Medical News

Is it right to use Nazi research if it can save lives? – BBC News

Frank Swain

Seeking a local angle on the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings this week, Washington DC news station WTOP published a glowing biography of the “brilliant” rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, who was laid to rest in nearby Alexandria in 1977. The article caused uproar, however, and was swiftly retracted. The reason? It had failed to mention that von Braun was a Nazi.

There are few corners of scientific progress that are not tainted at some point in their history by immoral or unethical behaviour. Physics, biology, zoology, medicine, psychology, vaccine science, anthropology, genetics, nutrition, engineering: all are rife with discoveries made in circumstances that can be described as unethical, even illegal. How should we feel about making use of that knowledge? Especially when it could be of great service to civilisation and even save lives?

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Von Braun’s presence on the Apollo programme was no outlier. More than 120 German scientists and engineers joined him there, including fellow SS officer Kurt Debus (who became director of Nasa’s Launch Operations Center) and Bernhard Tessmann (designer of the colossal Vertical Assembly Building at what is now Kennedy Space Center).

They were among 1,600 scientists recruited by spies as part of Operation Paperclip at the end of World War Two – all shielded from prosecution, given safe passage to the US, and allowed to continue their work.

Allied forces also snapped up other Nazi innovations. Nerve agents such as Tabun and Sarin (which would fuel the development of new insecticides as well as weapons of mass destruction), the antimalarial chloroquine, methadone and methamphetamines, as well as medical research into hypothermia, hypoxia, dehydration and more, were all generated on the back of human experiments in concentration camps.

Particleboard, forms of synthetic rubber and the soft drink Fanta were also developed by the Germans under Nazi rule.

But this was far from a one-off injection of unethical research into the scientific record. For 40 years, starting in 1932, researchers at Tuskegee University in Alabama tracked the progress of syphilis in hundreds of poor black men – none of whom were ever given a diagnosis or treatment, despite the antibiotic penicillin, which could cure the disease, being available at the time.

In a related study, US doctors in the 1940s intentionally infected unsuspecting patients with sexually transmitted infections to study the diseases. Conscious of the outcry this might generate, the experiments were performed in Guatemala.

US doctors in the 1940s intentionally infected unsuspecting patients with sexually transmitted infections to study the diseases

From 1955 to 1976, in what became known as “The Unfortunate Experiment”, hundreds of women with pre-cancerous lesions were left untreated to see if they developed cervical cancer. Details of the study only came to light following an expose by two women’s health advocates Sandra Coney and Phillida Bunkle. The New Zealand study hoped to test theories about the value of early intervention, but a later inquiry into the research by judge Silvia Cartwright criticised the treatment of patients by the doctors running the study.

The polio vaccine – and many other medical advances besides – owes its existence to human cells that were taken from Henrietta Lacks without her knowledge or consent, and who never saw any compensation from their commercialisation. The cell line grown from those initial samples have been used in countless research into drugs, toxins, viruses and also have been used to study the human genome.

And in the 1950s, Robert G Heath pioneered the use of electrodes implanted in the brain, in one case attempting to rewire sexual orientation. Today similar technology is used as a treatment for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Elon Musk’s recently-announced neural lace.

It is not controversial to argue that these experiments should never have happened. But now they have, what should be done with the information they generated?

“The basic intuition is that if information had been obtained unethically, but we use that information, then we then become complicit in that past,” says Dom Wilkinson, a medical ethicist at the University of Oxford. This is a common view, even among those who make use of such findings.

Writing in the bioethics journal The Hastings Centre Report in 1984, Kristine Moe recounts a conversation with J

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Man dies from flesh-eating disease after fishing on a boat – WCVB Boston

Man dies from flesh-eating disease after fishing on a boat

A man in Texas has died after he contracted a flesh-eating disease while he was fishing.Jerry Sebek, 78, of San Marcos, Texas, became infected with vibriosis after fishing on a boat out near Palacios, Texas, on June 13, his daughter, Kim Sebek said.Sebek did not have any visible open wounds or a compromised immune system.Kim Sebek said her father started to experience vibriosis symptoms — chills, vomiting, disorientation and labored breathing — immediately after his morning fishing trip.That evening, physicians initially said he was suffering from heat exhaustion, but after he was transferred to a hospital the next day, doctors diagnosed him with vibriosis, his daughter said.Two weeks later, Sebek died at the hospital due to the aggressive infection.His right arm was “skinned like a deer,” he underwent an arm and leg amputation and he was unresponsive while in an induced coma, his daughter said.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people typically become infected with vibriosis by consuming undercooked or raw seafood, or exposing an open wound to seawater.Kim Sebek said her father never swam in the water and she is not sure how he became infected as he did not have any clear cuts.”I’m still a little shocked and i

