Less Lighting Up in Movies Aimed at Kids

July 16th, 2011 by Declan Nguyen |

The number of films that children are likely to see that include smoking has dropped for the fifth straight year, a new report finds.

Overall, there has been a nearly 72% drop since 2005 in smoking depictions in movies rated G, PG or PG-13 — from 2,093 incidents of onscreen smoking to 595 in 2010. In addition, the average number of smoking incidents in youth-rated films dropped more than 66% — from about 20% in 2005 to 6.8% in 2010.

“This study shows that studios know how to eliminate smoking from youth-rated movies and have nothing to fear from a policy requiring them to do so,” said Vince Willmore, a spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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Facing Chronic Pain Without Drugs

July 15th, 2011 by Abby Hitchcock | Tags: Pain, Pain Drugs

For two years after a hip surgery that didn’t work out as well as he’d hoped, pain shot down Jim Heckler’s leg like electrical shocks. Several doctors, eager to help Heckler feel better, prescribed various narcotic painkillers.

“I was taking whatever they gave me,” says Heckler, a 47-year-old businessman.

His doctors were fine with Heckler taking narcotics long-term, but Heckler wasn’t. He sought out Dr. Full Post…

Blackwell on Health: Fighting malaria with smelly feet

July 15th, 2011 by Joseph Tishler | Tags: Health, Health Fighting

Sometimes simple solutions from hygienic disposal of sewage to wearing condoms and using mosquito nets bring the most sweeping improvements in health. A catchy new African project  funded by Toronto-based Grand Challenges Canada is aiming to add to the list of low-tech anti-disease weaponry. A Tanzanian doctor and his team have developed a trap for mosquitoes that attracts the malaria-spreading insects with the odour of smelly feet.

Dr. Fredros Okumu and colleagues at Ifakara Health Institute found that stinky socks and a synthetic version of the scent that they developed lures mosquitoes at four times the rate as an actual human.

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Millions at risk of cholera in Ethiopia: WHO

July 14th, 2011 by Declan Nguyen | Tags: Ethiopia


GENEVA – Five million people are at risk of cholera in drought-hit Ethiopia, where acute watery diarrhea has broken out in crowded, unsanitary conditions, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Cholera, an acute intestinal infection, causes watery diarrhea that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not promptly given, according to the United Nations agency.

“Overall, 8.8 million people are at risk of malaria and 5 million of cholera (in Ethiopia),” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in a note sent to journalists. Ethiopian health officials have confirmed cases of acute watery diarrhea in the Somali, Afar and Oromiya regions of Ethiopia, he told Reuters.

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Offering Protection from Sudden Cardiac Arrest

July 14th, 2011 by Joseph Tishler |

Rhina and Hector Paredes have turned the tragic loss of their teenage son into an opportunity to put better health safeguards in place for other local children.

Rhina Paredes, a registered nurse at Scripps Health, had no idea her athletic 15-year-old son Eric had a heart condition until he unexpectedly passed away from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in July 2009.

People who are at high risk for SCA can be diagnosed through simple tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), which measures the heart’s electrical activity, or an echocardiogram, which is essentially an ultrasound of the heart.

But for parents who have no reason to suspect their child is anything but healthy, such screening tests are not easy to come by.

“Unless there are signs and symptoms of a heart problem, insurance companies typically don’t cover screening tests for children and teens,” Rhina Paredes says. “Unfort

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