Review Category : Health

Easily Bored People Often Prone to Repetitive Behavior

Polka Dot/Thinkstock(MONTREAL) — Have you been so bored that you felt like pulling your hair out? Actually, that’s what certain people do, which is called repetitive behavior, an extreme way of letting out frustration.

Other forms of this behavior, according to chief researcher Kieron O’Connor from the University of Montreal, include skin picking and nail-biting.

O’Connor says that people prone to repetitive behavior tend to be perfectionists who express frustration, impatience and dissatisfaction when it takes too long to reach their goals. Another manifestation of the behavior is becoming bored easily.

O’Connor, who studied 48 participants, half of whom displayed this disorder, says hair pulling and skin picking are ways to satisfy an urge and deliver a kind of reward.

It’s believed that these people can benefit from treatments that help to reduce a need for perfectionism while teaching them to feel less bored and frustrated when goals aren’t quickly achieved.

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Advice to Seniors: Keep Moving to Stay Moving

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Ideally, people should be exercising both their brains and bodies as they age.

Now, a new study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago gives another compelling reason why staying fit can help you function better later in life.

According to lead researcher Debra Fleischman, “Daily physical activity may be able to protect motor function from age-related injury to the brain.” This damage often seen in elderly patients called white matter hyperintensities has a direct link to the problems with walking and mobility.

However, in a test of more than 160 patients with an average age of 80, those who scored higher in mobility tests were the seniors who exercised the most, even taking into account a high level of white matter hyperintensities and other factors such as weight problems and depression.

What’s more, staying active as one ages might also actually help to stave off this brain damage that limits mobility.

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Mom Surprised When Son Says ‘Hello’ at Just 7 Weeks

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A mother in Northern Ireland was astounded when her son managed to greet her with a tiny “hello” at just 7 weeks old.

Toni McCann, of Belfast, Ireland, said her son Cillian, now 9 weeks, has said “hello” twice. The first time she had her camera trained on him as she slowly pronounced the word for her son.

The infant appeared to try and unsuccessfully imitate his mother before finally managing a quick “hello” for the first time.

“He was making a lot of eye contact and that’s why I started filming him,” she told ABC News. “I realized he was trying to copy what I was saying it and then it just came out.”

McCann said she first noticed Cillian trying to mimic sounds at just 5 weeks old when her husband was holding him.

“Cillian’s tongue [was] to come out and…he was trying to imitate to talking,” she said. McCann said her son has said “hello” just one other time when one of her daughters was talking with the baby.

Gail Murray, director of Audiology Services at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said the video is a great example of how infants start to learn to speak by focusing on their parent’s faces.

“This is a perfect example of modeling behavior, mom is coaching him to do what she’s doing,” said Murray. “It’s an important example of what we want all mothers to do with their baby.”

Murray said the Cillian’s first “hello” may seem impressive, but is part of the normal development for infants as they progress from mimicry to babbling to saying single words with meaning, which usually happens around 11 to 12 months.

Murray said Cillian’s first word is likely not the same as a 1 to 2-year-old’s first word, where they have attached the word to some meaning.

“They don’t have muscle coordination of the mouth,” Murray said of newborn infants. “It’s usually a process of both learning what words mean by hearing them and by seeing mom and by trying to imitate mom over and over again.”

Murray said new moms should talk to their babies, even if the infants can’t say full words yet. She also recommended letting babies “talk back” in the conversation, even if they don’t have full words yet.

While the video of Cillian saying hello has gone viral, McCann said she has already moved on to a new phrase for the baby.

“Now I’m saying to him ‘I love you,'” McCann told ABC News.

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Women Turned On by Heroic Soldiers

iStock/Thinkstock(SOUTHAMPTON, England) — 1980’s British pop star Bonnie Tyler might have been speaking for all women in the song “Holding Out for a Hero.”

The lyrics go in part, “He’s gotta be strong And he’s gotta be fast And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight.”

