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Researchers find no link between joint pain and weather

US News - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 08:59

People often blame weather for symptoms associated with back pain or achy joints, but a new study has suggested that weather plays no part in symptoms associated such aches.

The new study, conducted by the George Institute for Global Health, refuted the widely established thought that changes in the weather, including temperature, pressure of air and humidity, trigger episodes of back pain and arthritis.

Prof. Chris Maher, who led the study, said that the belief that cold weather triggers episodes of back pain and arthritis is not based on facts.

Explaining his point of view, Maher said, “But our research suggests this belief may be based on the fact that people recall events that confirm their pre-existing views. Humans … take note of pain on the days when it’s cold and rainy outside, but discount the days when they have symptoms but the weather is mild and sunny.”

The researchers studied the cases of nearly 1000 individuals with lower back pain and 350 with knee pain. They compared weather conditions at the time the patients first noticed pain with the weather a week and a month before the start of pain as a control measure.

Results of the study, which was conducted across Australia with average daily temperatures ranging from 5.4 degree Celsius to 32.8 degree Celsius, showed no link between back or knee pain and weather conditions.

General: HealthResearchRegion: Australia

Flu activity on the rise across the nation: CDC

US News - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 08:39

Seasonal flu activity is on the rise across the United States, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has confirmed hat at least 10 states have already reported high levels of the contagious virus.

Alabama, Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri and Utah are among the states with high flu activity. The strength of flu activity is typically measured on the basis of the total number of flu-related clinic visits.

Five states, viz. Arkansas, California, Michigan, Tennessee and Washington, have reported minimal influenza-like illness activity. Overall, 9 regions have reported flu activity at or above their region-specific baseline levels.

Dr. William Schaffner, a communicable disease expert with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, “Flu varies, it’s fickle sometimes it starts earlier sometimes it’s later. It should peak sometime in February and then it will likely abate through March.”

The most prevalent strain of influenza in the United States is A (H3), and public health experts continue to encourage people to get a flu shot to avoid it.

Characterized by symptoms like fever, chills, runny nose, congestion, headache and fatigue; flu/influenza particularly attacks the victim’s lungs, nose and throat. Children, older people and pregnant women and other individuals with weak immune systems are more prone to contract the contagious virus.

Companies: CDCGeneral: HealthRegion: New York

Eric Trump’s foundation reportedly raised over $16M for children’s hospital

US News - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 08:53

President-elect Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump helped raise more than $16 million for Memphis, Tennessee-based St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital over the last decade, N.Y. Times reported.

According to the report, 33-year-old Trump raised $16.3 million through the Eric Trump Foundation for the hospital; and Richard C. Shadyac Jr., the president of the hospital’s fundraising organization, praised Trump for his support in a letter written dated Dec. 30.

However, he will no longer use his namesake foundation to raise funds for any missions because of the perception that any such donations could be tied to access to his president-elect father. He called the pronouncement a “heartbreaking” decision.

When asked for a comment, he said, “It’s truly one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever had to do … We raised so much money for St. Jude. The second somebody is elected into public office, you’re no longer given the benefit of the doubt no matter how good your track record was, no matter how much you’ve done.”

St. Jude’s 328,000 square feet Kay Research Care Center in Tennessee includes the Eric Trump Foundation Surgery and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Center.

Even as the junior Trump has declared his decision to stop raising funds for his namesake foundation, he stressed that that he would continue to be a vocal advocate for the ongoing battle against pediatric cancer and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital’s mission.

General: HealthPeople: Donald Trump

Zika isn’t as deadly as many believe: expert says

US News - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 07:22

The devastating Zika epidemic gained global attention in the last couple of years, but it in most cases it is actually a mild illness symptoms similar to that of common cold.

Participating in the First Friday talk held at The Cedars, Dr. Jonathan Frye, a renowned ecologist and natural science professor at Mac College, gave a presentation titled “The Epidemic Spread of the Zika Virus,” and spoke about various dangers, misnomers and myths about the virus.

Frye said Zika might have reached epidemic levels, but it isn’t typically deadly. Symptoms are hardly ever severe enough to require hospitalization, and Zika-related deaths are very rare. It is related to diseases like yellow fever, dengue and West Nile.

