Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
WEEK BEGINNING 15 OCTOBER 2001
Health At Risk From Floodings
New research has revealed that those who experience the ravages of flooding can suffer ill health for some time after – in some cases as much as three years after. The research by the Flood Hazard Group at Middlesex University showed that families living in northeast England and Oxfordshire whose homes flooded in 1998 continue to suffer health problems and felt that their properties were still at risk. Physical illnesses included coughs and colds, skin problems and stomach upsets. However, many flood victims also suffered a psychological trauma. The report says: ‘Many people were displaying signs of common mental disorders associated with experiencing a traumatic event, particularly increased stress levels, sleep disorders and anxiety.’ Many children also became very anxious when it rained.
Heart Attack Warnings Ignored By Men
Men are notorious for not taking care of their health. Now a new study shows that men’s reluctance to acknowledge the early symptoms of a heart attack has meant that the incidence of deaths from myocardial infarction have changed very little for the better in the last two decades. Although victims are less likely to die from heart failure, men in their mid-forties are just as likely to develop heart disease as they were in 1980. The figures published in Heart journal are the result of research that tracked 8000 men over the past 20 years. Although the death rate from coronary heart disease fell by about 4 per cent a year between 1978 and 1996, high numbers of smokers and rising obesity problems means that the rate of incidence is the same. The British Heart Foundation shows that among men aged 45-50, two per cent will suffer from heart disease. One in four 75-year-olds have arteries clogged with cholesterol, linked to a high-fat diet and sedentary lifestyle, and 93,000 middle-aged men are diagnosed with potentially life threatening heart disease every year.
Acupuncture Is A Wow For Breast Pain
New research from the USA, published this week, suggests that acupuncture is as good as more conventional treatments for pain after major breast surgery. The tests at Duke University in North Carolina compared the effects of electro-acupuncture, a commonly prescribed drug called ondansetron, and a placebo. The acupuncture therapy is an electric version of a 5000-year-old Chinese technique that uses an electrode to stimulate a point between the palm and tendons on the wrist. Dr Tong Joo Gan, who carried out the study, said that as many as 70 per cent of women who undergo breast surgery suffer vomiting and nausea afterwards. Two hours after surgery for breast enlargement, reduction, or mastectomy, 23 per cent of patients receiving acupuncture still complained of feeling sick, compared to 36 per cent of those on ondansetron and 60 who were given a placebo drug. Acupuncture was also proven to be more effective one day after the operation.
Office Injuries From Rubber Bands
You may have thought that the office is a relatively safe environment but you would be wrong. New figures compiled by the Department of Trade and Industry examining injuries incurred at work leave a feeling of concern. Unbelievably, office files injured more than 2700 people last year, with a further 1317 getting hurt using staples and staplers. Another 91 office workers managed to injure themselves using a pencil sharpener, and the same number were injured using correction fluid. Drawing pins claimed 713 victims, and 18 reported an accident with a hole punch. Most embarrassingly, 402 people were injured using rubber bands and an incredible 37 people were hurt while using a calculator. The figures were released as the European week for safety and health was launched.
TV Is For Skinnies Only?
TV was accused of extreme bias this week. Figures show that one third of women in soaps and sitcoms on American television are seriously underweight, according to sociologist Professor Bradley Greenberg. His study showed that while one in four women is obese; the figure for TV is three in a hundred. Professor Greenberg, of the University of Michigan, said that these few television characters who were overweight were more likely to be unintelligent and unemployed. Chairman of the Association for the Study of Obesity, psychologist Dr Andrew Hill, believes that British-made shows were more true to life. He said: ‘East Ender and Coronation Street are hardly high glamour. But the images of desperately thin women on these American series is a serious problem. They reinforce the view that to be successful, you have to be thin.’
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