As it turns out, researchers from the University of Southampton say in a study of 90 U.K. women about what they most desire in a boyfriend, the consensus was they want a guy who’s a hero or does heroic deeds on the battlefield as opposed to soldiers who just do the job they’re ordered to do.

Soldiers rewarded for bravery under fire ranked first among the participants. Even men in other professions who performed heroically weren’t particularly more attractive to women.

Meanwhile in another study, men found women who did heroic deeds in combat or in a disaster zone actually less attractive than women who did not go above and beyond the call of duty.

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Friday the 13th and Why It’s Time to Breathe Easier

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Just hang on a little longer, you paraskevidekatriaphobics. Surviving your fear of Friday the 13th today would free you until Nov. 13, followed by only one day of dread next year.

This year’s February and March occurrence is simply pure luck of the calendar. Friday the 13th popped up only once last year, for instance, with no sign in sight of three in the same year again anytime soon. So people with this debilitating fear can breathe a little easier for a while, assuming they avoid any calamity by midnight.

And even if it’s little or no consolation, there’s another reason they are luckier than they think. By comparison, triggers for other phobias — real or imagined — are far more abundant.

Here are some of the more unusual ones:

  • Liticaphobia: Fear of lawsuits
  • Euphobia: Fear of hearing good news
  • Soceraphobia: Fear of parents-in-law
  • Deipnophobia: Fear of dining or dinner conversations
  • Nostophobia: Fear of returning home
  • Xanthophobia: Fear of the color yellow or the word yellow
  • Clinophobia: Fear of going to bed
  • Omphalophobia: Fear of belly buttons
  • Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth, not to be confused with any legitimate phobia
  • Aichmophobia: Fear of sharp objects
  • Sesquipedalophobia: Fear of long words, which has morphed into the contrived hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia
  • And then, of course, there’s the phobia of all phobias: Phobophobia, or the fear of being afraid.

See more at The Phobia List.

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Homeopathy Doesn’t Work, Major Australian Study Concludes

Pat_Hastings/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Homeopathic medicine doesn’t work, according to a major Australian study.

The country’s National Health and Medical Research Council considered 1,800 studies, narrowing them down to 225 that met certain criteria, and concluded that homeopathy didn’t work better than a placebo. Even if a study claimed it was effective, the council found that that study was of poor quality.

“From this review, the main recommendation for Australians is that they should not rely on homeopathy as a substitute for proven, effective treatments,” said the council’s CEO, professor Warwick Anderson.

“This statement was the result of a rigorous examination of the evidence and used internationally accepted methods for assessing the quality and reliability of evidence for determining whether or not a therapy is effective for treating health conditions,” Anderson added.

In 2007, Americans spent $2.9 billion on over-the-counter homeopathic medicines and $170 million on visits to homeopathic practitioners, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new Australian study doesn’t bode well for “treatments” such as dilute pellets, gels, creams and other substances derived from things like crushed whole bees and poison ivy.

“Do not use homeopathy as a replacement for proven conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about a medical problem,” the CDC says on its website.

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CDC, AMA Announce Joint Initiative to Tackle Prediabetes

IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association announced a joint initiative on Thursday to tackle the growing problem of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

The initiative is titled Prevent Diabetes STAT: Screen, Test, Act – Today. “It’s time that the nation comes together to take immediate action to help prevent diabetes before it starts,” AMA President Robert Wah said. “Type 2 diabetes is one of our nation’s leading cause of suffering and death — with one out of three people at risk of developing the disease in their lifetime.”

Wah notes that the initiative is, in part, “about empowering patients to take control of their health.”

As part of the initiative, the CDC has put up a “Prediabetes Screening Test” online. It also urges patients to speak with their doctors about the risks of prediabetes. The final step, the agencies say, is finding a diabetes prevention program — a lifestyle change program to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes — in your community. A list of some such programs is available online.

