jm + health   65

Study: wearing hi-viz clothing does not reduce risk of collision for cyclists
Journal of Transport & Health, 22 March 2017:
This study found no evidence that cyclists using conspicuity aids were at reduced risk of a collision crash compared to non-users after adjustment for confounding, but there was some evidence of an increase in risk. Bias and residual confounding from differing route selection and cycling behaviours in users of conspicuity aids are possible explanations for these findings. Conspicuity aids may not be effective in reducing collision crash risk for cyclists in highly-motorised environments when used in the absence of other bicycle crash prevention measures such as increased segregation or lower motor vehicle speeds.
health  safety  hi-viz  clothing  cycling  commute  visibility  collision  crashes  papers 
9 weeks ago by jm
Sickness absence associated with shared and open-plan offices--a national cross sectional questionnaire survey. - PubMed - NCBI
occupants in open-plan offices (>6 persons) had 62% more days of sickness absence (RR 1.62, 95% CI 1.30-2.02).
health  office  workplace  data  sickness  open-plan  work  offices 
11 weeks ago by jm
We’re more likely to get cancer than to get married. This is a wake-up call | Ranjana Srivastava | Opinion | The Guardian
Later, in clinic, I see patients ranging from a stoical university student to a devastated father to the frail octogenarian who can’t remember the day, let alone that he has cancer – each patient an illustration of a recent Macmillan Cancer Support UK finding that it is more common for an individual to be diagnosed with cancer than to get married or have a first child. One in two people will encounter a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, which is why the report says that, alongside marriage, parenthood, retirement and the death of a parent, cancer is now “a common life milestone”.
cancer  life  milestones  death  uk  health  medicine 
11 weeks ago by jm
Cycling to work: major new study suggests health benefits are staggering
We found that cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all.
cycling  transport  health  medicine  science  commuting  life  statistics 
august 2017 by jm
Rule that patients must finish antibiotics course is wrong, study says
Patients have traditionally been told that they must complete courses of antibiotics, the theory being that taking too few tablets will allow the bacteria causing their disease to mutate and become resistant to the drug.
But Martin Llewelyn, a professor in infectious diseases at Brighton and Sussex medical school, and colleagues claim that this is not the case. In an analysis in the British Medical Journal, the experts say “the idea that stopping antibiotic treatment early encourages antibiotic resistance is not supported by evidence, while taking antibiotics for longer than necessary increases the risk of resistance”.
health  medicine  antibiotics  bmj  bacteria 
july 2017 by jm
Screen time guidelines need to be built on evidence, not hype | Science | The Guardian
An open letter signed by about 100 scientists 'from different countries and academic fields with research expertise and experience in screen time, child development and evidence-based policy.'
If the government were to implement guidelines on screen-based technology at this point, as the authors of the letter suggest, this would be on the basis of little to no evidence. This risks the implementation of unnecessary, ineffective or even potentially harmful policies. For guidelines to have a meaningful impact, they need to be grounded in robust research evidence and acknowledge that children’s health and wellbeing is a complex issue affected by many other factors, such as socioeconomic status, relational poverty, and family environment – all of which are likely to be more relevant for children’s health and well-being than screens. For example, there is no consistent evidence that more screen time leads to less outdoor play; if anything the evidence indicates that screen time and physical outdoor activity are unrelated, and reductions in average time spent in outdoor play over time seem to be driven by other factors. Policy efforts to increase outdoor play that focus on screen time are therefore likely to be ineffective.


(via Damien Mulley)
via:damienmulley  science  children  psychology  screens  screen-time  childhood  development  evidence  policy  health  open-letters 
june 2017 by jm
EpiBone Grows New Bones Using Stem Cells
To grow EpiBone, Tandon explained, scientists take a CT scan of the bone they’ll need to engineer. This helps them create a 3D model. Then, from the model, a 3D printer produces a scaffold (this can be made out of protein and collagen from animal bones or synthetic material). After that, they take stem cells from the patient out of their fat, and those cells are put into the scaffold and then incubated. They regenerate, and form around the bone. This process results in a bone that the body will recognize as the patient’s. The crazy part is that it only takes three weeks to grow a bone that’s personalized to the individual patient.
stem-cells  epibone  bone  body  healing  health  medicine  3d-printing 
may 2017 by jm
JPM | Free Full-Text | Accuracy in Wrist-Worn, Sensor-Based Measurements of Heart Rate and Energy Expenditure in a Diverse Cohort
The ability to measure physical activity through wrist-worn devices provides an opportunity for cardiovascular medicine. However, the accuracy of commercial devices is largely unknown. The aim of this work is to assess the accuracy of seven commercially available wrist-worn devices in estimating heart rate (HR) and energy expenditure (EE) and to propose a wearable sensor evaluation framework. We evaluated the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn, and Samsung Gear S2.


tl;dr: wrist-based calorie counters were inaccurate by up to 93% in tests.
fitbit  microsoft  mio  pulseon  samsung-gear  apple  apple-watch  basis  gadgets  health  heart-rate  calorie-counters 
may 2017 by jm
Seeking medical abortions online is safe and effective, study finds | World news | The Guardian
Of the 1,636 women who were sent the drugs between the start of 2010 and the end of 2012, the team were able to analyse self-reported data from 1,000 individuals who confirmed taking the pills. All were less than 10 weeks pregnant.

The results reveal that almost 95% of the women successfully ended their pregnancy without the need for surgical intervention. None of the women died, although seven women required a blood transfusion and 26 needed antibiotics.
Of the 93 women who experienced symptoms for which the advice was to seek medical attention, 95% did so, going to a hospital or clinic.

