MONDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) — The pandemic H1N1 flu in 2009 may have killed more than 500,000 people around the world, 15 times more than reported, a new study suggests.
During the pandemic, 18,500 laboratory-confirmed deaths were reported to the World Health Organization from April 2009 through August 2010, but as many as 575,400 may have actually died, an international group of scientists now says.
“This is a better approximation of the number of deaths that occurred,” said researcher Dr. Marc-Alain Widdowson from the influenza division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This study also confirms that the majority of deaths were in the under-65s, which is very different than seasonal influenza, where the vast majority of deaths are in the over 65s,” he added.
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All you really good mommies, listen up! That antibacterial soap and preservatives in many personal hygiene products may be causing more harm than good for your very young offspring. Using products with these ingredients may be linked to more allergies for your kids.
Researchers say that the antibacterial agents and preservatives do not, themselves, cause the allergies. Studies conducted by researchers at John Hopkins released a study that stated that the use of antibacterial soaps and products may play a role in immune system development. In turn, this can cause children developing allergies.
“We saw a link between level of exposure, measured by the amount of antimicrobial agents in the urine, and allergy risk, indicated by circulating antibodies to specific allergens,” said lead investigator Jessica Savage, M.D., M.H.S., an allergy and immunology fellow at Hopkins.
The study involved children 6 to 18. Their urine was tested for levels of triclosan, found in antibacterial soap, and parabens that a found in common personal hygiene products. Then, the levels of these ingredients were compared to levels of antibodies found in persons with environmental allergies.
“In the study, those with the highest urine levels of triclosan — an antibacterial agent used in soaps, mouthwash and toothpaste — had the highest levels of food IgE antibodies, and therefore the highest allergy risk, compared with children with the lowest triclosan levels. Children with the highest urinary levels of parabens — preservatives with antimicrobial properties used in cosmetics, food and medications — were more likely to have detectable levels of IgE antibodies to environmental allergens like pollen and pet dander, compared with those with low paraben levels.”
So, germaphobia is not the best thing for your kid’s immune system. Good old fashioned hand washing is fine and exposure to Mother Nature’s dirt may be the best. Yes, it’s OK for kids to be a little dirty and lick their pets.
But, I still don’t believe in the “three second rule.”
No headache today! Either the acupuncture helped (liver meridians), or my system’s finally getting used to the meds. Never so great a day as one where pain’s gone away.
Lovely. I was driving down I-95 the other day, and there was a diesel truck spewing such dense, thick smoke from both smokestacks that it looked like fog settled across the eight-lane highway in its wake. I said to my friend, “Wouldn’t you think someone would, oh, I don’t know, enforce the law? How the hell did that truck ever pass inspection?” (He told me not to ask such silly questions.) Now it’s more important than ever to enforce the air pollution laws, in light of this news:
LONDON (AP) — Diesel fumes cause cancer, the World Health Organization’s cancer agency declared Tuesday, a ruling it said could make exhaust as important a public health threat as secondhand smoke.
The risk of getting cancer from diesel fumes is small, but since so many people breathe in the fumes in some way, the science panel said raising the status of diesel exhaust to carcinogen from “probable carcinogen” was an important shift.
“It’s on the same order of magnitude as passive smoking,” said Kurt Straif, director of the IARC department that evaluates cancer risks. “This could be another big push for countries to clean up exhaust from diesel engines.”
Since so many people are exposed to exhaust, Straif said there could be many cases of lung cancer connected to the contaminant. He said the fumes affected groups including pedestrians on the street, ship passengers and crew, railroad workers, truck drivers, mechanics, miners and people operating heavy machinery.
Hah! So much for my friends who make fun of me for walking on a treadmill at the gym, instead of outside. Did you know that urban runners take in even more pollution, because they have larger lung capacity?
The new classification followed a weeklong discussion in Lyon, France, by an expert panel organized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The panel’s decision stands as the ruling for the IARC, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization.
The last time the agency considered the status of diesel exhaust was in 1989, when it was labeled a “probable” carcinogen. Reclassifying diesel exhaust as carcinogenic puts it into the same category as other known hazards such as asbestos, alcohol and ultraviolet radiation.
The U.S. government, however, still classifies diesel exhaust as a likely carcinogen. Experts said new diesel engines spew out fewer fumes but further studies are needed to assess any potential dangers.
“We don’t have enough evidence to say these new engines are zero risk, but they are certainly lower risk than before,” said Vincent Cogliano of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He added that the agency had not received any requests to reevaluate whether diesel definitely causes cancer but said their assessments tend to be in line with those made by IARC.
