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Using electronic equipment during a thunderstorm puts you at risk of injury

» It's not a myth: During an electrical storm, lightning can travel through your home's electrical system and fry your plasma television, computer—or you. Most surge protectors are no help. "When thunder roars, stay indoors—and read a book." Mark Earley, chief electrical engineer at the National Fire Protection Association.  [ 10/29/07 ]

Is your vet unnecessarily testing your animals?

» How to say no to your vet. On the proliferation of unnecessary shots and testing in the veterinary profession.  [ 10/26/07 ]

Conscientious people shown to be at lower risk of Alzheimer's

» Want to avoid Alzheimer's? Become more conscientious. For me, the most fascinating thing is that conscientious people who (on autopsy) showed significant levels of Alzheimer's pathology died without any evidence of cognitive impairment. CNN is framing it as self-disciplined, organized achievers(1) Comments  / [ 10/03/07 ]

The best way to clean fresh produce

» NPR: What's the best way to clean fresh fruits and vegetables? Skip the commercially available produce washes and use a solution of vinegar and water (or even plain water, according to one research team). (via jh [ 09/25/07 ]

The Gurley Stages of Breast Regression

» Oh, dear.   [ 09/19/07 ]

Water Bottle Ratings

» Reusable Water Bottles You'll Actually Want To Use. Laura Moser's testers gave the highest marks to my two favorites: the Sigg and the Platypus [ 09/17/07 ]

New ways to map the way faces age

» New research shows that the face contains 18 separate areas, each of which hold and lose fat at different rates as a person ages. Plastic surgeons are looking at this new information with an eye to doing better cosmetic surgery, but other physicians see the potential for more accurately assessing and predicting their patients' potential for heart disease. "Human anatomy has been studied for over 500 years. It’s pretty unusual to see something this new at the macroscopic, anatomical level." Joel Pessa, assistant professor and plastic surgeon at UT Southwestern and study coauthor.  [ 08/21/07 ]

Is eyelash tinting as painful as Zoom Whitening?

» Wait....eyelash tinting hurts???!!!??? The phrase "slight tingling" seems to be a common euphemism for intense pain(2) Comments  / [ 08/20/07 ]

Obesity in the US, 1985 - 2003

» I guess it's only appropriate to follow that with an infographic on the rise of obesity in the United States from 1985 to 2003. The trend is pretty spectacular. (5) Comments  / [ 08/10/07 ]

Teaching toddlers about anytime foods and sometimes foods

» I love this concept for teaching preschoolers good eating habits: anytime foods and sometimes foods [ 03/19/07 ]

Why are some generic drugs nearly as expensive as name brands?

» WSJ: Mind the gap. Some "generic" drugs are simply not that much cheaper than their name-brand counterparts.

Stores say they regularly review prices. At Inc., generic simvastatin until recently had been at $125 for the common 30-tablet dose, compared with $135.99 for Zocor, even after the six-month exclusivity period ended in late December. After a reporter called to inquire about the price, on Friday dropped simvastatin to $27.99, which the company said was part of a regular review. Zocor now costs $139.99. On, simvastatin's price hadn't fallen after the six-month period's end. After a reporter inquired about it in late February, it dropped to $89.99 from $129.99. A spokeswoman said the price had already been under review.
[...] At Costco Wholesale, whose Web site yesterday listed the common dose of generic Zocor at $11.96, the company says that even at such prices, Costco is making a profit. Charles Burnett, senior vice president of pharmacy at Costco, says the company can acquire the 30-tablet, 20-milligram dose of simvastatin for $2.71. He says the price on today will fall to $10.66. Patients are allowed to use the pharmacies of clubs such as Costco and Sam's Club, even if they aren't members.

