Disease

Severe obesity (BMI = or > 40, or 35 if there are coincident health conditions) carries with it a variety of increased health risks, such as for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Bariatric surgery can successfully deal with the excess weight, and both prevent the occurrence of diabetes and, in some cases, cause its remission. However, there are several procedures that can be used: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; sleeve gastrectomy; adjustable gastric banding. How to choose among them can be gleaned from a group of articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Two of...

Rotavirus infection is a very contagious, resulting in gastroenteritis, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea — sometimes severe enough to cause life-threatening dehydration. Thankfully, there are a couple of effective vaccines that have been available since 2006 in the United States, and now are available worldwide. Symptoms of a rotavirus infection typically appear within 2 days of acquiring the virus ( 'catching' the virus is usually via poor hygiene). Young children and infants with rotavirus infections may also develop a condition known as viremia — this occurs when the virus leaves the gastrointestinal...

Atrial fibrillation is the most common irregular heartbeat, affecting 2.7 million Americans. Up to 15% of patients with atrial fibrillation can experience a debilitating stroke, so prevention is important. Unfortunately, prevention comes with its own risks so physicians have developed “risk calculators” to determine who should be treated. A paper in Journal of American College of Cardiology suggests that the current scheme can be improved – and without any more significant effort or expense.

Atrial fibrillation

The heart has four chambers, the two upper atria, and the two lower ventricles. The contraction of these chambers, the actual pumping of the blood, is initiated and coordinated by the heart’s electrical system. The signal begins in an area of the...

The flu season is a timely reminder that humans, as social creatures, are more susceptible to contagious disease than more solitary species. But do other social species treat contagion differently and could there be evolutionary insights to discover? A study of ants published in eLife reveals a somewhat different approach when infection threatens their society.

The Study

Researchers exposed an immobile community of garden ants to a fungus known to infect them. Typically, the fungus is brought in from outside the brood on the cuticle (skin) of the ants. At this point, the ant is merely contaminated; but shortly after that, the fungus breaks through the cuticle, infecting the ant. Following a brief incubation, the host ant dies releasing many more fungi to...

This year's flu season is going to be bad. So far, at least 30 children have died from the flu.

But, as it turns out, influenza won't be bad just for humans; it will be bad for our canine companions, as well. According to news sources, canine influenza ("dog flu") has been reported in 46 states.

Dog flu is incredibly infectious. Though there is no "dog flu season," the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says that nearly all dogs that are exposed to it will become infected, with 80% showing signs of illness. Symptoms in dogs are similar to those seen in humans: fatigue,...

As if we didn't have enough problems, for example, a particularly nasty strain of influenza going around, another infection which is normally not such a big deal has turned into one. A strain of hepatitis A, a viral infection of the liver, has been making the rounds since late 2016. And it is causing all kinds of trouble.

The current outbreak has been traced back to a homeless man in San Diego in November 2016. Although the case attracted no attention, only four months later the CDC was working...

New cases of CWD, chronic wasting disease, have been detected in deer in Missouri and Arkansas. This is concerning because CWD is very similar to "mad cow disease."

During the 1990s, an outbreak of mad cow disease (formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the UK sent the world into a panic. The outbreak was responsible for killing more than 200 people worldwide, and...

Of late, the important topic of traumatic brain injuries has centered around football players and other concussion-prone athletes. But in a welcomed shift of the spotlight, 60 Minutes just redirected the discussion to include the many thousands of military veterans badly injured while serving overseas.

Its recent report dove more deeply into their mental impairments and the presence of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy that results from repetitive brain trauma, found in the deceased.

While the concept that veterans were plagued with CTE is not new – the Department of Veterans Affairs spoke publicly on this topic in...

Back in 2012, we noted the good news that the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity in children served by federal food assistance programs had diminished. The trend seems to be continuing according to more recent research. Between 2000 and 2014, the prevalence of severe obesity in children aged 2 to 4 years who were enrolled in the WIC (1) nutrition supplementation program, declined slightly, but significantly.

Dr. Liping Pan from the CDC...

Critical self-perception plays a significant role in why women choose not to engage in breast self-examinations, an essential tool in breast cancer prevention.

That's the conclusion of a new study of British women, which found that dissatisfaction with breast appearance leads to an avoidance of self-exams, and consequently, a delay in seeking a medical evaluation. Researchers wrote that this dynamic tends to occur "because it involves exposing one’s physical and emotional self to others."

The research included 384 women, 75 percent of which reported being dissatisfied with their breast size. Roughly 44 percent wanted to be larger, while 31 percent wished to be smaller. Meanwhile, if they were to detect a change in their breast, just 55 percent of the study's women would...