Health Points: Monday
- Popular water bottle maker, Nalgene, will stop using plastic due to the uproar over BPA. Ian Austen of The New York Times reports:
“Based on all available scientific evidence, we continue to believe that Nalgene products containing BPA are safe for their intended use,” Steven Silverman, the general manager of the Nalgene unit, said in a statement. “However, our customers indicated they preferred BPA-free alternatives, and we acted in response to those concerns.”
The National Toxicology Program in the United States released a draft report on Tuesday reporting that some rats that were fed or injected with low doses of the chemical developed precancerous tumors and urinary tract problems and reached puberty early. While the report said the animal tests provided “limited evidence,” it also noted that the “possibility that bisphenol-a may alter human development cannot be dismissed.”
- Looks like this year’s flu vaccine is a dud, apparently this flu season is the worst in four years. More from Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News:
The current U.S. flu season has been the worst in four years, due, in part, to a vaccine that was not a good match for certain circulating strains of flu virus, U.S. health officials said Thursday.
For strains of influenza A (H3N2) -- the most prevalent virus during the 2007-08 season, the vaccine was 58 percent effective. But it was 100 percent ineffective against influenza B infections, leaving an overall vaccine success rate of about 44 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The Chicago Tribune found trace amounts of chemicals and drugs—like an ingredient used to make Teflon—in Lake Michigan drinking water. From their report:
The tests do not show that drinking water is unsafe. But they do raise important questions for regulators and city officials aware of growing concerns about potential health effects from long-term exposure to drugs in our drinking water, even at very low levels.
"There are many unknowns," said Dana Kolpin, a researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey who conducted some of the first tests that found pharmaceuticals in municipal water supplies. "On one hand, levels of specific substances are very low and appear to be nothing to worry about. But the question is whether mixtures of many substances could build to a point where there could be some harmful effects."
- Professor Woodpecker aims to make healthy eating fun for kids. EMaxHealth explains:
But the Professor Woodpecker series, the brand new set of children's books from H and T Imaginations Unlimited, Inc., is out to change that. In the first three of the planned six book series -- "Professor Woodpecker's Banana Sandwiches"; "Green Apples, Red Apples, Yellow Apples and More"; and "Professor Woodpecker Loves Cereal" (published by AuthorHouse -- www.authorhouse.com) -- Professor Woodpecker shares invaluable nutritional advice and ideas with children everywhere, and no one is better equipped to share such dietary wisdom than clever and caring Professor Woodpecker.
Authoritative yet fun, educational yet entertaining, Professor Woodpecker serves as a role model and teacher for children and those around them who help make their nutritional decisions, like parents and grandparents. Each book features the wise and witty professor, who -- while carrying on fun activities and conversations -- introduces children to important information regarding wholesome nutrition.
- Julie’s Health Club passes on the news that the Illinois state senate plans to ban trans fat in school lunches. Take a look:
"If the House and Gov. Rod Blagojevich go along, foods cooked with trans fat would be banned starting in July 2009. Such food would be prohibited in school vending machines a year later.
"State Board of Education spokesman Matt Vanover said the ban may not have a big effect on school menus because manufacturers have been shying away from the substance for several years.
"Trans fat is a man-made product that improves the taste and texture of foods, but is known to raise bad cholesterol while attacking good cholesterol. It also contributes to heart disease and diabetes."
- It seems Yoga is gaining popularity among the disabled population. CNN reports:
This is the scene at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where students attend weekly adaptive yoga class. Derived from traditional yoga, poses are modified for those with disabilities or health conditions.
Hundreds of miles away, longtime instructor Karen O'Donnell Clarke says the limitations could have a number of sources: multiple sclerosis (which she has), a sports injury, fibromyalgia or even a sedentary lifestyle. Post-surgical conditions, Parkinson's disease, stroke and arthritis may also cause some impairment. "Pretty much if you name a health condition, yoga can help with it," she says.
Physical therapist Sarah Knopf says the class' popularity is due to many patients asking what else they can be doing to strengthen their bodies or overcome a health challenge quicker.
- A new study has determined that Vitamin D can guard against artery disease. Will Dunham of Reuters reports:
Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York found that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood experience an increased risk for a condition known as peripheral artery disease, or PAD.
PAD most often reduces blood flow to the legs, causing pain and numbness, impairing the ability to walk and in some cases leading to amputation. It develops when fatty deposits accumulate in the inner linings of artery walls, cutting blood flow and oxygen to the legs, feet, arms and elsewhere.
The researchers based the findings on a U.S. government health survey involving 4,839 adults who had their blood vitamin D levels measured and underwent a screening method for PAD that assesses blood flow to the legs.
- All these new fangled physical video games, like the Wii, are great, but they’re no replacement for actual exercise. That’s Fit has more:
I finally had a chance to use a Wii. After getting over some initial embarrassment, I had an awful lot of fun! I tried the tennis game and, sadly enough, I'm as bad at virtual tennis as I am on an actual tennis court. While the Wii was certainly more active than playing any other video game system, it wasn't nearly the same type of exercise as a real sport.
Both Bev and Bethany have written about the exercise potential in the interactive gaming system before. And, compared to sitting like a lump playing regular video games, the Wii is a great thing. But it doesn't take the place of real exercise. The active games are a great alternative to regular video games. Also, many of the games aren't violence based -- as a parent, I know I appreciate that. They also offer hand-eye coordination benefits. And, for kids (or adults) who aren't active at all, the games may be a stepping stone for developing interest in real sports.
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