A well-meaning medical community is worrying pregnant women silly with indiscriminate warnings about environmental hazards, writes Lenore Skanazy.
A recent study showing that breast milk procured online is often tainted has many moms experiencing a familiar emotion: fear. It’s part and parcel of modern parenting, and starts the minute the pee stick changes color, basically announcing, “Congratulations! And start worrying!” Will do! It’s hard not to, when the very first time a pregnant woman meets with her obstetrician, he just may ask, “Do you use strong smelling/fragrant personal care products, such as perfume, deodorant, nail polishes?”Uh…wha?“Products that have strong scents or fragrance as an ingredient may contain chemicals that have been linked with negative health effects, such as cancer and infertility.
A new study claims breast milk ordered online is teeming with bacteria. Kent Sepkowitz says that’s the whole point—babies need good bacteria.
Breastfeeding still has many detractors, and they can make persuasive arguments. But advocates have been won over by countless studies that have demonstrated benefit to both infant and Mom—fewer infections, less obesity, higher IQ, lower rates of cancer, development of taller, stronger, handsomer kids. For decades it’s been a non-stop celebration of that most (literally) mammalian activity.But now America’s favorite health habit has run up against America’s health enemy No.
You know the stuff you inject in your face? It’s a sanitized version of the most lethal substance on earth—and science has just found a scary new strain. Kent Sepkowitz reports.
Botox is surely science’s best example of Grandma’s twinkling advice: turn lemons into lemonade, make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, turn your frown upside down. After all, it started out as a disease—botulism, both the cause of occasional severe, even lethal food poisoning and a biologic weapon of mass destruction, the most potent and lethal one out there by far due to its ability to paralyze. It is said (PDF) that a single gram dispersed correctly could kill more than a million people.
For tens of thousands of years the reality of human existence was discomfort. It is only in recent years—evolutionary speaking—that homo sapiens have been able to kick back and relax. In an excerpt from his new book, ‘The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease’, evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman explains why this new phenomenon of being comfortable is hazardous to your health.
In the late 1920s, two enterprising young men from Michigan held a contest to name the upholstered reclining chair they had invented. From the many submissions, they chose La-Z-Boy (other entries were Sit-N-Snooze and Slack-Back), and the company is still producing luxury chairs of the same name.Yet for the same price as some La-Z-Boy chairs, you could buy a round-trip airplane ticket to the Kalahari Desert, where you’ll be hard-pressed to find chairs, let alone ones with cushioning, reclining backs, and leg rests.
Says he lied about having throat cancer.
If Michael Douglas lied about what type of cancer he had, maybe that cunnilingus story is less-than-100-percent true after all? The actor said last week that he lied about having throat cancer, revealing that he actually had tongue cancer instead. “This was right before the big tour for Wall Street, so we said ‘There’s no way we can cancel the tour and say we don’t feel well,’” Douglas said. Douglas’s doctor recommended the actor not let on that he had a disease with such a negative prognosis. Douglas faced losing parts of his jaw and his tongue—and he wasn’t exactly up for discussing possible future facial disfigurement. Douglas said in June that his cancer was caused by HPV, which he contracted from oral sex. Douglas rebounded and was declared cancer-free in 2011.
There is such a thing as being too ripped, as some of the hardest of the hard bodies are learning. Kent Sepkowitz on a dangerous side effect of a high-intensity workout.
Physical fitness surely is a good thing. Every study ever performed has shown that the fit and lean outlive the dumpy and diffident every time. But there is a problem: Unlike most things in America—real estate, gold, cars in the garage—which hew to the premise that more is better and super-more is super-better, physical fitness has a limit, at least for most people.Sure, some triathletes and ultra-marathoners seem impervious to these facts of life, but in the real world peopled by the 99-percenters, it turns out we can only buff and pump and tone our gorgeous muscles into so much gorgeousness.
A promising new vaccine cut malaria infections by 46 percent in a recent study. Kent Sepkowitz explains why this is the biggest science news of the week.
Quick: which infection kills up to 1.2 million people a year, most of them children, causes 200 million additional episodes of disease a year  and has developed progressive drug-resistance globally—yet somehow is given the boutique designation of being considered an “orphan disease”? It’s malaria, the mosquito-transmitted disease that causes destruction of human red blood cells leading to fever, anemia, and more than one human death per minute.
A crabber is Florida's latest casualty of the flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio Vulnificus. Jacqui Goddard on the ‘horrific’ infection that ‘crept through his body like acid’ and how it spreads.
Henry Konietzky thought little of it when he stepped on some ants just before wading knee-deep into Florida’s saltwater Halifax River to set crab traps on a Saturday afternoon.But severely aching legs and a developing sore on his ankle woke him at 2 a.m. the next day. By 6 a.m., lesions were spreading across his body. Last Monday, after just 28 hours in hospital, the 59-year-old was dead, the ninth person killed in Florida this year by the waterborne, flesh-eating Vibrio Vulnificus.
Flu vaccines won’t be affected by the shutdown, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Dr. Kent Sepkowitz on the most critical public-health task that’s not getting done.
The government shutdown has created a series of hardships and dangers for citizens coast to coast. One that is featured prominently is the threat to individual and public health. The stories of children prevented from receiving life-saving treatments, seniors who no longer can rely on certain services to maintain independence, and the plight of a scientific community unplugged are heartbreaking, embarrassing, and hopefully of sufficient emotional pull to force a resolution to this self-inflicted crisis.
Thirteen years after he retired from acting, Michael J. Fox debuts a new sitcom. Deborah W. Brooks, co-founder with Fox at his Parkinson's foundation, on the secret to his comeback.
Tonight, Michael J. Fox will once again bring Parkinson’s disease into the national conversation.The first time was in 1998, when he announced he’d been living with early-onset Parkinson’s for seven years. Then, in 2000, he announced his retirement from acting because of his progressing disease. But now the conversation has changed once again, and he is returning to our living rooms once a week, starring in a new sitcom, The Michael J. Fox Show.
PBS Reporter Loses Forearm
After freak accident.More
Study: Remove Cancer-Prone Ovaries
Can reduce risk of illness by 80 percent.More
Annual Mammograms Don't Save Lives
A 25-year-long study finds.More
FDA: More Female Libido Studies!
For drug to boost female sexual desire.More
DiGiorno Goes Torture-Free
Drops dairy farm under fire.More
Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon Marty Makary shares the five insider tips to getting top-notch medical care. First stop? The internet.
The famous Grant Study tracked hundreds of Harvard men from youth to death to determine what predicts contentment.