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BUSINESS
September 8, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
If you worry about picking up a funky bacteria on your next airplane trip, fear not: the GermFalcon is on the way. GermFalcon, an idea that was unveiled last month at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Los Angeles, looks like an airplane snack cart with retractable arms that stretch out over the airplane seats. Built into the arms are ultraviolet lights, which the GermFalcon shines on the plane's seats while it rolls down the aisle. The UVC light is designed to kill 99.9% of all surface germs.
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BUSINESS
September 8, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
If you worry about picking up a funky bacteria on your next airplane trip, fear not: the GermFalcon is on the way. GermFalcon, an idea that was unveiled last month at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Los Angeles, looks like an airplane snack cart with retractable arms that stretch out over the airplane seats. Built into the arms are ultraviolet lights, which the GermFalcon shines on the plane's seats while it rolls down the aisle. The UVC light is designed to kill 99.9% of all surface germs.
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NEWS
November 29, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Germs that reside on doctors' lab coats, nurses' uniforms and hospital bed curtains are known to contribute to an unacceptably high rate of hospital-acquired infections. And that's just for starters. It turns out that papers passed around hospital offices, labs and patient rooms are potent transmitters of germs too. The fact that paper can carry bacteria is not a surprise. Other studies have demonstrated how filthy paper money is. The new study , however, makes clear that hospitals need to treat paper-transmitted bacteria seriously because the germs transfer from hand to paper so easily.
SCIENCE
June 20, 2013 | By Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times
Thousands of years before the discovery of microbes or the invention of antibiotics, silver was used to protect wounds from infection and to preserve food and water. The alluring metal - which was fashioned into a multitude of curative coins, sutures, foils, cups and solutions - all but vanished from medical use once physicians began using anti-bacterial drug agents to fight sickness in the 1940s. But now, as bacteria grow increasingly resistant to these medications and new pathogens invade hospitals, some doctors are turning once again to the lustrous element that Hippocrates prescribed for patients in ancient Greece.
HEALTH
November 15, 2010 | Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon, The People's Pharmacy
One of my co-workers always asks for a slice of lemon in his water. I shudder every time I see that piece of lemon floating in his glass, but I don't have the nerve to tell him it's probably loaded with germs. Am I mistaken? You are correct. Microbiologist Anne LaGrange Loving was served a Diet Coke with a slice of lemon she had not requested. She decided to check whether the lemon was likely to be contaminated. She and her co-author surreptitiously swabbed 76 lemon slices served at 21 different restaurants, then cultured the results.
HEALTH
September 14, 2009 | Shari Roan
Wash your hands early and often. That's standard advice for preventing the flu. But that's not always practical. If hand-washing isn't possible, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests using alcohol-based hand rubs. Studies show that products with sufficient alcohol content are effective at reducing the number of viral and bacterial germs on the hands. These products are also quick and convenient. Note that only hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol are effective.
NEWS
March 31, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Hands-free electronic faucets can save a lot of water -- and because you don't have to touch them with your grubby fingers to turn them on, have widely been assumed to help fight the spread of germs, too.   But a team at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore has discovered that at their facility, electronic faucets were more likely to be contaminated with Legionella bacteria than the old-fashioned manual type.   So much more likely that the hospital actually ripped out the new-fangled plumbing in patient care areas, and elected to purchase traditional fixtures for new clinical buildings that are set to open in 2012.
NEWS
May 31, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Cellphones are everywhere. Perhaps one place they shouldn't be is at hospital bedsides. According to a new study, cellphones used by patients and visitors are twice as likely to contain potentially dangerous bacteria compared with the mobile phones used by healthcare workers. Previous studies have focused on the threat of germs on the phones of healthcare workers but not others who visit hospitals. The authors of the study, conducted in Turkey, took swabs from 200 cellphones. About one-third of the phones belonged to healthcare workers and the rest belonged to patients and visitors.
TRAVEL
March 7, 2004 | Kathleen Doheny, Healthy Traveler
Some people have a healthy fear of germs, and then there are the neurotics for whom every doorknob, airplane pillow and hotel towel poses a health hazard. Here's a reality check on some common concerns: ?  Restroom doorknobs: Some travelers are adamant about not touching a restroom door or doorknob when they leave, anxious that others have not washed their hands. That's not as neurotic as some might think, says Dr. Peter Galier, chief of staff at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.
