Public Health

In a bygone era, doctors thought every life was important. Treatment was aggressive and persistent in intensive care units even when it might be futile. 

In the 21st century world, resources are the first consideration, and there are plenty of ideas about ways to curb treatment and lower costs. A new analysis finds that doctors could try a little less in the intensive care unit - because otherwise they are causing other ill patients needing medical attention to wait for critical care beds.

The antibiotic clarithromycin is widely used for treating common bacterial infections and has been linked to an increased risk of heart deaths by a study on BMJ.

The absolute risk is small and prescribing practice should not be changed until results have been confirmed in an independent study but the authors say their findings require urgent confirmation, given that many millions of people are prescribed the drug each year. 

Two new vaccines can prevent the transmission of meningitis from person to person by reducing 'carriage' of the responsible bacteria in the nose and throats of the population.

Meningitis can be a devastating condition. The most common causes of meningitis are viral infections that usually get better without treatment but bacterial meningitis infections are extremely serious and may result in death or brain damage, even if treated.

Heterosexual white women in America were twice as likely as racial or sexual minority women to obtain medical help to get pregnant, according to an analysis of surveys from 2002 and 2006.

Will political involvement in health care coverage make the difference now? In some cases. Health insurance coverage was listed as a key factor for lesbian women but not minority women. Surveys taken today would likely have a dramatically different result, with everyone who wants an option covered insisting they can't do it unless it's in their health insurance plan.

Scientists have known for years that women are protected from cardiovascular disease before menopause, but their risk increases significantly after menopause.

Although estrogen is thought to be the protective factor, post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy remains controversial due to the side effects.

Men, women and children exposed to high levels of phthalates tended to have reduced levels of testosterone in their blood compared to those with lower chemical exposure, according to a new paper in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology&Metabolism.

Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. It contributes to a variety of functions in both sexes, including physical growth and strength, brain function, bone density and cardiovascular health. In the last 50 years, research has identified a trend of declining testosterone in men and a rise in related health conditions, including reduced semen quality in men and genital malformations in newborn boys.

Kidney failure is a devastating condition and there are never enough donors for recipients - so it seems strange that anyone would be hesitant about getting one, but a new paper in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggest that interventions are needed to increase women's acceptance of living donor kidney transplantation.

Mucus is key to keeping our lungs clean and clear of bacteria, viruses, and other foreign particles that can cause infection and inflammation. When we inhale microbes and dust, they are trapped in the mucus and then swept up and out of the lungs via a process called mucociliary transport.

New research shows that cystic fibrosis (CF), a life-shortening, inherited condition that affects about 30,000 Americans, causes a specific defect in this process, reducing the ability to clear particles and germs out of the airway. 

Studies have shown the benefit of mindfulness training added to substance abuse treatment. Now a study from the National Institutes of Health shows that lack of mindfulness may be one of the causes of substance abuse, in the first place.

Treatments that involve neck manipulation may be associated with strokes, according to an American Heart Association Scientific Statement written by lead author Dr. Jose Biller, chair of the Department of Neurology at Loyola University and other stroke experts.

Writing in Stroke, they note a small tear in a neck artery, called a cervical dissection, is among the most common causes of strokes in young and middle-aged adults. A dissection can lead to a blood clot that travels to the brain and triggers a stroke. Although techniques for cervical manipulative therapy vary, some maneuvers used by health practitioners also extend and rotate the neck, and sometimes involve a forceful thrust.