A Service Animal Can Be a Dog or Bird. It is the Law

Dani Moore uses a rat perched on her shoulder as a service animal to alert her to spasms from a disabling condition. Daniel Greene’s service animal is a snake wrapped around his neck to help him predict epileptic seizures.

But these creatures and many others are no longer acceptable as service animals under new federal guidelines issued March 15 by the U.S. Department of Justice for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new recommendations limit service animals to dogs and housebroken miniature horses.

The new guidelines are not binding to states, municipalities and other agencies, which are free to adopt the policy or to make their own. But individuals who rely on other types of animals to help them manage physical disabilities and conditions are worried.

The law used to say a service animal could be any animal trained to do a task for an individual, said Don Brandon, director of the Northwest Americans with Disabilities Act Center in Seattle.  Continue reading

Food Dyes Linked to Hyperactivity in Some Children

Food dyes used in everything from candy to lunch meat may contribute to worsening hyperactivity in some kids, researchers told an FDA advisory panel on Wednesday.

The data are far from conclusive and scientists point out they don’t know how the possible effects might work. But the concerns have the FDA mulling new warnings on food packages to alert parents to the possible connection.

Over two days of hearings in Silver Spring, Md., expert advisors are listening to evidence and arguments on a possible connection between food dyes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Some studies have shown that hyperactive children can improve after food dyes are eliminated from their diet. Many other studies don’t show that. Even positive studies tend not to single out individual food dyes. Others only show improvement when parents are judging kids’ behavior, not when doctors or teachers do. Continue reading

Watching and Experiencing Violence Makes Aggression Normal For Children

The more children are exposed to violence, the more they think its normal, according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE). Unfortunately, the more they think violence is normal, the more likely they are to engage in aggression against others.

Researchers asked nearly 800 children, from 8 to 12 years old, about whether they had witnessed violence at school, in their neighborhood, at home, or on TV. They also asked the participants if they had been a victim of violence with questions like “How often has somebody hit you at home?” The survey also measured responses to whether aggression was appropriate, such as in the statement: “Sometimes you have to hit others because they deserve it.” The final section of the questionnaire measured how aggressive the child was, based both on their own report and what their classmates said about them.

Six months later, they surveyed the children again, asking the same questions. This allowed them to test whether witnessing violence – or being a victim of it – led to higher levels of aggression half a year later.

The schoolchildren who had Continue reading

Thyroid Hormone Controls Visual Pigment in Cones

What part does the thyroid gland have in vision? Thyroid hormone is crucially involved in controlling which visual pigment is produced in the cones. Previously, it was assumed that the color sensitivity of the cones is fixed in the adult retina. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt/M., together with colleagues at the University of Frankfurt and universities in Vienna, have now been able to show that in mature cones of mice and rats the production of visual pigment is regulated by thyroid hormone. It is assumed that this mechanism exists in all mammals, including humans. If so, the adult-onset of thyroid hormone deficiency would affect color vision.

Thyroid hormone has a crucial role during development of the body and also of the nervous system. Children born with a thyroid hormone deficiency have serious defects of physiological and mental development, hence newborns are routinely checked for thyroid Continue reading

More Health Problems for those who Eat Added Sugars in Processed Foods

According to a recently released study that traced the eating habits of Minnesota residents for 27 years, the body weight of Americans is rising along with their increased intake of sugars added to processed and home-cooked foods.

This comes as no surprise to brother and Sister Tom and Dian Griesel, the co-founders of The Business School of Happiness and co-authors of the new book Turbo Charged, which presents a weight-loss program consisting of 8 easy steps that train you to use your excess body fat as fuel, eat intelligently, and incorporate activity into your hectic schedule.

“Added sugars come in many forms and have various names, such as ‘high-fructose corn syrup,’ ‘agave nectar,’ ‘brown rice syrup,’ and ‘brown sugar,'” says Tom. “None are healthy, and all have the same detrimental effect on our bodies. Equally harmful are hidden sugars, like those in items such as French fries and Ketchup  Continue reading

Virtual Doctor Visits Can Be Effective

It’s up for debate whether Internet helps or hurts doctors’ ability to treat patients. While sites like WebMD bring out the hypochondriac in us all, researchers out of a hospital clinic in Barcelona may have found a way that the Web and medicine can mesh. This week, they presented results of their telemedicine program “Hospital Virtual,” which successfully treated HIV patients using an Internet-based home care system.

The team cared for 200 HIV patients over five years, providing consultations via the Internet. The results of the study show that the medical, psychological and pharmaceutical needs for the participants were met as satisfactorily  Continue reading

Alternative Medicine Breakthroughs from Dr. Mercola and Dr. Oz

Just recently Dr. Joe Mercola was a guest on The Doctor Oz Show. Dr. Mercola, often called the “alternative health Guru” and Dr. Oz discussed the fact that that many medical doctors don’t believe in alternative medicine in “The Man Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You To Listen To” segment of the show.

Dr. Mercola believes that many medical conditions can be addressed through eating a healthy diet and taking natural supplements rather than taking pharmaceutical medications.

When Dr. Oz pointed out that Dr. Mercola sells supplements on his website Continue reading

The Important Necessity of Eye Exams for Older Adults

Older adults are at higher risk for eye disease and vision problems, so you’ll want to take very seriously any unusual symptoms someone you’re concerned about may be having with his vision. That’s because early detection and treatment can greatly reduce the risk of partial or complete blindness. Routine eye exams are crucial, too, as some eye diseases arrive without any warning.