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Cuba ‘sonic attacks’ changed US diplomats’ brains, study finds – New York Post

Yaron Steinbuch

The brains of 40 former staffers at the US Embassy in Cuba who developed mysterious symptoms during so-called “sonic attacks” have visible differences compared to a control group, according to a new study.

The State Department has said the employees developed what became known as “Havana Syndrome” – headaches, dizziness, nausea and other symptoms that arose when they heard penetrating, high-pitched sounds.

MRI scans from the 23 men and 17 women showed changes in brain structure and functional connectivity between different parts of the organ compared with 48 other adults, according to the study by the University of Pennsylvania.

The difference in the brains between the two groups “is pretty jaw-dropping at the moment,” lead researcher Dr. Ragini Verma, a professor of radiology at Penn, told Reuters.

“Most of these patients had a particular type of symptoms and there is a clinical abnormality that is being reflected in an imaging anomaly,” she said.

However, in findings published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Verma and her team said it was unclear if the brain patterns directly translate into significant health problems.

Initial MRI scans of 21 embassy workers in Havana had revealed no abnormalities.

The diplomats’ health problems surfaced in 2016 after the Obama administration reopened the

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Kentucky doctor reprimanded after his wife improperly handled flu vaccines and wrote prescriptions under his name – CNN

Rebekah Riess and Hollie Silverman, CNN
(CNN)A Kentucky doctor’s medical license was placed on probation for five years after his wife improperly handled flu vaccines and wrote prescriptions under his name, according to Kentucky’s medical licensing board.
The state Board of Medical Licensure order…
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You Can Lose Weight Without Exercise, but 2 Experts Say You Should Still Work Out Routinely – POPSUGAR

Samantha Brodsky

Losing Weight Without Exercise

How soon you lose weight all depends on the consistency and duration of the lifestyle changes you’re making. That goes for diet and exercise (also, genetics come into play). And, just so you know, you don’t have to work out for weight loss, though you’ll want to hear what two experts, who are both registered dietitians and trainers, have to say about why you should.

How You Can Lose Weight Without Exercise

Stay in a Caloric Deficit

Registered dietitian Alix Turoff, MS, CDN, who’s also an NASM-certified personal trainer, said that a caloric deficit is key for weight loss. Registered dietitian and NASM-certified personal trainer Gabbi Berkow, MA, CDN, agreed, explaining to POPSUGAR, “The calories you burn in a day is the sum of your basal metabolic rate [the energy your body needs to do everyday, life-sustaining functions like brain activity and breathing], calories burned in digesting food, and any physical activity you do.” Calories burned in digestion is called the thermic effect of food, she said, noting that your basal metabolic rate (BMR) makes up about 70 percent of your daily calorie burn, the thermic effect of food makes up about five to 10 percent, and exercise makes up the remaining 20 to 25 percent.

“It takes burning 3,500 more calories than you eat to lose one pound of fat,” Gabbi said, so to lose one pound per week, you have to burn about 500 more calories than you eat per day. (This is consistent with what Jim White, RD and ACSM-certified personal trainer, said in a previous interview.) If you’re not engaging in regular structured exercise, you need to reduce food intake enough so you’re burning more calories than you eat in a day, she said.

Alix recommended starting with a deficit of about 15 to 20 percent below your maintenance, or the calories you would need to maintain your current weight. “This means that if your maintenance calories are 2,000 calories per day, your deficit would be 300 to 400 calories,” she said. An aggressive deficit might make you lose weight faster, but it’s not easy to maintain and won’t benefit long-term weight loss. “If you start with the 15 to 20 percent deficit and you’re not seeing results after four weeks, you can decrease your calories by 100 calories per day,” Alix said.

Nutrition Is Key For Weight Loss

There are many diets out there to choose from, but Alix said she tells her clients that the goal is to “lose weight while eating as much as they can.” All foods can fit in a healthy diet, she said. “We talk about how to balance their day in a way that will allow them to feel full, have energy, and support their workouts. If someone has a condition that requires a specific diet, such as diabetes, hormonal imbalances, and inflammatory bowel disease, then they would require a more specific diet.” Alix also encourages intuitive eating, which focuses on honoring hunger and fullness cues and not limiting yourself.

