Sunday, 24 June 2012

Medicine stuff from the wek 18-24/6/12

A girl has received a vein transplant, made using a stripped-down donation and her own stem cells! Because it was made of her own cells, she required no immuno-suppressant drugs.

'Traffic noise exposure associated with higher risk of heart attack'
There is a 12% higher risk of heart attack for every 10 decibels of noise experienced, according to strong research from Denmark.

'Infection spread: will breathing kill you?'
Due to the confined space inside cars, the chances of influenza contraction when sharing a car with someone who already has it, can be... wait for it... up to 99.9%!
"...the risk of transmitting influenza over a 90-minute car trip with someone ill could be higher than travelling on a Boeing 747 for 17 hours with an infected person."
"The study, which compared 1989 and 2005 models of passenger cars, estimated the risk ranged from 59 per cent to 99.9 per cent for a 90-minute car trip when air was recirculated in newer, more air-tight vehicles."

'Study sheds light on prevention of heat stroke for outdoor workers'
The study found that workers could achieve a 92% recovery in ~30 minutes, with the actual time contingent on the individual's fluid intake, alcohol intake, age, work duration, local air pollution, body fat percentage, smoking habit, local humidity, respiratory exchange rate, resting heart rate, and energy consumption.

'Creating a stink about traffic pollution'
Adding a smelly componeny to fossil fuels would empower people to avoid fossil waste gas pollution, and would motivate them to do something about it.
"While the petrol and automotive industries are likely to argue that money would be better spent improving fuel and vehicle technology to reduce traffic pollution, the reality is that a completely clean vehicle fleet is 20 to 40 years away."

'New study explains how stress can boost immune system'
Although long-term stress is undoubtedly bad for your health, a brief episode of stress stimulates the immune system, which probably explains the health benefits of a morning swim.
When prolonged, the immune system basically burns out, amongst other things, having negative consequences for your overall health.

'Warning to parents over magnet danger to children'
Swallowing one magnet's okay; but two magnets can stick together, trapping flesh, and causing the development of fistulas.

'Study links loneliness in older individuals to functional decline, death'
We are social animals, having evolved to be so, so no wonder people's health is affected when socialising is not part of our lives.
Socialising has been noted, in the past, as an effective treatment for depression, which has been linked to all-cause mortality.

And on the subject of the impact of mental health troubles:
'People with mood disorders are more likely to be re-hospitalized'

'Acute severe pain is common in sexual assault survivors in the early post-assault period, but rarely treated'
"Fifty three percent of women sexual assault survivors reported pain in four or more body regions at the time of initial evaluation and 59 percent reported pain in four or more body regions one week later."
“Rather, like psychological symptoms, pain symptoms after sexual assault may be a neurobiological consequence of the stress experience itself.”

For those of you who struggle with depression and/or traumatic memories - don't worry - there's evidence that ti's posible to recover from the emotional associations with those memories.

'Alcohol may be involved in up to 640,000 hospital admissions in England and Wales every year'
Point 1: The study took place in one emergency care department, and they extrapolated the figures to across the country
Point 2: 11% of 14% is 1.5% of accidents that might or might not have been related to alcohol.
My epidemiology senses are tingling!
It seems quite reasonable that brain poisoning by alcohol would increase the chances of an accident, at higher quantities, but this study's, well... a bit crap!
"1.5% at an individual emergency centre" is not as catchy as "640,000 admissions across the country".
Newspapers are notorious for manipulated stats, by choosing proportions (%) or natural frequencies (absolute numbers) - natural frequencies tend to have a lot more impact than NFs.
In one case, Newspapers were fed a story that a contraceptive device didn't work, because it 'caused' 600 pregnancies per year. Across a population of 67,000,000! The natural frequency was actually tiny, and a lot lower than the alternative product the company had sold the paper to advertise!

Declining testosterone in men is not always an inevitable part of ageing. For most, it is behavioural changes that cause testosterone to wane.
But for those who do suffer from low testosterone, supplementation does help.

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