September 18, 2000 |
Public health officials are so concerned about a possible major influenza epidemic that they are preparing for the worst, counting hospital beds and fretting about drug shortages, much as disaster officials do before hurricanes and earthquakes. Not one person has come down with the kind of flu that worries them, but the stage is set for a nasty outbreak that could kill at least 88,000 Americans in one fast season. The world is due, if not overdue, for a super epidemic, leading experts say. New flu strains strike humans every 30 to 40 years on average, and when they do, they are far more deadly than ordinary flu - and this has not happened since 1968.
May 12, 2000 |
A research team in Denver yesterday announced wonderful news for parents: Dirt may be good for babies. Well, of course, it's not quite that wonderful. Short of discovering that chocolate cures cancer, what could be? What the researchers said, in their precise, scientific way, is that exposure to certain stuff in house dust - endotoxin - may keep babies from developing allergies. Endotoxin is a part of bacterial cell walls that remains in the environment after bacteria die. Potentially, this is also image-changing news for the house dogs and cats of America, who are endotoxin producers and get a bad rap for the sneezing and wheezing they cause in some unfortunate allergy sufferers.
January 31, 2000 |
Your mother probably won't agree, but some scientists think people in industrialized countries are too clean. That's right. Too clean, too worried about germs. Put away that antibacterial soap. Let your kids play barefoot in the dirt. Use antibiotics sparingly. The idea is that humans evolved over millions of years in a dirty environment. Billions of bacteria live in our guts and they always have. In fact, there are more bacteria in our bodies than cells. Until relatively recently, almost everybody had worms.
January 19, 2000 |
How do you know if you're stressed out? Mother Nature has many ways of handing us a hint. There is no one-symptom-fits-all. Here are symptoms of stress, but they could indicate other ailments too: Tense muscles Headaches Sleeplessness Grinding your teeth Stomach aches Diarrhea Skin blemishes Eating excessively or losing your appetite "The important thing to know is that stress is...
October 7, 1999 |
Tens of thousands of Americans who suffer from various autoimmune disorders or who need organ transplants stand to benefit from a seven-year, $144 million federal research initiative announced yesterday. The initiative, to be carried out by a consortium of nearly 40 medical centers, including the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems, will test a promising new way to turn off the immune response involved in the body's rejection of organ transplants and a host of diseases ranging from juvenile diabetes to multiple sclerosis.
September 12, 1999 |
It was supposed to have been Robert and Anne Gates Yarnall's dream house, but it became Anne's worst nightmare. The house in Upper Roxborough, with its landmark three-story atrium, made her sick, so sick that she exiled herself for a whole year to the studio she had once used for her painting while she waited to move to a more environmentally friendly house. Yarnall had fallen victim to multiple chemical sensitivity, meaning that just about everything around her made her sick - from the kerosene-based ink used in newspapers, to the mold spores on the pages of books, to the outside air laden with automobile exhausts, to the fragrance designed to mask the soapy odor of dishwashing detergent.
July 20, 1998 |
The freezer in David Berd's laboratory at Thomas Jefferson University contains millions of tumor cells taken from patients with malignant melanoma, the fastest growing cancer in the United States. This year, more than 40,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the skin cancer and an estimated 7,300 will die from it. But while the malignant cells of melanoma patients often prove deadly, these very same cells are being used to create a vaccine that could stop the spread of melanoma and greatly extend patients' lives.
April 22, 1998 |
A Lancaster County heart-transplant recipient has become the first of 15 patients to receive a revolutionary therapy designed to prevent his body from rejecting the organ. The technique involved replacing part of his immune system with that of his donor. The technique is controversial and as yet unproven. David Combs, 53, of Kirkwood, is doing well after the heart transplant on Sunday, said his doctors at Allegheny University Hospitals/Hahnemann. Combs, a longtime coronary artery disease patient, received the immune-system transplant yesterday.
March 16, 1998 |
Twelve years ago, after he got his first heart transplant, John Meade felt like a new man. For the first time in years, Meade, whose heart had been damaged in a childhood bout with rheumatic fever, could play tennis, take long walks and go on Caribbean cruises with his wife. But today, Meade, 58, is back to where he started, huffing and puffing as his second heart transplant, which he received in 1995, succumbs to the same problem as his first. "If nothing is done, it's just a matter of time," said the retired sales manager from West Chester.
December 24, 1997 |
Hatboro-Horsham's John Kenny is not only one of the best distance swimmers in the area, he is also one of the most determined, competitive and courageous. Last year, the youngster stepped out of a sickbed to swim the 500-yard freestyle at Penn during the PIAA District 1 Class AAA championships. Seeded first in the event, the weakened junior finished sixth in 4 minutes, 47 seconds and barely qualified for the state meet, which was his goal. Many swimmers perform while sick, but not with a 105-degree fever and a weight loss of between 10 and 12 pounds, as Kenny did. For a week before the district meet on March 1, he lay in bed as a result of the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis.