Health Updates 26 July 2011

  •  Can air-conditioning cause colds?: “In the midst of a nasty heat wave, air-conditioning can make life so much easier to bear.  But some people believe that sudden drops in temperature can play havoc with the immune system.  Others say air-conditioners act as germ-spewing machines, cultivating bacteria and viruses like petri dishes and then blasting and recirculating them in enclosed spaces….researchers at Cardiff University in Wales say it’s possible air-conditioners may contribute in some small way to respiratory infections.  They extract moisture from the air, which can dry out the protective mucus that lines the nostrils, allowing viruses a better chance to become established in the nose.”  Other studies seem to corroborate these findings.  So the bottom line: environments that are air-conditioned may contribute to colds.  (Anahad O’Connor, NY Times)
  • Breastfeeding helps reduce asthma risk in children: “Feeding them formula milk or solids alongside breast milk in the first four months increased the chances slightly, found researchers as Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands.  Breastfeeding could cut the chance of asthma by reducing the number of serious colds and flu virus infections – those which affect the lungs – found the authors of the report, published in the European Respiratory Journal”. (The Telegraph)
  • Fragmented sleep harms memory: “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science findings could help explain memory problems linked to conditions including Alzheimer’s and sleep apnea.  The Stanford University found disrupting sleep made it harder for the animals to recognize familiar objects.” (BBC)
  • Papayas recalled for Salmonella: “Papayas contaminated with Salmonella have sickened people in 23 states, prompting an investigation by public health authorities as well as a recall, the FDA said.  The tainted whole fruit were distributed by Agromod Produce, of McAllen, Texas, with brand names including Yaya, Blondie, Mananite and Tastylicious….Nearly 100 cases of infection with Salmonella agona have been reported in connection with the papayas since January 1 and 10 people have been hospitalized.”  The FDA says that infants, the elderly and those individuals with depressed immune function are most at risk from Salmonella infections; 40% of the present outbreak victims are under 5 years of age. (John Gever, MedPage Today)

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