News from the world of science with some pretty grim implications for the global economy as it currently exists: men — rational, level-headed, decisionmaking men — aren’t actually very well equipped to handle important financial decisions at all; it’s like they’re getting the male equivalent of their periods, but all the time. In fact, men are so beholden to their volatile hormones that their prominence in the world of finance may actually doom the whole system to inevitable, testosterone-fueled collapse.
A new book postulates that the nature of financial markets combined with the physiological effects of testosterone make for a veritable clusterfuck of overreaction, which ends up exaggerating both good and bad news and artificially prolonging both booms and busts. This conclusion is based on research that analyzed traders’ spit during several market sessions which found that men working in the high-risk, high-reward setting of the world of finance experience hormone fluctuations that could seriously interfere with their ability to make good decisions. Per Bloomberg,
This simple fact should have big implications for how we think about markets. Market participants aren’t the rational automatons of most financial theory. They are biological organisms responding with a neural and physiological apparatus designed millions of years ago. If what happens in markets affects hormones, these in turn alter behavior and feed back into the markets.
In other words, The Invisible Hand exists, but it can’t come to the phone right now because it’s on some powerful pain killers after it got mad and smashed through a plate glass window and needed like 50 stitches. And actually, it might be more accurate to refer to The Invisible Hand as The Invisible Testicles.
I’d say this probably applies to politics, too.
Is there anything quite like not having a migraine anymore? It’s hard to explain to non-sufferers just how weird you feel after the acute attack; after all, your brain was just performing some pretty strange tricks:
The effects of migraine may persist for some days after the main headache has ended. Many sufferers report a sore feeling in the area where the migraine was, and some report impaired thinking for a few days after the headache has passed. The patient may feel tired or “hungover” and have head pain, cognitive difficulties, gastrointestinal symptoms, mood changes, and weakness. According to one summary, “Some people feel unusually refreshed or euphoric after an attack, whereas others note depression and malaise.”
Usually (not always) I can minimize the worst symptoms if I stop trying to read (since, you know, you have a pulsating blind spot in your field of vision). But I was trying to look up how to use apple cider vinegar as a remedy, and it just made things worse. Plus, I still had work to do.
My migraines are frequently (but not always) stress related. Yes, I had another job interview yesterday. The immediate trigger, however, seems to be light — usually directed into my weak right eye from its peripheral vision. Certain kinds of patterns – for instance, I once got a migraine while sitting in an office from the way the light reflected off the venetian blinds.
They happen so infrequently (once or twice a year) that I forget about them — until they strike again, and I’m reminded that I’m at the mercy of my own physical wiring. It’s also a reminder of my own mortality:
Women who experience auras have been found to have twice the risk of strokes and heart attacks over nonaura migraine sufferers and women who do not have migraines. (Note: Women who experience auras and also take oral contraceptives have an even higher risk of stroke). Migraine sufferers seem to be at risk for both thrombotic and hemorrhagic stroke as well as transient ischemic attacks. Death from cardiovascular causes was higher in people with migraine with aura in a Women’s Health Initiative study, but more research is needed to confirm this.
This was the second in two weeks, so hopefully I’m done for a while.
A former Coke executive working on the side of healthy food:
The logic behind these moves has been repeated so often it is practically a mantra: The nation is in the throes of an obesity crisis and sodas account for an outsize share of the sugar pouring into American bellies.
Putman, 51, shares that view. But he is also driven by another motive: From 1997 to mid-2000, he was a top marketing executive at Coca-Cola.
“It took me 10 years to figure out that I have a large karmic debt to pay for the number of Cokes I sold across this country,” he said.
On Thursday, he came to settle it.
He wanted to give an inside account of what he contends has been a drive by Coca-Cola to replace not just its direct competitors but all beverages in the American diet — a campaign for what the company called “share of stomach.” He wanted to warn about the industry’s particular focus on young people and minorities.
But mostly he wanted to level the playing field.
“I’m not against soft drinks per se,” he began carefully. “What I am for is balance of power. And I think the power has shifted in the wrong direction. The resources, the scale, the intelligence, the strategy these companies use is intense.
“We need to take all that thinking . . . all that strategy and convert it — jujitsu it — to healthy products.”
Honestly, I don’t see why they can’t outlaw the sale of sodas to kids under 18. When my ex and I owned a neighborhood ice cream store, kids would come by on their way to school and buy big sodas – and a bag of barbecue potato chips. Nobody’s kids should eat like that.