“When we talk about self-sought, self-induced abortion, people think about coat hangers or they think about tables in back alleys,” said Aiken. “But I think this research really shows that in 2017 self-sourced abortion is a network of people helping and supporting each other through what’s really a safe and effective process in the comfort of their own homes, and I think is a huge step forward in public health.”
health  medicine  abortion  pro-choice  data  women-on-web  ireland  law  repealthe8th 
may 2017 by jm
The Forgotten Story Of The Radium Girls
'The radium girls’ case was one of the first in which an employer was made responsible for the health of the company’s employees. It led to life-saving regulations and, ultimately, to the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which now operates nationally in the United States to protect workers. Before OSHA was set up, 14,000 people died on the job every year; today, it is just over 4,500. The women also left a legacy to science that has been termed “invaluable.”'
osha  health  safety  radium  poisoning  regulation  history  us-politics  free-market  cancer  radiation 
may 2017 by jm
Put Down the Pink Dumbbell
So, ladies, let’s first put down the two-pound, pink dumbbells. We have been sold a false story about fitness, health (and its connection to weight loss).
I was exercised by wolves. And I’m going to tell you all the secrets and tricks I learned by avoiding the fitness-industrial complex.
Most of what I’ll say applies to men, but I have discovered that most of the outrageously wrong advice is given to women. [...]
So, here: truth number one. Very few of us consider strength-training as essential exercise, but it is. It is especially crucial as one ages, because a natural part of the aging process is losing muscle. Women, especially, need to lift weights, and the trick to lifting weights is stressing muscles. And that weight has to be a real weight, progressively increased, and barring health issues, an average woman should not even bother with two pound weights because that won’t stress your muscles enough to benefit you.
Exercise industry is surely partially to blame for why people don’t exercise regularly: they promise the wrong thing (weight loss) and then don’t push/guide people to do the right thing.
exercise  health  fitness  weight-loss  zeynep-tufekci  strength  aging  weights  training 
april 2017 by jm
Data from pacemaker used to arrest man for arson, insurance fraud
Compton has medical conditions which include an artificial heart linked to an external pump. According to court documents, a cardiologist said that "it is highly improbable Mr. Compton would have been able to collect, pack and remove the number of items from the house, exit his bedroom window and carry numerous large and heavy items to the front of his residence during the short period of time he has indicated due to his medical conditions."

After US law enforcement caught wind of this peculiar element to the story, police were able to secure a search warrant and collect the pacemaker's electronic records to scrutinize his heart rate, the demand on the pacemaker and heart rhythms prior to and at the time of the incident.
pacemakers  health  medicine  privacy  data  arson  insurance  fraud  heart 
february 2017 by jm
Pure Pharmacy
a low-cost online vendor in Ireland, recommended by @irldexter on ITS (along with webdoctor.ie):

'For basic consultations I halved the cost €55 to engage a GP with https://www.webdoctor.ie/ down to €25 (for limited domains) and after paying €8.48 and €9.48 respectively for a Ventolin inhaler, I now get them for €3.50 at http://www.purepharmacy.ie/ (closer to mainland EU costs). I also benchmarked my parents medicine costs which worked out 40% cheaper too.'
recommendations  pharmacy  ireland  doctors  health  medicine 
november 2016 by jm
iPhones4Autism
great idea -- donate old, obsolete iPhone 4/4s phones to a charity which repurposes them for autistic/non-verbal kids
autism  communication  health  phones  recycling  charity  iphones 
september 2016 by jm
“I Want to Know What Code Is Running Inside My Body” — Backchannel
Sandler wants to be able to explore the code running her device for programming flaws and vulnerability to hacking, but she can’t. “Because I don’t have access to the source code, I have no power to do anything about it,” she says. In her eyes, it’s a particularly obvious example of a problem that now cuts across much of modern life: proprietary software has become crucial to daily survival, and yet is often locked away from public exploration and discussion by copyright.
copyright  safety  health  pacemakers  law  proprietary-software  life  medicine  implants 
august 2016 by jm
Kelsey Hightower - healthz: Stop reverse engineering applications and start monitoring from the inside [video]
his Monitorama 2016 talk, talking about the "deep health checks" concept (which I implemented at Swrve earlier this year ;)
monitorama  health  deep-health-checks  healthz  testing  availability  reliability 
july 2016 by jm
The mysterious syndrome impairing astronauts’ sight - The Washington Post
Visual impairment intracranial pressure syndrome (VIIP) is named for the leading theory to explain it. On Earth, gravity pulls bodily fluids down toward the feet. That doesn’t happen in space, and it is thought that extra fluid in the skull increases pressure on the brain and the back of the eye.
viip  sight  eyes  space  zero-gravity  health 
july 2016 by jm
Westminster social engineering to blame for 'Glasgow effect' mortality rate
This is quite significant -- scientific proof that austerity/social engineering policies cause higher mortality rates:
Researchers found that the historic effect of overcrowding was an important factor and highlighted the strategies of local government, which prioritised the regeneration of the city centre over investment in the cities housing schemes as having a significant impact on the health of Glaswegians.

