Health Buzz: Salmonella and Tomatoes and Other Health News

Health records online, age expectancy for men, and how and why we lie

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Salmonella Alert Expanded Nationwide

The salmonella warning that Health Buzz reported on last week—linking consumption of raw tomatoes to the illness in two states—has expanded nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration Friday alerted consumers across the country that a salmonella outbreak has been linked to eating raw, red tomatoes. The agency says that raw, red plum; raw, red Roma; or raw, red round tomatoes should be eaten only if they originate from a list of states provided on the FDA's website. Otherwise, consumers should stick to eating cherry or grape tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes, or those with the vine still attached.

In response to the outbreak, the FDA explains why we need to find food problems faster. U.S. News offers advice on how to keep your family's food supply safe, information about food poisoning, and general food-safety tips.

Kaiser, Microsoft Team Up to Offer Patient Data Program

Kaiser Permanente and Microsoft Corp. will offer a patient information exchange program, according to the Wall Street Journal. The pilot project—expected to last until the fall—will securely transfer patient data in the health insurance company's system to Microsoft's HealthVault. The online application is designed to allow users to manage medical information from a variety of sources.

Earlier, U.S. News explained how to create your own personal health record and looked at a study that showed most people are interested in electronic health records.

University of North Carolina Panel Highlights Racial Disparities

A University of North Carolina- at Chapel Hill panel found the average life expectancy for men overall is about 75.2 years, but for black men, the average is just 69.8, Adam Voiland reports. That's more than a decade less than the average for white women. The statistics for nonwhite Hispanics, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders are more encouraging: Life expectancy for those groups appears to be higher than for whites, although the National Center for Health Statistics does not publish official life expectancy estimates for these groups because of the data limitations.

Voiland describes disparities in rates of such diseases as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Last year, he discussed why Asians may have an edge in battling prostate cancer.

Why People Lie--or Exaggerate

Our society frowns upon lying. Witness the brouhaha over former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception , where he accuses his former boss of a "lack of candor." McClellan says he's most upset about the damage to his own reputation after he "unknowingly passed along false information" from administration officials, Deborah Kotz reports.

For most people, however, a certain lack of candor is acceptable. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts several years ago found that 60 percent of people lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation. Women are more likely to lie to make a person feel better, and men tend to lie to make themselves look better.

Kotz explains gender differences in fibbing and what motivates people to lie in the On Women blog.

—January W. Payne