Health

Secondhand smoke may raise child allergy risk
December 26, 2007 01:52 PM - Reuters

Experts have known that exposure to secondhand smoke either renatally or early in life can raise a child's risk of developing asthma symptoms. But the evidence regarding allergies in general has been mixed.

Regular flu vaccine may help against H5N1: study
December 26, 2007 12:46 PM - Reuters

Their study is among the first to support the idea that getting an annual flu shot may help people's bodies fight off the H5N1 virus, which has killed 210 people in 13 countries and infected 341.

Broken Homes Damage the Environment
December 26, 2007 12:45 PM - Michigan State University Newswire

The data are in. Divorce is bad for the environment. A novel study that links divorce with the environment shows that a global trend of soaring divorce rates has created more households with fewer people, that, in turn, take up more space and gobble up more energy and water. The research of Jianguo "Jack" Liu and Eunice Yu at Michigan State University, which was partially funded by the National Science Foundation, appears in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Screening toddlers' language cuts special ed needs
December 26, 2007 11:46 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Screening toddlers for problems in their language development may help reduce their need for special education once they start school, a new study suggests. Researchers in the Netherlands found that a program to screen toddlers' language skills reduced the children's need for special education later on, and seemed to cut their risk of having difficulty with spelling and verbal skills. Reporting in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers say their findings argue for widespread screening of young children's language development.

Ultrasound fails to spot early ovarian cancer
December 26, 2007 11:37 AM - Will Boggs, MD, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Annual screening with a technique called transvaginal ultrasound, coupled with a blood test for CA125, a protein that can be elevated in the setting of ovarian cancer, does not reliably detect ovarian cancer early, at a more curable stage, according to a new study.

Sea cucumber protein used to inhibit development of malaria parasite
December 26, 2007 11:12 AM - Public Library of Science

Malaria is caused by parasites whose lives begin in the bodies of mosquitoes. When mosquitoes feed on the blood of an infected human, the malaria parasites undergo complex development in the insect’s gut. The new study has focused on disrupting this growth and development with a lethal protein, CEL-III, found in sea cucumbers, to prevent the mosquito from passing on the parasite.

Neglected tropical diseases burden those overseas, but travelers also at risk
December 26, 2007 11:05 AM - NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Though little known to most Americans, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and other so-called neglected tropical diseases are responsible for severe health burdens, especially among the world’s poorest people. Together, it is estimated that these illnesses, most of which are caused by worms or other parasites, rank sixth among all conditions worldwide in robbing people of quality of life and life itself through disability or premature death, respectively.

Erectile dysfunction may precede Parkinson's
December 26, 2007 09:11 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Results of a study suggest an association between erectile dysfunction and an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease. The autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions like heart rate and digestion, is often affected in Parkinson's disease, and erectile function, which is controlled by the autonomic system, is commonly compromised, the study team notes in a report.

Egyptian woman dies of bird flu
December 26, 2007 09:01 AM - Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) - A 25-year-old Egyptian woman has died of bird flu, Egypt's Ministry of Health said on Wednesday. It is the first human death in Egypt from the virus since June and the 16th since the disease arrived in early 2006. The ministry named the woman as Ola Younis from Beni Haroun village in Beni Suef province, south of Cairo. She entered Beni Suef hospital on December 21 with a high temperature and breathing problems, was diagnosed on Tuesday and died the same day, it said in a statement.

German chicken tests positive for H5N1 flu strain
December 26, 2007 08:08 AM - Reuters

A police spokesman in Neuruppin, north of Berlin, confirmed that a chicken on a small farm in the town of Blumenthal in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin district had tested positive for the virus.

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