Speaking on the topic, he added, “There’s this whole family of diseases caused by a family of viruses. They share some common features, but have slight differences in how they work. It was not an epidemic at first, because there were so few cases.”

Zika virus was named after Uganda’s Zika forest, where it was first detected among monkeys in the late 1940s. The first case of Zika illness in humans was reported in 1952 in the African country of Nigeria.

Symptoms of Zika infection include fever, rash, pain in joints, muscle pain, red eyes, headache and fatigue, which usually last a few days to more than a week.

General: HealthResearch

Doctors support NIH’s new peanut-allergy guidelines

US News - Sat, 01/07/2017 - 09:18

Bloomington-Normal area doctors have supported the National Institutes of Health’s new guidelines inclusion of peanuts in baby foods.

The NIH advised in its revised guidelines that children should be exposed to peanut-containing foods starting the age of 6 months as it would help build protection against scary peanut allergies. Some babies can be exposed to peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months of age.

The new guidelines represent a drastic change in opinion as many pediatricians had previously been advising parents to avoid feeding their babies with foods containing peanuts until age 3.

Dr. Andrea Kane, a pediatrician at Advocate Children’s Medical Group in Bloomington, welcomed the new guidelines, saying she was very excited because the new guidelines confirmed what she had been doing for the last 1½ year.

Dr. Robert Kocur, an allergist/immunologist at OSF Medical Group-College Avenue in Bloomington, said, “I think, for the most part, the recommendations are good. It potentially represents a very hopeful thing for all of us to reduce the incidence of allergies.”

The new guidelines are based on the 2015 NIH-funded study, which found that 2 per cent of children in the United States who ate peanuts became allergic but 14 per cent of those who avoided peanuts become suffered the same health issue.

General: HealthRegion: Bloomington

Study explains how humans’ ability to recognize faces gets better in young adults

US News - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 08:22

A new study by Stanford University researchers claimed to have found why humans’ ability to recognize faces keeps getting better until around the age of 30 years.

A team of researchers led by Jesse Gomez, a graduate student in neurosciences at Stanford, carried out a comparison of children’s brains and grownup brains. The brain scans of 22 children and 25 adults revealed that an area of the brain that recognizes faces keeps growing long after adolescence.

They found that brain area did not acquire more neurons; instead it became more densely populated with the specific structures which connect and support neurons.

Sharing their findings, Gomez said, “You can imagine a 10-foot by 10-foot garden, and it has some number of flowers in there. The number of flowers isn't changing, but their stems and branches and leaves are getting more complex.”

The results of the new study suggest that development of human brain is much more varied than scientists once thought. The findings could have implications for understanding not merely normal brain development but also disorders like autism, dyslexia, or face blindness.

The researchers reported their findings in the most recent edition of the widely-acclaimed journal Science.

General: HealthResearchRegion: Sanford

Vitamin D deficiency raises risk of chronic headache: study

US News - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:57

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland has warned that deficiency of vitamin D could significantly increase the risk of chronic headaches in men.

The researchers studied data on a total of 2601 men aged between 42 and 60 years who were participating in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), and found that those who had low levels of vitamin D were suffering chronic headaches more frequently in comparison to those who had higher vitamin D levels.

They tested the participants for levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a marker for vitamin D level, with 68 per cent of the men showing a serum vitamin D level of below the threshold for vitamin D deficiency (50 nmol/l).

The participants were divided into various groups based on their levels of serum vitamin D. a deeper analysis of data revealed that individuals in the group with the lowest levels of vitamin D had 116 per cent higher risk of chronic headaches as compared with those who had the highest levels of vitamin D.

Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, but one can also top up this vitamin’s levels with food items like oily fish, beef, calf liver, eggs and cod liver oil.

The European researchers reported their findings in the latest edition of the journal Scientific Reports.

General: HealthResearchRegion: Europe

Trials to begin for pharmacists linked to deadly fungal meningitis outbreak

US News - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 07:36

Two pharmacists will face second-degree murder charges in imminent trials in connection with the sale of contaminated pain medicines that caused the deadliest meningitis outbreak in U.S. history in 2012.

Hundreds of people in nearly two dozen states were diagnosed with fungal meningitis and certain other infections in 2012, after they received contaminated medication. Nine states reported 64 deaths.

