• Keeping water clean by using sound to filter bacterial spores

    Acoustic trapping can remove bacterial spores from water, according to a new set of experiments funded by the U.S. Army; the idea is to allow the water to flow through a cavity in which a transducer sets up an acoustic standing wave

  • Researchers sequence the human body louse

    As well as irritations from infestations with body lice or the closely related human head lice, the body louse may carry harmful bacteria that cause epidemic typhus and are classified as a bioterrorism agent; U.S. and Swiss scientists have sequenced the louse genome — a major step toward controlling the disease-vector insect

  • Food safety products: global demand to reach $2.9 billion in 2014

    Two trends have contributed to a sharp increase in the number of people who fall victim to food-borne illnesses in the United States and other advanced economies: the centralization of food production and distribution domestically, and the rapid growth of imports of food stuffs and food ingredients from countries in which health and safety standards are weak or are not being enforced; companies which offer food safety products and solutions benefit

  • Allowing for important medical research while keeping medical data private

    Algorithm developed to protect patients’ personal information while preserving the data’s utility in large-scale medical studies; a Vanderbilt team designed an algorithm that searches a database for combinations of diagnosis codes that distinguish a patient; it then substitutes a more general version of the codes — for instance, postmenopausal osteoporosis could become osteoporosis — to ensure each patient’s altered record is indistinguishable from a certain number of other patients. Researchers could then access this parallel, de-identified database for gene-association studies

  • Students design innovative wastewater treatment process for removing pharmaceuticals

    More and more pharmaceuticals end up in countries’ water supply; four Canadian chemical engineering students have designed an advanced wastewater treatment system which would remove 90 percent of pharmaceuticals and endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) using commercially available technology

  • Dead bodies in Haiti do not pose health risk

    Health experts say that the haunting scenes of hundreds of dead bodies in the street should not be confused with health risks; dead bodies cannot transmit communicable diseases because viruses and parasites die with the host; the for rescue workers is to wear gloves, handle the bodies with care, and bury bodies before they begin to decompose – and away from sources of drinking water

  • First U.S. national health security plan released

    HHS releases the U.S. first-ever National Health Security Strategy; Tte new strategy outlines areas for federal, state, and local government agencies and nongovernment groups to focus on over the next four years

  • Food facilities failing to register with FDA

    The Bioterrorism Act of 2002 requires food facilities — exempting farms, retail facilities, and restaurants — to register with the FDA; the FDA had expected about 420,000 domestic and foreign food facilities to register because of the 2002 law; according to an FDA spokesman, as of 14 December, 392,217 facilities had registered — 157,395 in the United States and 234,822 foreign facilities that export to the United States

  • Obama administration to review U.S. response to health threats

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that she ordered the evaluation of the U.S. responses to health threats in part because the H1N1 vaccine shortage had highlighted the nation’s dependence on antiquated technology

  • FDA releases updated Food Code

    The Food and Drug Administration has released the updated FDA Food Code; there are more than 1 million restaurants, retail food stores, and vending and food service operations in institutions such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and child care centers in the United States; the Food Code provides all levels of government with practical, science-based guidance regarding regulation of these food-handling organizations, and with manageable, enforceable provisions for mitigating known risks of food-borne illness

  • Clinics increase security owing to anger over H1N1 vaccine shortage

    Clinics around the country report anger among people who come to be vaccinated, only to find H1N1 vaccine shortages; some clinics bolster security

  • Sixty U.S. poison centers answer questions about H1N1

    There are sixty poison centers in the United States, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, staffed with medical professionals; lately they have been answering questions about H1N1

  • Should health insurance policies cover faith healing?

    Clauses that could force health insurers to pay for religious and spiritual healing have slipped into at least two of the healthcare reform bills currently making their way through Congress

  • Some in the livestock industry worry about disease lab's Kansas location

    Two national cattlemen’s organizations say moving the study of dangerous pathogens to the mainland would be unwise because a tornado or other mishap could allow diseases to escape into the surrounding animal population; supporters say facility presents no risk to agriculture

  • Victims of food-poisoning on Hill in support of S. 510

    Food safety debate intensifies as food-borne illness victims lobby for stronger food laws; new bill, S. 510s would increase FDA inspections of food processing plants, especially of high-risk facilities, require imports to meet U.S. safety standards, establish science-based minimum safety standards for growing fresh produce, and give the agency mandatory recall authority