Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 4:18 pm
Though increasingly common, Alzheimer's disease still isn't all that easy to diagnose, especially in its early stages.
Forgetfulness and other signs of dementia can be caused by lots of things other than Alzheimer's. Sometimes the symptoms are fleeting or normal in the context of a person's age. But at other times these symptoms mark the dark path of Alzheimer's.
Doctors' standard approach to diagnosis includes taking a medical history of the patient, assessing mental function and administering various neurological and lab tests.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:47 pm
When sickle cell patients arrive at emergency rooms, they often have difficulty getting proper treatment. Paula Tanabe, an associate professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, is working to change that.
Sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder most common among people of African descent, affects 100,000 Americans. It causes normally disk-shaped red blood cells to take the form of pointed crescents or sickles.
There's still more to learn about the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.
Studies in this week's New England Journal of Medicine show that the risk for women has been under-appreciated for decades. New data also quantify the surprising payoffs of smoking cessation — especially under the age of 40.
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:57 am
As the flu season grinds on from news cycle to news cycle, there's some flu news of a different sort. Federal regulators have approved a next-generation type of flu vaccine for the second time in two months.
The two new vaccines are the first fruits of a big government push to hasten and simplify the laborious production of flu vaccines.
Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora's box. You might learn something useful or interesting, or you might learn that you're likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.
Dr. Beth Zeeman says she can spot a case of influenza from 20 paces. It's not like a common cold.
"People think they've had the flu when they've had colds," Zeeman, an emergency room specialist at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Mass., tells Shots. "People use the word 'flu' for everything. But having influenza is really a different thing. It hits you like a ton of bricks."
As the earliest flu outbreak in years continues to claim victims, businesses are taking a hit, too. They're faced with an unsolvable problem: If they tell too many sick employees to stay home, the work doesn't get done. But when people sick with flu and other bugs show up, they're spreading illness through the workplace.
It's a dilemma the staff at Zeno Radio, a media technology company in Midtown Manhattan, has seen unfold this winter.
A lot of you have had it by now, or are having it or are about to be exposed. This year's flu is called "H3N2" and this week it's doing big business in about 47 states, Chicago and New York. If you've had a flu shot and if you wash your hands several times a day for 20 seconds, (which is the time it takes to hum "Happy Birthday to You" two times through) you might reduce your odds of getting sick.
An apparent feud between two black market pharmacies has shed light on a shady global industry.
"Rx-Promotion and SpamIt probably are responsible for upward of 50 or 60 percent of spam that you and I got in our inboxes over the last five years," said Brian Krebs, a cyber-security reporter who chronicled the alleged feud on his website. "It's just a ridiculous amount of problems that these two guys cause for everybody."
During first period at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School in Encinitas, Calif., Kristen McCloskey leads about two dozen third-graders through some familiar yoga poses.
"All right, so let's do our opening sequence A," she says, instructing the kids. "Everyone take a big inhale, lift those arms up. Look up."
At the end of the half-hour class, 8-year-old Jacob Hagen says he feels energized and ready for the rest of the day. "Because you get to stretch out and it's good to be the first class because it wakes you up," he says.