Personal Health: News and Notes

Posted: February 27, 2012

States with raw-milk sales have twice the dairy-disease cases

States that allow raw-milk sales have more than twice as many dairy-related disease outbreaks as states with prohibitions on such unpasteurized products, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed.

The rate of incidents caused by raw milk, cheese, and yogurt was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk, according to the Atlanta-based CDC's study, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The review examined outbreaks from 1993 to 2006.

Unpasteurized dairy has gained popularity with consumers who say raw milk strengthens the immune system and provides other health benefits. Twenty states ban raw-milk sales in some form.

"Restricting the sale of raw-milk products is likely to reduce the number of outbreaks and can help keep people healthier," said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases.

Dairy caused 4,413 illnesses, 239 hospitalizations, and three deaths, according to the study. In 60 percent of the outbreaks, state health officials determined raw-milk products were the cause.

- Bloomberg News Service

Study finds exercising during pregnancy won't hurt baby

Exercising at moderate or even high intensity during pregnancy won't hurt your baby's health, a new study finds.

Researchers monitored 45 healthy women in their third trimester before and after 30 minutes on a treadmill and found no problems with measures of fetal well-being, including heart rate and blood flow. The results were similar whether or not the women exercised on a regular basis.

Exercise improves heart health and may cut the risk of pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure and diabetes, other studies suggest.

Even so, "many women say their doctor told them they should cut back on exercise, and if they weren't exercising before pregnancy, now is not the time to start," said study coauthor Linda Szymanski of Johns Hopkins University. "I think it's just because there's not enough data out there to assure [doctors] that the fetus is OK."

The study is in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. - HealthDay

Buying eyeglasses online? Have doctor check accuracy, safety

Armed with a prescription and some patience, consumers can save hundreds of dollars, and maybe some time, by buying eyeglasses online.

For most, the major concerns are cosmetic ones. But an important risk is often overlooked: the quality and safety of the lenses.

Researchers found that nearly half of prescription glasses they bought online either contained the wrong lenses or didn't meet the standards for impact testing, meaning the lens can crack or shatter, according to a small study published last year in the journal Optometry.

In some cases, researchers received single- vision lenses instead of multifocal. Lens treatments such as anti-reflection coatings were either incorrectly added or omitted. In nearly a quarter of the spectacles, at least one lens failed impact testing, which is required by the Food and Drug Administration.

Ask your doctor to verify the prescription and to adjust the frame once you've received the glasses. Doctors may charge for this. It's also important to check the company's warranty and return policy. - Chicago Tribune

Panel advises all adults to get whooping-cough vaccination

A federal advisory panel wants all U.S. adults to get vaccinated against whooping cough.

The panel voted last week to expand its recommendation to include all those 65 and older who didn't get a whooping-cough shot as an adult.

Children have been vaccinated for whooping cough since the 1940s, but a vaccine for adolescents and adults was not licensed until 2005.

Since then, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has gradually added groups of adults to its recommendations, including 2010 advice that it be given to elderly people who spend a lot of time around infants.

The adult vaccine combines protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. A version of the vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, was licensed for use in the elderly last year. The committee said another version, made by Sanofi Pasteur, can also be given. Both cost about $35 a dose.

The shot is as safe as a regular tetanus booster. Estimates range widely for how effective the vaccine is at preventing whooping cough in older adults, or how much its protection wanes years afterward. - Associated Press