May 30, 2008

Bacteria Linked to Infant Deaths

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of one. British researchers have found that bacteria may play a big part in SIDS. They found possibly dangerous bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli, in almost half of all babies who died of SIDS.

Researchers are not sure if bacteria are the cause or if the bacteria are identifying other possible risk factors. The higher levels of bacteria might be evidence of other conditions, such as a room being too hot or bad room ventilation for the baby.

SIDS is usually diagnosed when there aren’t any other causes of death that can be found when a healthy infant dies, usually in their sleep. At birth, mothers transfer some of their antibodies against infection to their babies but when the babies are between eight to ten weeks old, the antibodies from the mother are nearly gone and the babies have to start making their own. This could make the babies more vulnerable to bacterial infections. SIDS usually affects babies that are between eight and ten weeks old.

To prevent SIDS it is recommended to have babies sleep on their backs and to not put too many blankets on them.

May 28, 2008

Allergies Causing Depression

It is found that tree pollen can cause symptoms of depression. A psychologist at the Mood and Anxiety Program of the University of Maryland and School of Medicine analyzed surveys of 845 men and women and found that two thirds of the people surveyed reported mood difficulties during the spring season, which is when pollen levels are very high. It is believed that airborne allergens produce inflammation in the respiratory airways and the inflammation causes symptoms of depression in some people.

Another study was done on patients with mood disorders that found that increased allergy symptoms during times of high levels of pollen were connected with depression symptoms that were more severe. This study fits with earlier evidence that suicide rates increase during late spring and a family history of allergies affects depression in women.

Smoking Can Cause Acne

Researchers from the San Gallicano Dermatological Institute in Rome found that cigarettes can cause acne as well as cause dull and wrinkled skin. They found that noninflammatory acne affected eight times more smokers than nonsmokers. Most of the nonsmokers that had acne lived or worked in environments with heavy smoke. Cigarette smoke can cause skin cells, called keratinocytes, to proliferate and clog pores.

May 27, 2008

New Wrinkle Fighting Pill

There is a new supplement called L-Skin Care, currently only available in Korea, which has a special formulation that has proved to drastically reduce the effects of wrinkles and crow’s feet on the skin. It also blocks collagen-destroying proteins and increases collagen production.

May 22, 2008

Get Rid of Dandruff

Hair dandruff is a condition that is caused by fungus that lives on the scalp and eats oil from the scalp. It releases by-products that irritate the skin and causes flaking on the scalp of some people. Most dandruff remedies work by decreasing the number of fungi on the scalp but there are new products available on the market that control the behavior of the fungus to give better and quicker results.

May 14, 2008

The Facts of Botox

Botox injections work by interrupting nerve impulses to the muscles used when a person squints or frowns. When these muscles are relaxed, fine lines and wrinkles smooth out. The smoothing effect last up to 4 months. It could take a couple of weeks for Botox to kick in the first time it is done. The next shots would kick in after a couple of days and would last longer. Botox injections could last up to 4 months and after being in a relaxed state for a long time, the muscles restrain themselves to stay that way. If it is used early, mainly in the 30s and 40s, it can prevent wrinkles from setting in later in life.

Botox injections are often given in low doses of 25 to 75 units, which isn’t considered toxic. A deadly dose is about 3,000 units. Possible side effects of Botox include a small amount of bruising that would last for a few days, headaches, and strange feelings of heaviness. A person could have an uneven brow or a droopy lid if the wrong muscle is injected or unequal amounts are used on each side of the face.

Better Help for Long Term Depression

For people taking antidepressants to fight depression, it may not be the best idea to stay on them a long time after the symptoms of depression have eased. If medications have relieved the symptoms, it is better to move to cognitive therapy.

Even though it is recommended that patients keep using antidepressants up to 2 years after symptoms are relieved, 60 percent of patients have a recurrence of depression symptoms during that time while taking the medication. Of the people who stopped taking the medication and tried cognitive therapy, only 8 percent experienced symptoms of depression again within 2 years.

May 13, 2008

Broccoli Used as a Sun Protectant

The vegetable broccoli can be used as a sun-protectant. Putting a small amount of an extract found in broccoli sprouts on skin can reduce inflammation and redness by almost 40 percent. The extract has a large amount of the antioxidant sulforaphane and activates the skin’s ability to fight cancer by increasing the production of productive enzymes. The properties of the extract keep working for days after the extract is washed off.

Scientists Make First Genetically Modified Embryo

For the first time, scientists have been able to genetically alter a human embryo. Researchers used an abnormal embryo that could never have developed into a baby to do the project.

The project raises the possibilities that people could be able to create designer babies in the future and scientists could insert certain genes into an embryo to produce babies with certain characteristics, such as higher intelligence and better athletic abilities. Some people think that this is wrong and turns children into designed objects and would create an unequal society where some people would be considered genetically superior while other people who are born without genetic injections would be inferior.

