Known as babesiosis, the disease is caused by a microscopic parasite that attacks blood cells, causing flu-like symptoms that can make it difficult to accurately diagnose. Like Lyme disease, which is caused by bacteria, babesia microti parasites are carried by deer ticks.
First documented in Massachusetts in 1969, the once-obscure babesiosis has surfaced as a significant public health threat in parts of the Northeast and Upper Midwest over the last several years. A recent study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed that between 2001 and 2008 cases climbed from six to 119 in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley — a 20-fold regional increase.
And many cases may be escaping detection, experts say.
“I think it’s underreported. One of the reasons we’re seeing more about it is because people are becoming more aware,” said Dr. Peter Krause, a babesiosis researcher and senior research scientist
Traumatic head injuries, like injuries from car accidents or gun shot wounds such as the injury to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, increase the risk of death for more than a decade.
The risk of death after head injury remained significantly increased for as long as 13 years, irrespective of the severity of the injury, results of a case-control study showed.
Overall, patients with a history of head injury had more than a twofold greater risk of death than did two control groups of individuals without head injury.
Among young adults, the risk disparity ballooned to more than a fivefold difference, Scottish investigators reported online in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
“More than 40% of young people and adults admitted to hospital in Glasgow after a head injury were dead 13 years later,” Dr. Thomas M. McMillan, of the University of Glasgow, and coauthors wrote in the discussion of their findings. “This stark finding is not explained by age, gender, or deprivation characteristics.”
“As might be expected following an injury, the highest rate of death occurred in the first year after head injury,” they continued. “However, risk of death remained high for at least a further 12 years when, for example, death was
A positive outlook goes a long way toward improving survival after a heart attack.
Patients with coronary heart disease who have positive expectations about recovery, expressing beliefs such as “I can still live a long and healthy life,” had greater long-term survival, researchers reported.
Among a cohort of almost 3,000 patients undergoing coronary angiography, those with the highest expectations for outcomes actually had the best outcomes, Dr. John C. Barefoot, and colleagues from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
“Patients differ widely in terms of their psychological reactions to major illnesses such as coronary heart disease,” Barefoot’s group explained online in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Related: Should I Have an Angiogram?
To explore the specific potential influence of recovery expectations, rather than overall optimistic personality traits, the investigators enrolled 2,818 patients with clinically significant disease and followed them for about 15 years.
Recovery expectations were assessed on the Expectations for Coping Scale, in which patients agreed or disagreed with statements such as “I doubt that I will ever fully recover from my heart problems” and “My heart condition will have little or no effect on my ability to do work.”
Patients were stratified into
Do you snap in your seat belt as soon as you get in the car? Do your children have the right safety seats for their weight and age? If you’ve answered no, even just once, you need to read on.
It’s been proven time and again, on back roads and superhighways: A seat belt can save a life in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 15,000 lives are saved each year in the United States because drivers and their passengers were wearing seat belts when they were in accidents.
Seat Belt Safety: 5-Way Protection
“Seat belts prevent occupants of the vehicle from serious injury in five ways,” says Angela Osterhuber, director of the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project in Media, Pa. A seat belt:
- Keeps the occupants of the vehicle inside. “It’s clearly a myth that people are better off being thrown clear from the crash,” Osterhuber says. “People thrown from a vehicle are four times more likely to be killed than those who remain inside.”
- Restrains the strongest parts of the body. “Restraints are designed to contact your body at its strongest parts. For an older child and adult, these parts are the hips and
When it comes to alcohol, how much is too much? Find out what the experts recommend and how to recognize the signs that you’re drinking too much.
A large number of studies have shown that moderate alcohol intake can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. Moderate drinking means one drink per day for women and one to two for men, says Donald Novey, MD, an integrative medicine physician with the Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill. “The difference in amounts is because of how men and women metabolize alcohol,” Dr. Novey explains.
“When you say one drink, the size of that drink matters,” Novey adds. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture one drink is equal to:
- 12 ounces of beer or
- 5 ounces of wine or
- 1½ ounces of spirits (hard liquor such as gin or whiskey, 80-proof)
The Dangers of Drinking Too Much
Unfortunately, some people can’t stop at just one or two drinks. Too much alcohol can result in serious health consequences. Heavy alcohol intake can damage the liver, causing cirrhosis, a fatal disease. Excessive drinking also can raise blood pressure and damage the heart, and is linked to many different cancers, including mouth, esophagus, breast, prostate, and
Women’s health concerns are a little different from those of men. If you’re a woman, these tips will soon have you feeling fit and energetic.
To look and feel your best at every age, it’s important to make smart lifestyle and health choices. Here are six simple things that women can do every day (or with regularity) to ensure good health:
Health Tip #1: Eat a healthy diet. “You want to eat as close to a natural foods diet as you can,” says Donald Novey, MD, an integrative medicine physician with the Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill. That means a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. Eat whole grains and high-fiber foods and choose leaner cuts of meat, fish, and poultry. Include low-fat dairy products in your diet as well — depending on your age, you need between 800 and 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily to help avoid osteoporosis, Dr. Novey says. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in calories, sugar, salt, and fat.
Healthy eating will help you maintain a proper weight for your height, which is important because being overweight can lead to a number of illnesses. Looking for a healthy snack? Try some
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who participated in a special exercise program as well as talk therapy say their symptoms improved.
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who participated in programs aimed at helping them overcome their symptoms — a combination of exercise and counseling — improved more than those whose treatment was intended to help them adapt to the limitations of the disease, a large randomized trial found.
Mean fatigue scores among patients treated with graded exercise therapy — a tailored program that gradually increases exercise capacity — were 3.2 points lower than scores in patients who received specialist medical care alone, according to Dr. Peter D. White, of Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues.
Furthermore, fatigue scores were lower by 3.4 points among patients receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, in which a therapist works with the patient to understand the disease, alleviate fears about activity, and help overcome obstacles to functioning.
In contrast, among patients who were treated with a program known as adaptive pacing therapy, which emphasizes energy limitations and avoidance of excess activity, scores differed by only 0.7 points the researchers reported online in The Lancet.
In a press briefing describing the study findings, co-investigator Dr. Trudie Chalder, of King’s College
While population-based studies haven’t led to conclusive findings about the link between cell phones and brain cancer, a new study shows that energy from the devices can indeed affect brain activity.
Holding a cell phone to your ear for a long period of time increases activity in parts of the brain close to the antenna, researchers have found.
Glucose metabolism — that’s a measurement of how the brain uses energy — in these areas increased significantly when the phone was turned on and muted, compared with when it was off, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and colleagues reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Although we cannot determine the clinical significance, our results give evidence that the human brain is sensitive to the effects of radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields from acute cell phone exposures,” co-author Dr. Gene-Jack Wang of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, where the study was conducted, told MedPage Today.
What We Know About Cell Phones and Cancer
Although the study can’t draw conclusions about long-term implications, other researchers are calling the findings significant.
“Clearly there is an acute effect, and the important question is whether this acute effect is