Data shows that Glasgow authorities spent far less on housing repairs, leaving people's homes poorly maintained and subject to damp. David Walsh, of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, said that their work proved that poor health had political causes and could not simply be attributed to individual lifestyle choices.
glasgow-effect  scotland  poverty  glasgow  lifestyle  health  mortality  housing  policies  uk 
may 2016 by jm
Public preferences for electronic health data storage, access, and sharing – evidence from a pan-European survey | Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Results: We obtained 20 882 survey responses (94 606 preferences) from 27 EU member countries. Respondents recognized the benefits of storing electronic health information, with 75.5%, 63.9%, and 58.9% agreeing that storage was important for improving treatment quality, preventing epidemics, and reducing delays, respectively. Concerns about different levels of access by third parties were expressed by 48.9% to 60.6% of respondents. On average, compared to devices or systems that only store basic health status information, respondents preferred devices that also store identification data (coefficient/relative preference 95% CI = 0.04 [0.00-0.08], P = 0.034) and information on lifelong health conditions (coefficient = 0.13 [0.08 to 0.18], P < 0.001), but there was no evidence of this for devices with information on sensitive health conditions such as mental and sexual health and addictions (coefficient = −0.03 [−0.09 to 0.02], P = 0.24). Respondents were averse to their immediate family (coefficient = −0.05 [−0.05 to −0.01], P = 0.011) and home care nurses (coefficient = −0.06 [−0.11 to −0.02], P = 0.004) viewing this data, and strongly averse to health insurance companies (coefficient = −0.43 [−0.52 to 0.34], P < 0.001), private sector pharmaceutical companies (coefficient = −0.82 [−0.99 to −0.64], P < 0.001), and academic researchers (coefficient = −0.53 [−0.66 to −0.40], P < 0.001) viewing the data.

Conclusions: Storing more detailed electronic health data was generally preferred, but respondents were averse to wider access to and sharing of this information. When developing frameworks for the use of electronic health data, policy makers should consider approaches that both highlight the benefits to the individual and minimize the perception of privacy risks.


Via Antoin.
privacy  data  medicine  health  healthcare  papers  via:antoin 
april 2016 by jm
[Updated] Using a Dyson hand dryer is like setting off a viral bomb in a bathroom | Ars Technica
Clumping the data from all six heights together, the Dyson produced 60 times more plaques than the warm air dryer and 1,300 times more than paper towels. Of the viruses launched by the jet dryer, 70 percent were at the height of a small child’s face.


(vomit)
gross  hand-dryers  dyson  fail  health  bathroom 
april 2016 by jm
No Harm, No Fowl: Chicken Farm Inappropriate Choice for Data Disposal
That’s a lesson that Spruce Manor Special Care Home in Saskatchewan had to learn the hard way (as surprising as that might sound). As a trustee with custody of personal health information, Spruce Manor was required under section 17(2) of the Saskatchewan Health Information Protection Act to dispose of its patient records in a way that protected patient privacy. So, when Spruce Manor chose a chicken farm for the job, it found itself the subject of an investigation by the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner.  In what is probably one of the least surprising findings ever, the commissioner wrote in his final report that “I recommend that Spruce Manor […] no longer use [a] chicken farm to destroy records”, and then for good measure added “I find using a chicken farm to destroy records unacceptable.”
data  law  privacy  funny  chickens  farming  via:pinboard  data-protection  health  medical-records 
november 2015 by jm
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity May Not Exist
The data clearly indicated that a nocebo effect, the same reaction that prompts some people to get sick from wind turbines and wireless internet, was at work here. Patients reported gastrointestinal distress without any apparent physical cause. Gluten wasn't the culprit; the cause was likely psychological. Participants expected the diets to make them sick, and so they did.
gluten  placebo  nocebo  food  science  health  diet  gluten-free  fodmaps 
august 2015 by jm
How to get your water tested for lead in Dublin
Ossian has written up this very informative post:
Irish Water is writing to thousands of people living in Dublin this week to warn them that their water is supplied through lead pipes. Irish Water says that most people receiving these letters have a level of lead in their water which is above safe limits. So, if you get one of these letters how do you get your water tested? Irish Water is refusing to supply test kits or to test everyone’s water who asks. However the HSE’s Public Analyst Lab has told me that they will test water for lead for a fee of €10.
ossian-smyth  dun-laoghaire  dublin  drinking-water  water  lead  green  hse  irish-water  health 
august 2015 by jm
I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss
“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily”, page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website. Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.


Interesting bit: the online commenters commenting on the published stories quickly saw through the bullshit. Why can't the churnalising journos do that?
chocolate  journalism  science  diet  food  churnalism  pr  bild  health  clinical-trials  papers  peer-review  research 
may 2015 by jm
Everything Science Knows Right Now About Standing Desks | Co.Design
"Overall, current evidence suggests that both standing and treadmill desks may be effective in improving overall health considering both physiological and mental health components."
standing-desks  treadmill-desks  desks  exercise  health  work  workplace  back  sitting  standing 
april 2015 by jm
Ask the Decoder: Did I sign up for a global sleep study?
How meaningful is this corporate data science, anyway? Given the tech-savvy people in the Bay Area, Jawbone likely had a very dense sample of Jawbone wearers to draw from for its Napa earthquake analysis. That allowed it to look at proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake from location information.

Jawbone boasts its sample population of roughly “1 million Up wearers who track their sleep using Up by Jawbone.” But when looking into patterns county by county in the U.S., Jawbone states, it takes certain statistical liberties to show granularity while accounting for places where there may not be many Jawbone users.

So while Jawbone data can show us interesting things about sleep patterns across a very large population, we have to remember how selective that population is. Jawbone wearers are people who can afford a $129 wearable fitness gadget and the smartphone or computer to interact with the output from the device.

Jawbone is sharing what it learns with the public, but think of all the public health interests or other third parties that might be interested in other research questions from a large scale data set. Yet this data is not collected with scientific processes and controls and is not treated with the rigor and scrutiny that a scientific study requires.

