CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 27, 2013 |
MARTINEZ, Calif. - It would be hard to equal John Muir's love for the giant sequoia, a majestic California native that can live 3,000 years and soar 250 feet high. "The King tree & me have sworn eternal love," he wrote to a friend in the fall of 1870, "sworn it without swearing and Ive taken the sacrament with Douglass Squirrels drank Sequoia wine, Sequoia blood, & with its rosy purple drips I am writing this woody gospel letter. " A decade or so later, the besotted conservationist returned from a Sierra Nevada jaunt with a seedling wrapped in a damp handkerchief.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 22, 2013 |
California's community health centers -- a key resource for people without medical insurance -- vary widely in their ability to control their patients' chronic diseases, including diabetes and high blood pressure, according to federal data. Clinic directors and observers say the variation is due in part to how much time the centers have invested in quality improvement and whether they use electronic medical records to measure patient progress. The federal government has been tracking quality indicators on the centers since 2008.
July 19, 2013 |
This year marks the 50th anniversary of routine newborn screening in the United States. Since 1963, tens of millions of babies have had blood drawn from their heels to be tested for rare diseases. The program has unquestionably prevented tragedies. Screening for phenylketonuria, for example, has meant that newborns affected by the condition can be placed on a special diet in the first days of life, thereby preventing mental retardation. Screening for sickle cell disease, congenital hypothyroidism and some other rare conditions has saved lives as well.
July 17, 2013 |
The “senior moments” of unreliable memory may be a scientifically valid way to predict Alzheimer's disease, after all. Alzheimer's disease experts gathered at an international conference in Boston this week have a fancy name for that sense that your noggin' is just not ticking like the old days - subjective cognitive impairment. Studies in the last few years have been trying to bridge a divide between the anecdotal evidence of memory decline and objective, measureable signs, such as atrophy of certain brain regions evident through imaging devices, genetic anomalies on a cellular level, and other clinical tests.
July 12, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- Taking a definitive stance on a topic that remains extremely sensitive in the Arab world, the Lebanese Psychiatric Society declared this week that homosexuality is not a mental illness and does not merit “reparative therapy.” “Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities,” the society said in a statement. “The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.” The society called on health professionals in Lebanon to “rely solely on science whenever they express opinion or provide treatment.” The statement issued Thursday is in line with mental health practice in most Western nations.
July 11, 2013 |
Italian researchers have used a defanged version of HIV to replace faulty genes - and eliminate devastating symptoms - in children suffering two rare and fatal genetic diseases. Improved gene therapy techniques prevented the onset of metachromatic leukodystrophy in three young children and halted the progression of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome in three others. The advance represents a major stride for a field that has struggled to translate experimental successes in lab animals into safe and effective treatments for people, experts said.
June 26, 2013 |
Experts expect that 400,000 or more U.S. veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will suffer from PTSD at some point. A new study suggests that they'll have more to worry about than a debilitating psychiatric condition - they could also be at much greater risk for heart disease, the nation's leading cause of death. In research published online Tuesday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists studying a group of male twins who served in the military during the Vietnam era - 1964 to 1975 - found that a diagnosis of PTSD more than doubled the likelihood that they would go on to develop heart disease.
June 22, 2013 |
Leprosy has plagued humans for thousands of years, but a new genetic analysis of the pathogen that causes the disfiguring disease has come to the surprising conclusion that its DNA is essentially unchanged since medieval times. The discovery, published this month in the journal Science, suggests that the disease's retreat in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries was probably the result of human adaptation to the bacterium that causes leprosy rather than due to any change in its DNA. Few diseases have ravaged mankind the way leprosy has. It tortured ancient Chinese, Indian and Egyptian civilizations, and descriptions of it have been found on Egyptian papyrus documents that date to about 1550 B.C., according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 21, 2013 |
Wade Gong's sister was 28 when she first felt a deep pain near the side of her stomach. Then she noticed the lump. The Chinese immigrant was uninsured, so she didn't go to the hospital right away. When she finally did, it was too late. She was in the late stages of liver cancer caused by hepatitis B, a silent virus that had been assaulting her liver since she was born. An Amherst graduate and math whiz who lived with her brother and parents in Rosemead, she died six months after being diagnosed.
June 19, 2013 |
Does it really matter if the medical establishment calls obesity a “disease” instead of a chronic health condition or a disorder? It's a question doctors and public health experts are considering in the wake of Tuesday's vote by members of the American Medical Assn. to upgrade obesity to “disease” status . They believe that the answer is yes. “This will make a difference” in the treatment that obese patients get, said Dr. Rexford Ahima of University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.