Energy drinks pose threat to young children
Thousands of young children have suffered dangerous side effects from consuming energy drinks in recent years, usually without knowing what they were drinking, according to a a report presented today at a meeting of the American Heart Association.
After noticing an increasing number of children being brought into the emergerncy room after drinking energy drinks, in 2010 doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan started to focus on quantifying the trend and for three years analyzed data from all the poison control centers in the U.S.
The report revealed 5,156 cases between October 2010 and September 2013, with about 40 percent of them involving children younger than the age of six. Many of the patients had experienced serious side effects, researchers said, including seizures, irregular heart rhythms and blood pressures that were described as “dangerously high.”
The study also found that the energy drinks with caffeine and other additives—such as plant extracts and amino acids—caused more severe problems than did the energy drinks with no additives.
The researchers said that even though the effects of specific ingredients in energy drinks are not yet known, they concluded that their consumption has the potential to have serious side effects. They warned that parents and siblings of young children should not allow them access to the drinks, especially if the children have risk factors, such as a seizure disorder or a predisposition to high blood pressure.
Smoking ban on planes: Nov. 21, 1989
After a 25-year battle, smoking is essentially banned on all airline flights beginning and ending in the U.S. George H.W. Bush signs legislation that make it through Congress despite fierce resistance by legislators from tobacco states.
Technically, the new law forbids smoking on any domestic flight lasting less than six hours in length—which means only 28 out of 16,000 flights are exempted, mainly non-stops to Hawaii. It replaces a previous law banning smoking on U.S. flights under two hours.
It’s seen as a big victory for health advocates and flight attendants, who had long complained about all the second-hand smoke they had to breathe in. A turning point in the debate had been a National Academy of Sciences report in 1986 which found that flight attendants typically were exposed to the same level of second-hand smoke as someone married to a person who smoked a pack a day.
Still, it had been an uphill battle. As far back as 1973 the Civil Aeronautics Board had begun addressing the matter by requiring airlines to create separate smoking and non-smoking sections. But only the tobacco companies saw that as much of a solution. As one critic of the policy put it: “A smoking section on an airplane is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool.”
Even with more and more scientific evidence showing harmful health effects of an airplane cabin full of smoke, the political debate came down to the rights of smokers versus non-smokers. When his attempts to block the legislation through a filibuster failed, Senator Jesse Helms, from the big tobacco state of North Carolina, complained: “People who smoke cigarettes have a right, too. But they are going to have no choice.”
By the mid-1990s, airlines began adopting no-smoking policies that applied worldwide, beginning with Delta in 1995, and followed two years later by TWA, United and American Airlines. Air France, British Air and Virgin Atlantic followed suit in 1998. By the time President Bill Clinton signed a law officially prohibiting smoking on every flight into and out of the U.S in 2000., it was a mere formality.
More recently, companies selling electronic cigarettes, which emit no smoke, began promoting them as devices that can be smoked anywhere—including on planes. And technically, they were right—the existing law doesn’t actually prohibit them. But none of major airlines is allowing e-cigarettes to slip through that loophole. For now, their position is that faux cigarettes are no more welcome on their planes than the real thing.
More slices of history
Running may protect against knee arthritis
Running may actually help protect against developing osteoarthritis of the knee, according to a new study.
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas recruited 2,683 volunteers with an average age of 64.5. About 56 percent of the volunteers were female, and the average body mass index (BMI) of all volunteers was 28.6.
At the start of the study, the researchers took X-rays of the volunteers’ knees and asked them to fill out questionnaires about their physical activity.
After two years, the researchers again took X-rays of the volunteers’ knees to look for radiographic knee osteoarthritis (ROA), which doesn’t always result in pain but can be seen on an X-ray. The researchers also assessed the participants for knee pain and for symptomatic osteoarthritis (SOA), meaning feeling pain in at least one knee as well as having ROA.
The researchers found that the participants who ran on a regular basis had a reduced risk of experiencing knee pain, ROA and SOA, when compared with those who did not run regularly or who did not run at all.
The study’s findings, presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston suggest that running on a regular basis does not increase the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis and may actually protect against it. The study did not determine the effect of regular running for individuals who already have knee osteoarthritis or underlying risk factors for osteoarthritis.
One kiss can transfer 80 million bacteria
Kissing for 10 seconds may transfer as many as 80 million bacteria to a partner, according to a new study.
Scientists in the Netherlands recruited 21 couples for the study. The researchers gathered swab samples to analyze oral bacteria on the tongue and in saliva. The volunteers were also asked to fill out questionnaires about how frequently they kissed.
In the second part of the study, the researchers had one person from each couple consume a probiotic drink with specific types of bacteria. They then asked the couples to kiss, after which they analyzed which types and how many bacteria from the drink were transferred.
The results of the study were two-fold. The researchers found that as many as 80 million bacteria could be transferred during a 10-second kiss. They also found that couples that kissed at least nine times a day were more likely to have similar oral bacteria.
Another finding was that 74 percent of the men in the study said they kissed their partner more frequently during a day than the woman remembered. Men reported an average of 10 kisses a day, while the women said it was more like five times a day.
The study’s findings, published in the journal Microbiome, suggest that oral bacteria may be transferred more easily than previously thought.