For weight loss, Gabbi suggested measuring out portions and sticking to serving sizes because if you don’t exercise, there’s “not a lot of wiggle room” and your calories have to be lower. “Fill up on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods like lean protein and veggies. Avoid alcohol as much as possible since it’s empty calories. Avoid sugars, white starches, fried foods, and processed foods,” she advised. Why? Because, she said, they are high in calories, don’t keep you full, and increase your cravings.

Macros For Weight Loss

Gabbi went on to say that the main focus should be having a well-balanced plate by macros: protein, fat, and carbs. Keep protein high, she instructed, at least one gram per pound of bodyweight, or about 40 percent of your calories, “to retain your muscle mass, stay full, and keep your metabolism up. The remainder of your calories will come from carbs and fats. Choose the split of carbs and fats that works best for you and that you can stick to. If you’re more active, you’ll need relatively more carbs than fat.”

Every time you eat, Gabbi said, make sure you have at least 20 grams of protein; a healthy carb full of fiber like fruit, veggies, or whole grains; and a healthy fat. Though meals would depend on your individual calorie needs, she said breakfast could look like oatmeal made with 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 cup blueberries, one plain nonfat Greek yogurt, and one tablespoon chia seeds. Dinner could be something along the lines of four to five ounces grilled chicken or fish, a side salad with one tablespoon olive oil, and at least one cup steamed veggies.

Is Just Diet or Diet and Exercise Better For Weight Loss?

If you diet and even incorporate more NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) such as walking your dog, mowing the lawn, and gardening into your daily life, both experts agreed that working out is still a piece of the weight-loss puzzle that you’re missing. They said a combination of diet

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This Is Why Humans Are So Prone To Dying Of Heart Attacks – IFLScience

Ben Taub

Unlike all other animals, humans have an unfortunate tendency to drop dead from heart attacks that have no apparent cause. According to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this inconvenient ticker malfunction can all be blamed on a single gene, which became deactivated in humans thanks to a mutation that occurred in one of our ancestors, between 2 and 3 million years ago.

Atherosclerosis is a form of cardiovascular disease characterized by the clogging of arteries, and is the leading cause of human death worldwide, accounting for around a third of all fatalities. In many cases, it is brought on by factors such as obesity, hypertension, smoking, and blood cholesterol, although around 15 percent of heart attacks due to atherosclerosis occur with none of these risk factors.

These sudden, unexplained heart attacks are virtually non-existent in all other species, including many of our closest relatives such as chimpanzees. And the reason, it seems, is all down to a single sugar mol

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More than 150 Harborview Medical Center employees potentially exposed to dangerous bacteria – KIRO Seattle

Linzi Sheldon

Harborview Medical Center confirms that 158 employees are receiving treatment and medical attention after a potential exposure to brucella, a bacteria that can cause the infectious disease, brucellosis.

The exposure occurred in an operating room and a laboratory at Harborview in late June. A patient was transferred from another hospital to Harborview for an urgent operation and later tests revealed that person had brucellosis. 

“The symptoms are vague,” said Dr. Chloe Bryson-Cahn, doctor of infectious diseases at Harborview Medical Center. “It can look like a ton of other infections and so when he was transferred here from outside, the other hospital did not know.”

On June 25, she said, a lab worker dropped a test tube with the brucella bacteria in it, potentially exposing lab workers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, initial symptoms can inc

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Study: Millions should stop taking aspirin for heart health – The Associated Press

Lauran Neergaard

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of people who take aspirin to prevent a heart attack may need to rethink the pill-popping, Harvard researchers reported Monday.

A daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke and for those diagnosed with heart disease.

But for the otherwise healthy, that advice has been overturned. Guidelines released this year ruled out routine aspirin use for many older adults who don’t already have heart disease — and said it’s only for certain younger people under doctor’s orders.

How many people need to get that message?

Some 29 million people 40 and older were taking an aspirin a day despite having no known heart disease in 2017, the latest data available, according to a new study from Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. About 6.6 million of them were doing so on their own — a doctor never recommended it.