And that's the biggest lesson here: Shop around, and be sure to try the clubs. (thanks, David!)  [ 03/15/07 ]

Believing you are fit, makes you fit

» Believing that you get ample exercise makes you more fit [ 02/28/07 ]

Smelling food makes you fatter

» The Scent of a Calorie: Whiff of Food Cancels Longevity from Caloric Restriction. (via jh [ 02/27/07 ]

Tasty food is better for you

» Compare: A new study shows that people absorb more nutrients from foods they enjoy eating [ 02/26/07 ]

Video games might help you see better

» Action video games might help you see better.   [ 02/08/07 ]

How to Care for Your Skin

» The Cosmetics Restriction Diet. Throw away those expensive skin care products and replace them with these three basic items.  [ 01/05/07 ]

Zoom Teeth Whitening Caution

» As a public service announcement: If you were thinking of having your dentist whiten your teeth using the Zoom System—don't do it! No one told me about the risk of SHARP SHOOTING PAINS inside your teeth during and after your procedure. It doesn't happen to everyone, they tell me (NOW they tell me) but it happened to both me and my husband. Let me be clear: this is a pain of short duration (though the sealant hurt—BAD—until they wiped it off) but it is more intense than any mouth pain I can remember, including my toothache. It continued to occur for the rest of the day ("perfectly normal"). My teeth are whiter, but it was not worth it. I would never do this procedure again. (361) Comments  / [ 01/05/07 ]

Charles Dickens' eccentrics were often just sick

» Diagnosing with Dickens. Charles Dickens' keen eye documents several medical conditions that have been only recently understood. (via dm [ 12/19/06 ]

Hormone replacement therapy linked to breast cancer?

» Reuters: "A sharp decline in new breast cancer cases in 2003 in the United States [may] have come because millions of older women ceased hormone replacement therapy the previous year, researchers said Thursday.... 'It is the largest single drop in breast cancer incidence within a single year I am aware of,' said Dr. Peter Ravdin, a research professor in the Department of Biostatistics at M. D. Anderson."  [ 12/14/06 ]

How to live to be 100

» It seems that the first-born children of young mothers are the most likely to live to be 100.   [ 11/30/06 ]

You are what Grandma ate

» New studies on mice show that a mother’s diet can change the behaviour of a specific gene for at least two subsequent generations(1) Comments  / [ 11/17/06 ]

Hospitals turn to honey to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria

» In order to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, hospitals around the world are turning to an ancient remedy: honey. Laboratory attempts to create a honey-resistant bacteria have so far failed. (2) Comments  / [ 11/13/06 ]

Hannaford's new food rating system steams the food industry

» Hannaford Grocery chain has developed a 3-star system that rates the healthiness of the food they sell, based on the overall profile of the food. Since Hannaford will mark down items for high sodium, trans fats, and low nutrients, even products that make strong health claims may receive low scores. As you might imagine, the food industry isn't particularly happy.

"[V-8] like drinking a vitamin with a lot of salt on it." Hannaford advisory board member Lisa A. Sutherland, assistant professor of pediatrics and a nutrition scientist at Dartmouth Medical School.
"I don’t know what their system is. What are they calling too much salt?" John Faulkner, director of brand communication at the Campbell Soup Company.
"The thing is, a lot of claims we see out there are puffery. But they don’t get to the point where we can call them fake or misleading." Joseph R. Baca, director of the office of compliance at the F.D.A.’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

 (3) Comments  / [ 11/07/06 ]

Why won't the US implement Europe's method for battling hospital infections?

» Europe is killing off hospital infections. Why isn't the United States following suit? "Why are we spending millions if not billions on bird flu, a ghost that might not happen, when you have thousands being colonized by MRSA and dying of it?" Dr. William Jarvis, a top CDC hospital-infection expert until he resigned in 2003. (1) Comments  / [ 11/02/06 ]

Hospitals using aviation safety training to save more lives

» In response to a 1999 report claiming that 98,000 American patients die annually from preventable human errors, medical centers around the country are hiring professional pilots to train them on how to apply aviation safety principles to critical care in hospitals. "The culture in the operating room has always been the surgeon as the captain at the controls with a crew of anesthesiologists, nurses and techs hinting at problems and hoping they will be addressed. We need to change the culture so communication is more organized, regimented and collaborative, like what you find now in the cockpit of an airplane." Dr. Stephen B. Smith, chief medical officer at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.  [ 11/01/06 ]

