Saturday, May 28, 2011

Disease control among plants

According to Derek Fell (2010, p. 84), the very best protection against the spread of diseases among plants, or against a disease reappearing in the next season, is to thoroughly clean up the garden in fall and winter.  After the first fall frost put dead stems in the compost pile or burn them. Many disease organisms will overwinter in leaf litter.  Turn over the soil and put down a thick layer of compost so beneficial bacteria can feed on diseased colonies.

Derek Fell. (2010). I'll make you a gardening wizard overnight! Lipenwald Publishers.

CDC to Pull Plug on Meningitis Vaccine

In the wake of dropping meningitis rates in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) appear to be reconsidering their cost-effectiveness analysis of meningitis vaccines. The CDC historically never has chosen to not recommend a vaccine for children that has been approved by the FDA. In this case ACIP seems to be hesitating to recommend the vaccine because of cost. 
The CDC in its 2010 Recommended Immunization Schedule suggests 38 doses of vaccine before a child reaches 18 months. According to Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, the schedule is so crowded that doctors sometimes give babies up to eight vaccines at once. 

Make an Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child, a parent's guide Mayer Eisenstein, MD, is available at Amazon.

Wash for Fresh Produce

Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB) and its subsidiary, Fresh Express Incorporated,  announced that Fresh Express salads sold nationwide are now manufactured using a produce wash, Fresh Rinse™. Tests of Fresh Rinse™ show the rinse dramatically reduces certain bacteria while at the same time continuing to provide high levels of freshness, taste and quality. Fresh Express sells more than 60 varieties of pre-packaged ready-to-eat salads in more than 24,000 retail stores in the United States.

Women, Salaries and Obesity

Are Women Being Penalized At Work For Being Overweight?

A New Study Says YES! "Packing a few extra pounds can hurt a woman's salary and even her ability to get a job, mounting research shows. Yet while women tend to get penalized by the pound, men don't, and perhaps they even gain from girth," writes MSNBC reporters about a study published in the March issue of Elsevier's Economics and Human Biology journal.

•    Why are women punished for being overweight but men practically rewarded for it?

•    Why the double standard?

•    What can women do about it?

News Link

Top Peforming Sunscreens

      YONKERS, NY —  In tests of 22 sprays, creams and lotions, Consumer Reports Health identifies nine products that provide excellent protection against the UVB rays that cause sunburn and very good protection against UVA rays, even after immersion in water.    

            Consumer Reports Health identifies three "CR Best Buys:"  Up Sport SPF 30 (Target), No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45, and Equate Baby SPF 50.   Up is a spray while the other two products are lotions.   On UVB protection, all three products provide "Excellent" protection, while providing "Very Good" protection against UVA radiation, which penetrates deeper than UVB, and can cause tanning and aging the skin.   But consumers shouldn't rely on sunscreen alone, notes the report.  "Sunscreens can be very effective but you should combine them with other good options for protecting your skin such as broad-brimmed hats, tightly woven clothing, and umbrellas.  You can be creative—consider bringing a small tent to the beach for your kids to crawl into," said Jamie Hirsh, senior associate editor, Consumer Reports Health.  

            Almost every sunscreen tested by Consumer Reports Health contains some ingredients associated with adverse health effects in animal studies. Oxybenzone and other endocrine disruptors may interfere with hormones in the body, and nanoscale zinc oxide and titanium oxide are linked to problems such as potential reproductive and developmental effects.  Retinyl palmitate (listed among inactive ingredients), a type of topical vitamin A, is an antioxidant that animal studies have linked to increased risk of skin cancers.  In skin, it converts readily to retinoids, which have been associated with a risk of birth defects in people using acne medications that contain them.  As a precaution, pregnant women may want to avoid sunscreens with retinyl palmitate.  Some examples of top performing sunscreens that do not contain retinyl palmitate include Up & Up Sport SPF 30 and Equate Baby SPF 50.   More research is needed, but as of now, the proven benefits of sunscreen outweigh any potential risks.

            Consumer Reports Health also details the smell and feel of each of the 22 sunscreens.      Many sunscreens have a floral and/or citrus scent.  Some feel draggy, meaning that the skin "pulled" when a panelist rubbed a hand across an arm.  Some even made testers want to wash them off after applying them.  "Sunscreen needs to be applied generously to protect exposed areas of your body, so you want to know how it's going to feel and what it will smell like.   If you want to smell like coconut, that's your prerogative, or you can go for the classic citrus scent, available in many top performing brands," said Hirsh.   The report also notes that all of the more effective sunscreens tended to stain cloth.

            Consumer Reports Health offers these tips for using sunscreens:
  • Don't rely on sunscreen alone.  Wear protective clothing and limit time in the sun.
  • Choose a sunscreen that is water resistant with an SPF of at least 30. Above 30, there's not much more protection.
  • Reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of a lotion on most of your body, or "spray as much as can be evenly rubbed in and then go back over every area and spray completely once again," advises Jessica Krant, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist.
  • Don't pay too much.  La Roche-Posay costs $18.82 per ounce and scored lower overall than No-Ad at 59 cents an ounce.

Tool to measure depression

Primary care doctors have long been on the front lines of depression treatment. Depression is listed as a diagnosis for 1 in 10 office visits and primary care doctors prescribe more than half of all antidepressants.

Now doctors at the University of Michigan Health System have developed a new tool that may help family physicians better evaluate the extent to which a patient's depression has improved.

The issue, the researchers explain, is that the official definition of when a patient's symptoms are in remission doesn't always match up with what doctors see in a real-world practice, especially for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. The study will be published in the upcoming May/June issue of General Hospital Psychiatry.

“Rather than simply going down a list and checking off a patient’s lack of individual symptoms, we believe there are also positive signs that are important – a patient’s feeling that they are returning to ‘normal,’ their sense of well-being, their satisfaction with life and their ability to cope with life’s ups and downs,” says lead author Donald E. Nease Jr., M.D., who was an associate professor of family medicine at the U-M Medical School and member of the U-M Depression Center at the time of the research.

Nease and his colleagues developed a series of five questions – such as, “Over the last two weeks, did you feel in control of your emotions?” – that they hope will help doctors better understand a patient’s inner landscape.

Read the full release at: