Health News 4 April 2011

  • New Insights on Alzheimer’s are reported in today’s New York Times by Gina Kolata: Two of the largest studies of the disease led to finding five genes that provide clues to how the disease progresses and even why it strikes.  This in turn “may lead to ways to delay its onset or slow its progress”.  Some 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, with an annual cost to the country of $183 billion.  And American and European groups are combining data in order to do “an enormous study”, looking to the combined samples for more genes and clues.  As Dr. Richard J. Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, observed, “the old models in which researchers jealously guarded their data is no longer applicable”.
  • Whoops! Hands-free faucets aren’t so germ-free after all! “Turns out that half of more than 100 water samples taken from the electronic faucets grew Legionella, the type of bacteria that cause Legionnaire’s disease, which can prey on people with weak immune systems.  Only 15 percent of the 75 water samples collected from manual faucets did the same”.  (NPR)

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