Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Healthy outlook leads to a healthy lifestyle: study


Healthy outlook leads to a healthy lifestyle: study.

From the 13 September 2012 press release

Researchers from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research analysed data on the diet, exercise and personality type of more than 7000 people.

The study found those who believe their life can be changed by their own actions ate healthier food, exercised more, smoked less and avoided binge drinking.

Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark, Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said those who have a greater faith in ‘luck’ or ‘fate’ are more likely to live an unhealthy life.

“Our research shows a direct link between the type of personality a person has and a healthy lifestyle,” she said.

Professor Cobb-Clark hoped the study would help inform public health policies on conditions such as obesity.

“The main policy response to the obesity epidemic has been the provision of better information, but information alone is insufficient to change people’s eating habits,” she said.

“Understanding the psychological underpinning of a person’s eating patterns and exercise habits is central to understanding obesity.”

The study also found men and women hold different views on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Men wanted physical results from their healthy choices, while women were more receptive to the everyday enjoyment of leading a healthy lifestyle.

Professor Cobb-Clarke said the research demonstrated the need for more targeted policy responses.

“What works well for women may not work well for men,” she said.

“Gender specific policy initiatives which respond to these objectives may be particularly helpful in promoting healthy lifestyles.”


The study used data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey.


September 16, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | 1 Comment

Forgetting About the Killers ( A clinicians view on why vaccinations are important)


A child receives oral polio vaccine during a 2...

A child receives oral polio vaccine during a 2002 campaign to immunize children in India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A longish blog from a college clinician perspective. I believe our immune system can be strengthened by nutrition and exposure to germs (as childhood playing in dirt, use of soaps which are not anti-microbial). However, vaccinations are critical for good public health.
My experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa confirmed this. If it were not for vaccinations against diseases rampant there, I know I would have contracted them. And I saw folks suffering from diseases that could have been prevented (as polio).


From the blog


It’s only been a little over fifty years since vaccinations became routine for the childhood killers like polio, measles, mumps and whooping cough.  People my age and older had no choice but to suffer through childhood infectious diseases given how effectively and quickly they spread through a community.   Most of us survived, subsequently blessed with life long natural immunity.  Some did not survive.  And I think we’ve forgotten that.

As a physician, I help enforce vaccination requirements for a medium-sized university.  A day doesn’t go by without my having a discussion with a prospective student (or more likely the student’s parent) about the necessity for our requirement for proof of  mumps, measles, rubella vaccination immunity.  I have been labeled a Nazi, a Communist, a pawn of the pharmaceutical industry and many more unprintable names because I happen to believe in the efficacy of modern vaccine to help keep a community free of infectious disease outbreaks that will kill people.
We have forgotten these are honest to goodness killers of healthy human beings.  We forget that unvaccinated children continue to die in developing countries for lack of access to vaccine.   Yet educated and well-meaning American parents make the decision daily to leave their children unvaccinated, believing they are doing the best thing for their children by protecting them from potentially rare and often unproven vaccine side effects.    I’ve had caring loving parents tell me that God will provide the needed immunity if their child gets sick so taking the risk of a vaccine is unnecessary.    I’ve had other caring loving parents tell me that foreign substances have no place in their child’s body and they would rather take their chances with a virus or bacteria. Actually they are banking that everyone else will be vaccinated.  The problem is:  guess again.  There are now too many deciding that they are the ones who can remain vaccine-free.
Whooping cough (pertussis) is dramatically on the rise for the past two years in several states, resulting in some infant deaths and countless hospitalizations.  This is a completely preventable illness….




September 16, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Stress May Hamper Worker Performance and Health (& rebuttal article)

Yes, this is just anecdotal, but I believe there is more to this than an either/or debate.
My husband took high blood pressure medicine for years. And he often complained about the stress at work.
Within a month of changing jobs to an organization that was less stressful, his blood pressure went down and he no longer needed the blood pressure medication.


From the 14 September article at news@JAMA

Some bad news for workers facing stress on the job and elsewhere in their life, suggested by 2 studies published this week: stress may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and may impair short-term memory.

Workers who encounter substantial demands at work and have little control over their situations have an elevated risk of developing heart disease compared with individuals who don’t have to face such psychological stress in the workplace, according to results of  an analysis published in the Lancet yesterday…


Stress may also impair an individual’s performance, a study published in PLOS Computational Biology suggests. The researchers found that exposure of rats to stress in the form of blasts of sound alter the firing of neurons in the prefrontal cortex. These changes in firing impair the ability of rats to retain short-term memory, hampering their performance in a maze task. Animals under stress completed the task only about 65% of the time compared with 90% of the unstressed rats.

The rebuttal

Don’t Blame Your Employer If You Are Feeling Stressed By Your Job

From the 18 September 2012 article at Medical News Today

Work stress, job satisfaction and health problems due to high stress have more to do with genes than you might think, according to research by Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. This information has been published two days after a separate study suggesting that work stress increases an employee’s risk of heart attack by 23%.

The lead author of “Genetic influences on core self-evaluations, job satisfaction, work stress, and employee health: A behavioral genetics mediated model,” published inOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Judge studied nearly 600 twins – some identical, some fraternal – who were raised together and reared apart. He found that being raised in the same environment had very little effect on personality, stress and health. Shared genes turned out to be about four times as important as shared environment.

September 16, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: