Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Do our medicines boost pathogens?

Do our medicines boost pathogens?

From the 21 December 2011 Science News Today article

Scientists of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITG) discovered a parasite that not only had developed resistance against a common medicine, but at the same time had become better in withstanding the human immune system. With some exaggeration: medical practice helped in developing a superbug. For it appears the battle against the drug also armed the bug better against its host.

“To our knowledge it is the first time such a doubly armed organism appears in nature,” says researcher Manu Vanaerschot, who obtained a PhD for his detective work at ITG and Antwerp University. “It certainly makes you think.”…


Read the entire news article

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Self-Affirmation May Break Down Resistance to Medical Screening

From the 21 December 2011 News article

People resist medical screening, or don’t call back for the results, because they don’t want to know they’re sick or at risk for a disease. But many illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, have a far a better prognosis if they’re caught early. How can health care providers break down that resistance?

Have people think about what they value most, finds a new study by University of Florida psychologists Jennifer L. Howell and James A. Shepperd. “If you can get people to refocus their attention from a threat to their overall sense of wellbeing, they are less likely to avoid threatening information,” says Howell. Do that, and people are more likely to face a medical screening even if it means undertaking onerous treatment and even if the disease is uncontrollable. The findings will appear in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.

The researchers undertook three studies, each with about 100 students of both sexes. In all three studies, they asked the participants to think of a trait they valued; they chose traits such as honesty, compassion, and friendliness. Participants then wrote either about how they demonstrated the trait (expressing self-affirmation) or a friend (not affirming themselves) demonstrated the trait….

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December 22, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Recipes from the US Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

pesto polenta

Healthy Recipes for a Healthy Life

The holiday season offers all kinds of tempting treats. You can still enjoy meals with family and friends, even if you are watching what you eat. Consider adding one of these delicious and lighter options to your menu!

Check out more recipes from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


For example,
Thumbnail image of the Deliciously Healthy Dinners cookbook cover.Deliciously Healthy Dinners contains 75 recipes influenced by Asian, Latino, Mediterranean, and American cuisine that are good for your heart and taste great too.



December 22, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , | 1 Comment

12/21/2011: EPA Issues First National Standards for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants/ Historic ‘mercury and air toxics standards’ meet 20-year old requirement to cut dangerous smokestack emissions



Cleaner Power Plants

12/21/2011: EPA Issues First National Standards for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants
           / Historic ‘mercury and air toxics standards’ meet 20-year old requirement to cut dangerous smokestack emissions.

From the press release

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. The standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants by relying on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants. 

EPA estimates that the new safeguards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year. The standards will also help America’s children grow up healthier – preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year. …


Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Protecting our children and communities by limiting emissions of mercury and other air toxics from power plants

More information at Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, including

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Are Dentists Overtreating Your Teeth?

An NHS dentist performing an examination

An NHS dentist performing an examination (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 28 November New York Times article


Have you had a rash of fillings after years of healthy teeth? The culprit may be “microcavities,” and not every dentist thinks they need to be treated, reports today’s Science Times.

With increasingly sophisticated detection technology, dentists are finding — and treating — tooth abnormalities that may or may not develop into cavities. While some describe their efforts as a proactive strategy to protect patients from harm, critics say the procedures are unnecessary and painful, and are driving up the costs of care.

“A better approach is watchful waiting,” said Dr. James Bader, a research professor at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. “Examine it again in six months.”

To learn more about microcavities, read the full article, “A Closer Look at Teeth May Mean More Filling,” and then please join the discussion below.

Related Resources

  • Dental Health (MedlinePlus) has links to great resources with overviews and information on treatments, prevention/screening, specific conditions, and more
  • WebMD Oral Health includes news, resources, guides, and information on treatments

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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