CDC: Hospitals must do more to combat superbugs

» CDC to hospitals: Wash your hands!  [ 10/20/06 ]

Autism gene identified

» And today, scientists from Vanderbilt University announced they have found a genetic mutation that raises the risk of autism. They are calling for more research to discover which environmental factors actually cause the condition. (1) Comments  / [ 10/17/06 ]

TV might cause autism

»  New research from Cornell University shows a correlation between television viewing during early childhood and autism. Here's the paper. (thanks, jjg!) (3) Comments  / [ 10/16/06 ]

Healthier snacks for schools

» Snack makers pledge healthier snacks in schools. Food manufacturers are even developing healthier snack items to meet the new standards, but they have limited influence: vending machine sales are usually sold by independent contracters.  [ 10/11/06 ]

How do you get doctors to wash their hands?

» Longtime Pocket readers will know that I am an enthusiastic promoter of handwashing. The Freakanomics fellows have a new article on a brilliant piece of social engineering that got doctors at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center to always wash their hands [ 09/26/06 ]

SquidSoap trains kids to be good handwashers

» Our next generation of health-givers will be more trustworthy. The brilliant SquidSoap stamps children's hands with a special ink that won't disappear until they have washed their hands for 15-20 seconds. (via cd)  (1) Comments  / [ 09/26/06 ]

E. coli is the result of modern farming practices

» More on E. coli on spinach and in the digestive tracts of cattle.

But the villain in this outbreak, E. coli O157:H7, is far scarier, at least for humans. Your stomach juices are not strong enough to kill this acid-loving bacterium, which is why it’s more likely than other members of the E. coli family to produce abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever and, in rare cases, fatal kidney failure.
It’s not found in the intestinal tracts of cattle raised on their natural diet of grass, hay and other fibrous forage. No, O157 thrives in a new — that is, recent in the history of animal diets — biological niche: the unnaturally acidic stomachs of beef and dairy cattle fed on grain, the typical ration on most industrial farms.

thanks, MollyMagnet!  [ 09/25/06 ]

Race + Income + Location = Lifespan

» Race, income, and location all have profound effects on your health and lifespan according to a new fascinating study from the Harvard School of Public Health concludes "the differences are so stark it's as if there are eight separate Americas instead of one".

The longest-living whites weren't the relatively wealthy. [...] They're edged out, by a year, by low-income residents of the rural Northern Plains states, where the men tend to reach age 76 and the women 82. Yet low-income whites in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley die four years sooner than their Northern neighbors.

Here is the editor's summary and the original paper itself (which is, by the way, freely available to be read and distributed by the public.)  [ 09/19/06 ]

Intersexed fish are surely not an indicator species for the safety of Potomac River water on humans

» Well, fine. Male bass in the Potomac River are growing eggs.

[Thomas] Jacobus, like others at area utilities, said there was no evidence that tap water taken from the Potomac was unsafe to drink. They said humans should be far less susceptible to the river's pollution than fish, because people are not exposed constantly to the water, our hormone systems work differently, and our larger bodies should require higher doses of any pollutant to cause problems.

 (2) Comments  / [ 09/07/06 ]

US rice supply contaminated with GM rice

» "Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced [last week] that U.S. commercial supplies of long-grain rice had become inadvertently contaminated with a genetically engineered variety not approved for human consumption." Is anyone surprised by this? (3) Comments  / [ 08/25/06 ]

FDA okays spray-viruses to combat listeriosis

» More food news: The FDA has okayed a process to spray a cocktail of viruses on meat to be consumed by humans in order to combat listeriosis. Jorn sez:"FDA okays swallowing spiders to catch flies". (3) Comments  / [ 08/18/06 ]

New bill designed to get fresh produce into neighborhood bodegas

» Proposed federal law would help corner stores stock and sell healthy food.

The "Bodegas as Catalysts for Healthy Living Act", introduced into the House in late July by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)...refers to a small business grants help bodegas stock produce and market healthy items, as well as funding local education campaigns to spur purchases. In tackling the issue of access, the bill addresses one of the most salient critiques one can launch at food gurus like Alice Waters and Michael Pollan: That for many Americans, the issue isn't about finding a locally grown, organic apple. It's about finding an edible apple, period.

