Cell Phones, Brain Tumors and a Wired Earpiece

Just about every time I use a cell phone, I plug in my wired earpiece first. Having discussed the use of earpieces on several news shows, people expect to see me using one. If I am walking around the CNN studios, my colleagues often comment on it. In airports, people will stop me in the rare cases I forget to use the earpiece, and remind me about it. Perhaps, they are intrigued because I am a neurosurgeon who openly shows some concern about cell phones.


What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You: 9 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

The body is a magnificent machine. When things go awry, it generally doesn’t just shut down without warning, like an incandescent light bulb popping its filament. Instead it sends us little signals (think of them as gentle biological taps on the shoulder) letting us know that something is amiss. “Physical signs and symptoms are ways your body tries to alert you to deeper imbalances,” says Elson M. Haas, MD, a San Rafael, Calif., physician with a natural-medicine approach and author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts, 2006).


Internal Bacteria May Alter Brain Chemistry

The role of gut bacteria in the body may extend beyond the stomach and intestines all the way to the brain, a new study in mice suggests. The results show disrupting the normal gut flora of the mice leads to changes in the animals’ behavior, making them less timid and more adventurous, as well as leading to changes in their brain chemistry. Although it’s not clear if the same thing happens in humans, the findings may explain why some gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, are often associated with disorders that can affect behavior, including depression and anxiety.


Japanese Secrets to Resilience

The topic of resilience is at the top of my mind as I prepare a keynote to present to a medical society in Japan in a few weeks. Two months ago Japan was hit with a crippling earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. It is hard to comprehend how Japanese people can cope and bounce back from such overwhelming waves of crisis and negativity. One of my heroes is Barbara Fredrickson, the leading researcher in positive emotions, or what she calls positivity.


Hearing Loss Reported with Viagra Use

It may help you reach the heights of passion, but Viagra could stop you enjoying the pillow talk afterwards. The little blue pills taken by hundreds of thousands of British men may cause deafness, doctors have warned. Viagra and similar impotence drugs have been linked to hundreds of cases of sudden hearing loss around the world, including some in the UK. Users in the U.S. are now being warned that the drugs could damage hearing, and the British specialists behind the findings want the same alert to be given here.


Top Scientist: Solar Storms will Peak in 2013, Wreak Havoc

Solar storms could have ‘devastating effects’ on human technology when they hit a peak in two years’ time, a leading scientist has warned. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assistant secretary Kathryn Sullivan said the storms pose a growing threat to critical infrastructure such as satellite communications, navigation systems and electrical transmission equipment. Solar storms release particles that can temporarily disable or permanently destroy fragile computer circuits.


Should Cellphones be Banned in Schools for Health Reasons?

A Council of Europe committee recently examined the scientific evidence linking cellphones to negative health conditions. After expert analysis and deliberation, the European leaders are now calling for an EU ban on cellphones in schools. In a report, the influential committee called for immediate action to protect school children from the “potentially harmful” effects on humans as a result of radiation emitted by cellphones and other wireless devices.


The £400 Test that ‘Tells You How Long You’ll Live’

The controversial test measures vital structures on the tips of a person’s chromosomes, called telomeres, which scientists believe are one of the most important and accurate indicators of the speed at which a person is ageing. Scientists behind the €500 (£435) test said it will be possible to tell whether a person’s “biological age”, as measured by the length of their telomeres, is older or younger than their actual chronological age.


Top 7 Supermarket Foods to Avoid

In a recent article, seven experts in the fields of both food and the environment (scientists, doctors and farmers) were asked just one simple question: “What foods do you avoid?” Their responses had nothing to do with calories or nutrient-density, but all to do with their insider knowledge on how certain seemingly “healthy” foods that they closely work with are produced and packaged. The findings are scary.


New Study: MRSA Superbug Bacteria Found in Detroit Meat

From bedbugs and now to meat, the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) superbug that had been found riding on bed bugs has now been found in raw beef, turkey and chicken carried in grocery stores in Detroit.


Study Finds Diabetics Twice as Likely to Develop Cancer

Published in the Diabetes Care journal, the study reveals that people suffering from diabetes have twice the risk of suffering from some certain cancer types compared to people without diabetes.


Radioactive Water and Seaweed Found Near Crippled Japan Plant

The March 11 earthquake that hit Japan damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant and has since caused some water borne radiation to spread. Greenpeace and the Tokyo government officials released survey results which suggested that it is difficult to contain the water-borne spread of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant. This has triggered a crisis that is very much unpredictable at this point.


Babies Given Anti-Obesity Drugs in the Womb

In an attempt to halt the birth rate of overweight babies being born in the United States, it seems society is taking the fight to the next level… in theory. It could also be considered a new low in terms of morality. As part of a three year study to measure the effectiveness of a drug called Metformin, mom’s-to-be will take an experimental drug in an attempt to reduce the biological food supply to their unborn babies.


Texas Schools Photograph Lunches Calories

A recently-begun program in Texas where photographs are taken of cafeteria trays is certainly interesting, though it isn’t clear how effective it will be – or how “correct” this move actually is. Some say it’s a waste of money. I say the money would be better spent on giving the same children access to local, fresh produce.


Which Sleep Position is Healthiest?

Your preferred p.m. pose could be giving you back and neck pain, tummy troubles, even premature wrinkles. Here are the best positions for your body — plus the one you may want to avoid. The Best: Back position Good for: Preventing neck and back pain, reducing acid reflux, minimizing wrinkles, maintaining perky breasts. Bad for: Snoring The scoop: Sleeping on your back makes it easy for your head, neck, and spine to maintain a neutral position.


The Most Toxic Places in Your Home

Moments after my first attempt to get pregnant, I totally freaked out. I wasn’t nervous about the idea of being knocked up (whee!). Instead, I was worried because my home suddenly seemed overwhelmingly toxic, filled with chemicals that might harm my growing baby, her father, and me. Peeling paint above us. Bleach-scrub residue on our counters, sink, and tub. The plastic in my water bottle. The water in my water bottle. Roach bait. I spun around and around. How had I not noticed this before?


Environmental Toxins: What Your Doctor’s Not Telling You

I have been thinking about environmental toxins a lot lately. From the nuclear accident in Fukushima Japan to the 25th anniversary of the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl to my own work as part of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition — a group of 50 nonprofits working to clean up or shut down Chicago’s deadly and dangerous coal-fired power plants — I am becoming more and more aware that we are all constantly exposed to toxic chemicals and radiation.