Health standards

  • Public healthInnovative solar-powered toilet to be unveiled in India next week

    Unsafe methods to capture and treat human waste result in serious health problems and death — food and water tainted with pathogens from fecal matter results in the deaths of roughly 700,000 children each year. A revolutionary toilet fueled by the sun is being developed by University of Colorado Boulder researchers to help some of the 2.5 billion people around the world lacking safe and sustainable sanitation. It will be unveiled in India this month.

  • IEDsExposure to IED blasts increases risk of long-term health consequences

    Blasts are the leading cause of death and injury on the battlefield, accounting for about 75 percent of all combat-related injuries in U.S. military personnel. U.S. soldiers exposed to blasts while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have an increased risk of developing adverse health outcomes over the long term, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, in certain cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI), growth hormone deficiency, and persistent post-concussive symptoms including headaches, says a new report.

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  • Public healthNorth Carolina brain surgery patients exposed to deadly disease

    Officials at a North Carolina hospital last Tuesday notified eighteen patients that they might have been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a degenerative brain disease which is always fatal and which makes those infected exhibit symptoms of dementia before they die. The eighteen patients had brain surgery performed on them since 18 January. A patient operated on that that day was subsequently tested positive for the disease. The hospital said that the surgical instruments used on the patient with CJD were sterilized, but were “not subjected to enhanced sterilization procedures.’

  • Nightmare bacteriaPatients infected with drug-resistant bacteria at suburban Chicago hospital

    Health authorities in Illinois have placed a suburban Chicago hospital under tight scrutiny after an extremely rare strain of a dangerous drug-resistant strand of flu was found to be connected to a series of operations performed at the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has discovered forty-four cases of Illinois patients infected with a particular bacteria, and thirty-eight of those individuals had all recently undergone an endoscopic procedure at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, located in Park Ridge west of Chicago, in the past year.

  • Secret agentsJames Bond drank too much to perform at the level depicted in books, movies

    A detailed examination of James Bond’s books shows that Bond’s weekly alcohol intake is over four times the recommended limit for an adult male, putting him at high risk of several alcohol related diseases, such as alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, impotence, and alcohol-induced tremor, and an early death. The medical team concluded that it would not be realistic to expect Bond to have the capacity to perform (in all aspects of life) at his high level of alcohol intake.

  • SuperbugsRapid detection of superbugs

    Scientists developed an array that could test for 116 antibiotic resistant genes from one class of bacteria, and 90 resistant genes from the other class of bacteria. This new lab test detects antibiotic resistance genes quickly, helping doctors choose the right drugs to knock out superbugs.

  • Public healthHolograms to help in fighting malaria

    Scientists have developed a 3D filming technique that could inform research to stem the spread of malaria. Creating moving digital holograms of malaria sperm has given researchers fresh insights into the behavior of these tiny life forms. Understanding how malaria parasites mate could pave the way for improved prevention and control of this deadly disease, which poses a threat to half of the world’s population.

  • HackingPhysicians feared terrorists might hack Dick Cheney’s cardiac defibrillator

    In a 60 Minutes segment aired yesterday (Sunday), former vice-president Dick Cheney told the interviewer that his doctors turned off the wireless function of his implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD) “in case a terrorist tried to send his heart a fatal shock.” Asked about the concern of Cheney’s physicians, electrophysiologists — these are the cardiologists who implant ICDs – say that as far as they know, this has never happened in the real world but that it is impossible to rule out the possibility.

  • Public healthFDA shuts down more than 1,500 online pharmacies

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Interpol have shutdown 1,677 online pharmacies for selling counterfeit or substandard medication and selling drugs without the necessary safeguards.

  • Public healthSix out of ten people on Earth still lack access to flush toilets, adequate sanitation

    It may be the twenty-first century, with all its technological marvels, but six out of every ten people on Earth still do not have access to flush toilets or other adequate sanitation — measures that protect the user and the surrounding community from harmful health effects — according to a new study.

  • FrackingFracking generates less wastewater per unit of gas, but more overall

    Hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are producing less wastewater per unit of gas recovered than conventional wells would. The scale of fracking operations in the Marcellus shale region – which stretches from New York to Virginia and accounts for about 10 percent of all natural gas produced in the United States today — is so vast, however, that the wastewater it produces threatens to overwhelm the region’s wastewater disposal capacity.

  • WaterLarge amounts of antibacterial agent used in soaps found in freshwater lakes

    When people wash their hands with antibacterial soap, most do not think about where the chemicals contained in that soap end up. A new study determined that the common antibacterial agent, called triclosan, used in soaps and many other products, is found in increasing amounts in several Minnesota freshwater lakes.

  • Public healthThousands at risk from dirty syringes used in clinics, hospitals

    U.S. health officials are still fighting a battle which was supposed to be over more than fifty years ago: dirty needles (the disposable syringe became widely available in the early 1960s); in the last eleven years, more than 150,000 patients nationwide were victims of unsafe injections, and two-thirds of those injections have been administered since 2008

  • SuperbugsHydrogen peroxide vapor kill superbugs dead

    Infection control experts at the Johns Hopkins Hospital have found that a combination of robot-like devices that disperse a bleaching agent into the air and then detoxify the disinfecting chemical are highly effective at killing and preventing the spread of multiple-drug-resistant bacteria, or so-called hospital superbugs

  • Contamination clean-upNew methods might drastically reduce the costs of investigating polluted sites

    In Europe there are over 20,000 complex and large contaminated areas. These so-called megasites threaten scarce land and water resources, create environmental and health risks, and result in economic and social costs; new methods may allow polluted sites to be investigated and monitored long term at significantly reduced costs