Jawbone and other fitness trackers don’t give us the option to use their devices while opting out of contributing to the anonymous data sets they publish. Maybe that ought to change.
jawbone  privacy  data-protection  anonymization  aggregation  data  medicine  health  earthquakes  statistics  iot  wearables 
march 2015 by jm
Can we have medical privacy, cloud computing and genomics all at the same time?
Today sees the publication of a report I [Ross Anderson] helped to write for the Nuffield Bioethics Council on what happens to medical ethics in a world of cloud-based medical records and pervasive genomics.

As the information we gave to our doctors in private to help them treat us is now collected and treated as an industrial raw material, there has been scandal after scandal. From failures of anonymisation through unethical sales to the care.data catastrophe, things just seem to get worse. Where is it all going, and what must a medical data user do to behave ethically?

We put forward four principles. First, respect persons; do not treat their confidential data like were coal or bauxite. Second, respect established human-rights and data-protection law, rather than trying to find ways round it. Third, consult people who’ll be affected or who have morally relevant interests. And fourth, tell them what you’ve done – including errors and security breaches.
ethics  medicine  health  data  care.data  privacy  healthcare  ross-anderson  genomics  data-protection  human-rights 
february 2015 by jm
Study: You Can't Change an Anti-Vaxxer's Mind
According to a major new study in the journal 'Pediatrics', trying to [persuade anti-vaxxers to vaccinate] may actually make the problem worse. The paper tested the effectiveness of four separate pro-vaccine messages, three of which were based very closely on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself talks about vaccines. The results can only be called grim: Not a single one of the messages was successful when it came to increasing parents' professed intent to vaccinate their children. And in several cases the messages actually backfired, either increasing the ill-founded belief that vaccines cause autism or even, in one case, apparently reducing parents' intent to vaccinate.
vaccination  health  measles  mmr  autism  facts  via:mrneutron  stupidity  cdc  papers  vaccines 
february 2015 by jm
Getting good cancer care through 3D printing
This is pretty incredible.
Balzer downloaded a free software program called InVesalius, developed by a research center in Brazil to convert MRI and CT scan data to 3D images. He used it to create a 3D volume rendering from Scott’s DICOM images, which allowed him to look at the tumor from any angle. Then he uploaded the files to Sketchfab and shared them with neurosurgeons around the country in the hope of finding one who was willing to try a new type of procedure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he found the doctor he was looking for at UPMC, where Scott had her thyroid removed. A neurosurgeon there agreed to consider a minimally invasive operation in which he would access the tumor through Scott’s left eyelid and remove it using a micro drill. Balzer had adapted the volume renderings for 3D printing and produced a few full-size models of the front section of Scott’s skull on his MakerBot. To help the surgeon vet his micro drilling idea and plan the procedure, Balzer packed up one of the models and shipped it off to Pittsburgh.
diy  surgery  health  cancer  tumours  medicine  3d-printing  3d  scanning  mri  dicom 
january 2015 by jm
Of Course 23andMe's Plan Has Been to Sell Your Genetic Data All Along
Today, 23andMe announced what Forbes reports is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: Genentech will pay up to $60 million for access to 23andMe's data to study Parkinson's. You think 23andMe was about selling fun DNA spit tests for $99 a pop? Nope, it's been about selling your data all along.

testing  ethics  dna  genentech  23andme  parkinsons  diseases  health  privacy 
january 2015 by jm
Life expectancy increases are due mainly to healthier children, not longer old age
Interesting -- I hadn't expected this.

'Life expectancy at birth [in the US] in 1930 was indeed only 58 for men and 62 for women, and the retirement age was 65. But life expectancy at birth in the early decades of the 20th century was low due mainly to high infant mortality, and someone who died as a child would never have worked and paid into Social Security. A more appropriate measure is probably life expectancy after attainment of adulthood.' .... 'Men who attained age 65 could expect to collect Social Security benefits for almost 13 years (and the numbers are even higher for women).'

In Ireland, life expectancy at birth has increased 18.4 years since 1926 -- but life expectancy for men aged 65 (the pension age) has only increased by 3.8 years. This means that increased life expectancy figures are not particularly relevant to the "pension crunch" story.

Via Fred Logue: https://twitter.com/fplogue/status/532093184646873089
via:fplogue  statistics  taxes  life-expectancy  pensions  infant-mortality  health  1930s 
november 2014 by jm
'In 1976 I discovered Ebola, now I fear an unimaginable tragedy' | World news | The Observer
An interview with the scientist who was part of the team which discovered the Ebola virus in 1976:
Other samples from the nun, who had since died, arrived from Kinshasa. When we were just about able to begin examining the virus under an electron microscope, the World Health Organisation instructed us to send all of our samples to a high-security lab in England. But my boss at the time wanted to bring our work to conclusion no matter what. He grabbed a vial containing virus material to examine it, but his hand was shaking and he dropped it on a colleague's foot. The vial shattered. My only thought was: "Oh, shit!" We immediately disinfected everything, and luckily our colleague was wearing thick leather shoes. Nothing happened to any of us.
ebola  epidemiology  health  africa  labs  history  medicine 
october 2014 by jm
Ebola: While Big Pharma Slept
We’ve had almost 40 years to develop, test and stockpile an Ebola vaccine. That has not happened because big pharma has been entirely focused on shareholder value and profits over safety and survival from a deadly virus. For the better part of Ebola’s 38 years ‒ big pharma has been asleep. The question ahead is what virus or superbug will wake them up?
pharma  ebola  ip  patents  health  drugs  africa  research 
october 2014 by jm
Ebola vaccine delayed by IP spat
This is the downside of publicly-funded labs selling patent-licensing rights to private companies:
Given the urgency, it's inexplicable that one of the candidate vaccines, developed at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in Winnipeg, has yet to go in the first volunteer's arm, says virologist Heinz Feldmann, who helped develop the vaccine while at PHAC. "It’s a farce; these doses are lying around there while people are dying in Africa,” says Feldmann, who now works at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Hamilton, Montana.

