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Stories by Coco Ballantyne

Worried about the flu? Get a mask

You can cut your risk of contracting the flu or other respiratory viruses by as much as 80 percent by wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, according to a new study.

January 26, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Obama names Besser acting CDC head

Pres. Obama late yesterday named bioterrorism and infectious disease expert Richard Besser interim director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

January 23, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Bill Gates hands over millions more to eradicate polio

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International and the British and German governments today pledged $630 million over the next five years to vaccine and other programs designed to wipe out polio...

January 21, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Tungsten--Could it be the next mercury or lead?

Scientists this week urged further research on tungsten— the metal used to make lightbulb filaments, shotgun shells, electrical wires and even wedding bands—to rule out possible health risks to humans and the environment in the wake of studies showing that it may cause reproductive problems in earthworms and stunted growth in sunflowers. 

In an article published this week in Chemical & Engineering News , researchers suggest that not enough is known to determine whether tungsten is safe, and that studies need to be conducted to assess how much is in drinking water and the soil – and whether it poses dangers for humans, animals and plants...

January 20, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

New study: Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are genetically linked

A new study suggests that if schizophrenia runs in a family, there's a good chance that bipolar disorder does as well (and vice versa). The findings, published today in the journal The Lancet , suggest that the two disorders are caused by some of the same genes...

January 15, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

FDA okays new drug to treat fibromyalgia

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new med to treat fibromyalgia, a mysterious disease characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and depression...

January 15, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Can a simple checklist prevent surgical errors?

A new study has found that hospitals could cut surgery complications by about 30 percent and resulting deaths by 40 percent if doctors and nurses follow a checklist of safety rules before, during and after performing surgery...

January 14, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Can a good night's sleep prevent a cold?

People who get less than seven hours of shut-eye nightly are three times more likely to catch a cold than those who get eight or more hours, according to a new study.

January 12, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Can open-heart surgery make you dimmer?

Every year, about half a million Americans undergo open-heart surgery. Roughly 60 percent of them experience some degree of mental decline after the surgery, a phenomenon that surgeons call "pumphead." A new study in this month's Annals of Thoracic Surgery sheds light on possible causes of the mysterious condition, which in some patients is temporary but in others may last a lifetime...

January 9, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne
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