NEWS
February 23, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Children raised on farms don't suffer from asthma as much as their city- and suburb-dwelling counterparts, according to a paper published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. But it's not necessarily because of the fresh air, full sun and hard work, researchers say -- it's because of the germs. Scientists had known that many of the things associated with farm life -- unpasteurized milk, exposure to animals such as cows and pigs, and hay -- helped kids grow up with stronger constitutions, perhaps because they were being exposed to harmless, even beneficial, bacteria along the way. To test this hypothesis, the researchers analyzed samples of house dust to look at the microbes within.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 6, 2013 | By Evelyn McDonnell
"What we do is secret. " That motto is scrawled more than once in the fanzines assembled in "The Riot Grrrl Collection," this first-ever collection of writings and artwork from Riot Grrrl, the early '90s punk-based feminist movement whose critique of boy-centrism in music and art circles was co-opted by the Spice Girls, then resurrected by Pussy Riot. "What we do is secret" captures the clever agitprop style that turned purposely crude underground publications into coveted fetish objects of mass-media hype.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 22, 2013 | Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times
Nathanael Johnson was born without a doctor and later toddled around his Northern California yard without diapers, free to ingest whatever germy creatures he got his hands on, but no sugar allowed. With parents like his, it's little wonder he grew up wondering about the miracles of modern science. What's really welcome about his deeply reported book, "All Natural," is that his upbringing makes the investigation of nature versus technology fun as well as thought-provoking. He questions mainstream wisdom, "expert" advice and the all-natural solutions for childbirth, germs, raw milk, sugar, factory farming of animals and more.
NATIONAL
October 22, 2012 | By David Willman
WASHINGTON - For two years, the nationwide BioWatch system, intended to protect Americans against a biological attack, operated with defective components that left it unable to detect lethal germs, according to scientists with direct knowledge of the matter. The federal official who oversaw installation of the components was quietly shifted to a position with no responsibility for BioWatch, and the entire episode was kept out of public view. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees BioWatch, opened an internal investigation, whose status remains confidential.
NEWS
August 13, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Presumably, when people buy antibacterial soap, the idea is to kill bad germs and promote health. But over the years, scientists and public health advocates have worried that triclosan -- a common chemical in antibacterial soap -- may actually do more harm than good. The latest warnings come from a team of researchers who ran a series of tests that showed that triclosan hindered muscle performance in isolated cells and in animals. Writing Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UC Davis toxicologist Isaac Pessah and colleagues reported that exposure to the chemical in doses similar to what a person or animal might encounter in everyday life, impaired isolated muscle cells' ability to contract; decreased heart function and grip strength in mice; and slowed swimming activity in fathead minnows.
NEWS
November 29, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Germs that reside on doctors' lab coats, nurses' uniforms and hospital bed curtains are known to contribute to an unacceptably high rate of hospital-acquired infections. And that's just for starters. It turns out that papers passed around hospital offices, labs and patient rooms are potent transmitters of germs too. The fact that paper can carry bacteria is not a surprise. Other studies have demonstrated how filthy paper money is. The new study , however, makes clear that hospitals need to treat paper-transmitted bacteria seriously because the germs transfer from hand to paper so easily.
WORLD
September 27, 2011 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
In South Africa, they call him "Dr. Death. " Wouter Basson, who ran the apartheid government's secret germ and chemical warfare program, Project Coast, once was accused of trying to create poisons that were lethal only to blacks. He was acquitted by a judge in 2002 of charges that included murder and drug possession. But more than 20 years after he ran Project Coast, Basson's quiet life as a cardiologist in Cape Town is being threatened. He is facing an inquiry by the Health Professions Council of South Africa for unethical conduct.
NATIONAL
October 22, 2012 | By David Willman
WASHINGTON - For two years, the nationwide BioWatch system, intended to protect Americans against a biological attack, operated with defective components that left it unable to detect lethal germs, according to scientists with direct knowledge of the matter. The federal official who oversaw installation of the components was quietly shifted to a position with no responsibility for BioWatch, and the entire episode was kept out of public view. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees BioWatch, opened an internal investigation, whose status remains confidential.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2008
First, a really bad Germs bio-pic, followed by three 50-year-olds and a TV actor impersonating the dead lead singer playing live as the band ["With Shane West, 'New' Germs Spreading," Dec. 27]. It sounds a lot more like "Punk'd" than punk to me. The "new" Germs are the complete antithesis of what was exhilarating and exciting about punk, circa 1977. Nicole Panter Twentynine Palms Panter managed the Germs from 1977-80.
HEALTH
August 1, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
No doubt, summer has its dangers for kids: its Code Red air-quality days, its risk of sunburn, heatstroke, drowning and food poisoning, its poison ivy and whatnot. As conscientious parents reapply sunscreen to their young ones for the 4,000th time, they might well savor the prospect of a return to the safe, secure routines of school. They do so at their children's peril. Schools are a minefield of health hazards — arguably one of the most dangerous possible places for children to be. Spending their days there may not kill our children outright, but a number of recent trends, on top of some long-standing truths about packing children together tightly, makes schools a contributor to the health problems of many children.
NEWS
May 31, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Cellphones are everywhere. Perhaps one place they shouldn't be is at hospital bedsides. According to a new study, cellphones used by patients and visitors are twice as likely to contain potentially dangerous bacteria compared with the mobile phones used by healthcare workers. Previous studies have focused on the threat of germs on the phones of healthcare workers but not others who visit hospitals. The authors of the study, conducted in Turkey, took swabs from 200 cellphones. About one-third of the phones belonged to healthcare workers and the rest belonged to patients and visitors.
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