Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Six week-old Kaiba Gionfriddo was out at a restaurant with his family, when he stopped breathing and started turning blue. It turned out that he had a severe form of tracheobronchomalacia, a rare condition in which the trachea collapses due to flaccid supporting cartilage. Although he survived that incident, he proceeded to stop breathing on a regular basis, requiring daily resuscitation. Given the seriousness of the situation, his doctors decided to go for broke and try something new – an implanted 3D-printed tracheal support splint.
The device was already under development by University of Michigan associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology Dr. Glenn Green, and professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering Dr. Scott Hollister. It had never been tried in a human before, so they had to obtain emergency clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration in order to use it on Kaiba.
To make the implant, they first obtained a CT scan of Kaiba’s trachea/broncus, then created a computer model of the splint based on that. They then used a laser-based 3D printer to convert that digital model into a physical object, made from a biopolymer known as polycaprolactone.
In a surgical procedure on February 9th of last year, the ridged tube-shaped splint was sewn around Kaiba’s airway. This opened up his bronchus immediately, plus it also now serves as a skeleton to guide the proper growth of more rigid cartilage as he matures. Most babies with tracheobronchomalacia grow out of the condition as their trachea develops over two to three years, which is about the same amount of time that it should take the biocompatible polymer to be dissolved into his body.
Twenty-one days after the procedure was complete, Kaiba was taken off of ventilator support. He hasn’t had any breathing problems since, and is now 20 months old.
Bravo! There’s hardly a geek project in recent years which has taken off into every possible direction as have 3D printers. This being one of the best.
All mosquitoes are attracted to human body odour, but the malaria parasite could be making the insects better at sniffing us out
Mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite are more attracted to human body odour than uninfected insects, a study suggests.
Researchers found that infected insects were three times more likely to be lured towards a human scent.
They believe that the deadly parasites are seizing control of their biting hosts and boosting their sense of smell…
To carry out the study, the researchers infected malaria mosquitoes (Anopheles gambiae) with the most deadly form of parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.
They placed about 100 of the infected insects into a container, along with some nylon stockings that had been previously worn by volunteers for 20 hours…”It is a very effective way of collecting body odour… the odour can remain attractive for months,” explained Dr James Logan.
The scientists repeated the experiment with uninfected insects.
They found that mosquitoes carrying the deadly parasite were three times more likely to be attracted to the smelly stockings.
The scientists believe this is because the tiny parasitic organisms are manipulating their hosts’ sense of smell…Dr Logan said: “We think it is giving them a heightened sense of smell. We are hypothesising there is an alteration somewhere in their olfactory system that allows them to find us quicker.”
By making humans an easier target, the parasite is more likely to be passed into the blood stream – ensuring its survival and continuing the spread of the deadly disease.
The researchers will now begin a three-year project, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to learn more about how the parasites are doing this.
With a finite quantity of funding available, it’s worth focusing on a disease like malaria that kills and maims people by the thousands. Yes, there are many other ailments, deadly ailments hampering life for all on this planet of ours. It would be great if policymakers and pundits in charge of national treasuries considered life on Earth a higher priority than death and destruction. Until that changes, we do what we can with what we can afford.
Becoming an American can be bad for your health.
A growing body of mortality research on immigrants has shown that the longer they live in this country, the worse their rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. And while their American-born children may have more money, they tend to live shorter lives than the parents.
The pattern goes against any notion that moving to America improves every aspect of life. It also demonstrates that at least in terms of health, worries about assimilation for the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants are mistaken. In fact, it is happening all too quickly.
“There’s something about life in the United States that is not conducive to good health across generations,” said Robert A. Hummer, a social demographer at the University of Texas at Austin.
For Hispanics, now the nation’s largest immigrant group, the foreign-born live about three years longer than their American-born counterparts, several studies have found.
RTFA and discover exactly the details you might expect: smoking, drinking, high-calorie diets and sedentary lifestyles.
Oh, and the second generation does even worse.
