March 3, 2010

Health-Related Costs

1 Food-Borne Illness Price Tag: $150 Billion

The annual cost in health-related costs of food-borne illnesses like norovirus, salmonella, and botulism has been estimated at $152 billion in the United States, according to a new consumer research report from the Produce Safety Project at Georgetown University. The report looked at 27 pathogens and estimated their costs in medical bills, as well as lost wages and productivity. This figure is four times an earlier estimate from the United States Department of Agriculture, but two-thirds of the new study's estimated costs are attributed to food illness-like symptoms that could not definitely be attributed to any specific cause or pathogen. Congress is considering new legislation to require better record-keeping by food producers.

More at Los Angeles Times | Posted 8 years ago by Mark

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Home Butchering

2 Bunny Burgers: Rabbit is the New Chicken

According the the New York Times, rabbit meat is gaining in popularity, and restaurants can't find enough of it. What's more, consumers are raising rabbits for meat at home, and are taking classes in rabbit slaughter and butchering. The Times is known for the occasional social trend story that turns out to be somewhat exaggerated, so we wouldn't bet the rabbit ranch on this. But it appears that at least some diners crave the furry fellows on their plate. Would-be ranchers can use rabbits as their "gateway animal" to get an idea of what they're getting themselves into. “They have the same muscle structure as a pig,” says a rabbit raising enthusiast. “For someone who hasn’t broken down a large animal, a rabbit is a great place to start.”

More at New York Times | Posted 8 years ago by Mark

Previously: Kangatarians in Australia

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Don't Fear Pregorexia

3 Prenatal Counseling Addresses Weight Dangers

Salon's Kim Brooks speaks with Alan Peaceman, medical director of the prenatal nutritional counseling program at Northwestern University about pregnancy weight gain. Obesity and excess weight gain during pregnancy puts babies at risk of future obesity, according to Peaceman, and puts the mother at risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and a cesarian section delivery. When asked about the risk of and "pregorexia," Peaceman noted that the major issue affecting pregnant women was the opposite, obesity and its health dangers. He stressed that the widespread attitude that "the rules are off" during pregnancy and that women can eat anything they want, needs to be changed.

More at Salon | Posted 8 years ago by Mark

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Puerto Rican Brands

4 FDA Warns on Bacteria in Hand Sanitizers

"Using hand sanitizers is akin to going into a forest and trying to make it healthier with weed spray"
- Dr. Brett Hill in the comments

Two brands of hand sanitizers sold in Puerto Rico contain a high level of the Burkholderia cepacia bacteria, which can enter cuts and abrasions and start infections that might ultimately need surgical attention. The products are Bee-Shield Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera and MD Quality Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera, both from Puerto Rico Beverage, Inc. of Maunabo, Puerto Rico. The FDA discovered manufacturing deficiencies in a recent inspection of the factory, but has not indicated that they have identified any injured consumers. How can bacteria survive in a hand sanitizer, and are these bacteria some sort of super-bacteria created by overuse of sanitizers? Good questions, which the FDA did not address in their press release.

More at Food and Drug Administration | Posted 8 years ago by Mark

Tags: FDA, Food and Drug Administration

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Consider Potential Risks

5 Men Should Think More Before Prostate Screen

New guidelines from the American Cancer Society say that men should consider the potential harm of cancer treatment before they get screened for prostate cancer. The screening test, which looks for prostate specific antigen, can lead to a lot of false positives and false negatives, which may have people getting treated who don't need it or give false assurance to people who have cancer. The society says the potential harms of the test are better proven than the positives, and that men over the age of 50 who have no specific risk factors for prostate cancer should weigh the pros and cons with their doctors before having the test. Prostate cancer is the second-biggest cancer killer of men, killing about 27,000 in 2009.

More at CNN | Posted 8 years ago by Sarah E. White

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Fires Up Brain Cells

6 Continued Learning Prevents Elderly Memory Loss

Neurobiologists at the UC, Irvine, using a new visualization technique to study memory, have provided evidence that learning provides mental stimulation to keep the brain healthy and help ward off some effects of aging associated with memory. Lulu Chen and Christine Gall, research team leaders, found that learning stimulates neuron receptors in the brain. According to Chen, "The findings confirm a critical relationship between learning and brain growth and point to ways we can amplify that relationship through possible future treatments.” The researchers emphasized the importance of staying intellectually stimulated as we age in order to limit cognitive decline and memory loss. The study appears in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More at ScienceDaily | Posted 8 years ago by Melody Lesser

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Sleep Affects Obesity

7 Are Your Sleep Patterns Making Your Organs Fat?

Extremes in sleep patterns could cause fat deposition around internal organs, says a new study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Internal fat is more dangerous than visible fat say the researchers who recommend getting between five and eight hours of sleep per night. "We definitely know that a relationship exists between sleep and obesity. Now we need to know how this relationship can be modified," said the study’s lead author, Kristen G. Hairston, M.D., M.P.H. The study showed that young minority women, a group plagued by obesity and metabolic disease, has the most extreme sleep habits. Hairston recommends that physicians gather information about patients’ sleep habits in order to ascertain all the factors that might affect overall health.

More at EurekAlert.org | Posted 8 years ago by Melody Lesser

Read the Comments (1) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (54%) / No! (46%)

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