At the center of the controversy is NewLink Genetics, a small company in Ames, Iowa, that bought a license to the vaccine's commercialization from the Canadian government in 2010, and is now suddenly caught up in what WHO calls "the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times.” Becker and others say the company has been dragging its feet the past 2 months because it is worried about losing control over the development of the vaccine.
ip  patents  drugs  ebola  canada  phac  newlink-genetics  health  epidemics  vaccines 
october 2014 by jm
A gut microbe that stops food allergies
Actual scientific research showing that antibiotic use may be implicated in allergies:

'Nagler’s team first confirmed that mice given antibiotics early in life were far more susceptible to peanut sensitization, a model of human peanut allergy. Then, they introduced a solution containing Clostridia, a common class of bacteria that’s naturally found in the mammalian gut, into the rodents’ mouths and stomachs. The animals’ food allergen sensitization disappeared, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. When the scientists instead introduced another common kind of healthy bacteria, called Bacteroides, into similarly allergy-prone mice, they didn’t see the same effect. Studying the rodents more carefully, the researchers determined that Clostridia were having a surprising effect on the mouse gut: Acting through certain immune cells, the bacteria helped keep peanut proteins that can cause allergic reactions out of the bloodstream. “The bacteria are maintaining the integrity of the [intestinal] barrier,” Nagler says.'
allergies  health  food  peanuts  science  research  clostridium  bacteria  gut  intestines  immune-system  mice  papers  pnas 
september 2014 by jm
Girl Not Against Fluoride
The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) lists water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th Century. Today, Dublin City Council will vote on whether to remove fluoride from our water supply, and when they do, it will not be because the CDC or the WHO have changed their mind about fluoridation, or because new and compelling information makes it the only choice. It will be because people who believe in angel healing, homeopathy, and chemtrails, have somehow gained the ability to influence public policy.
dcc  dublin  law  flouride  science  zenbuffy  homeopathy  woo  health  teeth 
september 2014 by jm
A tick bite can make you allergic to red meat
The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don't have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat — beef, pork, venison, rabbit — and even some dairy products. It's usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.
But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim's bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.


Via Shane Naughton
ticks  meat  food  allergies  immune-system  health  via:inundata  sugar  alpha-gal  red-meat 
august 2014 by jm
HSE data releases may be de-anonymisable
Although the data has been kept anonymous, the increasing sophistication of computer-driven data-mining techniques has led to fears patients could be identified.
A HSE spokesman confirmed yesterday that the office responded to requests for data from a variety of sources, including researchers, the universities, GPs, the media, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies. An average of about two requests a week was received. [...]
The information provided by the HPO has significant patient identifiers removed, such as name and date of birth. According to the HSE spokesman, individual patient information is not provided and, where information is sought for a small group of patients, this is not provided where the number involved is under five. “In such circumstances, it is highly unlikely that anyone could be identified. Nevertheless, we will have another look at data releases from the office,” he said.


I'd say this could be readily reversible, from the sounds of it.
anonymisation  sanitisation  data-dumps  hse  health  privacy  via:tjmcintyre 
june 2014 by jm
Minnesota Measles Outbreak Traced Back To A Single Unvaccinated Child
A single child caught measles while visiting Kenya, returned to Minnesota, infected 4 others, who in turn exposed others, with an ultimate count of 3000 exposed and 21 confirmed cases. (16 of the 21 were unvaccinated; 46% of the Somali children in this community were unvaccinated in a 2010 survey.)
minnesota  safety  measles  health  vaccination  kenya  somali 
june 2014 by jm
Paleo is the Scientology of Diet
Being paleo is like paying a stupidity tax. Again, it’s not you who is stupid, but the diet sure is, because it lets you drink paleo coffee while putting paleo butter and paleo syrup on your paleo waffles before you drive your paleo minivan to the paleo office to sit in your paleo cube and do spreadsheets on your paleo computer. See, the paleo diet made up a bunch of silly rules on how we allegedly ate, and then goes and twists them all to hell in the name of selling you a crappy, overpriced product. That is scientology-level stupid.
scientology  paleo  rants  funny  food  diet  health  bulletproof-coffee  stupid 
june 2014 by jm
A Closer Look At OC's Anti-Vaccination Cluster
In communities such as San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo and Capistrano Beach, where Dr. Bob Sears practices, there are clusters of unvaccinated children. Last year, at 15 of the 40 elementary schools in the Capistrano Unified School District, more than 10 percent of kindergartners had [Personal Belief exemptions], according to data from the California Department of Public Health. At one public charter school, Journey, 56 percent of kindergartners were unvaccinated, at least partially, due to their parents' beliefs.