Scientists say that the main point of the project was to find out if a gene injected into an abnormal embryo could be traced in stem cells that are harvested from the embryo. The work could also explain why abnormal embryos don’t develop. Scientists found that abnormal embryos don’t develop well enough to produce stem cells.

May 12, 2008

Cure Coughs with Honey

Honey can be used to cure coughs in both children and adults. Honey works by coating the throat to soothe irritation and it is rich in antioxidants that fight infections. It also thins out mucus by increasing the production of saliva. For children, 1 to 2 teaspoons is recommended per dose. For adults, up to 3 teaspoons is recommended every 2 or 3 hours or as needed. It is not good to give honey to children that are less than 1 year old.

Easy Tips to Get Better Sleep

If you have problems getting enough sleep there are several easy remedies. It is a good idea to establish a regular bedtime routine where you would go to sleep at the same time every night. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed. It is best not to keep anything that would cause distractions in the bedroom, such as televisions and radios. It is also a good idea not to exercise within 3 hours of trying to go to sleep.

There are herbs and hormones that can be taken to help a person go to sleep. Valerian is an herb that has been used for centuries against insomnia. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and is used as an occasional sleep aid. Melatonin metabolizes quickly, so a person would not have to worry about being drowsy in the morning if they wake up during the night when taking this.

May 11, 2008

The Dangers of Chlorine

Chlorine is a powerful and dangerous oxidant and chemical gas. It is often used as a disinfectant that can be very irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. It is found that children who swim regularly in indoor chlorinated pools have an increased risk of asthma and chlorine can cause problems with lung function, erosion of dental enamel, and increased risks of bladder cancer.

When high levels of chlorine come in contact with organic things, such as leaves and dirt, they can form other toxic substances called trihalomethanes, which can increase the risk of cancer, miscarriage, and birth defects. It is recommended to wear a mask or goggles when swimming in water with chlorine to protect the eyes. It is better to swim in outdoor pools than indoor ones because the gas in chlorine would be more dispersed. It is best not to swim in chlorinated pools everyday.

Better Health for Diabetics

A person could significantly lower their risk of heart disease and strokes by taking a statin each day. Researchers analyzed patients over a period of five years and found that for every 1,000 people with diabetes that were given statin, there were 42 less heart attacks and strokes than there would have been if the patients wouldn’t have taken the statins. The statins even helped the people already diagnosed with vascular disease. It is recommended that women that are pregnant shouldn’t take them.

May 10, 2008

Fight Fatigue with Food

It is found that eating enough inulin, which is found in foods such as chicory root, leeks, onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes and some yogurts, can fight off feeling tired. It also boosts good bacteria in the colon and can help the absorption of calcium. It is recommended to get 5 g of inulin per day.

May 8, 2008

Companies Charging Workers For Bad Habits

An increasing number of companies are charging their employees for having bad habits, such as smoking, eating excessively, and not exercising. Some people say that these types of programs violate a worker’s privacy and make group health plans too similar to individual insurance. At the same time, these programs force some people to take notice and be more aware of their bad habits that may affect their health.

May 7, 2008

Medication for Ex-Smokers

There is a new medication that was made originally for people with acne problems that can help people that used to smoke by reducing their lung cancer risk. Ex-smokers that took the prescription retinoid isotretinoin, which also contained vitamin E, or an experimental retinoid had significant decrease in the amount of precancerous cell growth in the lungs when compared to people that took placebos.

May 6, 2008

Fiber and Diet

If a person wants to lose weight, it is a good idea to have a diet rich in fiber. Fiber leads to decreased food intake and an increase of excretion of calories from the digestive system to help a person lose weight. The average person should be eating 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Foods that are rich in fiber include whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, unpeeled fruit, and some cereals.

Restaurant Smoking Bans Decrease Teen Smoking

A recent study shows that restaurant smoking bans help to persuade teenagers not to become smokers. Teens who lived in towns with strict bans were 40 percent less likely to become regular smokers than teens that lived in communities without bans or that had weak bans. Smoking bans discourage tobacco use and sends out the message that smoking is not healthy. The ban also reduces the amount of smoke that teens are exposed to in public places.

Having a parent or close friend that smokes can be an influence as to whether or not a teenager experiments with cigarettes but strong bans in public places play a bigger role in whether a not the teen will develop a smoking habit. The study also found that the bans had a greater effect on younger teens than older teens.

May 5, 2008

New Spray to Help Sleeping Problems

A new nasal spray is currently being developed that reverses the mental effects of sleeping deprivation. The drug would eliminate detrimental changes in brain activity that results from lack of sleep. Clinical trials will be required before the drug can receive FDA approval.

Weight Gain Genes

It is found that overeating is related to the same gene involved in alcoholism and drug addiction. People who carried a certain variant of the gene and who used food to motivate themselves were the highest at risk for eating too many snacks when compared to people who had only one or neither of these traits. People with this gene variant could have a lack in reward-signaling in the brain and have to participate in more of the behavior to get as much pleasure as people with normal signaling. Exercising is something more positive that can release the same reward chemicals in the brain.