This week’s topics include the Darwin awards and gender, tipping behavior at the holidays, political persuasion and physical activity, and magazines in physician waiting rooms.
0:30 Annual Christmas spoof
1:35 Examined over 29,000 adult’s data
2:32 Suggests an association but not causality
3:10 Magazines in physician waiting rooms
4:10 Divided into gossipy and non-gossipy magazine
5:10 Related to disappearance of magazines not age
6:19 Tipping behavior at Christmas
7:18 Darwin awards and gender
8:18 More likely to be male or female?
9:15 Limited retrospective data
Anchor lead: Could a virus normally found in algae impact you? Elizabeth Tracey reports
A virus normally found in algae, that greenish organism best known for invading bodies of water as well as domestic swimming pools, can also be found in the throats of people, research by Robert Yolken, a virologist and pediatric infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, has found. Yolken says the virus may have an impact on cognition.
Yolken: We asked the people to complete a series of cognitive tests, things like connecting dots that are ordered by number or asking them to remember lists of names, the kinds of things that you or I or anyone could do. These people were all normal in the sense that they were in the normal range, there’s nothing about them that would be unusual but within the normal range some people had better memory than others. And we found much to our surprise that finding this particular algae virus was associated with a small but a measureable decrease in some of the cognitive functions that we were measuring. :28
Yolken says more research is needed but this finding is the first to associate a virus previously thought not to infect humans with throat infection. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.
Anchor lead: Billions around the world don’t used toilets or latrines, Elizabeth Tracey reports
The toileting habits of billions of people around the world are giving rise to a new generation of superbugs, resistant to every drug we have and killing many. Recent studies demonstrate the bugs are already globe-trotting, having been found in the US and elsewhere. Michael Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, describes the problem.
Klag: It is a huge problem. In some countries you know that open defecation is common. Some people prefer it to using latrines. So we can provide toilets, we can provide latrines, but we need to invest in behavior change. We need to educate people about why it’s important to use toilets and latrines, why it’s important not to have open defecation. :20
Klag remains optimistic however.
Klag: With the right social and educational interventions there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to reduce that number of 2.5 billion people. :07
A Gates Foundation contest to develop a low-resource toilet may also help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.
Anchor lead: One-third of women worldwide report themselves as victims of violence, Elizabeth Tracey reports.
One in three women around the world suffer violence of some sort, a recent Lancet special issue reports, with the World Health Organization supporting the assertion. Michael Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says the place to start to intervene is with young people.
Klag: There are multiple studies in the literature that shows that intervening with young girls and providing messages about self-worth, and how to prevent violence how to prevent unwanted sexual intercourse, they work. They work in a variety of settings. We also know that we can teach young men about respect for women. We need to change social norms, the definition of masculinity. That also decreased the risk of sexual violence to women. :27
Klag notes that violence against women crosses all cultural and economic barriers and is largely invisible to much of society, so bringing awareness and a message of unacceptability is key. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.
Anchor lead: Flavored e-cigarettes may be hazardous, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Bubble gum, cherry, chocolate…these are flavorings found in e-cigarettes, and aside from their blatant appeal to young people, may also have very bad effects on the lungs when they’re inhaled. That’s according to a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Enid Neptune, a lung expert at Johns Hopkins, concurs.
Neptune: Most of these additives have been deemed safe simply because they are safe in ingested products and not because they have been tested in inhalational studies. I think this will hopefully engage our regulatory agencies, help them to include these inhalational toxicity measures in their assessment of these various e-cigarette solutions, I’m hopeful that the FDA will include this as they refine and modify their proposed rule for e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. :33
Neptune says for now, the obvious message is steer clear of flavored e-cigarettes. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.