Health Buzz: Can the New SARS-like Virus Spread Between People?

Why the fascination with Twilight? Plus, make room for chocolate


The 11th Case of the Virus Suggests It Can Be Spread via Person-to-Person Transmission

The mysterious SARS-like coronavirus that has been making headlines since last fall has struck again, in what's now the 11th case worldwide. But this new case is a little different. The previous 10 patients had traveled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or Pakistan, reports the Associated Press. The U.K. man who's been recently infected hasn't traveled to any of those countries, but has had contact with a previous case, who is also a family member. This newest development leads some to believe that the virus may spread through person-to-person transmission, although health officials say the risk of infection is still considered to be very low. "If (the) novel coronavirus were more infectious, we would have expected to have seen a larger number of cases," John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at Britain's Health Protection Agency, said in a statement.

While the low risk is likely comforting to most, "SARS" and "SARS-like" are still scary words. In 2002, an outbreak of this respiratory syndrome infected 8,000 people worldwide and killed 800.

Why the Fascination with Twilight?

Few stories have captured the collective imagination quite like Twilight, Stephenie Meyer's series of vampire-themed novels, spun into movies, that conjure the passion of young love.

By its nature, young love generates its own brand of intense drama—otherwise we wouldn't have Romeo & Juliet. And there's long been fascination with alternate worlds—think Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, or the alien movie of the moment. But something in the mix has proven particularly powerful for the legions of fans, especially females, who cling to these stories as some source of lifeblood. That the Twilight fandom extends far beyond the "teen idol" variety to transfix so many women of all ages prompted one psychologist to explore the story's draw.

In her 2012 documentary, Into the Twilight Haze, Manhattan-based psychologist Niloo Dardashti investigates why Twilight has such a hold on women. The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the love story. And specifically, the hero, Edward, and his all-consuming, other-worldly connection with Bella. [Read more: Why the Fascination with Twilight?]

Make Room for Chocolate

We often take a black and white view toward the foods we eat, classifying them as either virtuous or vices. Kale? Virtuous. Deep-fried Oreos? Vice. You get the picture.

But consensus breaks down somewhere on the cusp of virtue and vice. That is, there are indulgent foods with some healthy attributes that we can argue either way. Fans justify eating these foods by focusing on the evidence supporting a health benefit, whereas detractors point to the possible ill effects of this same food to argue against it.

Red wine is a great example. There is plenty of good data to support certain health benefits associated with regular, moderate intake of red wine. Yet few doctors would dream of recommending that a non-drinker start drinking red wine if they didn't already drink to begin with. That's because there are also good—and conflicting—data that show even moderate alcohol intake of any kind is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in women and some digestive system cancers as well. [Read more: Make Room for Chocolate]

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