Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

TESTING THE WATERS : A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches

[via blog post at Notions Capitol- Surf’s Up..]

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Find a report on a beach by entering zip code at  http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/state-summaries.asp

From the Executive Overview at the Natural Defenses Research Council site

NRDC’s annual analysis of water quality and public notification data at coastal U.S. beaches found that the number of beach closing and advisory days in 2011 reached the third-highest level in the 22-year history of our report, totaling 23,481 days (a 3% decrease from 2010). More than two-thirds of closings and advisories were issued because bacteria levels in beachwater exceeded public health standards, indicating the presence of human or animal waste in the water. The portion of all monitoring samples that exceeded national recommended health standards for designated beach areas remained stable at 8% in 2011, compared with 8% in 2010 and 7% for the four previous years. In addition, the number of beaches monitored in 2011 increased slightly (2%) from a five-year low in 2010. The largest known source of pollution was stormwater runoff (47%, compared with 36% last year). The 2011 results confirm that our nation’s beaches continue to experience significant water pollution that puts swimmers and local economies at risk…

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Polluted Beachwater Makes Swimmers Sick and Hurts Coastal Economies

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that up to 3.5 million people become ill from contact with raw sewage from sanitary sewer overflows each year.1..

..Illnesses associated with polluted beachwater include stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis, and hepatitis. Children are especially vulnerable..

Quick Links for this report include

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

No Reliable Evidence On Effectiveness of Electric Fans in Heatwaves

GE electric fan from early 20th century.

GE electric fan from early 20th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 11 July 2012 article at Science News Daily

A new Cochrane systematic review ***of the effects of electric fans in heatwaves has found no high quality evidence to guide future national and international policies. …

One way to try to get relief from the heat is to use an electric fan, but health experts have questioned whether this will do more harm than good. A fan might help to increase heat loss if the temperature is below 35°C [95 degrees fahrenheit] and the fan is not directly aimed at the person, but, when temperatures are above 35 °C, the fan might actually contribute to heat gain. Excess sweating can also lead to dehydration and other health problems.

One of the review authors, Dr Saurabh Gupta, a consultant in public health at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust in the UK, said: “It is important, to know about the potential benefits and harms of electric fans when choosing whether to use one. This is true if you are simply making a decision about your own use of a fan, but it also applies to broader public health decisions, such as whether to give electric fans to groups of people during a heatwave…

 

***

 

Home The Cochrane Collaboration

 

 

                           Working together to provide the best evidence for health care

Cochrane Reviews are thorough unbiased detailed systematic reviews of research in both human health care and health policy.

Some Cochrane Reviews investigate whether or not an intervention (as an antibiotic) really produces a specific intended effect (as reducing sore throat symptoms).

Other Cochrane Reviews look for evidence that a diagnostic test is accurate for a given disease within a specific patient group.

Evidence is largely based on clinical trials.

All Cochane Reviews address specific narrowly defined questions. Each review is the product of a independent team of health care and information professionals (as librarians). These scientific reviews are the result of many hours of analyzing original research. Each review can take up to two years to publish.

While there are presently over 4000 Cochrane Reviews, the Review collection does not cover every possible intervention, drug, or diagnostic test.

However, the abstracts of all reviews are available to the public. Many have plain language summaries.

(For suggestions on how to get free full text of Cochrane Reviews, please click here).

How to search for Cochrane Reviews

**Go to Cochrane Reviews- Explore

**Search for reviews using the simple search at the page or the advanced search option.

The Cochrane Review Home page contains informational links, including

**The Top 50 reviews (Past 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days)

**Special Collections from the Cochrane Library

**Cochrane Library Editorials

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

The More Gray Matter You Have, the More Altruistic You Are


The junction (yellow) between the parietal and the temporal lobes, in which the relative proportion of gray matter is significantly positively correlated with the propensity for altruistic behavior. (Credit: University of Zurich)

From the 11 July 2012 article at Science News Daily

The volume of a small brain region influences one’s predisposition for altruistic behavior. Researchers from the University of Zurich show that people who behave more altruistically than others have more gray matter at the junction between the parietal and temporal lobe, thus showing for the first time that there is a connection between brain anatomy, brain activity and altruistic behavior…

…”These are exciting results for us. However, one should not jump to the conclusion that altruistic behavior is determined by biological factors alone.” The volume of gray matter is also influenced by social processes. According to Fehr, the findings therefore raise the fascinating question as to whether it is possible to promote the development of brain regions that are important for altruistic behavior through appropriate training or social norms.

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Widespread Exposure to BPA Substitute Is Occurring from Cash Register Receipts, Other Paper


Widespread exposure to Bisphenol S, a BPA substitute, is occurring from cash register receipts and other paper products. (Credit: ACS)

From the 11 July 2012 article at Science News Daily

People are being exposed to higher levels of the substitute for BPA in cash register thermal paper receipts and many of the other products that engendered concerns about the health effects of bisphenol A, according to a new study. Believed to be the first analysis of occurrence of bisphenol S (BPS) in thermal and recycled paper and paper currency, the report appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology

…The study detected BPS in all the receipt paper they tested, 87 percent of the samples of paper currency and 52 percent of recycled paper. The researchers estimate that people may be absorbing BPS through their skin in larger doses than they absorbed BPA when it was more widely used — 19 times more BPS than BPA. People who handle thermal paper in their jobs may be absorbing much more BPS.

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Infographic] Killer Sunshine

From the post at InsuranceQuotes

If you’re like most people, chances are you’ll take any opportunity to throw on a pair of shorts and soak up a little vitamin D. Summer is the season for taking advantage of every opportunity you can to be outdoors, and while you’re enjoying the weather, you’re also probably happy to work on achieving a nice golden tan while you’re at it. But through all of the barbecuing, swimming, hiking, and good old fashioned sunbathing, it might just slip your mind to lather on a little SPF 40. When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, it’s in your best interest to make sure that you do so with the proper protection. Skin cancer rates have skyrocketed in recent years, and while popular culture dictates that a beautifully bronzed body is the ultimate summertime achievement, the obsession with having a great tan is also having some scary health effects. While other cancer rates decline, fatalities from skin cancer continue to rise, and most people don’t realize just how much their risk increases with too much sunshine. While a little dose of golden rays is good for you, most people take that to an extreme, and the impacts of long-term tanning can be more deadly than they realize. The following infographic looks into the causes and effects of the rising skin cancer rates, and it might make you think twice before skipping out on the sunscreen.

Skin Cancer Infographic

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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