Of course, Waters and Pollan are all about local access to food for all, so just dismiss that particular straw man as a writer's flourish. Read it anyway.  [ 08/17/06 ]

The Gates Foundation fights to give the power to fight HIV to women

» The Gates Foundation is increasing their funding for a search for a microbicide or an oral prevention drug that women can use to protect themselves from HIV. "Abstinence is often not an option for poor women and girls who have no choice but to marry at an early age. Being faithful will not protect a woman whose partner is not faithful. And using condoms is not a decision that a woman can make by herself; it depends on a man." Melinda Gates.  [ 08/16/06 ]

Ayurvedic Tourism

» In the Land of Four-Star Asceticism.

For pilgrims with deep pockets wanting an authentic immersion into this ancient medical system, including a radical purification and detoxification treatment known as pancha karma, the Kalari Kovilakom—which markets itself as combining "the indulgence of a palace with the austerity of an ashram"—is the real deal. Since the 1970’s, "ayurveda tourism" has drawn Lonely Planet acolytes and Rough Guiders, especially young Germans, to the thatched-hut beaches of southern India, lured by the promise of $5 massages. But with the reimagining of this historic rajah’s palazzo by the Casino Group—Keralan hoteliers who have shrewdly rechristened themselves CHG Earth—the ante has been considerably upped.

 (1) Comments  / [ 08/14/06 ]

Organic foods instantly reduce children's pesticide levels

» A University of Washington study shows that switching to organic food directly affected the level of pesticides found in children's urine.

Children eating non-organic foods were switched for five days to an organic diet and pesticide levels were measured in their urine before and after the change. The study -- published this past fall -- found that some pesticides disappeared from the children's urine after going organic.

(via dm [ 08/02/06 ]

Chicago teaching new immigrants how to eat in America

» A Chicago resettlement program is offering classes in shopping and eating to new immigrants, an attempt to educate people accustomed to food scarity to cope with the sudden abundance (and junk food) that surrounds them. (thanks, Lisa!) (1) Comments  / [ 08/01/06 ]

Honey outperforms antibiotics

» New research shows that honey, used by Egyptians in the healing of wounds, outperforms antibiotics, especially in immune-system-compromised patients, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  [ 08/01/06 ]

Tips for surviving the heat

» For those still in the throes of the heat wave, Garret Vreeland, an experienced New Mexico resident, offers tips for living in the heat. His in-house regimen is very similar to mine(1) Comments  / [ 07/27/06 ]

Science says we mellow with age

» It seems that as people age, they get better at perceiving happiness, and worse at perceiving fear.  (2) Comments  / [ 06/29/06 ]

Omega-3 deficiency may cause modern neurological conditions

» Did omega-3 fatty acid lead to the "great cognitive leap" in the Palaeolithic era—and is omega-3 deficiency responsible for contemporary brain dysfunctions like dyslexia, ADHD, and depression? (via robotwisdom [ 06/22/06 ]

PC Posture and how to fix it

» The Perils of PC Posture, and how to fix it. Apparently men and women tend to develop a different set of debilitating habits.  [ 06/06/06 ]

Drugs that allow you to sculpt your sleep to your lifestyle

» New classes of sleeping pills make it possible for people to more or less control the amount of sleep they need. I can foresee a booming business in sleep-compression drugs for new parents. Bonus concept: "Sleep architecture"! (thanks, lizard!)  [ 05/09/06 ]

Study shows middle-aged British are more healthy than Americans, on less money

» A new study shows that, though they spend half as much on healthcare, the middle-aged English are healthier than their American counterparts. In fact, the health of the poorest Britons was about equivalent to that of the wealthiest Americans.  [ 05/04/06 ]

One minute walking gains you 3 minutes of living

» Do you really save time by riding instead of walking? Perhaps not when you consider that for every 1 minute you walk, you gain an extra 3 minutes of life(1) Comments  / [ 05/01/06 ]

