangovers

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: XiXinXing on shutterstock

As a bothersome buzz at the base of your neck or an agonizing ache all over, the effects of drinking alcohol on the body are the least amount of fun the morning after. But what if you could harness the power of science to drink smart and feel less like a trembling gremlin the next day?

Help is at hand, thanks to Kayla Matthews, a tech productivity blogger, who made a handy infographic (shown below) to illustrate the science behind that hellish hangover.

Created with Clarity Way, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, Matthews’ research promotes healthy living with a responsible consumption of alcohol. 

Read this next: Meet the New Blue and Purple Crayfish from Indonesia

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Doubt Cast On 'Young Blood' Anti-Aging Protein

Health and Medicine
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It might sound like the plot from a vampire movie, but since the 1950s it’s been observed that young blood seemingly rejuvenates old mice. To great fanfare, last year it was announced that scientists might have finally cracked the riddle following the discovery of the specific protein that could be responsible for the apparent anti-aging properties. However, a new paper has cast doubt on this discovery.

When a team of scientists in 2013 hooked up the circulatory systems of a young mouse to an old one that showed signs of thickening of the heart, a common condition of old age, they found that after four weeks the old mouses’ heart had reverted to almost the same size as the younger ones. The researchers identified a certain protein they thought responsible: GDF11. 

To David Glass, who works at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, this was completely counter-intuitive. He’d been working on an incredibly similar protein, called myostatin, that didn’t restore muscle but damaged it. “You could imagine that when it came out last year that [GDF11] helped muscle, it was quite a surprise,” Glass told...

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Teenage Girl Had To Stay Awake For Four Days After Parasite Started Eating Her Eyeball

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Jessica Greaney's right eye is swollen from the eye parasite / Jessica Greaney

For the squeamish, the images in this article are not extreme.

The 19-year-old contact lens wearer, Jessica Greaney, thought she only had a minor eye infection: her eye was sore and her eyelid kept drooping. "But, by the end of the week, my eye was bulging, and it looked like a huge red golf ball," Greaney said. "It was swollen, and extremely painful, and they admitted me into hospital."

Little did she know that there was a parasite, Acanthamoeba, living inside her eyeball. Left untreated, this parasite can cause blindness. To diagnose the problem, doctors had to scrape away a small sample of her eye tissue with a scalpel.

For the next four days, Greaney had to stay awake for treatment and put eye drops in her eye every thirty minutes. She commented on her harrowing experience: "Four nights of not being able to sleep sounds like torture and it is. It's really heartbreaking and hard to go through." Jessica recalls being exhausted, losing her appetite and, as a result, her immune system was shot.

"Although it's hard, it is worth it in the end because...

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Young Blood Speeds Healing Of Old Broken Bones

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Puwadol Jaturawutthichai/ Shutterstock

Hailed as the long sought-after elixir of youth ever since scientists demonstrated that it could reverse signs of aging in old mice, there has been a lot of interest in young blood as a potential rejuvenation factor. While scientists thought they may have pinpointed the responsible molecule, describing its impressive effects in several high-profile publications, its age-defying abilities have this week been called into question by a new study. But it seems scientists shouldn’t fall at the first hurdle as, interestingly, a new investigation has come out that showed that young blood can help old broken bones heal faster.

As described in Nature Communications, circulating the blood of young mice in older mice with fractures sped up the healing process, an effect that they could replicate by also giving the elderly mice a bone marrow transplant from youthful individuals. Furthermore, they were also able to pinpoint a signaling pathway that is at least partly responsible, although what causes it to go wrong in the elderly remains unknown.

The signaling molecule in question is a protein called...

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