July 23, 2010 |
People who live in excessively smoggy areas tend to have higher rates of heart disease, according to several studies. New research shows just how certain components of smog destroy cells in the heart. In research presented Wednesday, scientists exposed rats to ozone — a major component of smog when it forms near the ground from hydrocarbons — for various periods of time. The found that, compared to unexposed rats, the hearts of the rats exposed to ozone had increased levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which is a marker for inflammation.
July 20, 2010 |
Patients have a legal right to obtain copies of their medical records. [ FOR THE RECORD : 12:25 p.m: An earlier version of this post said patient records belong to the patient. Under most state laws, they belong to a doctor or healthcare group. However, patients have a legal right to obtain copies of their records.] Patient records, however, are meant to help the doctor or other health professional organization obtain information and treat the patient safely and effectively. So what would happen if patients had much easier access to the doctors' notes?
July 19, 2010 |
One of the early fears about in vitro fertilization at its inception more than 30 years ago was that the procedure might cause genetic or other health problems in children conceived in that manner. It's clear that IVF is very safe. However, several studies suggest a slightly higher risk of birth defects and some types of illness among children born via IFV that parents should be aware of. The latest study indicates cancer may occur more often. Previous studies looking for a link between cancer and IVF have found nothing.
July 14, 2010 |
Community-based interventions to halt childhood obesity are gaining popularity as schools, local governments, parents and health clubs work together to help kids slim down and eat more healthfully. First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign helped push the issue to the forefront. But some interventions may be working better than others, according to a study presented this week at the International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm, Sweden. Researchers looked at the success of three three-year community intervention programs, each targeting a different age group of more than 1,000 children -- kids younger than 5, primary-school age children and teens.
October 12, 2008 |
BOOSTER SHOTS Everybody is worried about the rising cost of prescription drugs, but conventional wisdom suggests older people worry more. Not so, says a new survey by Medco, a pharmacy benefit manager. According to the new national survey "Feeling the Health Care Pinch," nearly 70% of people ages 25 to 34 say the economic downturn of the last 12 months has made it somewhat or significantly more difficult to pay for healthcare. Among people older than 55, less than half said that.
June 23, 2010 |
Among the myriad topics we tackle here at Booster Shots, none seem to invoke more outrage than the so-called soda tax. Now Sheena Iyengar, a social psychology professor at Columbia Business School, tells us why: People simply hate being told what not to do. Soda tax Psychologists have a name for this -- reactance. The power of this emotion was captured in a 1976 study comparing the efficacy of two signs meant to curb vandalism in a public restroom. One politely asked users to refrain from writing on the stalls.
July 28, 2010
Apps, you may have heard, are hot hot hot, and health ones are proliferating like bunnies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sees this trend as a good way to lure in children to the habit of healthy living, and with that in mind they sponsored an apps-for-kids competition. ( It's part of First Lady Michele Obama's Let's Move! Campaign. ) Since March, when the contest began, the agency has received 95 entries. The Apps for Healthy Kids contest has reached the judging stage, and the public is invited to vote for the two Popular Choice Awards.
July 27, 2010
It's pretty clear that eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking and not drinking to excess are factors linked to longevity. Perhaps the most ignored but potentially powerful strategy, however, is being a social butterfly. In a study published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine, researchers found that having social connections -- including family, friends and colleagues -- improved the odds of survival by 50%. They authors of the study described the impact of having a dearth of social contacts as comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day in terms of its effect on longevity.
July 22, 2010 |
Irritable bowel syndrome has been a tough disorder to understand. Studies have failed to show any structural problems in the gut that would account for the symptoms of pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. However, the disorder is real, affecting as many as 15% of Americans. A new study has found a possible connection between IBS and the brain. Researchers at McGill University and UCLA used MRI scans to reveal changes in the brains of women with the disorder. The researchers took MRI scans of 55 IBS patients and 48 healthy women for comparison.
July 20, 2010
Health screenings — they might be tedious, expensive, and time-consuming, but they also can be worth it, even if you're a healthy young adult. Take the case of cholesterol screening. Even though today approximately two-thirds of young adults have one or more risk factors for coronary heart disease, less than 50% of them are screened for high cholesterol, according to a study published in the July-August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine . Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is a buildup of calcium, plaque and fatty material in the arteries that restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and can lead to a heart attack.