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    Default Health News

    E. coli in leafy greens, possibly romaine lettuce

    January 11, 2018

    Seven more illnesses have been reported in the multi-state E. coli outbreak linked to leafy greens
    , health officials report. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 24 infections of the strain E. coli O157:H7 have occurred in 15 states, including California, New York, New Jersey, Vermont Maryland, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, among others.

    Eighteen people have become ill, nine people were hospitalized, and one person died in California.

    The CDC says the likely source of the outbreak in the U.S. appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of greens eaten by people who became ill.

    Canada also experienced an outbreak and identified romaine lettuce as the source of illnesses there
    , but where the romaine lettuce came from or how it became contaminated is unknown. Genetic testing indicated that the strain of E. coli causing the illnesses in Canada and the U.S. are closely related.

    The CDC says state and local health officials are interviewing patients to try to determine what they ate before getting sick.

    Last week, Consumer Reports advised people to avoid eating romaine while the investigation proceeded.

    The Public Health Agency of Canada said that the outbreak there appears to be over. Leafy greens such as lettuce typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, officials say it's likely that the contaminated greens are no longer available for sale.

    Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea (often bloody) and stomach cramps.

    People usually get sick from this particular strain of E. coli three to four days after eating contaminated food.

    While many people associate E. coli and other foodborne illnesses with meat, in fact they often spread through contaminated produce.

    To help prevent E. coli infection, wash your hands thoroughly before and after preparing and eating food. Additionally, it's important to wash counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods. Finally, avoid preparing food when you are sick, particularly if you are sick with diarrhea.

    If you are concerned that you might have an E. coli infection, talk to your health care provider.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-il...-leafy-greens/

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    African Student Develops Cure for Breast Cancer

    Sierra Leonean Student, Sandra Musujusu Develops Cure For Breast Cancer


    July 7, 2017

    A female student of the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, Sandra Musujusu, has
    developed an alternative treatment for breast cancer. The scientific breakthrough might lead to a lasting solution in the treatment of breast cancer prevalent among women world over.

    This was made known on Tuesday in Abuja when the World Bank Education Director, Dr Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi, with his team visited the University as part of his assessment tour of the 10 African Centres of Excellence (ACE) centres.

    The World Bank has committed about $10 billion for the ACE project in Nigeria, as part of efforts to encourage conduct of cutting-edge research and specialisation of the beneficiaries institutions in specific development problems faced in Nigeria and indeed the African continent.

    Musujusu’s research, using macromolecular science is aimed at developing bio-degradable polymer material which could be used as alternative for the treatment of breast cancer in the near future.

    She revealed that her research focuses on triple negative breast cancer which is the aggressive sub-type of breast cancer that is common with women from African ancestry.

    Musujusu, a Sierra-Leonian national, is conducting the research under the sponsorship of the Pan African Materials Institute (PAMI). Musujusu said, “My research is actually
    centred on the development of bio-degradable polymers for treatment of breast cancer.

    I will be focusing on triple negative breast cancer which is actually the aggressive sub-type of breast cancer that is common with women from African ancestry.”

    I believe there is a bright future for Africa, and as a woman there is much more we can do if we are empowered. This award given to me by PAMI has empowered me to face my studies with more confidence and actually contribute to the frontier of knowledge and move Africa forward.”


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    Pharmaceutical giant 'plotted to destroy cancer drugs to drive prices up 4000%'

    Price rises for generic cancer drugs are estimated to cost the NHS in England around £380m a year


    by Katie Forster - 4/14/2017

    Leaked internal emails appear to show employees at one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies calling for “celebration” over price hikes of cancer drugs, an investigation has revealed.

    Staff at Aspen Pharmacare reportedly plotted to destroy stocks of life-saving medicines during a price dispute with the Spanish health service in 2014.

    After purchasing five different cancer drugs from British firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the company
    tried to sell the medicines in Europe for up to 40 times their previous price, reported The Times.

    In 2013, the price of one pack of a chemotherapy drug called busulfan, used to treat leukaemia, rose from £5.20 to £65.22 in England and Wales, according to the newspaper.

    The other four drugs, including leukeran, also used by leukaemia patients, and melphalan, for skin and ovarian cancers, also became up to four times more expensive.