This is going to end horribly. Typical OC (update: South County OC! sorry Tatsuya ;)
orange-county  health  vaccination  laguna-beach  oc  dr-bob-sears  kindergarten  measles  mumps  rubella  pertussis  epidemiology 
may 2014 by jm
co-founder of the Boston Beer Company swears by active dry yeast as a hangover-avoidance remedy
what [Joe] Owades knew was that active dry yeast has an enzyme in it called alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH). Roughly put, ADH is able to break alcohol molecules down into their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Which is the same thing that happens when your body metabolizes alcohol in its liver. Owades realized if you also have that enzyme in your stomach when the alcohol first hits it, the ADH will begin breaking it down before it gets into your bloodstream and, thus, your brain.

Plausible!
beer  science  health  yeast  alcohol  adh  medicine  enzymes  stomach  food 
april 2014 by jm
The science of 'hangry'
In the PNAS paper, Brad Bushman and colleagues looked at 107 couples over 21 days and found that people experiencing uncharacteristically low blood sugar were more likely to display anger toward their spouse. (The researchers measured this by having subjects stick needles into voodoo dolls representing their significant others.)
hangry  hunger  food  eating  science  health  blood-sugar  voodoo-dolls  glucose 
april 2014 by jm
Daylight saving time linked to heart attacks, study finds
Switching over to daylight saving time, and losing one hour of sleep, raised the risk of having a heart attack the following Monday by 25 per cent, compared to other Mondays during the year, according to a new US study released today. [...] The study found that heart attack risk fell 21 per cent later in the year, on the Tuesday after the clock was returned to standard time, and people got an extra hour’s sleep.

One clear answer: we need 25-hour days.

More details: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140329175108.htm --
Researchers used Michigan's BMC2 database, which collects data from all non-federal hospitals across the state, to identify admissions for heart attacks requiring percutaneous coronary intervention from Jan. 1, 2010 through Sept. 15, 2013. A total of 42,060 hospital admissions occurring over 1,354 days were included in the analysis. Total daily admissions were adjusted for seasonal and weekday variation, as the rate of heart attacks peaks in the winter and is lowest in the summer and is also greater on Mondays and lower over the weekend. The hospitals included in this study admit an average of 32 patients having a heart attack on any given Monday. But on the Monday immediately after springing ahead there were on average an additional eight heart attacks. There was no difference in the total weekly number of percutaneous coronary interventions performed for either the fall or spring time changes compared to the weeks before and after the time change.
daylight  dst  daylight-savings  time  dates  calendar  science  health  heart-attacks  michigan  hospitals  statistics 
march 2014 by jm
Why Google Flu Trends Can't Track the Flu (Yet)
It's admittedly hard for outsiders to analyze Google Flu Trends, because the company doesn't make public the specific search terms it uses as raw data, or the particular algorithm it uses to convert the frequency of these terms into flu assessments. But the researchers did their best to infer the terms by using Google Correlate, a service that allows you to look at the rates of particular search terms over time. When the researchers did this for a variety of flu-related queries over the past few years, they found that a couple key searches (those for flu treatments, and those asking how to differentiate the flu from the cold) tracked more closely with Google Flu Trends' estimates than with actual flu rates, especially when Google overestimated the prevalence of the ailment. These particular searches, it seems, could be a huge part of the inaccuracy problem.

There's another good reason to suspect this might be the case. In 2011, as part of one of its regular search algorithm tweaks, Google began recommending related search terms for many queries (including listing a search for flu treatments after someone Googled many flu-related terms) and in 2012, the company began providing potential diagnoses in response to symptoms in searches (including listing both "flu" and "cold" after a search that included the phrase "sore throat," for instance, perhaps prompting a user to search for how to distinguish between the two). These tweaks, the researchers argue, likely artificially drove up the rates of the searches they identified as responsible for Google's overestimates.


via Boing Boing
google  flu  trends  feedback  side-effects  colds  health  google-flu-trends 
march 2014 by jm
Health privacy: formal complaint to ICO
'Light Blue Touchpaper' notes:
Three NGOs have lodged a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner about the fact that PA Consulting uploaded over a decade of UK hospital records to a US-based cloud service. This appears to have involved serious breaches of the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and of multiple NHS regulations about the security of personal health information.


Let's see if ICO can ever do anything useful.... not holding my breath
ico  privacy  data-protection  dpa  nhs  health  data  ross-anderson 
march 2014 by jm
Inside the Mind of an anti-fluoridationist
An exceptionally well-researched and thorough disassembly of 'Public Health Investigation of Epidemiological data on Disease and Mortality in Ireland related to Water Fluoridation and Fluoride Exposure' by Declan Waugh, which appears to be going around currently
declan-waugh  debunking  flouride  flouridation  science  mortality  health  ireland  water 
march 2014 by jm
Irish Law Society takes a stand for "brand owners IP rights"
The Law Society will attend a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee today to outline its strong opposition to the Government proposals to introduce legislation that will require tobacco products to use plain packaging. The society’s director general Ken Murphy will be its principal representative at the meeting today to discuss its submission on the legislation, and to discuss its concerns that a plain packaging regime will undermine registered trade mark, and design, systems and will amount to an “expropriation of brand owners intellectual property rights’.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Murphy told The Irish Times the views contained in it represent those of the Law Society as a whole, and its 10,000 members, and have been endorsed by the society as a whole, rather than the committee.

Mr Murphy also said the purpose of the Law Society submission was not to protect the tobacco industry, rather the wider effect and impact such a law would have on intellectual property rights, trade marks, in other areas.
“There is a real concern also that plain packaging in the tobacco industry is just the beginning of a trend that will severely undermine intellectual property owners’ rights in other sectors such as alcohol, soft drinks and fast foods.”


