New Superbug Could Make Worldwide Debut
A new gene that can morph any bacterium into an antibiotic-resistant "superbug" has appeared in British hospitals, and scientists fear it could soon appear worldwide. New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1, has been identified in about 50 people who returned to the United Kingdom after having surgery in India or Pakistan, British scientists reported Wednesday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. The gene, which exists in bacteria like E. coli, causes resistance to even the most powerful class of antibiotics, called carbapenems. NDM-1 is spreading quickly throughout Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. "At a global level, this is a real concern," Timothy Walsh, a researcher from Britain's Cardiff University, told Reuters. "Because of medical tourism and international travel in general, resistance to these types of bacteria has the potential to spread around the world very, very quickly. And there is nothing in the pipeline to tackle it."
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For Good Health, Watch Your Waist Size, Not Just Your Weight
You may assume that if your weight is in the healthy range, you have a low risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions linked to obesity. But new research suggests that waist size could play as important a role as body weight in determining how long you live, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz writes. After examining a database of more than 100,000 men and women ages 50 and older participating in a cancer prevention study, researchers found that those with the largest waistlines had about twice the risk of dying over a nine-year period as those with the smallest waistlines. (Nearly 20 percent of the men and 10 percent of the women died over the duration of the study, mainly from heart disease, cancer, and respiratory conditions.)
What's especially troubling, though, is that even big-waisted folks who had a healthy body mass index—a measurement of weight to height—had a higher risk of dying. Every 4-inch increase in waist size was associated with a 25 percent greater risk of death, says Eric Jacobs, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society who led the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine . What is an ideal waist size? Less than 35 inches for men and 30 inches for women, according to the study. These measurements are considerably smaller than what the American Heart Association defines as optimal: below 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. [Read more: For Good Health, Watch Your Waist Size, Not Just Your Weight.]
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Pets Can Pose Health Risks for Children
The bowl of pet food on the kitchen floor can make babies and toddlers seriously ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It turns out that salmonella bacteria in dried dog and cat food sparked an outbreak of salmonella infections between 2006 to 2008. Half of the 79 cases reported were in children ages 2 and under, U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute writes.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children and the elderly, and it's no fun for healthy adults, either. People infected with salmonella usually suffer four to seven days of fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
CDC investigators, who reported their findings in the current Pediatrics, couldn't connect the illnesses to children actually eating pet food. More likely is that the bugs were spread by direct contact with pets, and through contact with the floor and other parts of the home. Infection was more likely if pet bowls were kept in the kitchen. [Read more: Pets Can Pose Health Risks for Children.]
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