The two pharmacists who are being blamed for deadly outbreak are: Barry J. Cadden, who co-owned the Framingham, Mass.-based New England Compounding Center, which has since been closed; and Glenn Chin, who worked there.

After a preliminary investigation, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reported that it had “identified serious deficiencies and significant violations of pharmacy law and regulations that clearly placed the public’s health at risk.”

In the trial of 50-year-old Cadden, jury selection is expected to start this Wednesday. The trial of Chin is slated to start immediately after Cadden’s trial ends.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charges. In convicted, they could be slapped with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

General: HealthCompanies: FDA

New law prohibits minors from buying cough syrup over the counter

US News - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 08:23

Minors will no longer be able to purchase certain cough syrup over the counter as a new law prohibits the sale of medicines containing dextromethorphan to those under 18, authorities have confirmed.

Dextromethorphan, is a key ingredient in cough syrups, is also used in a number of over-the-counter drugs. But, many young people misuse it to get a high. Many adults either drink cough syrup or mix it with other substances to get a high.

Senate Bill 938 (SB 938) is a measure designed to prohibit producers, distributors and retailers from selling dextromethorphan-containing medicines to minors, as well as requiring anybody who under 25 to provide identification upon checkout.

Doug Broxson, who is going to take office as a state Senator this week, sponsored the measure after hearing from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration about issues with the ingredient, especially as it related to deaths of several minors.

Speaking about the measure, Broxson said, “What we were concentrated on were some of the deaths and the byproducts … We were just trying to respond to a growing concern where our youths were misusing this product, and these kids are pretty creative on doing these things.”

Multiple states, including California, Texas and Florida, have witnessed notable spikes in prevalence and related issues with youth abusing medicines containing dextromethorphan, which prompted the legislation.

General: HealthRegion: California

Cook County’s ‘first 2017 baby’ born to Cubs’ die-hard fans

US News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 09:01

The first baby to born in 2017 in Cook County is a girl who took birth to Cubs’ die-hard fans 12 minutes into the New Year, according to a press release from AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Medical Center.

Hospital officials said Wrigley took birth at 12:12 a.m. Sunday at AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, which is located in the northwest suburban area of the Cook County.

At the time of her birth, Wrigley weighed in at just 5 pounds and 12 ounces. Her parents, viz. Ellen and Aaron Dalbey of Roselle, are Cubs’ fans.

Another baby, named Savannah Zwolen, took birth less than twenty minutes later at Oak Lawn-based Christ Medical Center. She came to this world at 12:31 a.m. on Sunday.

According to a press release issued by the southwest suburban hospital, Savannah weighed merely 4 pounds and 2 ounces as she was born premature. Currently, she is in the NICU as she needs to remain under doctors’ strict supervision for the next some days.

Savannah’s parents Tomas and Paulina Zwolen and a two-year-old brother live in Chicago near the popular Midway Airport.

General: Health

NASA releases Mars ‘Ice Home’ concept

US News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 07:40

The U.S. space agency National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) has released its incredibly cool concept for Martian houses for astronauts who would one day set foot on the Red Planet.

One of the biggest problems being faced by scientists working NASA’s Mars manned mission is to ensure safe dwelling for pioneer astronauts to sleep, live and work in. Now, the scientists have a conceptual ‘ice home’ design for the same.
As per the Ice Home concept, NASA would create inflatable domes covered in ice for pioneer astronauts. The inflatable cool domes would provide them with protection from high temperatures and high-energy radiation.

NASA’s senior systems engineer Kevin Vipavetz said, “After a day dedicated to identifying needs, goals, and constraints we rapidly assessed many crazy, out of the box ideas and finally converged on the current Ice Home design, which provides a sound engineering solution.”

The main aim of the Ice Home concept is to protect astronauts from harmful radiation that can penetrate through Mars’ atmosphere. These harmful rays can damage astronauts’ cells, leading to serious health risks, including acute radiation sickness and cancer.

The Mars Ice Home concept has a number of advantages. For instance, it is lightweight and can be transported and deployed with simple robotics, before the arrival of astronauts.