And nearly half of people over 70 who don’t have heart disease — estimated at about 10 million — were taking daily aspirin for preventi

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Sunscreen: What the science says about ingredient safety – BBC News

Jessica Brown

 Melanoma is one of the deadliest cancers. It’s also one that – while still the least common form of skin cancer – is rising in prevalence around the world. Since the early 1990s, rates of melanoma in the UK have increased among every age group. Rates of non-melanoma have increased too. In the US alone, cases of non-melanoma skin cancers have grown by around 77% over the past two decades.

Exposure to UV radiation is the main cause of the most common forms of skin cancer. And one of the most effective ways to avoid it, of course, is sunscreen.

“Any conversation on sunscreen must start with acknowledging that there is robust evidence that it prevents skin cancer,” says Richard Weller, honorary consultant dermatologist at the University of Edinburgh.

This is why, although skin cancer is rising in some countries, it’s decreasing in others – particularly those that have raised the most awareness around the importance of using sunscreen. “Skin cancer rates are increasing among older generations – they’re carrying damage from decades earlier in their lives, because things have changed now,” says Adele Green, senior scientist of the cancer and population studies group at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia. “Countries where rates are falling have had the biggest investments in communicating awareness, such as New Zealand, Denmark, the US and Australia.”

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But some researchers have raised concerns that, despite being an undeniably important tool in our fight against skin cancer, the formulation of sunscreen may need to be improved to contain safer ingredients – and, at worst, some sunscreens could be damaging our health.

The FDA removed 14 of the 16 chemicals found in sunscreens from its ‘generally accepted as safe and effective’ category

Earlier this year the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – one of the two main global regulators of sunscreen ingredients around the world alongside the European Commission – removed 14 of the 16 chemicals found in sunscreens from its GRASE (generally accepted as safe and effective) category.

So what is the reality?

Double filter

Two types of UV filters can be used for sunscreen. The most commonly used are known as organic filters, which absorb UV radiation and convert it into safer radiation. Inorganic UV filters like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide – which are broadly considered safe – reflect and scatter UV radiation away from the skin.

It’s long been established that some organic filters are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. This alone doesn’t mean sunscreen is unsafe, but there is growing focus on the potential adverse effects of the most common UV filter worldwide: oxybenzone.

“Little is known about systemic exposure for most active ingredients” in sunscreens, the FDA stated in its report, referring to the effects of large volumes of sunscreen absorbed through the skin and into the body.  

FDA scientists authored a paper focusing on four ingredients found in sunscreen into the skin, including oxybenzone, and concluded that absorption of sunscreen into the body may be more than a theoretical concern. However, the trial was very small – involving only 24 people.

Some lab and mice studies have found that some organic UV filters, including oxybenzone, as well as ingredients including parabens and phthalates, which can be found even in sunscreens that use inorganic UV filters, are suspected endocrine disrupters: chemicals that interfere with our hormones. But no research on humans has backed this up.

Laura Vandenberg, associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences, says most endocrine disrupters affect male foetuses and embryos.

High-level exposure to phthalates has been found to disrupt development of male genitals

High-level exposure to phthalates, in particular, has been found to disrupt development of male genitals. This could lead to problems later in life, such as reduced sperm count or increased risk of testicular cancer. However, this effect has only been found in very high doses.

These compounds aren’t just in sunscreens, either. Phthalates also can be found in various other cosmetics, including some soaps, shampoos, nail polishes and hair sprays, and parabens are in many hair care and make-up products

Meanwhile, Vandenberg has found through her research that oxybenzone can affect the size of mice’s mammary glands. Oxybenzone also has been detected in breast milk. That means it could also be in the breast tissue, Vandenberg says, which could affect its development, function and health.

However, we should always be cautious when applying the findings of mice studies to humans, says David Leffell, professor of dermatology and surgery at Yale School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research.

Critics also say research showing adverse effects of UV filters on rodents typically involved much higher levels of UV filters than human use.

For example, in 2011, a group of researchers writing in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives put into perspective the findings of one study from 2001. In that study, researchers observed that feeding oxybenzone to young rats caused their uteruses to grow by 23%.

The 2011 researchers calculated that to achieve the same cumulative amount of oxybenzone that was administered to the rats, the average US woman would have to apply sunscreen daily for anywhere from 34 to 277 years, depending on how many times they applied sunscreen per day.

