Health Headlines: August 13-17

Featured Article,Healthy Living
August 16, 2012

A look at the week's most intriguing health headlines.

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Results-Oriented? Not So Much

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate need for a hospital stay, then you may recall the inordinate amount of tests that get ordered by the parade of doctors who are in and out of the room. The only thing more disturbing than the number of tests ordered is the fact that the results are often never seen much less assessed. So says a new study out of Australia. Of the study participants, more than one-third of the people admitted had tests ordered for which results were not reviewed before discharge. And nearly one-third still had not gotten results after two months post-discharge.  That’s enough to put you in the hospital right there, isn’t it?

 

Clean at What Cost?

This isn’t just another post about how Americans are too germaphobic. It is, however, strengthening the case against antibacterial soaps. In studies performed on both mice and humans, scientists have found that tricolsan, a key chemical compound used in antibacterial soaps among other things, can cause a decline in muscle function and the ability to contract. Studies performed specifically on mice found that the chemical also caused a decline in gripping capabilities and heart function. So what’s a germaphobe—or simply a person who merely wants clean hands—to do? Experts suggest using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  Or perhaps make an appointment with a psychiatrist. (Or both?!)

 

Get Out the (Fat) Map

We have good news and bad news. The bad news first: our nation has 12 states that have adult obesity rates of 30% or more. The good news? None are higher than 35%. The CDC this week released what many are calling the nation’s “fat map,” which details the America’s obesity prevalence in a pretty little color-coded diagram. Mississippi took top prize (a dubious honor) with a whopping 34.9% of adults in the obese category compared to Colorado, which has the least—a mere 20.7%. Several factors went into the research, including race, socioeconomic status and education. The bottom line? No matter where you live, it’s time to put excuses aside and map out the road to better health.

 

Bad Sperm? Go Nuts!

Struggling with infertility? Perhaps it’s time your Mr. Right amps up his walnut intake. So say UCLA researchers, who found that men who ate a half-cup of walnuts every day for 12 weeks improved their sperm quality in the areas of sperm shape, movement and the ever-important vitality. And the added bonus? None of the men gained weight! So go ahead—go nuts!

 

Check out last week's health headlines