Flight socks really do combat DVT

» Wearing compression stockings significantly reduces the incidence of Deep Vein Thrombosis on long flights. Of 2821 passengers on flights of at least 7 hours, 50 developed symptomless DVT, of whom 47 were not wearing flight socks.  [ 04/26/06 ]

Nutricate helps restaurant customers eat healtier

» Good idea: Nutricate is a company that enables restaurants to print meal-specific nutrition information on customer receipts. (via usfp [ 04/12/06 ]

NYT: Trachoma

» The New York Times continues its excellent series on nearly-eradicated diseases with a look at Trachoma [ 04/03/06 ]

Eradicating Guinea Worm

» Dose of Tenacity Wears Down a Horrific Disease is the second in the excellent NY Times series about diseases on the brink of extinction. This one details the challenges in eradicating Guinea Worm disease.

It ought to be almost ridiculously easy to wipe out, because it has a complex life cycle in which humans, worms, fleas and shallow ponds each must play their parts perfectly. Any missing link disrupts the chain of transmission.
Dr. Ruiz-Tiben has been fighting it for 22 years. And for all the success, he groans, "sometimes it's like dragging a dead elephant through a swamp by its tail."

(thanks, lizard!) (1) Comments  / [ 03/28/06 ]

I am going to be the meanest mother

» Eating french fries during early childhood may lead to a 27% increase in the risk of breast cancer later in life [ 03/28/06 ]

Bird Flu Investment Advice

» Um."Investment bank Bear Stearns has advised investors to start dumping airline and retail stocks in favour of blue-chip utilities as a hedge against bird flu." (via rw [ 03/23/06 ]

Children Tackle Water Crisis

» While bureaucrats struggle to find solutions at the World Water Forum, a parallel Children's Water Forum is bringing together young people from around the world who have addressed local water shortages with their own creative solutions — like the 13-year-old from Nepal who leads a club that helps communities pay for toilets with microfinancing. "There's no diplomacy in their dialogue. It's all very direct and very honest." Vanessa Tobin, chief of UNICEF's water and sanitation section, on the young people's interactions with delegates.  [ 03/23/06 ]

Polio eradication faces complex obstacles

» NYT: Rumor, Fear and Fatigue Hinder Final Push to End Polio. "The drive against polio threatens to become a costly display of all that can conspire against even the most ambitious efforts to eliminate a disease: cultural suspicions, logistical nightmares, competition for resources from many other afflictions, and simple exhaustion. [...] As the polio campaign has shown, even the miracle of discovering a vaccine is not enough."  [ 03/21/06 ]

Is Business Ready for a Flu Pandemic?

» Is Business Ready for a Flu Pandemic? "A pandemic flu outbreak in any part of the world would potentially cripple supply chains, dramatically reduce available labor pools. In a world where the global supply chain and real-time inventories determine most everything we do, down to the food available for purchase in our grocery stores, one begins to understand the importance of advanced planning."  [ 03/20/06 ]

Avian Flu arrives in France

» This is a fascinating article about the arrival of the Avian Flu virus in France, the search to determine how it is spreading (the path more closely follows train lines than birds' migratory patterns), and the struggle to prevent it from spreading further. A cat in Germany has been found with the virus. In France even ultralight planes are banned fron flying over suspected disease vectors for fear they will startle infected birds which will disperse over a wider range. Once again, Guns, Germs, and Steel has informed my understanding of these events as a long-standing feature of human evolution. Many of our diseases (mumps, measles, smallpox, AIDs) originated in animals. We may be witnessing the latest one as it emerges. If Avian Flu does jump to humans, I believe it will be the first one we have tracked from the animal stage.  [ 03/20/06 ]

More Mad Cow Disease

» A third case of Mad Cow disease has been found in Alabama. Predictably, the USDA and National Cattlemen's Beef Association say this is evidence that the voluntary program is working. Public-interest groups say voluntary programs are not enough, and are urging Congress to make permanent bans on allowing "downer" cows into the human food supply, and to extend it to pigs and other livestock. Frankly, I'm shocked to discover that this was a temporary measure. "There is no reason to play Russian roulette with the food supply, nor is there any reason to torment nonambulatory livestock by dragging or pushing them into slaughterhouses with chains, bulldozers, or forklifts." Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. (3) Comments  / [ 03/15/06 ]