Judging by some reactions on Twitter, "endorsed by the society as a whole" may be over-egging it a little.
law-society  gubu  law  ireland  ip  packaging  branding  trademarks  cigarettes  health  tobacco 
february 2014 by jm
Growing up unvaccinated: A healthy lifestyle couldn’t prevent many childhood illnesses.
I understand, to a point, where the anti-vaccine parents are coming from. Back in the ’90s, when I was a concerned, 19-year-old mother, frightened by the world I was bringing my child into, I was studying homeopathy, herbalism, and aromatherapy; I believed in angels, witchcraft, clairvoyants, crop circles, aliens at Nazca, giant ginger mariners spreading their knowledge to the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Egyptians, and that I was somehow personally blessed by the Holy Spirit with healing abilities. I was having my aura read at a hefty price and filtering the fluoride out of my water. I was choosing to have past life regressions instead of taking antidepressants. I was taking my daily advice from tarot cards. I grew all my own veg and made my own herbal remedies. I was so freaking crunchy that I literally crumbled. It was only when I took control of those paranoid thoughts and fears about the world around me and became an objective critical thinker that I got well. It was when I stopped taking sugar pills for everything and started seeing medical professionals that I began to thrive physically and mentally.
health  medicine  science  vaccination  disease  slate 
january 2014 by jm
Jesse Willms, the Dark Lord of the Internet - Taylor Clark - The Atlantic
“It was an out-and-out hijacking,” LeFevre told me. “They counterfeited our product, they pirated our Web site, and they basically directed all of their customer service to us.” At the peak of Willms’s sales, LeFevre says, dazzlesmile was receiving 1,000 calls a day from customers trying to cancel orders for a product it didn’t even sell. When irate consumers made the name dazzlesmile synonymous with online scamming, LeFevre’s sales effectively dropped to zero. Dazzlesmile sued Willms in November 2009; he later paid a settlement.
scams  hijacking  ads  affiliate  one-wierd-trick  health  dieting  crime 
december 2013 by jm
Your Assignment for Today: Chew Gum
We have known about [the dental health benefits of xylitol in chewing gum] for a surprisingly long time. In the 1980s, a high-quality, randomized trial in Finland found that children who chewed xylitol-sweetened gum had as much as 60 percent fewer cavities compared with children who didn’t. A 1989-93 randomized study of children around age 10 in Belize showed an even greater benefit; chewing xylitol-sweetened gum decreased the risk of cavities by up to 70 percent, and a follow-up study showed that the benefit lasted for up to five years.
xylitol  via:eoin  health  dentist  teeth  chewing-gum  snacks  medicine 
november 2013 by jm
How much can an extra hour's sleep change you?
What they discovered is that when the volunteers cut back from seven-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours' sleep a night, genes that are associated with processes like inflammation, immune response and response to stress became more active. The team also saw increases in the activity of genes associated with diabetes and risk of cancer. The reverse happened when the volunteers added an hour of sleep.

sleep  health  rest  cancer  bbc  science 
october 2013 by jm
The Irish Times, terminations and Holles Street: The story that wasn’t there.
Summarising a very shoddy tale from our paper of record.
I don’t know what happened here. I don’t know whether there ever was a woman who met the description given by the Irish Times who suffered a medical crisis during pregnancy. I don’t know why a group of men in positions of authority in the Irish Times decided that, if there was such a woman, they had any right to tell the rest of the country about her experiences. I don’t know why, when they discovered that a mistake had been made in the one legal fact used to justify that decision they didn’t immediately apologise.

And I don’t know what happened between the 23rd August 2013 and 31st August 2013 to prompt them to print a shoulder shrugging ‘acceptance’ that the case ‘hadn’t happened’ and limit the paper’s apology to an institution, as opposed to its readers. But, from what I’ve seen this week, I do know one thing. Whatever questions readers might have, The Irish Times isn’t interested in giving them any answers.
irish-times  fail  shoddy  abortion  health  public-interest  journalism  pregnancy  corrections 
september 2013 by jm
How I decoded the human genome - Salon.com
classic long-read article from John Sundman: 'We are becoming the masters of our own DNA. But does that give us the right to decide that my children should never have been born?' part two at http://www.salon.com/2003/10/22/genome_two/
human  genome  genomics  eugenics  politics  life  john-sundman  disability  health  dna  medicine  salon  long-reads  children 
may 2013 by jm
Swansea measles outbreak: was an MMR scare in the local press to blame?
Sixteen years ago, journalists had a much easier job assembling "balanced" stories about MMR in south Wales. When I wrote about the measles outbreak last week, I suggested that it was related to Andrew Wakefield's discredited 1998 Lancet research, but the Swansea contagion seems more likely to be the result of a separate scare a year earlier in the South Wales Evening Post. Before 1997, uptake of MMR in the distribution area of the Post was 91%, and 87.2% in the rest of Wales. After the Post's campaign, uptake in the distribution area fell to 77.4% (it was 86.8% in the rest of Wales).
That's almost a 14% drop where the Post had influence, compared with less than 3% elsewhere. In the dry wording of the BMJ, "the [South West Evening Post] campaign is the most likely explanation". In other words, what we can see in Swansea is the local effect of local reporting‚ in all probability, just a taster of what happens when the news irresponsibly creates unfounded terror.