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FDA Issues Updated Guidance for Reusable Devices Linked to ‘Superbugs’

ChrisPole/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final guidance on Thursday on the reuse of medical devices and the possibly resultant spread of infectious agents, partially in response to the reusable endoscopes that are believed to have caused the spread of a “superbug” at a California medical center.

“Medical devices intended for repeated use are commonplace in health care settings,” the FDA statement read. “They are typically made of durable substances that can withstand reprocessing, a multi-step process designed to remove soil and contaminants by cleaning and to inactivate microorganisms by disinfection or sterilization. While the majority of reusable devices are successfully reprocessed in health care settings, the complex design of some devices makes it harder to remove contaminants,” the agency noted.

In the updated guidance, the FDA calls on device manufacturers to not only consider reprocessing early in the design phase of these devices, but also to conduct testing that proves their cleaning, disinfection and sterilization instructions “consistently reduce microbial contamination.”

Further, the FDA will request that manufacturers submit scientific data from that testing to the agency. Previous guidelines, implemented in 1996, made no such request.

“Despite the recent concerns about multi-drug resistant bacteria infections associated with duodenoscopes,” the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health Chief Scientist and Deputy Director for Science William Maisel said, “patients and health care providers should know that the risk of acquiring an infection from a reprocessed medical device is low.”

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American Health Worker Diagnosed with Ebola in Sierra Leone Headed to NIH

Photo by Andrew Councill/MCT/MCT via Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) — An American health worker volunteering in an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with the deadly virus and will be headed to the United States for treatment, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The patient, who has not been identified, will be isolated and flown to the NIH Clinical Center Special Clinical Studies Unit in Maryland, which is one of four hospitals in the country with isolation units prepared for Ebola patients. This will be the NIH’s second Ebola patient. The patient is scheduled to be admitted on Friday, officials said.

The Ebola outbreak is nearing its end in the neighboring West African country of Liberia, with what health officials are calling the final Ebola patient’s discharge from an Ebola treatment unit last week. But the World Health Organization on Thursday announced that the virus had claimed more than 10,000 lives in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Dallas nurse Nina Pham, 26, the first person to catch Ebola on U.S. soil, was flown to the NIH facility in October and was released Ebola-free.

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Tulane Primate Lab Employee Found Positive for Dangerous Bacteria in Initial Tests

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) — A Tulane lab employee is the first human to test positive for a deadly bacteria that mysteriously escaped a Tulane primate research laboratory, a Tulane University spokeswoman said.

At least eight monkeys at the Tulane National Primate Center in New Orleans initially tested positive for exposure to burkholderia pseudomallei, a potentially deadly form of bacteria more commonly found in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia.

A federal investigator also tested positive for being exposed to the bacteria, but in that case it wasn’t clear if he was exposed at the center or during a visit to an infected region, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But blood tests from an animal clinic employee at the center showed current or prior exposure to the dangerous bacteria, Tulane officials announced Wednesday. However, the antibodies found in the blood that indicate the positive reading were still very low and the employee showed no symptoms, Tulane officials said, adding that the readings were so low they were within the levels sometimes found among members of the public with no exposure.

As a result, the CDC is scheduled to conduct additional tests to confirm the initial result.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said burkholderia pseudomallei is an usual bacteria because it can remain dormant for a long time and it can infect different organs in the body.

“It causes all sorts of different infections depending upon the part of the body that it sets up shop in,” including tuberculosis, said Schaffner. An infected person can be without symptoms for a long time and then the infection can “suddenly come to the fore and create an illness.”

In the case the Tulane employee, the person might have already fought off the infection or the bacteria could be multiplying and eventually cause a full-blown infection with symptoms, Schaffner said. Continued blood tests should reveal if the infection is expected to get worse and doctors can then try a cocktail of antibiotics to treat the infection, he said.

CDC officials have said there is no risk to the public from the outbreak. It’s unclear how the bacteria from the high-tech security lab at the research center initially infected the primates.

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