Think Think Revolution

» A new game from Nintendo promises to keep aging brains agile and even help prevent dementia. There is some controversy around these claims. (via dm [ 03/13/06 ]

Parental Notification may modify behavior when there are no alternatives

» Contradicting the NYTimes study, researchers at Baruch College at City University of New York have found that abortion rates declined significantly among Texas girls after the state enacted a parental notification law, though girls 17 1/2 or slightly older were 33% more likely to have an abortion in the second trimester in order to escape the notification requirement. "[Lead researcher Ted Joyce] said [the NYTimes] analysis had a different outcome because it included two states with tiny populations, one state where the law was overturned, and two states near areas where abortion is easily accessible without parental involvement."  [ 03/10/06 ]

Soda makes you fat

» Reports to be published in two scientific journals this week will argue that soda is not just a co-factor to obesity, it is a cause. They've amassed an impressive arsenal of evidence (I particularly like the jelly bean study). "I think that's laughable," said Richard Adamson, a senior science consultant to the American Beverage Association.  [ 03/07/06 ]

Parental consent marginally affects abortion rates

» A New York Times analysis of the states that enacted parental notification and parental consent laws from 1995 to 2004 found no evidence that those laws had a significant impact on the number of minors who got pregnant, or, once pregnant, the number who had abortions. "I see far more parents trying to pressure their daughters to have one. As a parent myself, I can understand. But I say to parents, 'You force her to have this abortion, and I can tell you that within the next six months she's going to be pregnant again.'" Jane Bovard, owner of the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, N.D.

I guess the interesting thing to me is that if parental consent doesn't significantly affect the rates of teenage pregnancy and abortion (and there is some evidence that abortion rates go up in states that adjoin those that require parental consent), then there's less reason for many pro-lifers to support these laws, and for pro-choicers to oppose them. Of course, these are two "bright-line" groups. There is no room for nuance in this debate. Comments?  [ 03/07/06 ]

Viagra for Crohn's disease

» Preliminary studies hint that Viagra 'could be a remedy' in the treatment of Crohn's disease [ 02/28/06 ]

Flu Wiki on CNN

» Hey, the Flu Wiki made CNN! Remember, you saw it here first [ 02/27/06 ]

Water Filter Comparison Chart May Be Fake

» Uh-oh. The water filter comparison chart may be "skewed".  [ 02/27/06 ]

Over-50 health test

» If you're over 50, this 12-point test claims to predict whether you will live 4 more years [ 02/21/06 ]

Cleanest water in the USA

» Ask Yahoo: Which city has the cleanest drinking water? "Here are the cities that scored a perfect 50 points for water quality: Portland, San Jose, Buffalo, Columbus, San Francisco, Denver, San Diego, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Riverside (CA)." (thanks, Jeremiah!)  [ 02/16/06 ]

Toilet water cleaner than restaurant ice

» Supersize Me: When a 7th-grade student cultured samples from several restaurants' ice machines and toilets, she was startled by the results. "I thought there might be a little bacteria in the ice, but I never expected it to be this much. And I never thought the toilet water would be cleaner." Benito Middle School student Jasmine Roberts.  [ 02/16/06 ]

Turbans = Terrorism

» When you're trying to shoot down a proposed congressional bill that would require you to disclose any harmful side effects of your product, what's the best way to ignite public indignation and rally support? Put your Congressman in a turban. "We’re not even pro-regulation on most vitamins and supplements, but Christ almighty, if this is the response of the vitamin industry to self-policing maybe we should be."  [ 02/01/06 ]

The French are fattening

» Ooh la la! The French are getting fat. Prepared foods, sedentary lives, the breakdown of the family dinner, and... "With all the awareness of obesity, there is also a countertrend. The French may have begun to embrace the large woman." (via dm [ 01/25/06 ]



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