ER Waits: Hospitals’ marketing claims of short waits for emergency room care aren’t backed up by any evidence, John Dorschner reports for the Miami Herald.
Chronic Fatigue: The editors of prestigious journal Science have retracted a controversial paper linking chronic fatigue syndrome to the XMRV virus; critics of the study believe contamination of samples was to blame for the results, which have not been replicated by other scientists, Ivan Oransky reports for Reuters.
Environmental Health: Tough new EPA rules on mercury emissions from oil- and coal-burning power plants are being Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Reporting on Health - The Reporting on Health Daily Briefing*
I came across an article the other day about paint and pregnancy. Yes, that paint — the kind that you put on a canvas or slap on your walls. Did you know that paint is made of pigment particles in a liquid base called a medium? Oil paints are thinned or cleaned with paint thinners. Latex paints are thinned or cleaned with water. Most paint that’s used in the home is latex.
Can environmental forces affected pregnancy? The short answer is “yes,” according to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), whose mission is to study malformations of the unborn.
Regarding paint and pregnancy, the amount of exposure is important. A one-time household exposure causes fewer problems than ongoing exposure through a work setting. And there have been medical studies documenting babies being born with problems if their mothers abused toluene-containing paint in order to “get high.” Toluene is a paint thinner that can cause low birth weight, premature labor, small head size, and developmental delays. Again, these problems only occur if pregnant women have been exposed to very high levels of toluene — much higher levels than exposure based on a hobby or a professional painter.
According to OTIS, working as a painter doesn’t pose concrete risks to the pregnancy. However, any reduction in chemical exposure is always a good thing. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*
The health consequences of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be really serious and may include cancer, respiratory diseases, and hormonal disruptions. These health effects and the ecological issues are shown on a new infographic. Click on the image for the full version:
*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*
In a development that may have you undergo your next medical procedure the old-fashioned way, two researchers from the University of California-San Francisco and the University of Oslo are reporting that inhaled anesthetics significantly contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer and add to the overall global warming gas content in the atmosphere.
Moreover, the study’s authors conclude with some valuable advice for your own practice: “From our calculations, avoiding N2O and unnecessarily high fresh gas flow rates can reduce the environmental impact of inhaled anesthetics.”
We’d like to venture even further. Not only would we recommend closed-circuit, low-flow anesthesia even with sevoflurane (damn those kidneys!), we’d also suggest that patients arrive by bicycle or, if absolutely necessary, a biodiesel-powered ambulance.
Press release: Study Shows Global Warming Impact of Anesthetics …
Abstract in Anesthesia & Analgesia: Global Warming Potential of Inhaled Anesthetics: Application to Clinical Use
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
While most of the news sources are reporting that cancers from the environment are ‘grossly underestimated’ in response to the recently released 240-page report from the President’s Cancer Panel, I want to focus on the steps individuals can take to lessen their personal exposure to environmental carcinogens. Collectively, these small actions can drastically reduce the number and levels of environmental contaminants. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*