Two new studies add to the growing evidence that spending time outdoors may help prevent or minimize nearsightedness in children. A study conducted in Taiwan, which is the first to use an educational policy as a public vision health intervention, finds that when children are required to spend recess time outdoors, their risk of nearsightedness is reduced. A separate study in Danish children is the first to show a direct correlation between seasonal fluctuations in daylight, eye growth and the rate of nearsightedness progression…
In one of the new studies, an elementary school in Taiwan required its 333 students to spend recess outdoors for a year from 2009-10 so that researchers could learn whether this would reduce myopia rates. A similar school nearby served as the control group and did not require outdoor recess. The children in the intervention school, many of whom had formerly spent recess indoors, now spent a total of 80 minutes per day outdoors.
Students at both schools received eye exams at the study outset and one year later. The results showed that significantly fewer children became nearsighted or shifted toward nearsightedness in the school that required outdoor recess, compared with the control school. The researchers recommend that elementary schools in Asia and other regions add frequent recess breaks and other outdoor activities to their daily schedules to help protect children’s eye development and vision…
“Because children spend a lot of time in school, a school-based intervention is a direct and practical way to tackle the increasing prevalence of myopia,” said the leader of the study, Pei-Chang Wu, M.D., Ph.D., of Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
A separate study on the impact of daylight exposure on eye development analyzed data collected in a 2005 clinical trial that included 235 Danish school children with myopia. The participants were divided into seven groups, each of which represented a different seasonal interval. Because daylight hours fluctuate markedly with the seasons in Denmark, from seven hours in winter to nearly 18 in summer, access to daylight was distinct for each group. Axial eye length — the distance from the front to the back of the eye — and vision were tested in each group of children at the beginning and end of their seasonal interval. Axial length is an important measurement because elongation of the eye indicates that the person’s myopia is worsening. In the children with access to the fewest hours of daylight, eye growth averaged 0.19 mm; in those with access to the most daylight, eye growth was just 0.12 mm.
“Our results indicate that exposure to daylight helps protect children from myopia,” said the leader of the study, Dongmei Cui, M.D., Ph.D., of Sun Yat-sen University, China. “This means that parents and others who manage children’s time should encourage them to spend time outdoors daily. When that’s impractical due to weather or other factors, use of daylight-spectrum indoor lights should be considered as a way to minimize myopia.”
Bravo! Great start to in-depth research. Tell your local beancounter school board to pay attention.
Vermont will become the fourth state to make it legal for a physician to prescribe lethal medication to a terminally ill, mentally competent patient who wants to end his life. It has also become the first state to approve the practice through legislation, instead of via a public referendum (as in Oregon and Washington) or a court decision (in Montana).
The Vermont House of Representatives approved the measure by a 75-to-65 vote on Monday night, after 17-to-13 approval in the Senate last week. Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he will sign it into law…
Supporters of what advocates call “death with dignity”…have been introducing similar legislation in Vermont since the mid 1990s. In the only previous vote, a bill went down to defeat in the state house in 2007.
Given polls that consistently show broad support among Vermont voters, a referendum might well have passed years ago, said Michael Sirotkin, one of the lawyers representing the group Patient Choices at End of Life Vermont. But the state doesn’t permit ballot initiatives, so organizers turned to the legislature.
“I’d say this is actually a harder path, because often the public is ahead of legislators on controversial issues,” Mr. Sirotkin said…
…When the law takes effect after the governor signs it, it will initially closely follow the Oregon model, with numerous statutory procedures and safeguards meant to protect patients against coercion or changes of heart. It adopts the same 15-day waiting period between the patient’s first request for medication and the second, for example, and requires a second physician’s evaluation.
But three years later, those requirements drop away, and a lethal prescription for a mentally competent patient expected to die within six months becomes largely a private matter between doctor and patient.
I guess I’ll never wear out using the word, “overdue”. As much as I tease folks here in the Southwest that what I miss most about New England are legislators with backbone and brains – there aren’t a whole boatload of progressive laws being passed that I wouldn’t have voted for fifty years ago.
I honestly believe that a culture of fairness and knowledge could have instituted an end to bigoted laws dividing civil rights, use and possession of mood-altering substances, the right to a death with dignity – decades ago. And ordinary folks would have voted against sending our military off to fight wars all over the globe for the glory and advancement of corporate America.
