Health Updates 13 December 2011

  • Beware of Raw Cookie Dough: “Turns out mom was right: keep your hands off the raw cookie dough.  A new study that investigated the cause of a large outbreak of E. coli in 2009 pointed the blame at raw chocolate cookie dough…The outbreak, between March and July 2009, sickened at least 80 people across 30 states, 35 of whom had to be hospitalized”.  And it was not the eggs.  “‘Out of all the ingredients, raw flour is the only agricultural product that was in the cookie dough…it didn’t undergo any specific processing to kill pathogens, so we feel that’s the most likely suspect’.” (NY Times)
  • Researchers find that working moms are healthier than those who are unemployed: “There was no difference between the health of mothers who worked part-time and those who worked full-time, the researchers said.   Stay-at-home moms may be more socially isolated than working moms, which might increase their chances of being depressed.  Stay-at-home moms might also be under more stress as a result of being at home with their children all day.  This stress may be relieved somewhat when their children start school, which may explain why the link disappeared when children entered preschool.” (MyHealthNewsDaily/MSNBC)
  • Safety violations found at Head Start centers: “Among the violations found: a screw  protruding from a bookcase at child-height level in Longmont, Colo.; a children’s bathroom in Edna, Texas, without lighting for months; and expired infant formula in the refrigerator of a center in the District of Columbia.  The inspector general’s review was compiled using 24 audits of Head Start grantees running 175 facilities in seven states – Connecticut, New York, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas, Colorado and California – and the District of Columbia from May 2009 to October 2010.  While the review was of just a fraction of the approximately 1,600 Head Start grantees, it still raises red flags about the safety of children in such programs.” (Associated Press)
  • Really? The Claim: shoveling snow raises the risk of a heart attack: “Every winter, as blizzards bury towns across the nation, reports inevitably surface of middle-aged snow-shovelers suffering heart attacks.  Many health officials routinely warn that shoveling show can raise the risk of heart attacks.  But the warnings have largely been based on anecdotal reports.”  Recent studies indicate that there is a real link.  “In a smaller study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that most heart attacks from shoveling snow result from heavy physical exertion causing trauma to coronary arteries, which ruptures plaques that cut off blood flow.  One way to lower the risk, particularly in people who smoke or rarely exercise, is to reduce sudden exertion.  Experts recommend shoveling early, when snow is lighter, and taking breaks.  The bottom line: The exertion involved in shoveling can rupture plaque and cause heart attacks, particularly in those with a family history.” (Anahad O’Connor, NY Times)

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