Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

According to an article in the WSJ , Melinda Beck states that many people are using omega-3 supplements to protect against various ailments, despite the fact that research on omega-3’s benefits is mixed. Recent research published in JAMA suggests that omega-3 fatty acids do not protect against heart attacks, strokes or deaths. Some medical associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, recommend regular consumption of fish rich in omega-3 for most people. Still, according to Paul Coates, director of the Office of Dietary Supplements, “There is no single answer here.” Coates adds, “Given that there is a potential for benefit, and the harm has not yet been fully explored, at reasonable levels of intake, it’s not a bad idea.”


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The AP (http://tinyurl.com/sunny-states 12/17, Schmid) reported, people in sunny states such as Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida say they’re the happiest Americans.   The places where people are most likely to report happiness also tend to rate high on studies comparing things like climate, crime rates, air quality and schools.  Ranking No. 1 in happiness was Louisiana, home of Dixieland music and Cajun/Creole cooking.   Rounding out the happy five were Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona.  At the other end of the scale, last in happiness — is New York state.   It is suggested that the long commutes, congestion and high prices around New York City account for some of the unhappiness. 

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The AP (http://tinyurl.com/benefits-of-graditude 11/25) says, “Academics have long theorized that expressions of thanks promote health and happiness and give optimism and energy to the downtrodden. Now, “research indicates being thankful might help people actually feel better.” A recent study published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science hypothesizes that gratitude “builds social support, which…is tied to both physical and psychological wellbeing.” Meanwhile, “Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California-Davis, said those who offer gratitude are less envious and resentful,” and may “sleep longer, exercise more, and report a drop in blood pressure.”

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cpHealthDay (6/29, Edelson) reported that, according to a study published online June 29 in the journal Circulation, “anxiety and depression can increase the incidence of angina.” For the study, a team led by Mark Sullivan, MD, PhD, of the University of Washington, followed “191 people with known ischemia who underwent stress testing and heart imaging. They found that 36 percent reported no angina in the previous month, with 35 percent reporting monthly incidents.” Of the group “who had daily or weekly angina, psychological assessments, including a self-reporting anxiety and depression questionnaire, showed that 44 percent had significant anxiety and two-thirds had significant depression.” It remained unclear “whether the psychological problems were heightening the effect of angina or vice versa,” but Dr. Sullivan said that “physicians treating people with angina can use ‘fairly simple screening tests’ to determine the presence of anxiety or depression and treat those conditions, if necessary.”

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onlineIn the Wall Street Journal (6/11) Health Blog, Laura Landro wrote, “Mobile devices, doctor review sites and blogs are changing the way millions of health consumers find and share…health information, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation.” The survey of “2,253 adults, age 18 and older,” showed that an estimated 60 percent of respondents “said they have consulted blog comments, hospital reviews and doctor reviews, listened to podcasts about healthcare and signed up to receive updates about health or medical issues.” Notably, “some 60 percent of e-patients say they or someone they know has been helped by following medical advice or health information found on the Web,” compared to “31 percent of e-patients in 2006.” In addition, “close to 40 percent of e-patients use a social networking site” and “22 percent have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates on such a site.”

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GlucoseMedscape (6/4, Cassels) reported that, according to a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting, “major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with impaired glucose tolerance.” For the study, researchers from the Bergen Regional Medical Center, in Paramus, NJ, “conducted a retrospective chart review among approximately 200 patients with a diagnosis of MDD who had been admitted to the Bergen Regional Medical Center between January and December 2007. Patients” who were “diagnosed with diabetes, coronary artery disease, or obesity were excluded from the study.” The team found that “21.12 percent of MDD patients had high fasting plasma glucose levels of >100 mg/dL and that 13.93 percent had fasting blood glucose levels between 90 and 99 mg/dL.” Notably, “approximately 35 percent of these depressed patients had impaired glucose-tolerance levels.” While “diabetes in the general population is about six…to seven percent,” in “individuals with depression, it is” approximately “21…to 22 percent,” the authors said.

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jartMedscape (5/27, Boughton) reported that, according to “a long-term analysis of Sertraline Antidepressant Heart Attack Randomized Trial (SADHART)” data presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting, “patients who fail to recover from depression after an acute episode of myocardial infarction…or unstable angina have double the mortality rate of those who return to psychological health — even seven years after the initial cardiac event.” In addition, investigators “from the SADHART trial also found that patients who had more severe depression — with a score of greater than 18 on the Hamilton Depression Rating…scale — were twice as likely to die as those with fewer symptoms seven years after being hospitalized for acute coronary syndromes.” And, “during the same panel presentation,” Erika Froelicher, PhD, said that “15…to 20 percent of cardiac patients meet the criteria for a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed (DSM-IV) disorder.”

