Review Category : Health

Warm Water Sparks Flesh-Eating Disease Warning

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Florida health officials are warning beachgoers about a seawater bacterium that can invade cuts and scrapes to cause flesh-eating disease.

Vibrio vulnificus — a cousin of the bacterium that causes Cholera — thrives in warm saltwater, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If ingested, it can cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. But it can also infect open wounds and lead to “skin breakdown and ulceration,” according to the CDC.

“Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater,” the Florida Department of Health said in a statement.

The infection can also be transmitted through eating or handling contaminated oysters and other shellfish, according to the CDC.

At least 11 Floridians have contracted Vibrio vulnificus so far this year and two have died, according to the most recent state data. In 2013, 41 people were infected and 11 died. The proportion of skin and gastrointestinal infections is unclear.

Florida isn’t the only state to report Vibrio vulnificus infections. Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi have also recorded cases, and a 2013 outbreak linked to contaminated shellfish sickened at least 104 people in 13 states, according to the CDC.

Most people who contract Vibrio vulnificus infection recover with the help of antibiotics, but severe skin infections may require surgery and amputation, according to the CDC. People with weakened immune systems are also at risk for blood infections, which are fatal about 50 percent of the time, the CDC notes.

The CDC recommends the following precautions to avoid Vibrio vulnificus infections:

  • Avoid exposing open wounds to warm saltwater, brackish water or to raw shellfish
  • Wear protective clothing when handling raw shellfish
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly and avoid food contamination with juices from raw seafood
  • Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers

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Surgeon General: Skin Cancer Is ‘Major Public Health Problem’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Surgeon General is calling skin cancer a “major public health problem” and says tanning is a direct cause.

A report from the office of Surgeon General Boris Lushniak says unlike other forms of cancer in the United States, the rate of skin cancer is on the rise, with 5 million people getting treated each year.

About 63,000 people are treated for melanoma and about 10% of those cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.

Lushniak says all states should ban minors from using tanning beds and the report urges everyone to wear sunscreen outside.

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Study Says Obese Workers Are Less Productive

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Aside from the health risks associated with obesity, those who are grossly overweight are also at a disadvantage at the workplace, according to a joint University of Buffalo-Virginia Tech study.

The researchers had about three dozen people perform a series of tasks that involved hand gripping, elevating the shoulders and an exercise where they pretended to perform on an assembly line.

Participants were male and female, young and old, obese and non-obese. After completion of the tasks, which involved breaks, those who were obese performed worse than the others.

The researchers say this would likely mean in real-work settings that obese employees are less productive, more susceptible to injury and need longer breaks than their co-workers.

The study’s authors are not advocating employers replace their obese workers but instead “make adjustments to the extent that [the workers] have a skill which is necessary, useful and in demand.”

They admit the answer is not making bigger desks or chairs but to encourage wellness programs, gym memberships and other ways of living healthier.

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The Secret to Getting Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

Fuse/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Why won’t kids eat their vegetables? Other than “What happens when we die?,” it’s the question that has frustrated mankind more than any other.

Researchers from Northwestern University didn’t set out to find out why children are so resistant to eating beans, broccoli and other veggies. Rather, their mission was to learn how to entice youngsters to drop their objections to greens and such.

It appears they may have found that elusive magic bullet. They believe that parents may have been using the wrong strategy all along in convincing their kids to eat their vegetables, which is by emphasizing the so-called health benefits of these foods.

Michal Maimaran and Ayelet Fishbach say that kids are too hip to buy the story that somehow they’re going to get bigger, stronger and faster from consuming vegetables.

Now here’s the secret. After conducting a series of experiments, the researchers said children were more apt to eat their veggies when parents either said nothing or if it was presented as the best-tasting thing ever put on the planet.

Bottom line: the whole Popeye-spinach connection doesn’t cut it anymore.
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Study Says Obese Workers Are Less Productive

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Aside from the health risks associated with obesity, those who are grossly overweight are also at a disadvantage at the workplace, according to a joint University of Buffalo-Virginia Tech study.

The researchers had about three dozen people perform a series of tasks that involved hand gripping, elevating the shoulders and an exercise where they pretended to perform on an assembly line.

Participants were male and female, young and old, obese and non-obese. After completion of the tasks, which involved breaks, those who were obese performed worse than the others.

The researchers say this would likely mean in real-work settings that obese employees are less productive, more susceptible to injury and need longer breaks than their co-workers.

