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Stories by Coco Ballantyne

Watch out Hawaii: Veggies may harbor rare parasite

Three people in Hawaii have come down with what appears to be a rare parasitic disease called rat lungworm disease in recent weeks. Two of the victims (friends who had a meal together) told the Honolulu Star Bulletin that they experienced "agonizing pain" after eating raw vegetables – and physicians fear they may have accidentally swallowed slug larvae hidden inside folds of raw peppers...

January 8, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

"Love hormone" may also help us recognize faces

Oxytocin, a hormone associated with trust and social bonding, also helps people recognize familiar human faces, according to a new study. Researchers say the findings, published today in The Journal of Neuroscience , could shed light on the causes of mysterious neurological and psychological disorders...

January 7, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Drugs trigger dramatic weight loss in fat mice

Drugs currently on the market but used for other purposes helped plump mice shed pounds by upping their response to the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, according to a new study.

January 6, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

New study says preventive antibiotics may stave off deaths

Giving antibiotics to patients in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) to prevent—rather than fight—bacterial infections may reduce the number of patient deaths, Dutch scientists report today in The New England Journal of Medicine ...

December 31, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

Did the CIA trade Viagra for intel?

CIA operatives in Afghanistan may be buying favors from local leaders using the erection-boosting drug Viagra, the  Washington Post reports. A tribal patriarch described in the Post story was happy to provide info about Taliban trade routes to intel officers in exchange for the little blue pills...

December 29, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

Vitamin D deficiency ups risk of C-section deliveries, study says

Pregnant women with vitamin D deficiencies are more likely than other expectant moms to deliver their babies via cesarean section.

"Women with a vitamin D deficiency were almost 4 times more likely to have a cesarean than those with [normal] vitamin D levels," says senior study author Anne Merewood, an assistant pediatrics professor at Boston University School of Medicine...

December 24, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

Online v. print reading: which one makes us smarter?

It's no mystery that publications have been taking a beating as more and more people read their news on the Net. But there's a catch. The online info may be instant and abundant -- and in many cases free -- but it may come at a cost, says a new study published in the Journal of Research in Reading ...

December 23, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

Allergy Relief: real-time pollen updates may be on the way

Good news for allergy sufferers: Researchers may have hit upon a fast, new way to detect circulating pollen using a common laboratory technique that would provide instant updates of which types of the allergen are circulating in the air.  So far, the technique has only been shown to work in a lab, but it paves the way for a quicker detection system in the future, scientists report today in the journal Analytical Chemistry ...

December 22, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

Feds give thumbs-up to new, no-cal sweetener, stevia

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late last night declared that a controversial new sweetener is safe, raising the ire of consumer advocates who charge that not enough tests have been done to rule out possible risks...

December 18, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

Don't be fooled: six holiday health myths verified or debunked

Does the bulk of heat escape our bodies through our heads? Does eating more at night pack on the pounds? Does sugar really make kids hyper? ScientificAmerican.com talked to Indiana University School of Medicine pediatricians Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll to find out if these and three other popular health myths are true...

December 18, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

The Skinny on Fat: Is Obesity in Our Genes?

Researchers have identified six genes that may play a role in our appetite and, as a result, in whether we're plump or thin. They report in Nature Genetics that the genes appear to affect brain activity that controls how much we eat, indicating that obesity, at least in part, may stem from behavior passed on from one generation to the next...

December 15, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne
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Lifestyle Changes. Lifetime Benefits.

Lifestyle Changes. Lifetime Benefits.

A New Outlook for Old Age