Health & Spirit

Extra Credit

Health / Scott LaFee /

Researchers at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands wanted to better understand the pathology of Katayama syndrome, an illness caused by parasitic Schistosoma worms. So they, like scientists everywhere, turned to the most ubiquitous of guinea pigs: graduate students.

Two students agreed to become infected with male worm larvae ...Read more

Medicine Goes to the Dogs, Precisely

Health / Scott LaFee /

Precision or personalized medicine is the mantra these days. It's the idea that medical science can use tools like genetic sequencing to better understand your specific ailment and how best to treat it.

What's good for man is apparently good for his best friend, too. A new company in California's Silicon Valley is touting targeted therapies ...Read more

Nothing to Sneeze At

Health / Scott LaFee /

Millions of people think they have a food allergy, and millions of people actually do -- but maybe not so many as you (or they) think. Writing in the JAMA Network, researchers surveyed more than 40,000 adults about whether they thought they were allergic to particular foods and, if so, what kinds of symptoms they experienced.

They determined ...Read more

Illiteracy in the Old

Health / Scott LaFee /

Roughly 90 percent of Americans age 65 and older use prescription drugs, with an average 20 prescriptions filled annually. That means reading a lot of directions, from tiny paper packets found in boxed drugs to labels on bottles.

For many older Americans, it's a challenge -- perhaps dangerously so. According to a 2006 survey, roughly half of ...Read more

Poor Response Times

Health / Scott LaFee /

A national study comparing ambulance response times for cardiac arrest calls found that patients who live in low-income areas tend to wait almost four minutes longer for an ambulance to arrive compared to persons living in higher-income ZIP codes.

Childhood Asthma and Obesity

In a new study, researchers report that roughly one-quarter of new...Read more

They Forgot One Thing

Health / Scott LaFee /

Whether supplements marketed as memory aids actually work is a matter of debate (and minimal scientific scrutiny), but what seems indisputable is that supplements ought to contain what they say they contain.

Federal investigators tested three popular (but unidentified) supplements. One product branded as Ginkgo biloba didn't actually contain ...Read more

Too Much Attention?

Health / Scott LaFee /

The rate of diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, but to wildly varying degrees in different parts of the country. For example, nearly three times as many children in Kentucky are diagnosed with ADHD (1 in 5 children) than in Nevada. It's estimated more than 5 percent of all...Read more

Do You Know Dad's Wishes?

Health / Scott LaFee /

You've been entrusted with making difficult health care decisions for older loved ones. It's a great honor and a grave responsibility. So here's the first tough question: Do you actually know what the patient would want?

Chances are, the answer is no.

In a newly published study, researchers at Yale University interviewed 350 patients aged 55 ...Read more

With a Grain of Salt

Health / Scott LaFee /

Patients experiencing heart failure or other serious cardiovascular issues are often advised to cut down on salt intake. One 2017 study suggested consuming a lot of sodium doubles heart failure risk.

Or not. A new review by English scientists finds the evidence is pretty sketchy, with lots of gaps. Looking at nine different studies, the ...Read more

Vaccine Rates Get Shot in the Arm

Health / Scott LaFee /

Since 2015, when California legislators banned nonmedical vaccine exemptions, more and more kindergartners are getting all of their required vaccinations before beginning school. In 2017-2018, for example, 95 percent of students had all of their required shots.

But where there's action, there's reaction. Researchers report that the rate of ...Read more


Health / Scott LaFee /

The Food and Drug Administration is charged with defining what is and is not a specific food. Right now, for example, it's working through proposed guidelines for "nut milks," such as soy and cashew, which technically don't contain any milk at all.

But sometimes the FDA goes the other way. Currently, it's considering loosening its definition ...Read more

The Costs of Caregiving

Health / Scott LaFee /

A new national poll reveals what many already know: caregiving costs, in time, money and health. According to the poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 1 in 3 caregivers in the U.S. forgo personal medical needs to care for family and friends.

Four out of 5 caregivers spend their own money on caregiving-...Read more


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