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Stories by Coco Ballantyne

JAMA editors embroiled in brouhaha over treatment of critic

The editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) may be in hot water for dissing a neuroscientist who criticized them for failing to flag a study author's ties to the manufacturer of a drug he reviewed favorably...

April 1, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Can water fountains fight fat?

Here's something to drink to: easy access to water fountains and a nudge from teachers to use them might help kids stay lean. A new study published today in Pediatrics suggests that installing fountains in elementary schools and pushing students to drink more water may reduce their risk of being plump by as much as a third...

March 30, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Psychotherapists trying to "treat" patients for homosexuality

One in 25 British psychiatrists and psychologists say they would be willing to help homosexual and bisexual patients try to convert to heterosexuality, even though there is no compelling scientific evidence a person can willfully become straight, and trying to force them to do so can cause serious psychological damage, researchers report this week in BMC Psychiatry ...

March 26, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Does religion lead to more aggressive medical care?

Terminally ill cancer patients who lean heavily on religion to deal with their disease are about three times more likely than others in their shoes to receive aggressive treatment during their final days, according to a new study...

March 18, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Can traffic up your heart attack risk?

Few things are more frustrating than being stuck in traffic, and now a new study says that it may also triple your risk of having a heart attack.

The study, released Friday at the American Heart Association's Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention (in Palm Harbor, Fla.), adds weight to a growing body of evidence that traffic hikes heart attack risk, says lead study author Annette Peters, an epidemiologist at the Institute of Epidemiology at Helmholtz Zentrum Muchen in Munich, Germany...

March 16, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Does the fountain of youth lie in the naked mole rat?

Naked mole rats—hairless, sausagelike rodents that live in burrows beneath the arid soils of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia—have a remarkable ability to resist aging.  Scientists are getting closer to understanding why these animals grow old with such grace, and they hope their findings will lead to therapies for staving off age-related ailments...

March 12, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Do optimists live longer?

A perennial grump? Always see the glass as half empty instead of half full? Might want to brighten up a bit – if, that is, you'd like to live longer.

March 6, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Are doctors zapping patients with too much radiation?

A new study says that the average American is exposed to six times more radiation from medical tests than in the early 1980s, prompting warnings that physicians may be upping patients' cancer risk by giving them unnecessary exams. 

A study by The National Council of Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) shows that the average American's overall radiation exposure jumped from 3.6 millisieverts (mSv) to 6.2 mSv per year -- almost entirely a result of radiation-based medical tests...

March 5, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Can Babies Be Made-to-Order?

A fertility clinic says it will give couples the option of fiddling with the blueprints for their broods. But how much flexibility will--or should--they have?

March 4, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne
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