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HealthDay (5/18, Preidt) reported, “Overweight teens, or those who believe they are, are more likely than other teens to attempt suicide,” according to a study appearing in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Investigators “looked at more than 14,000 high school students to determine if there’s a link between suicide attempts and body mass index (BMI), as well as a teen’s belief that he or she might be overweight — whether it’s true or not.” The researchers found that both male and female teenagers “who were overweight and those who believed they were overweight were more likely to attempt suicide than those who weren’t and those who didn’t believe they were overweight.” Lead researcher Monica Swahn, associate dean for research at College of Health and Human Sciences at Georgia State University, said, “Our findings show that both perceived and actual overweight increase risk for suicide attempt.”

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BBC News (5/1) reported that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, “drinking water which contains the element lithium may reduce the risk of suicide.” For the study, researchers from Japan’s Universities of Oita and Hiroshima “examined levels of lithium in drinking water and suicide rates in the prefecture of Oita, which has a population of more than one million,” and found that “the suicide rate was significantly lower in those areas with the highest levels of the element.” In fact, “even relatively low levels appeared to have a positive impact [on] suicide rates.” The team speculated that levels as low as “0.7 to 59 micrograms per liter” may provide “a cumulative protective effect on the brain from years of drinking this tap water.” But, while the authors “called for further research in other countries…they stopped short of any suggestion that lithium be added to drinking water.”

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The safety of students, faculty, staff and patients remains our top priority. We continue to work with local health agencies to receive the most current information, and contingency plans will be implemented quickly if the situation worsens. In the meantime, this list of frequently asked questions has been developed to better inform you. These questions will be posted on the emergency web site http://www.emergency.osu.edu/ and will be updated as needed.
Bob Armstrong
Director, Emergency Management & Fire Prevention

What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of swine flu happen regularly in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. The current influenza epidemic in humans is caused by the H1N1 influenza virus and is really a genetic re-assortment of swine, bird and human flu virus. It has not yet been identified in pigs, but is causing human infections.

Is this H1N1 flu contagious? How do you catch it?
The Centers for Disease Control has determined that this influenza virus is contagious but it not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

Spread of this flu can occur in two ways:
Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses. OR
Through contact with a person with swine flu. Human-to-human spread of this virus is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu in people?
The symptoms in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include:
fever greater than 100 degrees
sore throat
body aches
chills and fatigue
respiratory congestion
Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with this virus. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with this flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, the H1N1 flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Are there medicines to treat the H1N1 flu?
Yes. The CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir (commonly known as Tamilfu and Relenza) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).
Ohio State’s Medical Center and Wilce Student Health Center have a ready supply of these antiviral drugs needed to treat this influenza.

How long can an infected person spread the H1N1 flu to others?
People with the H1N1 influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
Because of this 7-day incubation period, it is unlikely that anyone who traveled to Mexico for spring break between March 21 – 29 would now be presenting with H1N1 influenza symptoms.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against H1N1 flu. However, there are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
Wash your hands with soap and water OR Use alcohol hand rubs which are easy and effective to prevent spread of infection, especially after coughing/sneezing.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough/ sneeze; throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Cough/sneeze into your elbow, if you do not have a tissue.
Avoid close contact with sick people.
If you do get sick with influenza, CDC recommends you stay home from work/school and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.
If employees are sick, they should go to their primary care physician or the University Health Connection in Parks Hall.
If students are sick they should go to the Wilce Student Health Center.

What should I do if I get sick?
If you become ill with influenza-like symptoms – including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea – and you have recently traveled to Mexico or been exposed to someone who has, then you should contact your primary health care provider. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Severe or persistent vomiting

Can I get swine influenza from preparing or eating pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe. Ohio State University Extension offers detailed information on the proper handling and cooking of pork at

If I received a flu shot this season, am I protected against the H1N1 virus?
No, the current flu shot did not contain strains of the H1N1 influenza virus currently infecting people, so you have not been vaccinated against this virus.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico?
At this time, the CDC recommends that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico. Changes to this recommendation will be posted at

http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/. Ohio State community members with travel plans are strongly encouraged to check this site for the latest travel information and guidance.  http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~news/story.php?id=5153.

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