The nation’s largest cardiovascular health organization has a new message for Americans: Owning a dog may protect you from heart disease.
The unusual message was contained in a scientific statement published on Thursday by the American Heart Association, which convened a panel of experts to review years of data on the cardiovascular benefits of owning a pet. The group concluded that owning a dog, in particular, was “probably associated” with a reduced risk of heart disease.
People who own dogs certainly have more reason to get outside and take walks, and studies show that most owners form such close bonds with their pets that being in their presence blunts the owners’ reactions to stress and lowers their heart rate, said Dr. Glenn N. Levine, the head of the committee that wrote the statement.
But most of the evidence is observational, which makes it impossible to rule out the prospect that people who are healthier and more active in the first place are simply more likely to bring a dog or cat into their home.
“We didn’t want to make this too strong of a statement,” said Dr. Levine, a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine. “But there are plausible psychological, sociological and physiological reasons to believe that pet ownership might actually have a causal role in decreasing cardiovascular risk…”
The new report reviewed dozens of studies, and over all it seemed clear that pet owners, especially those with dogs, the focus of most of the studies, were in better health than people without pets.
“Several studies showed that dogs decreased the body’s reaction to stress, with a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline-like hormone release when a pet is present as opposed to when a pet is not present,” Dr. Levine said.
Pet owners also tended to report greater amounts of physical activity, and modestly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Some research showed that people who had pets of any kind were also more likely to survive heart attacks…
Dr. Levine said that he and his colleagues were not recommending that people adopt pets for any reason other than to give them a good home.
“If someone adopts a pet, but still sits on the couch and smokes and eats whatever they want and doesn’t control their blood pressure,” he said, “that’s not a prudent strategy to decrease their cardiovascular risk.”
Walking the dog is always a shared experience in our family. Neither side of the equation seems to think they’re doing the other a special favor. It’s just fun for us to be together outdoors, sharing a walk.
The health benefits of exposing skin to sunlight may far outweigh the risk of developing skin cancer…Edinburgh University research suggests sunlight helps reduce blood pressure, cutting heart attack and stroke risks and even prolonging life.
UV rays were found to release a compound that lowers blood pressure.
Researchers said more studies would be carried out to determine if it is time to reconsider advice on skin exposure.
Heart disease and stroke linked to high blood pressure are estimated to lead to about 80 times more deaths than those from skin cancer in the UK.
Production of the pressure-reducing compound, nitric oxide, is separate from the body’s manufacture of vitamin D, which rises after exposure to sunshine.
Researchers said that until now vitamin D production had been considered the sole benefit of the sun to human health…
Dr Richard Weller, a senior lecturer in dermatology at Edinburgh University, said: “We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer.
“The work we have done provides a mechanism that might account for this, and also explains why dietary vitamin D supplements alone will not be able to compensate for lack of sunlight.
“We now plan to look at the relative risks of heart disease and skin cancer in people who have received different amounts of sun exposure.
“If this confirms that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, we will need to reconsider our advice on sun exposure.”
I tend to approach most health questions within the context of the anthropology of evolution. Diet, exercise, sex – all parts of a species evolving over time in widely differing environments; but, similar questions leading the analysis of that evolution. That we live longer than our nature-oriented forebears certainly skews the analysis – and even the ailments we now encounter, like skin cancer.
Still, I have to lean easiest into the context that defined our environment over millennia – and how we responded to that environment.
For years, health officials have told parents not to share utensils with their babies or clean their pacifiers by putting them in their mouths, arguing that the practice spreads harmful germs between parent and child. But new research may turn that thinking on its head.
In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, scientists report that infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them. They also had lower rates of eczema, fewer signs of asthma and smaller amounts of a type of white blood cell that rises in response to allergies and other disorders.
The findings add to growing evidence that some degree of exposure to germs at an early age benefits children, and that microbial deprivation might backfire, preventing the immune system from developing a tolerance to trivial threats.
The study, carried out in Sweden, could not prove that the pacifiers laden with parents’ saliva were the direct cause of the reduced allergies. The practice may be a marker for parents who are generally more relaxed about shielding their children from dirt and germs, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University who was not involved in the research.
