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Category: Health & Medicine (page 2 of 2)

Local medical news in Israel, medical technology breakthroughs, medical devices, Israeli medical start ups and developments.

Flu Bug Touring Israel

The months of January and February are always periods to be on the lookout for one of winter’s worst “visitors”, the flu. Also known by it more formal name, the influenza virus, this highly contagious disease is much more serious than a common cold, and can lead to dangerous and sometimes fatal complications. Recent publicized warnings are advising people in Israel, especially older people and small children to take extra precautions, and many health authority officials are saying that stains of this year’s “flu bug” seems to be more aggressive and widespread than ever.

There are three prevalent kinds of “bug” or influenza, which go by names of Spanish flu, Asian and Hong Kong flu, and combinations of the three. Although vaccinations, such as Tami Flu are offered to people annually, it is usually impossible to guarantee that the given vaccination will be effective against the particular virus “visiting” a country or region each year. Other serious viral diseases that have been given considerable attention in recent years is the Avian of “bird flu” and a condition known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome of SARS. Although both SARS and bird flu have resulted in a number of deaths world wide, their combined total to date have been far less that the mortality rate of a single influenza season which usually results in thousands of deaths, even in countries like the U.S. and Europe, who claim to have to best health care systems.

This year, it has been reported that the largest flu outbreaks in Israel are in the major population centers; especially Jerusalem and the heavily populated central region, stretching from Ashdod to Netanya. Since many people work in large buildings, such as those in the high tech industry, and with many frequenting shopping malls and traveling on modes of public transport, such as buses and trains, the likelihood of getting “bitten” by the flu bug is much more possible since the virus is also an airborne one, as well as one that is transmitted by touching things that already contaminated people were touching, such as door knobs and even computer keyboards. Schools, hospitals and nursing homes are also especially vulnerable to outbreaks of flu, and small children in nurseries and day care center often pass the “bug” from one to another.

This year, many cases of flu seem to be accompanied by high fevers and various body aches and pains, in addition to the normal symptoms, such as headaches, nasal and lung congestion, as other respiratory problems. Anyone with high fever, feelings of stiffness in the neck, and especially feelings of nausea should see a doctor immediately as they could have something more serious such as meningitis. Flu can also develop into conditions such as pneumonia, especially in small children and people over age 50. Although an average case of flu usually runs its course in 5 to 7 days, come cases last considerably longer and develop in to these and other complications.

Red Wine Again Found Very Healthy

Red WineA recent study conducted at Harvard University in the U.S.A. again confirms the benefits of drinking moderate amounts of red wine. The study, using laboratory rats, confirmed earlier studies at other universities, including Yale, also in the USA, that red wine contains ingredients that reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood stream, reduces risks of some forms of cancer, and even helps prevent the outset of Altsheimer disease. The secret of red wine are ingredients known as polyphenol antioxidants and flavonoids which are said to come from the skin of red wine grapes. For years, the health attributes of drinking red wine have been known by millions of people; and the grandmotherly advice of drinking a glass of red wine before retiring at night is followed by many people. The cardiovascular benefits of red wine consumption has resulted in people living in countries where large quantities of red wine is consumed having less heart attacks and other related problems. Flavanoids also help prevent premature aging due to the antioxidants they contain. Polyphenol antioxidants have been talked about by nutrition experts as one of the main protections a person’s body has against aging.

While wine drinking may be healthful, it must be remembered that over-consumption of wine (and other alcoholic beverages) can have adverse effects on one’s health; including liver damage and diabetes (due to abnormal increase of blood sugar levels). Inexpensive commercial table wines also contain preserving and fermentation ingredients known as sulfides which can be very bad for people who are allergic to them. In the U.S.A., wines containing sulfides must state so on the bottle’s outside label. Few lower priced Israel wines have this warning, however; so if one is uncertain regarding this problem, it is a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s customer service department, or purchase more expensive wines which are naturally fermented and do not contain sulfides.

Many other food items also contain polyphenol antioxidants, but red wine grapes appear to have the highest level. Laboratory studies showed that moderate amounts of red wine consumed daily by the test subjects resulted in a marked decrease in cholesterol levels. Other types of wines do not contain the same levels of flavanoids and polyphenol antioxidants. These include white wines, fruit wines (from plums, apples, berries, etc), and rice and other wines made from grain.

The obvious secret to maintaining good physical health is to combine moderate red wine consumption with watching one’s diet and by regular exercise.

Safer Sex: Condoms Found to Block Cancer Causing Viruses

By Maurice Picow

It’s not just HIV/AIDS that people should be concerned about these days, when romantic interludes occur. A recent finding by an independent medical research organization, has found the regular use of condoms during sexual intercourse helps prevent the occurrence of cervical and other kinds of female genital cancers. The research findings concluded that use of these latex protection devices prevented vaginal warts and similar growths from forming as compared to test cases where partners had sex au natural. In fact those using condoms on a regular basis, female partners contracted these vaginal growths less than 50% of the time. The growths, found to be caused by certain viruses, were discouraged from forming due to condoms, proving that rubbers, though less enjoyable, are still one of the best bets for preventing disease, not to mention pregnancy.

The study, conducted among students at the University of Seattle, in the U.S. state of Washington, found that regular use of condoms during sex was even better than a use of recently introduced vaccine alleged to protect women against four different strains of human caused papillomavirus. Mr. James Allen, president of the American Social Health Association, said the “the findings are definite” in regards to the effectiveness of condoms.

Not only do condoms protect women against cancer, but for years now, their use has been proven to not only protect against fatal virus such as HIV/AIDS, but against other types of sexually transmitted diseases as well. Before the outset of AIDs in the early 1980s, use of condoms had already been proven to be invaluable for protection against a variety of diseases, including syphilis, gonorrhea, and others like herpes, a very common sexually transmitted disease which, though not fatal, can stay with those who contract it for life, flaring up from time to time, and making it’s victims literally miserable.

Young, sexually active couples, often think that using birth control pills is enough, if they only practice sex together and not with other individuals. This new study, participated in by female students between the ages of 18 and 22, has put new light in preventing female genital cancers, one of the most deadly cancers in women. While this new study is very reveling, it does contradict earlier studies made in which use of condoms during sex was inconclusive. Use of condoms while reducing the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS, does still not eliminate the possibilities of becoming infected, however, and the research panel still recommends that couples undergo full HIV/AIDs testing before become sexually active.

Israeli youth are at one of the worst risks, due to widespread non-use of condoms, although available virtually everywhere, and in an almost endless array of varieties, including many types that are designed to improve sexual enjoyment; and even some with flavors! And, as the prices for condoms have decreased proportionally in recent years, there’s simply no reason not to use them; except of course, selfish male “machoism”.

The next step, according to the panel, is to induce the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require condoms sold in America to include warnings that non-use of condoms will increase risks of cancer in women. The bottom line: better be safe than sorry, even if it’s less fun!

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