    Price rises for generic cancer drugs, such as those acquired by Aspen, cost the NHS in England around £380m a year for prescriptions dispensed outside hospitals, the European Cancer Congress has estimated.

    In a confidential email published by The Times, an Aspen employee appeared to write: “We’ve signed new reimbursement and price agreement successfully: price increases are basically on line with European target prices (Leukeran, a bit higher!)... Let’s celebrate!”

    When bargaining over drug prices in Spain, the pharmaceutical giant is said to have
    threatened to stop selling the cancer treatments unless the Health minister agreed to price rises of up to 4,000 per cent, reported Spanish daily El Confidencial Digital at the time.

    Now another leaked email appears to reveal that staff at Aspen discussed destroying their supplies of the drug in the row.

    The company, which is based in South Africa and has its European headquarters in Dublin, bought the five drugs from GSK in 2009 as part of a deal worth £273m.

    The price increases were made possible by a loophole that allows drug companies to change the price of medicines if they are no longer branded with the same name.

    The Department of Health has said it plans to cut generic drug costs after researchers said there has been a sharp increase in the price of cancer drugs in the last five years, leading to their use being restricted in the NHS.

    The loophole is designed to make drugs cheaper once their patents have expired – but if drug companies have no competition, they are free to rise prices as well.

    It is “worrying” that several drug companies have increased the price of cancer treatment, a senior pharmacology research fellow at the University of Liverpool, told the BBC.

    A ruling by the Italian competition watchdog found Aspen had taken an “aggressive” approach to negotiations in the country.

    According to The Times’s investigation,
    the company said it would stop supplying Italy with the drugs in October 2013 if authorities did not agree to price rises of up to 2,100 per cent in three months.

    The Independent
    has contacted Aspen for comment.

    A Department of Health spokesperson said new laws were being introduced this year allowing the Government to “take action against excessive price rises on unbranded generic medicines.”

    “No pharmaceutical company should exploit the NHS,” they said, reported MailOnline.

    “We are working closely with the Competition and Markets Authority on unwarranted price rises of unbranded generic medicines, and where companies have breached competition law, we will seek damages and invest that money in the NHS."


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    In the U.S., 110 Million S.T.D. Infections

    By NICHOLAS BAKALARSEPT - 29, 2017

    The incidence of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis is increasing, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At any given time, there are an estimated 110 million sexually transmitted infections in the United States.

    Chlamydia is the most common S.T.D., and the number of cases rose 4.7 percent from 2015 to 2016. The increases occurred nationwide; rates were highest in the South and lowest in the Northeast.

    Chlamydia is usually asymptomatic, and the number of reported cases may have grown in part because of newer, more sensitive screening techniques.

    Adolescents and young adult women have the highest rates of chlamydia: one survey found that 9.2 percent of girls aged 15 to 19 were infected, as were 8.0 percent of women aged 20 to 24.

    Rates declined 3.5 percent among African-Americans and 6.4 percent among Native Americans and Alaska Natives, but chlamydia still is most common in these groups. Rates rose among all other races and ethnicities.

    From 2015 to 2016,
    gonorrhea infections increased 22.2 percent among men and 13.8 percent among women, the C.D.C. reported. Almost 92 percent of cases are in people 15 to 44 years old.

    The only recommended treatment is to take two antibiotics simultaneously, ceftriaxone and azithromycin. Resistance to azithromycin is becoming more common, however, and there is some evidence of growing resistance to ceftriaxone, as well.

    “Several drug trials are going on now that we hope will provide new treatments for gonorrhea,” said Dr. Gail Bolan, the director of sexually transmitted disease prevention at the C.D.C.

    “But these treatment trials take years, and we don’t know if these new drugs will be safe and effective.”

    The rate of primary and secondary
    syphilis in 2016 is the highest it has been since 1993, and it increased among both men and women from 2015 to 2016. Men account for almost 90 percent of cases, and most are among men who have sex with men.

    Rates of syphilis increased in every age group and all races, and they were
    highest among people in their twenties. The number of babies born infected with syphilis increased to 628 cases in 2016, from 492 in 2015 — each case, in Dr. Bolan’s words, “a needless tragedy.”

    ”The enormity of the S.T.D. epidemic requires everyone play a role in reversing these trends,” Dr. Bolan said.


