Public Health

Though the American government now wants to control intake, another study has affirmed that claims of a link between table salt and hypertension were always on shaky ground.

A new paper in the American Journal of Hypertension instead finds that increased Body Mass Index, age, and non-sodium dietary factors are bigger factors in systolic blood pressure than sodium intake. 

The researchers measured the effects of sodium intake, Body Mass Index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and non-sodium dietary factors on the blood pressure of 8,670 French adults and concluded that Body Mass Index, age, and alcohol intake were all strongly linked to blood pressure increases.

The hygiene hypothesis and its cousins, like that rural settings make children microbiologically stronger, now has a study that vegetarian activists are not going to like: sleeping on animal fur in the first three months of life has been linked to reduced risk of asthma.  

Previous studies have suggested that exposure to a wider range of environments from young age could be protective against asthma and allergies - urban settings have not found that to to be so. But in a new study, researchers investigated children from a city environment who had been exposed to animal skin by sleeping on the material shortly after birth. 

Hospitals can greatly improve their flu vaccination rate among health care workers by forcing employees to get them, finds the Henry Ford Health System where they did just that.

Citing its own data, Henry Ford researchers say the health system achieved employee vaccination rates of 99 percent in the first two years of its mandatory policy, in which annual vaccination compliance is a condition of employment. Nationally, 63 percent of health care workers were immunized against the flu in the past two years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Wheat is the latest fad diet victim and a new study presented at the European Respiratory Society's International Congress adds to its villainy. It says flour is worse for occupational asthma in French workers than toxic chemicals.

The scholars analyzed all cases of occupational asthma in France to understand who was most affected by the condition and what the main causes were. Data were collected over a 3-year period from a network of respiratory doctors specialized in occupational diseases. 330 cases were analyzed.  

Sewage would be useful if it wasn't mixed in together.Credit: EPA

By Jonathan Bridge, University of Liverpool

The critical links between water, sanitation, and our global consumption of energy – the “energy-water nexus” are more obvious than ever before. But how many of us will take direct action at the most basic level of all?

Blood may look like blood but it doesn't always behave like blood. 

The longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study that used optical techniques to measure the stiffness of the membrane surrounding red blood cells over time. They found that, even though the cells retain their shape and hemoglobin content, the membranes get stiffer, which steadily decreases the cells' functionality.

Supplements are more likely than medications to lead to death or liver transplantation, according to a new paper in Hepatology.

The new research shows that liver injury caused by herbals and dietary supplements increased from 7% to 20% in the study group over a ten-year period. Liver injury caused by non-bodybuilding supplements is most severe, occurring more often in middle-aged women and more frequently resulting in death or the need for transplantation than liver injury from bodybuilding supplements or conventional medications.

A recently published World Health Organization (WHO)-commissioned review of evidence on e-cigarettes contains serious errors, misinterpretations and misrepresentations, which may lead to policy-makers and the public not understanding the potential public health benefits of e-cigarettes. 

The authors, writing today in the journal Addiction, analyze the WHO-commissioned Background Paper on E-cigarettes, which looks to have been influential in the recently published WHO report calling for greater regulation of e-cigarettes. 

A team of epidemiologists have written a study indicating that exposure to certain phenols during pregnancy, especially parabens and triclosan, may disrupt growth of boys during fetal growth and the first years of life.

Triclosan is on store shelves and in almost every home. Bisphenol A (BPA), which has been increasingly removed from products due to environmental claims, showed no impact. 

Obesity is big business and as a result, so are bariatric surgeries. They are a popular fail safe for people who believe they lack the mental resolve to eat less but is it really the most cost effective way to treat obesity now that health care is government controlled? 

Writing in both BMJ and JAMA, David Arterburn, MD, MPH, weighs the evidence on the benefits and risks of the various types of this surgery.

"It's critical that we find effective—and cost-effective—ways to treat severe obesity," said Dr. Arterburn, an associate investigator at Group Health Research Institute, a Group Health physician, and an affiliate associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.