“It’s a very interesting study that adds to this idea that a certain kind of interaction with the microbial environment is actually a good thing for infants and children,” he said. “I wonder if the parents that cleaned the pacifiers orally were just more accepting of the old saying that you’ve got to eat a peck of dirt. Maybe they just had a less ‘disinfected’ environment in their homes…”
…Health authorities tell parents to do things that can lower the rate of transmission to their children, like not sharing utensils or putting their mouths on pacifiers.
But Dr. Joel Berg, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said those efforts are misguided, since parents are bound to spread germs simply by kissing their children and being around them. “This notion of not feeding your baby with your spoon or your fork is absurd because if the mom is in close proximity to the baby you can’t prevent that transmission,” he said. “There’s no evidence that you can avoid it. It’s impossible unless you wear a mask or you don’t touch the child, which isn’t realistic.”
Dr. Berg, who does salivary research at the University of Washington, said the new findings underscore something he has been telling his patients for years, that “saliva is your friend.” It contains enzymes, proteins, electrolytes and other beneficial substances, some of which can perhaps be passed from parent to child.
“I think, like any new study, this is going to be challenged and questioned,” he said. “But what it points out pretty clearly is that we are yet to fully discover the many and varied benefits of saliva.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it, again. The immigrants on either side of my family who didn’t live to be older than the average American were the cigarette smokers. The rest all beat the numbers by decades. And they weren’t squeaky clean-freaks.
Nestle USA’s Pizza Division is voluntarily recalling select production codes of four different frozen pizzas sold nationwide due to plastic…
Officials said they took the action after a small number of consumers reported they had found small fragments of clear plastic on the California Pizza Kitchen Crispy Thin Crust White pizza…
– California Pizza Kitchen Crispy Thin Crust White, UPC 71921 98745; production codes: 3062525951, 3062525952 and 3063525951.
– California Pizza Kitchen Limited Edition Grilled Chicken with Cabernet Sauce, UPC 71921 00781; production code 3059525952.
– DiGiorno Crispy Flatbread Pizza Tuscan Style Chicken, UPC 71921 02663; production codes 3057525922 and 3058525921.
– DiGiorno pizzeria! Bianca/White Pizza, UPC 71921 91484; production code 3068525951.
Consumers who might have purchased the recalled pizzas with the identified production codes should not consume the pizza, but instead contact the Nestle USA Consumer Services at 1-800-456-4394 or email@example.com for further instructions Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., E.T. and this Saturday, May 4th from 12 noon to 8 p.m.
Poisonally, I advocate buying good bread and pizza from local bakers. Or baking your own.
Use the Search box for focaccia and try my recipe. I’ll try to get off my butt and include my basic bread recipe, soon – and I have a couple of experiments to try based on the techniques used in an article on Neopolitan Pizza in the current issue of SAVEUR.
Ain’t any of it especially difficult, folks. You’ll appreciate the freshness, the results of your own efforts.
Smoking may pose a bigger health threat to women than men, say researchers.
Women who smoke have a higher risk of cancer than men, Norwegian investigators found.
They looked at the medical records of 600,000 patients and discovered the bowel cancer risk linked to smoking was twice as high in women than men…Female smokers had a 19% increased risk of the disease while male smokers had a 9% increased risk…
In the study, nearly 4,000 of the participants developed bowel cancer. Women who started smoking when they were 16 or younger and those who had smoked for decades were at substantially increased risk of bowel cancer.
The findings suggest that women may be biologically more vulnerable to the toxic effects of tobacco smoke.
Experts already know that women who start smoking increase their risk of a heart attack by more than men who take up the habit, although it is not clear why…
Although smoking rates have been falling among both sexes, the decline has been less rapid in women…
According to research in more than one million women, those who give up smoking by the age of 30 will almost completely avoid the risks of dying early from tobacco-related diseases.
Sarah Williams of Cancer Research UK said…”For men and women, the evidence is clear – being a non-smoker means you’re less likely to develop cancer, heart disease, lung disease and many other serious illnesses.”
That last sentence says it all.
My sister and I started smoking when she was 10, I was 12. We wanted to be like our parents. I was the only one who quit. You have to break the cultural chain if you’re ever going to beat the thugs who profit from selling addiction.