Medical developments from around the world
Pet Owners Beware
We are very fond of our pets, especially dogs and cats. Some people have reptiles and exotic birds at home. Having a pet is assumed to be very good for one’s health and also to avoid depression. Yet, if a very high degree of hygiene standards are not kept, the risk to human health from pets could, at times, be even life-threatening.
Toxoplasmosis (infection from parasitic bacteria), intestinal worms like hookworm, salmonella, campylo-bacterial diarrhoea, common cold from dogs, cat scratch disease and the deadly rabies from warm-blooded animals are the risks one takes while keeping pets. We, in India, do not have strict rules governing pets. The main danger to human health comes from dog and cat excreta on roads. Most pet keepers do not clean up after their pets. Strict cleaning is a must. Washing hands after contact with animals and their excreta should be routine.
If one keeps birds, a big risk is psittacosis or parrot fever, a bacterial disease caused by chlamydia psittaci—a type of bacteria—that humans can contract through inhalation of bird secretions, including urine and faeces.
Breast Screening May Reveal Heart Disease
If scanning of breasts show calcified breast arteries, the likelihood of coronary arteries being calcified is also quite high. If a woman past middle age has calcified breast arteries, she is advised to have a full cardiac evaluation for preventive steps.
Smell Sweat, Be Happy!
Pheromones (described as behaviour-altering agents by some) are known to transfer emotions to others. In a recent study at the Utrecht University (The Netherlands), the researchers—both psychiatrists—found that persons could transfer their happy state of mind via their sweat to those who smell them or come close to them. The researchers said: “We observed that exposure to body odour collected from senders of chemo signals in a happy state induced a facial expression and perceptual-processing style indicative of happiness in the receivers of those signals. Our findings suggest that not only negative (effect) but also a positive state (happiness) can be transferred by means of odours.”
Women showed more signs of happiness in this study, according to Gün Semin, one of the researchers.
Obesity and Cause(s)
Although exercise has many health benefits, not exercising is not a significant cause of obesity, as are sugars and other refined carbohydrates in food. Even if one were to exercise for an hour a day, the amount of calories spent cannot be compensated as much as they are by strict dieting.
Depression and Meditation
A recent study showed that meditation is as effective as any anti-depressant drug in the treatment of depression. This is good news, for two reasons. Most, if not all, anti-depressants encourage suicidal tendencies. They also have many other unpleasant side-effects. Another significant reason is that latest quantum physics puts the mind outside the brain. So treating brain tissues with drugs might not have any relation to human mind.