[...] The 1997 coverage focused on a group of families who blamed MMR for various ailments in their children, including learning difficulties, digestive problems and autism‚ none of which have been found to have any connection with the vaccine.
The Post's coverage was at the time deemed a success, and in 1998 it won a prize for investigative reporting in the BT Wales Press Awards. That year, the SWEP ran at least 39 stories related to the alleged dangers of MMR. And yes, it's true that the paper never directly endorsed non-vaccination. What it did do was publicise the idea of "vaccine damage" as a risk, one that parents would then likely weigh up against the risk of contracting measles, mumps or rubella.
And this went beyond the reporting of parental anxieties‚ it was part of the Post's editorial line. One article is entitled "Young bodies cannot take it". The all-important "journalistic balance" was constantly available, thanks to campaigning parents and their solicitor Richard Barr. (It was Barr who engaged Wakefield for a lawsuit, leading to the "fishing expedition" research that became the Lancet paper.) They were happy to provide a quote on the dangers of the "triple jab", which health authorities were then obliged to rebut politely.
The Post also seemed to downplay the risk of measles, reporting on 6 July 1998 that "not a single child has been hit by the illness‚ despite a 13% drop in take-up levels". It's not parents who should feel embarrassed by the Swansea measles outbreak: some may have acted from overt dread at the prospect of harming their child, and some simply from omission, but all were encouraged by a press that focused on non-existent risks and downplayed the genuine horror of the diseases MMR prevents. The shame belongs to journalists: those of the South West Evening Post who allowed themselves to be recruited in the service of a speculative lawsuit, and any who let a specious devotion to "balance" overrule a duty to tell the truth.
south-wales  wales  mmr  health  vaccination  scares  journalism  ethics  disease  measles  south-wales-evening-post 
april 2013 by jm
Vaccination 'herd immunity' demonstration
'Stochastic monte-carlo epidemic SIR model to reveal herd immunity'. Fantastic demo of this important medical concept (via Colin Whittaker)
via:colinwh  stochastic  herd-immunity  random  sir  epidemics  health  immunity  vaccination  measles  medicine  monte-carlo-simulations  simulations 
april 2013 by jm
Not the ‘best in the world’ - The Medical Independent
Debunking this prolife talking point:
'Our maternity services are amongst the best in the world’. This phrase has been much hackneyed since the heartbreaking death of Savita Halappanavar was revealed in mid October. James Reilly and other senior politicians are particularly guilty of citing this inaccurate position. So what is the state of Irish maternity services and how do our figures compare with other comparable countries? Let’s start with the statistics.


The bottom line:
Eight deaths per 100,000 is not bad, but it ranks our maternity services far from the best in world and below countries such as Slovakia and Poland.
pro-choice  ireland  savita  medicine  health  maternity  morbidity  statistics 
april 2013 by jm
Savita Halappanavar’s inquest: the three questions that must be answered | Dr. Jen Gunter
A professional OB/GYN analyses the horrors coming to light in the Savita inquest. Here's one particular gem:
Fetal survival with ruptured membranes at 17 weeks is 0%, this is from prospective study. [...but] “real and substantial risk” to the woman’s life is what is required by the Irish constitution to terminate a pregnancy, *whether or not the foetus is viable*.


So the foetus had 0% chance of survival -- but still termination was not considered an option. Bloody hell.
religion  ireland  savita  horrors  malpractice  galway  guh  hospitals  hse  health  inquest  abortion  pro-choice  pregnancy 
april 2013 by jm
It’s the Sugar, Folks
A study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal PLoS One links increased consumption of sugar with increased rates of diabetes by examining the data on sugar availability and the rate of diabetes in 175 countries over the past decade. And after accounting for many other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity. In other words, according to this study, obesity doesn’t cause diabetes: sugar does.

The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s. As Rob Lustig, one of the study’s authors and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said to me, “You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.”
nytimes  health  food  via:fanf  sugar  eating  diabetes  papers  medicine 
february 2013 by jm
Two surgeons debate the use of cycle helmets
'I am a neurosurgeon and a cyclist, and I am also married to a dedicated cyclist. I wear a cycling helmet and encourage cyclists to wear one. I don’t find that wearing one impedes me in any way. I am under no illusion that it will save me in the event of a high speed collision with a car or lorry (nothing will), but most cycling accidents aren’t of the high-speed variety.'

versus:

'I am a consultant Trauma orthopaedic surgeon working in Edinburgh and have many years of experience treating cyclists after serious road traffic, cycle sport and commuting cycle injuries. I believe there is no justification for helmet laws or promotional campaigns that portray cycling as a particularly ‘dangerous’ activity, or that make unfounded claims about the effectiveness of helmets. By reducing cycle use even slightly, helmet laws or promotion campaigns are likely to cause a significant net disbenefit to public health, regardless of the effectiveness or otherwise of helmets.'

Generally a lot of sense on either side.
helmets  cycling  bicycles  health  safety  surgeons  doctors 
february 2013 by jm
Black Hat: Insulin pumps can be hacked
"Everything has an embedded processor and computer in it," he said. "Every time you hide behind [security by] obscurity, it is going to fail."

Brad Smith, a researcher and Black Hat conference staffer who also is a registered nurse, said the medical field largely looks the other way when it comes to securing patient devices.

"I lecture at all the medical conferences," he said during the press conference. "They just hide it. Pay attention to what [Radcliffe] is saying. His life is in this pump." (via Risks Digest)
via:risks  insulin  pump  medicine  security  hacking  health  wireless 
september 2011 by jm
bump2babe - The Consumer Guide to Maternity Services in Ireland
wow, they've done a really good job on the statistics collation here
statistics  birth  childbirth  ireland  health  maternity 
june 2011 by jm
If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn't everyone in Asia have a headache?
good article on the history of MSG and the "umami" flavour from the Guardian (via Reddit)
via:reddit  food  health  cooking  science  umami  msg  from delicious
february 2011 by jm

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