Friday: Health Points
- With a new confirmed case of foot and mouth disease. The European Union has again imposed a ban on British meat exports. The AFP reports:
The new case was discovered close to a farm south of London where an outbreak was first reported last month.
Restrictions imposed then were only lifted four days ago and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) imposed a new England-wide ban on the movement of cattle, sheep, pigs and other ruminants.
Cattle were ordered slaughtered on the affected farm, near Egham, west of London. Egham is 13 miles (21 kilometres) from the village of Normandy, where foot and mouth disease was confirmed on August 3.
- I’m sure you’ve heard of dirty money, but what about dirty energy? It’s a big deal. Some 2 billion people’s health may be threatened by it. More from Reuters:
The health of about 2 billion of the world’s poor is being damaged because they lack access to clean energy, like electricity, and face exposure to smoke from open fires, scientists said on Thursday.
Dangerous levels of indoor air pollutants from badly ventilated cooking fires are a common hazard, while lack of electricity deprives many of the benefits of refrigeration.
- Now this hits home. NJ is threatening to sue the federal government if they impose new rules that’ll deprive thousands of children health insurance. Reuters is on it:
Congress last month approved an extra $50 billion for the program, but U.S. President George W. Bush threatened a veto, calling it a move toward nationalized health care, which he opposes.
Bush wanted only a $5 billion increase in the plan's $25 billion cost over 5 years. Congress would come up with the extra dollars by hiking cigarette taxes 45 cents per pack and cutting Medicare payments to private health insurers.
New Jersey's program has covered 122,000 children, and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said the new rules would deny coverage to 10,000 kids. In the past 18 months, 100,000 more children have been enrolled in both SHIP and Medicaid, which aids the poor, he added.
- This seems a little paradoxical. Apparently heavy workouts—like marathon running—can actually making sleeping difficult. Gina Kolata of The New York Times investigates:
It’s one of the mysteries of sleep: Why is it that mild exercise can be invigorating, but strenuous endurance exercise — whether it’s crew practice, long runs as training for a marathon or juggling back-to-back workouts to prepare for a triathlon — makes people groggy?
Elite marathoners know that hunger for sleep all too well.
Deena Kastor, who won the London Marathon last year and set an American record, said she sleeps 10 hours at night and takes a two-hour nap every afternoon. Steven Spence, a marathoner who won a bronze medal at the 1991 world championships in Tokyo, had the same sleep habits when he was training.
- After last year’s E. coli outbreak you’d assume the government would have tightened regulations—not! The Associated Press reports that safety standards have not be raised:
A review of data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act found that federal officials inspect companies growing and processing salad greens an average of once every 3.9 years. Some proposals in Congress would require such inspections at least four times a year.
In California, which grows three-quarters of the nation's greens, processors created a new inspection system but with voluntary guidelines that were unable to keep bagged spinach tainted with salmonella from reaching grocery shelves last month.
Despite widespread calls for spot-testing of processing plants handling leafy greens after last year's E. coli outbreak, California public-health inspectors have not been given the authority to conduct such tests, so no such tests have been done, the review found.
- Andrew Bridges of the Associated Press reports that China will stop exporting toys that contain lead paint. Take a look:
In the pact, China also pledged to step up inspections of its exports and take other steps to ensure that those products meet U.S. standards, said Nancy Nord, acting head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. That will include joint efforts by the two countries to increase understanding of those standards among manufacturers and exporters.
The absence of such an understanding allowed paint suppliers to provide lead paint to companies making toys sold by Mattel Inc. and other companies, said Chuanzhong Wei, vice minister of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. Lead paint has been banned on toys made in the United States since 1978.
"That's why we decided we should intensify the exchanges between importers and exporters in the field of standards," Wei said, speaking through a translator.
- Oh this is a shocker—heavy sarcasm here—but apparently excess bodyweight is bad for health. No! You don’t say. Megan Rauscher of Reuters has more:
People who are just moderately overweight have an increased risk developing heart disease, even if they are otherwise healthy, according to pooled data from published studies.
As study chief Dr. Rik P. Bogers noted in an email to Reuters Health, the data show that "even if overweight and obese persons succeeded in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to normal levels, they would still have a higher risk of coronary heart disease than their normal-weight peers."
Thus, the worldwide increase in the number of people who are moderately overweight "may drive the incidence of coronary heart disease upward," Bogers and colleagues warn in a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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