How often should an older adult’s vision be screened?

For those 65 and older, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends complete eye exams every year or two. If a person hasn’t seen an eye doctor recently, it’s important to schedule an appointment. Even if he isn’t having any symptoms or any trouble seeing, it’s possible to have an eye disease. There are often no obvious early symptoms of glaucoma, for example, and the disease progresses slowly. In fact, experts estimate that almost half of those with glaucoma don’t know they have it.

A person may need more frequent exams (perhaps even more often than once a year) if he has certain medical conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, which may put him at higher risk for some eye diseases. The eye doctor might want to see him more often, too, if he:    Continue reading

Astaxanthin a Natural Pigment Helps Prevent Dementia

Scientists have documented that daily supplements of the natural pigment astaxanthin reduces the accumulation of compounds called phospholipid hydroperoxides (PLOOH) which are known to accumulate abnormally in the red blood cells (erythrocytes) of people with dementia. Bottom line: the researchers from Tohoku University who are behind the study believe the pink pigment may well “contribute to the prevention of dementia.”

That’s great news because the mind-robbing malady known as dementia is a growing problem in the U.S. — and mainstream medicine and Big Pharma have come up with little help and hope for the condition. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 5.4 million Americans currently have the best known and most feared kind of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD). That number is expected to rise as the population ages.

Astaxanthin is a phytochemical known as a carotenoid. Like many carotenoids, it is a colorful, fat soluble pigment. Astaxanthin is found  Continue reading

Telemedicine Connects Big-City Hospitals to Underserved Rural Areas

St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, with the help of video feeds along with the advent of Telemedicine, a combined system of computers and telecommunications, has become the overseer of intensive care patients at rural hospitals across the Midwest.

Can you believe that only two critical care doctors and nine nurses in the St. Louis area manage more than 400 patients at St. John’s Mercy and a dozen other hospitals in four states? Well, according to this original piece from St. Louis Today’s Jim Doyle, this feat is made possible by round-the-clock shifts.

In these in round-the-clock shifts, the small teams at St. John’s Medical Center scans patients’ vital signs and review their medications, lab work,  Continue reading

Control Overactive Bladder with 10 Foods you Need to Avoid

Decreasing fluids is often the first thing tried by someone seeking to control an overactive bladder. After all, if you drink less overall, you reduce the need to use the bathroom often or the chance of having an accident before you can get there.

Yes — but if you drink too little (fewer than about eight cups a day), urine becomes concentrated, which can cause even more bladder irritation. That’s why equally important to managing bladder problems is what you’re drinking and eating.

Whether you’re plagued by stress incontinence, prostate issues, urge incontinence, or some other form of overactive bladder syndrome (OBS), try eliminating some of the following foods and beverages. Keep a food diary to see if the change makes Continue reading

Structure of DNA Repair Complex Reveals Workings of Powerful Cell Motor

Over the last years, two teams of researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have steadily built a model of how a powerful DNA repair complex works. Now, their latest discovery provides revolutionary insights into the way the molecular motor inside the complex functions – findings they say may have implications for treatment of disorders ranging from cancer to cystic fibrosis.

In a paper published in an Advance Online Edition of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology March 27, 2011, the scientists say that the complex’s motor molecule, known as Rad50, is a surprisingly flexible protein that can change shape and even rotate depending on the task at hand.

The finding solves the long-standing mystery  Continue reading

Eating Greens Reduce the Risk Of Oral Cancer

Eating green leafy vegetables “significantly lowers the risk” of oral cancer among women who smoke, a recent study has revealed.

The research showed for every one serving of green leafy vegetables, the risk of oral cancer for current women smokers is reduced compared to those who have given up or never smoked.

Whilst larger studies are required to examine for a moderate reduction in risk, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter,  Continue reading

States Need Better Policies Governing the Storage of Surplus Blood Samples for Newborns

State laws and policies governing the storage and use of surplus blood samples taken from newborns as part of the routine health screening process range from explicit to non-existent, leaving many parents ill-informed about how their babies’ left over blood might be used, according to a team led by a member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Utah. A report on their analysis of the subject is published March 28 in the journal Pediatrics.

The study is believed to be one of the first to provide in-depth analysis of the nation’s fragmented newborn screening blood use policies. The authors say that their findings underscore the need for a comprehensive and transparent approach. At a minimum, all states should require that parents be fully informed about how babies’ blood samples left over after the screening procedure will be stored and how they might be used, according to Michelle H. Lewis, M.D., J.D.,  Continue reading

Telemedicine Introduced in Berrien School System

Miles away, a physician’s assistant hears a sound in a student’s chest. Based on the catch in the student’s breathing, the physician’s assistant diagnoses asthmatic bronchitis.

The student has never left the school. The physician’s assistance has never left her office in another South Georgia city. The school nurse has information for the child’s parents, who never had to miss a minute of work to take their child to the doctor.

This situation illustrates just one case in the Berrien School System’s pilot participation in a telemed program. But it underscores what one day may be the new way in which children throughout Georgia and the United States visit the school nurse and the doctor.

Through computer technology, Berrien County Elementary School’s The Med Clinic allows students to see a doctor while at school, and for a doctor to see the child without ever leaving the physician’s offices.

Berrien County is the only Georgia school system with a school-based clinic outside of two participating systems in Atlanta. Berrien is the only system in the state with telemedicine capabilities, according to coordinators.

Matt Jansen,  Continue reading