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    How often you should wash everything in your home, according to science

    12/14/2017

    Cleanliness can be somewhat subjective: some folks wear things once and feel compelled to wash them, while others wear them five times before exposing them to some kind of soap. But when it comes to cleaning your home, there are some standards to consider, if only for your health’s sake.

    If you saw what lived on your surfaces under a microscope, your skin might crawl: Teeny tiny
    bacteria and microbes consisting of viruses, soil, fungi, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, sweat, excretions and skin cells all invade your spaces on a regular basis. According to research in Popular Science, the life span of a germ varies greatly depending on the bacteria and the surface. E. coli (intestinal bacteria that can make you sick) can live for a few hours to a full day, while the calicivirus (a.k.a. the stomach flu) can live for days or weeks. So how often should you clean your tub, or wipe down your toilet or change your sheets, before they become something of a biohazard? Probably more often than you think.

    Try This Science-Backed Cleaning Schedule

    We asked two experts, Jason Tetro, microbiologist, visiting scientist at the University of Guelph and author of The Germ Code and The Germ Files, and Becky Rapinchuk, a cleaning expert, and author of the books Simply Clean and The Organically Clean Home, for their advice.

    How often should you…

    Change the sheets?


    Once a week — two at the most. Though most bacteria on sheets is environmental (like dust) and mostly harmless, the bacteria and fungi, along with the dirt and oils sloughed off during sleep, can cling to sheets and your skin, contributing to
    acne and dandruff. To keep your bed clean, change your sheets once a week (as Rapinchuk recommends), or a minimum of every two weeks (as Tetro recommends), and wash them in hot water.

    Disinfect the sinks?

    Every day. Even if they look clean, sinks can get really gross — Tetro says the bathroom sink accumulates
    fecal matter (from washing your hands after you use the bathroom). Also, bacteria from food, like E.Coli and Salmonella, can contaminate the kitchen sink, especially if you’ve been handling raw meat. When water splashes back up onto your hands, they’re contaminated, too. To stay on the safe side, wipe down your sinks daily.

    Vacuum rugs and wash floors?

    One to two weeks. Rugs should be vacuumed weekly (more often if you have pets) to keep dust, dirt and allergens at bay. Give floors a good wash or steam once every couple of weeks, says Tetro. You might want to wash your kitchen floors a little more often, due to food bacteria that can spread around.

    Wipe down the bathroom?


    Once a week at least. Tetro says your bathroom is the ultimate bacteria host; E.coli can be found within six feet of the toilet and in the sink. To keep it at bay, disinfect the
    toilet and sink at least once weekly, and the bathtub every two weeks — more if you shower often. Your shower curtains should be disinfected weekly to avoid mildew, which can cause skin, eye and throat irritation in some people.

    Swap out towels?


    It depends on the room. Bath towels become loaded with bacteria (including
    staph and fecal) and if your towel doesn’t fully dry, that bacteria can grow. Plus, dandruff-causing fungi can also grow in them, Rapinchuk recommends swapping out bath towels every other day. Your kitchen towels collect bacteria every time you handle food and wash your hands. Tetro recommends washing those weekly, unless you handled raw meat. In that case, wash the towel immediately.

    Swap out sponges?

    Every few days. Your kitchen sponge gets awfully germy, with billions of bacteria on every square inch, says Tetro. But don’t get freaked out — most of the bacteria isn’t harmful. Because washing sponges with soap and water doesn’t really work, Tetro
    recommends dropping them into boiling water for 2 minutes, putting them in the microwave for 2 minutes while damp every couple of days, and replacing them when they deteriorate.

    Wipe down doorknobs?

    Once a week (in some rooms). Though doorknobs accumulate a lot of bacteria, they need only to be washed infrequently, says Rapinchuk. However, doorknobs in the
    bathroom and the kitchen are bound to catch a lot more bacteria, so disinfecting them at least once a week might be a good idea, especially if there’s an illness in the house.

    Does all this cleaning seem daunting? If you can’t seem to keep up, do your best. Rapinchuk recommends, at the very least, making your bed every day, if only because it encourages a productive mindset. It literally takes seconds and can set up your day for success, and, hey, it may remind you that your sheets could use a good wash.




 

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