Health Highlights: July 13, 2012

HealthDay SHARE
  • New Database Will Speed Response to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks
  • Salmonella Illness Tied to Baby Chicks Hits People in 26 States
  • Propecia Reported to Cause Long-Term Sexual Problems
  • Eye Movements Don't Reveal Lying: Study

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Database Will Speed Response to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

The genetic codes of 100,000 types of bacteria found in food will be compiled in a free public database that can be used by scientists to trace the causes of foodborne illness outbreaks.

The database, being set up at the University of California, Davis, will enable investigators to identify food that carries bacteria responsible for a given outbreak and also what country it came from, The New York Times reported.

The new database is expected to reduce from weeks to days the length of time it takes to respond to foodborne illness outbreaks.

The project was announced Thursday by Food and Drug Administration official Steven M. Musser. "It's actually a big deal from a scientific standpoint," he told The Times.


Salmonella Illness Tied to Baby Chicks Hits People in 26 States

A total of 144 people in 26 states have become ill so far in a salmonella outbreak linked to chicks and ducklings from Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio, says a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update released Thursday.

Here are the number of ill persons in each state: Alabama (4), Arizona (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (1), Indiana (3), Kansas (1), Kentucky (5), Louisiana (1), Maine (4), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (2), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (16), North Carolina (14), Ohio (37), Pennsylvania (11), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (11), Texas (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (10), and West Virginia (7).

Thirty-two people have been hospitalized. One death was reported in New York, but it's unclear if the salmonella infection contributed to this death, the CDC said. Thirty-six percent of the ill people are children age 10 or younger.

The same hatchery was linked to a 2011 outbreak of salmonella.


Propecia Reported to Cause Long-Term Sexual Problems

The hair loss prevention drug Propecia can cause long-term sexual problems in men, according to a new study.

It said that the effects -- including erectile dysfunction, reduced sex drive, orgasm problems and shrinking and painful genitals -- can last for months to years, even after men stop taking the drug, ABC News reported.

Other side effects reported by patients included depression, anxiety and mental fogginess.

The study included 54 men under age 40 who reported side effects for at least three months after taking Propecia. Of those men, 96 percent experienced sexual problems for more than a year after they stopped taking the drug. The findings were published Thursday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

"Our findings make me suspicious that this drug may have done permanent damage to these men," study author Dr. Michael Irwig, of George Washington University, told ABC News. "The chances that they will improve? I think it's lower and lower the longer they have these side effects."


Eye Movements Don't Reveal Lying: Study

The belief that your eyes can reveal if you're lying is a myth, according to U.K. researchers.

Some psychologists think that people look up to their right when they're lying and look up to the left when they're being honest, BBC News reported.

But researchers at Edinburgh and Hertfordshire universities conducted a series of tests on volunteers and found that there was no truth to this theory. Their findings were published online in the journal PLoS One.

"A large percentage of the public believes that certain eye movements are a sign of lying, and this idea is even taught in organizational training courses," study co-author Caroline Watt of Edinburgh University told the BBC. "Our research provides no support for the idea and so suggests that it is time to abandon this approach to detecting deceit."