The study’s authors are not advocating employers replace their obese workers but instead “make adjustments to the extent that [the workers] have a skill which is necessary, useful and in demand.”

They admit the answer is not making bigger desks or chairs but to encourage wellness programs, gym memberships and other ways of living healthier.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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The Secret to Getting Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

Fuse/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Why won’t kids eat their vegetables? Other than “What happens when we die?,” it’s the question that has frustrated mankind more than any other.

Researchers from Northwestern University didn’t set out to find out why children are so resistant to eating beans, broccoli and other veggies. Rather, their mission was to learn how to entice youngsters to drop their objections to greens and such.

It appears they may have found that elusive magic bullet. They believe that parents may have been using the wrong strategy all along in convincing their kids to eat their vegetables, which is by emphasizing the so-called health benefits of these foods.

Michal Maimaran and Ayelet Fishbach say that kids are too hip to buy the story that somehow they’re going to get bigger, stronger and faster from consuming vegetables.

Now here’s the secret. After conducting a series of experiments, the researchers said children were more apt to eat their veggies when parents either said nothing or if it was presented as the best-tasting thing ever put on the planet.

Bottom line: the whole Popeye-spinach connection doesn’t cut it anymore.
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Social Media Is Where Good News Gets Posted

iStock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wis.) — It’s a sign of the times: when people have good news that’s happened to themselves or others, they’ll more often share it on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to reach the biggest possible audience in the least amount of time.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison arrived at that finding after having 300 undergrads keep a journal of their emotions and the form of media they used to convey these feelings to others.

Far and away, when there was positive news to report, the students generally posted messages on social media.

Interestingly, however, the participants went “old school” when they had to pass along bad news.

The preferred ways of spreading less joyous information was via the phone or even telling people face-to-face.

Study author Catalina Toma put it succinctly, “You often hear people say when the phone rings, its bad news,” Toma said. “Our data supports that.”

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Your Soul Mate May Not Wind Up Being Your Sole Mate

iStock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) — Careful soul mates, you’re probably deluding yourselves.

Although people who believe they’ve found the perfect mate who “completes” them, University of Toronto researchers say those in love are often surprised when things don’t work out as planned.

Essentially, it’s those couples who understand that a relationship can take some time to develop are the ones who are more successful in the long run, according to study authors Spike W. S. Lee and Norbert Schwarz.

They had participants fill out questionnaires about whether they considered if love meant two people were “made for each other” as soul mates do or if “love is a journey” filled with mistakes and forgiveness.

Not surprisingly, those who believe relationships take work reported fewer conflicts and tended to recall more celebrations with their partner.

Still, the soul mate concept is apparently the more accepted of the two, a Marist poll found, with 73 percent agreeing with it and 27 not believing it. Furthermore, it’s younger folks who are more likely to think that finding a soul mate is the essence of true love.

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People Get Naturally High from the Choices They Make

iStock/Thinkstock(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) — Are you the kind of person who gets a kick out of the things you choose solely on your own, such as movies, restaurants, clothes, car, etc., while ignoring what others might like?

While some might have an unflattering name for that, neurologists at Brown University are willing to cut you some slack.

They call the high you get from making particular selections “choice bias,” which involves the brain rewarding itself with the pleasure hormone called dopamine.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that but due to constant reinforcement, your brain might actually be over-rewarding itself for a decision that isn’t that much of a big deal.

Again, the Brown researchers say this may not be your fault because “choice bias” is actually in your genes, based on DNA samples they’ve taken from saliva of those who exhibit this trait.

Of course, that fact won’t placate those you irritate if you keep ignoring their choices.

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Ebola Virus May Have Spread to a Fourth West African Nation

Hemera/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — The world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak continues to spread in the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and possibly one other.

At least 1,093 people have contracted the deadly virus and 672 people have died, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

Two American aid workers are among the victims of the growing outbreak, which has taken a heavy toll on health care providers treating the sick and working to contain the outbreak. Meanwhile, a top Liberian doctor also died this past weekend.

Officials are also concerned after an infected man managed to board a plane from Liberia to Nigeria, potentially spreading the deadly virus to a fourth country.

In an effort to stop the spread of the incurable disease, Liberia’s president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak.

As for what this means for the U.S., Dr. Stephan Monroe at the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions told reporters Monday, “No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low.”

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