General: Science NewsCompanies: NASA

Hundreds of Twitter users respond to Jack Dorsey’s tweet seeking product feedback

US News - Sat, 12/31/2016 - 07:41

In an interesting experiment launched on Thursday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey posted a tweet to the users of the microblogging platform, seeking product feedback from them.

In his Thursday tweet, Dorsey asked his approximately four million followers to send in their suggestions about the changes or improvements that they would want Twitter to incorporate, in order to enhance its platform.

Dorsey’s Tweet has drawn responses from hundreds of Twitter users, who have highlighted their concerns with a number of issues linked to the Twitter site.

The responses of Twitter users to Dorsey’s tweet chiefly included complaints about the basic design of the microblogging service, as well as concerns about abuse on the site and the apparent lack of a mechanism which would enable users to fix errors after they publish tweets.

Acknowledging the input from the users in response to his tweet for feedback about the Twitter service, Dorsey said in a Twitter post on Friday: “We’ll consider everything we heard from you. Not going to ship all of it, but will be more transparent about why and what we learned.”

Companies: TwitterTechnology: TechnologyPeople: Jack Dorsey

Spending an hour a day on social media can affect kids’ happiness: study

US News - Fri, 12/30/2016 - 10:28

Children who spend merely an hour each day on social media may actually feel less satisfied with their lives, a new study published by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics suggested.

Teenagers can often be seen obsessively checking their feeds on various social media sites on their mobile devices. But, researchers found that behind their smiling selfies, teenagers mightn’t be as happy as they try to show in the photos.

The researchers looked at data on children and teens, ages 10 to 15 years old, in the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2014. The children were all participating in the U.K. Household Longitudinal Study that involved a representative sample of more than 40,000 households across the country.

They also found that girls suffer more adverse effects of spending more than an hour daily on social media than boys.

Sharing their findings, the researchers wrote, “Our results suggest that spending more time on social networks reduces the satisfaction that children feel with all aspects of their lives, except for their friendships … girls suffer more adverse effects than boys.”

This isn’t the first study to point out the adverse effects of increasing use of social media on children. In 2011, a study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics warned parents that so-called “Facebook depression” among teens could make it more difficult for them to handle their kids.

General: HealthResearchRegion: United Kingdom

Massachusetts delays opening of retail pot shops

US News - Fri, 12/30/2016 - 09:14

It will remain illegal to sell marijuana in Massachusetts for the coming several months as the state lawmakers have approved a bill to delay the voter-approved measure.

The Massachusetts House and Senate passed the controversial bill on Wednesday, without any public hearing and debate. The passage of the bill means marijuana sales will remain illegal in the state for at least six months.

It has also delayed the licensing of pot shops. However, registered medical marijuana patients can buy and use the drug.

When asked for a comment on the decision, Senate President Stan Rosenberg said, “The Legislature has a responsibility to implement the will of the voters while also protecting public health and public safety.”

The marijuana-legalization measure, which allows adults 21 and over to possess marijuana for recreational purposes and grow up to a dozen pot plants in their home premises, took effect on Dec. 15. The bill will not change that. It just pushed back the opening of retail marijuana stores.

The ballot initiative for legalizing recreational marijuana was approved by 53.7 per cent of state voters on November 8th election. Recreational marijuana is already legal in a number of states in the U.S., including Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

General: HealthRegion: Massachusetts

Asus Chromebook Flip 2 shows up on Best Buy

US News - Fri, 12/30/2016 - 07:33

On Thursday, a refreshed version of Asus' touch-friendly Chromebook Flip - the Asus Chromebook Flip 2 - showed up on the Best Buy website, hinting at an apparently forthcoming launch of the device.

The Asus Chromebook Flip 2 will be the one of the first Chromebooks to boast support for Android apps via the Google Play Store.

The new Chromebook Flip version appeared on Best Buy a few days after the same device - bearing model number C302CA - first showed up on Newegg. com. However, that listing was quickly taken down.

Going by the indications from the product listing on Best Buy, the new Asus Chromebook Flip 2 will seemingly be a convertible laptop. The device, as per a 9to5Google report, will likely be shipped by Asus on January 5, 2017.

