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November 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news each week that could impact your health and our future.



For excerpts and links to full stories,click “read more” and scroll down.


Latest Cholesterol Guidelines Invite Overtreatment, Critics Warn (NPR)

 Updated just last week by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, the new guidelines are based on old data, some heart doctors say, and may overestimate the real risk of heart attack and stroke. That could result in overtreatment with cholesterol-lowering drugs.

FDA issues stern warning on Medtronic devices (UT San Diego)

Federal health officials say that defects in some Medtronic devices used in heart procedures are severe enough that they could cause serious injury or death.

Mother’s Exercise May Boost Baby’s Brain (NY Times)

 If a woman is physically active during pregnancy, she may boost the development of her unborn child’s brain, according to a heart-tugging new study of expectant mothers and their newborns. 

Eating nuts 'may prolong life' (BBC)

 People who regularly eat nuts appear to live longer, according to the largest study of its kind. The study followed nearly 120,000 people for 30 years.. People eating nuts once a week were 11% less likely to have died during the study than those who never ate nuts.  Up to four portions was linked to a 13% reduction in deaths and a daily handful of nuts cut the death rate during the study by 20%.  Lead researcher Dr Charles Fuchs, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital, said: "The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease, but we also saw a significant reduction - 11% - in the risk of dying from cancer."

New Medical Device Treats Epilepsy With A Well-Timed Zap (NPR)

The Food and Drug Administration approved a pacemaker-like device for patients whose epilepsy can't be controlled with drugs. The device senses when seizures are coming and stops them by sending electronic signals through wires inserted deep in the brain.

Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds (NPR)

 Anxious mice calm down when they get an infusion of gut microbes from mellow mice. That has scientists wondering if gut microbes play a role in the human brain, too. Research on that is only just beginning. But it's intriguing to think there could be a real truth to the phrase "gut feelings."...




DNA study of Siberian skeleton links Europeans to Native Americans (CS Monitor)

A 24,000-year-old skeleton unearthed near Russia's Lake Baikal in the 20th century could provide clues to the migration of humans from Eurasia to the Americas, say researchers.

Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use (NPR)

 Many organic farmers are hopping mad right now at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Their reason? Fertilizer. The FDA, as part of its overhaul of food safety regulations, wants to limit the use of animal manure, which organic farmers call a precious resource and a basis of their farming practices.

Waterproof surface is 'driest ever' (BBC)

The "most waterproof material ever made" - inspired by nasturtium leaves - could be used for anoraks, wind turbines and aircraft engines, say researchers.

Active volcano found buried in Antarctica (CS Monitor)

If it erupts, the volcano could accelerate the melt of Antarctica's already shrinking ice sheets…Two earthquake swarms struck beneath the researchers' feet in January 2010 and March 2011…The tremors — called deep, long-period earthquakes (DLPs) — were nearly identical to DLPs detected under active volcanoes in Alaska and Washington. The swarms were 15 to 25 miles (25 to 40 kilometers) below the surface.

Volcanoes remind us of their power (BBC)

Volcanic Mount Sinbung in Sumatra, Indonesia, erupts, while Mount Etna, Italy, blows smoke rings.

Mt Etna eruption spectacular, captured on video (CS Monitor)

Mt Etna eruption: Europe's most active volcano, Mt. Etna, blew Saturday lighting up the night sky in eastern Sicily.

Tesla battery fires get NHTSA probe (CS Monitor)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into battery fires in Tesla Model S electric cars. The Tesla fires broke out in two of the cars in the U.S. after the undercarriage hit metal road debris. 



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