Electronic cigarettes are often billed as a safe way for smokers to try to kick their habit. But it's not just smokers who are getting their fix this way. According to a survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 middle school students who've tried one say they've never smoked a "real" cigarette. And between 2011 and 2012, e-cigarettes doubled in popularity among middle and high school students.
Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 10:40 am
We usually think of the flu as an illness that afflicts the elderly. But this season the virus seems to be hitting younger people hard.
This winter at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., the median age of people hospitalized with influenza was 28.5 years. Many of the worst cases of flu occurred in young, otherwise healthy people.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:11 pm
Fifteen years ago an unwelcome viral visitor entered the U.S., and we've been paying for it ever since.
The U.S recorded its first case of West Nile virus back in 1999. Since then, the disease has spread across the lower 48 states and cost the country around $800 million, scientists reported this week in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
The Obama administration is, again, delaying implementation of a part of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide health insurance to their workers (or, potentially, face penalties). But this time it's not the entire "employer mandate" that's being delayed (as it was in 2013) — just part of it.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 10:22 am
It's been a big week for distressing and important news about women and stroke.
Thursday saw the first-ever guidelines for prevention of stroke in women. They pointed out that women are more likely than men to have strokes. Young women are vulnerable because of pregnancy and birth control pills.
And when women do have strokes, they fare less well than men — even a year later, according to a study published Friday in the journal Neurology.
The brain edits memories of the past, updating them with new information. Scientists say this may help us function better in the present. But don't throw those photos away.
The researchers used scenes like this to test memory. When an object's location and a background scene are presented together, they are remembered as a whole event (top). But when new information is presented, like a new location for the small object, that new location is tied to the old scene (bottom).
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:04 am
Think about your fifth-birthday party. Maybe your mom carried the cake. What did her face look like? If you have a hard time imagining the way she looked then rather than how she looks now, you're not alone.
The brain edits memories relentlessly, updating the past with new information. Scientists say that this isn't a question of having a bad memory. Instead, they think the brain updates memories to make them more relevant and useful now — even if they're not a true representation of the past.
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 1:41 pm
Young people in their teens and early 20s probably aren't thinking about heart disease. But maybe it's time they did.
People who have slightly higher blood pressure when they're 18 to 25 are more likely to have high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries in their 40s, a study says. About one quarter of the people in this study were in that group.
When it comes to persuading teenagers not to smoke, you have to think short-term, the Food and Drug Administration says.
"While most teens understand the serious health risks associated with tobacco use, they often don't believe the long-term consequences will ever apply to them," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters Monday before unveiling the agency's first-ever anti-smoking campaign.