Archive for May, 2010

Should ban on gay men’s blood donations be lifted?

Update: In June, The Health and Human Services Department’s Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability declined to change the current ban on gay men donating blood, but did recommend that current policies be reviewed, noting that current policy may permits potentially high-risk blood donations while preventing low-risk donations. The panel ultimately concluded that existing research isn’t adequate to justify lifting the ban, and more research is needed on this controversial issue.

According to CNN, the Federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability will consider the controversial issue of blood donations from gay men. In June, this committee will makes recommendations to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the FDA. Current FDA rules prohibit men who have had sex with another man since 1977 from donating blood. The rules came about during the initial outbreak of AIDS in the early 1980’s, when tests used at the …

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How well do we understand food allergies?

Food allergies are a hot topic in the news right now. According to a recent CDC report, the number of people with a diagnosed food allergy had risen by 18 percent over the last decade. But a recent report by the American Medical Association suggests that the incidence of true food allergies may be far lower than what is generally believed. All of these contradictory reports about food allergies may be leading to a great deal of confusion for the average American consumer and for doctors trying to treat these conditions. A recent Harris Interactive/HomeFree study indicates that a good deal of people (43 percent) think gluten is an allergy, like wheat or shellfish. Just 3 percent of Americans can correctly identify all four of the listed common food allergens (nuts, dairy, eggs and wheat.)

Shellfish are one of the top food allergens. Photo by Chris Hunt/AJC Special.

Shellfish are one of the top food allergens. Photo by Chris Hunt/AJC Special.

One major issue is semantics. A food allergy is not the same as a food intolerance. Food allergies can be …

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Is working overtime hazardous to your health?

The Los Angeles Times posted a blog about an interesting European study which suggests working extra hours on the job can be detrimental to one’s health. Specifically, the damage in working overtime seemed to center around the health of the heart. One of the more sobering statistics that the report provides is that for people who worked at least three hours beyond the normal work day, they had on average a 60% higher rate of angina, nonfatal heart attacks and death from heart-related conditions. You can read the entire study (PDF) in the European Heart Journal.

Chris Hunt/AJC Special

Chris Hunt/AJC Special

The study focused on London office workers, but considering the reputation that Americans have for working long hours, we can assume to be carrying the same health risks every time we burn the midnight oil. The study even concludes that America is well above average when it comes to employees working overtime.

The Los Angeles Times does make an intriguing point, as the study found that the people …

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Do you know the facts about breast cancer?

With the death of actress Lynn Redgrave, who lost her seven year battle with breast cancer this week, along with the 2010 Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure® coming to Atlanta this Saturday, it’s time to learn the facts about this disease. Ask.com, a national partner of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure has compiled a helpful Q&A which covers the top questions asked about breast cancer.

The 2010 Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure® will be held on  May 8th at Atlantic Station. Photo courtesy of the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The 2010 Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure® will be held on May 8th at Atlantic Station. Photo courtesy of the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Top questions about breast cancer from Ask.com

Q. Can men be diagnosed with breast cancer?
A. Although rare, men can get and even die from the breast cancer.

Q. How many new diagnoses of breast cancer were there in 2009?
A. 192,370 U.S. women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.

Q. What is a mammogram?
A. A mammogram is a breast screening using x-rays.

Q. Who may be at a higher risk for breast cancer?
A. Studies show older women have …

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