Male partners with higher concentrations of organic UV filter benzophenone had a 30% lower chance of conceiving

Even so, some research has found that organic UV filters may affect humans too. In one study from 2015, researchers studied 500 couples who were trying to conceive and found that male partners with higher concentrations of benzophenone-type UV filters had a 30% lower chance

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7 signs you have burnout — and how to fix it – CNET

Caroline Roberts

Please, not today

Work responsibilities are a heavy weight on your shoulders.

Yuri Arcurs / Getty Images

We’ve all heard it (and maybe said it before): “I’m feeling burnt out.” With people now working more hours than ever, feeling stressed out, exhausted and overwhelmed at work is all too common. 

Your stress can actually warrant a diagnosis: the World Health Organization recently deemed burnout a classifiable “workplace phenomenon.” It is a state of chronic stress that can lead to fatigue, inability to be successful at work and even anxiety and depression. Here’s how to tell if you suffer from burnout and how to relieve your condition.

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1. You dread going to work and can’t wait to leave

Your job used to bring you joy, but now the minutes tick by like molasses. Everyone has a few boring items on their task list, but this goes deeper. Even the fun and exciting parts of your day are unappealing and frustrating to complete. 

2. You find yourself unproductive and have difficulty concentrating

Not only does your job feel unmanageable, but simple tasks take much longer to do and distracted breaks grow more common. You might simply not have the energy to be productive, the work may not seem interesting anymore, or you can’t concentrate no matter how hard you try. 

3. You lack patience with co-workers and clients

Irritability is at an all time high and even your friends in the office are getting on your nerves. Impatience is a symptom of the underlying stress and anxiety associated with burnout.

4. You suffer from unexplained headaches, stomach aches, or nausea

Chronic stress causes physical symptoms that make you feel unwell. These could also be signs of another mental health issue or another underlying medical condition, so get them checked out by a doctor if they interfere with your daily life.


You can’t shake your sicknesses as quickly as you used to.

Westend61 / Getty Images

5. You can’t seem to get over that one cold

Burnout compromises your immune system. Your sniffles and sore throat won’t go away no matter how many home treatments you try.

6. You’re exhausted all day, but can’t sleep at night

Not only is fatigue a symptom of burnout, but insomnia also ranks high on the list. Your workload feels so overwhelming that you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. 

7. You stop enjoying activities outside of work

Even when you clock out, spending time with family and friends isn’t nearly as enjoyable as it once was. As burnout progresses, disinterest in work spreads to the rest of your life.

How to alleviate burnout

If any of the above ring true for you, burnout may be sabotaging your life. The good news is that there are concrete steps you can take to alleviate the condition. Now that you know what you’re suffering from, here are eight ways to reverse your burnout.

Eat your vegetables and drink more water

You’ve heard it a thousand times, but focusing on a healthy diet and staying hydrated really does help. If you’re having trouble staying motivated to up your water intake, these water bottles will help. 


Moving your body has been shown to be a natural remedy for stress, anxiety and depression. Don’t fret if the gym isn’t your thing. Building your own home workout area or streaming fitness videos to your living room are easier than ever. Or, use Alexa to remind you to get your exercise in.

Get more sleep

Try to log the recommended seven to eight hours. If insomnia is interfering with your nighttime rest, improve basic sleep hygiene like leaving screens out of the bedroom. Weighted blankets have also been shown to help end sleepless nights.

Say no to extra work responsibilities

Don’t shirk your basic job description, but if side projects come up consider declining. Wait until you have renewed passion for your work until saying yes to taking on extra tasks.

Take a break, then take another

No, one vacation won’t solve your burnout issue. But regularly incorporating weekend trips or stay-cations can help cut down on burnout. Oh, and leave the laptop at home so you won’t be tempted to work. 

Spend time with positive people and limit contact with those who bring you down

Make an effort to connect with people that uplift and support you. Cut down on time spent with negative people that lower your self-esteem or sap your creative energy.


I know, it looks boring, but yoga is a very effective stress reliever.

Getty Images

Practice yoga or try mediation

If stress is making you feel antsy, meditation and yoga may be the last things you want to do. But, forcing yourself to slow down and take a few deep breaths can help you calm down. You can even meditate on the go.

Schedule time to play

Reconnecting with the playful side of your personality may also be the key to relaxation. Everyone has different passions, so find whatever activities you deem “fun” and make time to do them. If going off-road ATVing is your idea of a good time, find a way to hit the trails after a stressful day of w

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