According to the real product description stored in Google's cache, the key features of Asus Chromebook Flip 2 include a 12.5-inch full HD touchscreen; Intel Pentium 4405Y chip; Intel HD Graphics 515 integrated GPU; 4GB RAM;
32GB eMMC solid state drive (SSD); microSD card slot; high-definition webcam and microphone; backlit keyboard; Bluetooth 4.0; and two USB-C ports.

Business: TechnologyCompanies: Asus

California police arrest a man for driving under influence of caffeine

US News - Thu, 12/29/2016 - 11:17

Officers from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control reportedly took a man under arrest for driving under the influence of caffeine.

Joseph Schwab was allegedly driving erratically while returning home from office in Solano County. When an agent from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control pulled him over and gave him a breathalyzer test, the result turned up as 0.00 per cent.

In spite of, Schwab was arrested and taken to jail where they decided to conduct a blood test to determine if he was under the influence of anything else. He was not found under the influence of alcohol or any banned substance, but it showed that the man had some caffeine.

Nevertheless, police charged him with DUI, triggering a wave of criticism from many. Stacey Barrett, Schwab’s attorney, also said that he was just as perplexed.

When asked for a comment on the case, Barrett said, “I’ve never seen this before; I’ve never even heard of it. I have not been provided with any evidence to support a theory of prosecution for a substance other than caffeine at this time.”

Schwab grumbled that no officer believed him that he only had caffeine in his system until, lab results showed them. He urged authorities to dismiss all charges filed against him.

No study has thus far suggested that caffeine can impair driving. In fact, caffeine is a drink of choice for many individuals, including police officers, who look for an additional boost of energy during driving.

General: HealthRegion: California

Trump discusses veterans’ healthcare overhaul with hospital CEOs

US News - Thu, 12/29/2016 - 09:32

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday met with leaders of the nation’s top nonprofit hospital systems to discuss plans to overhaul healthcare system for veterans.

After the meeting, a senior transition official told reporters that they discussed a range of options, including public-private partnerships and allowing veterans to more readily visit hospitals outside the existing Veterans Affairs system.

However, some veteran advocacy groups have warned that any move to expand access to health care outside the government-run hospitals may weaken the system through privatization.

As the VA system spends nearly $70 billion annually on medical care, allowing veterans to more readily visit hospitals outside the system would potentially be a windfall to private hospitals.

The list attendees include John Noseworthy, CEO of the Mayo Clinic; David Torchiana, CEO of Partners HealthCare; and Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic; and Paul Rothman, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Mr. Rothman said the meeting with Mr. Trump reflected his recognition of the decisive value of healthcare and biomedical research to the U.S.

Hopkins said in a statement, “Johns Hopkins Medicine remains committed to improving health outcomes for patients, families and communities across the country.

The President-elect and Republican leaders of U.S. Congress have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly known as Obamacare. However, it wasn’t immediately clear whether this issue was discussed during the meeting.

General: HealthPeople: Donald Trump

Flurry: Apple and Samsung missed smartphone sales opportunities this holiday season

US News - Thu, 12/29/2016 - 07:53

In its Wednesday issued annual report, research firm Flurry Analytics has revealed that bigwig smartphone vendors Apple and Samsung apparently missed smartphone sales opportunities in the 2016 holiday season.

According to the report, the missed 2016 holiday smartphone sales opportunities by Apple and Samsung is evident from the fact that neither of the two companies recorded any dramatic increase or decline in their smartphone sales this holiday season.

The data shared by Flurry in its latest report shows that Apple's iPhone and iPad accounted for nearly 44 percent of all mobile activations during the critical holiday shopping period spanning from December 19 to December 25, 2016; while the smartphones and tablets manufactured by Samsung accounted for 21 percent of the mobile activations in the same period.

In comparison, during the same ‘week leading up to Christmas’ period in 2015, Apple’s mobile devices had accounted for 49.1 percent of all mobile activations; whereas Samsung’s mobile devices had accounted for 19.8 percent of the activations.

Along with revealing that the 2016 holiday season did not provide much joy for either Apple or Samsung, the latest Flurry data also shows that the activation of Apple and Samsung mobile devices during this year’s holiday shopping season was notably more than the activation of mobile devices manufactured by rivals, like LG, Huawei, Motorola, and Amazon.

Technology: Technology NewsCompanies: AppleSamsung

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