Bean sprouts are likely to blame for the E. coli outbreak in Germany that has so far killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,200, though that won't be confirmed until lab tests are completed later today, the Associated Press reports.
How worried should you be about the "super-toxic" strain of bacteria? Not much -- at least from the German sprouts. The US Food and Drug Administration said that our country hasn't imported any sprouts from Germany since at least last October. And in a press release issued Friday the agency said it "believes that this outbreak has not affected the U.S. food supply."FULL ENTRY
Doctors said the finding that exemestane, a Pfizer drug, could prevent breast cancer will provide a new option for women who have mostly shied away from taking other drugs aimed at preventing breast cancer because of rare, but serious side effects. Today, only a tiny fraction of the women who could potentially benefit from such medications take advantage of them, and researchers said increased adoption of risk-reducing drugs could benefit millions of women.FULL ENTRY
The commission said in a release that anyone who was at the Aquarium's main building after noon on those days may have been exposed, and it urged them to "refrain from public activity until 21 days after the exposure" if they do not know that they are immune to measles. The measles virus is highly contagious, spreading easily from person to person through the air.FULL ENTRY
The number of measles cases in the state has remained steady at 17 since May 25, but that's no reason for residents to think that they can be complacent about the outbreaks surging abroad in 33 European countries, India, and Southeast Asia. (France reported 10,000 measles cases through April.)
"We want to get out the message to folks before they travel abroad this summer," says state epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. "Get the MMR [measles, mumps, rubella] vaccine or an antibody test from your doctor to see if you're still immune."
I have to confess that last year I let my 12-year-old son join Facebook, a few months before his 13th birthday. I figured what's the harm, as he entered a fake birth date and instantly gained access to an account.
Despite the fact that a federal law bars anyone under 13 from opening a social media account unless they get verifiable parental consent, as many as 7.5 million Facebook users are under that legal age, according to a May survey conducted by Consumer Reports.FULL ENTRY
In an effort to simplify the message it gives the public on healthy eating, the federal government today unveiled a new icon to replace the complicated and confusing food pyramid: It's a plate divided into four sections, with fruits and vegetables on one half and protein and grains on the other. A circle for dairy -- indicating a glass of milk or container of yogurt -- rests to the right of the plate.
"The new icon is simple and easy to understand, with more emphasis placed on fruits and vegetables," said U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin in a statement . It's designed, she said, to "help individuals and families make healthier meal choices."
On the heels of the World Health Organization's decision to place cellphone use on its list of items that can potentially cause cancer, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) today issued a call for a "thorough review" of the research on the long term health risks of using mobile phones.
He co-wrote a letter with two other Congressmen asking the Government Accountability Office to determine what the heck the federal government is doing about studying potential cellphone risks and making consumers aware of possible problems -- like a small increased risk of brain tumors -- that may or may not be real.FULL ENTRY
No question, birth control pills have been deemed to be highly safe, but they can also cause side effects like headaches, dizziness, and nausea, as well as rare complications like strokes and blood clots. And the US Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that it's investigating whether some versions of the pill -- which contain varying doses of estrogen and varying types of progestin -- pose a higher risk of blood clots than others.
Turns out those that contain the progestin drospirenone -- which include Yaz and Yasmin -- may be associated with a higher risk of blood clots, according to two recent studies Boston University School of Medicine studies that were published in the British Medical Journal. Blood clots can pose serious problems if they break off and travel through the bloodstream to the heart or lungs.FULL ENTRY
The World Health Organization yesterday placed cell phone use on its list of items that can potentially cause cancer in humans, based on studies suggesting an increased risk of glioma, a rare type of brain cancer. The group based its new classification on a review of the research by a group of 31 scientists from various countries, which found the data were limited but enough to categorize personal exposure as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
"The evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion ... that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk," said University of Southern California epidemiologist Dr. Jonathan Samet, who chaired the group of scientists, in a statement released to the media.FULL ENTRY
Consumer Reports this week published its annual ratings of sunscreens. Their experts tested 22 sprays, creams, and lotions, and found nine that provided "excellent protection" against sunburn-causing ultraviolet B radiation along with "very good protection" against ultraviolet A radiation -- associated with tanning, wrinkles and sunspots. Both UVA rays and UVB rays contribute to skin cancer risk.
The leading picks for protection (starred choices also mean they're best-buys):FULL ENTRY
June 6, 2011
By Deborah Kotz, Globe Staff Bean sprouts are likely to blame for the E. coli outbreak in Germany …
June 4, 2011
By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Globe Staff A drug that blocks production of the hormone estrogen cut breast …
June 10, 2011
By Deborah Kotz, Globe Staff Quick quiz: What's the most dangerous spot in the house? Sure, kitche …
June 9, 2011
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May 16, 2011
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April 26, 2011
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June 10, 2011
Greene, Bill Globe Staff/The Boston Globe By Deborah Kotz, Globe Staff I was bummed to hear th …
June 6, 2011
By Deborah Kotz, Globe Staff A new research finding could help parents and public health specialis …