After Knee or Hip Replacement, No Place Like Home

It may surprise many to learn that, even if joint replacement patients live alone, the overwhelming majority recover equally well and may experience fewer complications if they go home directly from the hospital and get outpatient rehabilitation instead of spending days or weeks in a costly rehab facility.

Based on the findings of recent well-designed studies, Dr. Javad Parvizi, chairman of research in orthopedics at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, maintains that “we need to re-examine who, if anyone, should go to a rehab facility after joint replacement.”

Jane E. Brody, New York Times, April 24, 2107

Researchers Examine When People Are More Susceptible To Fake News

Very simply, being around other people seems to increase our propensity to believe in fake news….

Groups trigger a certain attitude in us when it comes to evaluating information….

You somehow feel like you’re part of a crowd and you don’t need to fact check because somebody else will. And maybe down the road, they’re going to tell you, hey, you know the thing you were exposed to or that we all read a few days ago? That actually turns out to be false….

Volunteers did 30 to 50 percent less fact checking when they heard information presented to them in a social media context compared to when they were alone.

Shankar Vedantum, NPR, July 18, 2017

Why are female doctors introduced by first name while men are called ‘Doctor’?

The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, looked at videos of 321 speaker introductions at 124 internal medicine grand rounds from 2012 through 2014 at Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona and Minnesota. The results showed that male introducers used professional titles for female doctors only 49 percent of the time on first reference, but introduced male doctors by their titles 72 percent of the time.

Female introducers used titles in introductions of both male and female doctors more often than male introducers (96 percent of the time vs. 66 percent of the time).

Janice Neumann, Washington Post, June 24, 2017

Lightning storms triggered by exhaust from cargo ships

lightning strike

SHIPS spewing soot into the pristine ocean air are causing extra lightning strikes along busy maritime routes. It is a bizarre example of how human activities can change the weather.

When Joel Thornton at the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues looked at records of lightning strikes between 2005 and 2016 from the World Wide Lightning Location Network, they noticed there were significantly more strikes in certain regions of the east Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, compared with the surrounding areas. Unusually, they occurred along two straight lines in the open ocean, which coincided with two of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Along these paths there were twice as many lightning strikes as in nearby areas.

Lakshmi Supriya, newscientist.com, September 19, 2017

Get Off The Couch Baby Boomers, Or You May Not Be Able To Later

Being immobile like that for many hours each day does more than raise the risk of a host of diseases. DiPietro and her colleagues have good evidence that, as the years wear on, it actually reduces the ability of older people to get around on foot at all.

Replacing Vacant Lots With Green Spaces Can Ease Depression In Urban Communities

Kids love the gardens, she says. It gives them a way to briefly forget their worries.

“Having access to a bit of nature, having a tree to read under, or, having a safe space like one of our gardens, definitely makes a huge difference on their stress levels,” says Lemos-Otero. “The feedback that we’ve gotten from a lot of young people is that it makes them feel a little lighter.”

Now a group of researchers from Philadelphia have published research that supports her experience. The study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, found that having access to even small green spaces can reduce symptoms of depression for people who live near them, especially in low-income neighborhoods.

Rhitu Chatterjee, WAMU.org, July 21, 2018

Safest level of alcohol consumption is none, worldwide study shows

To minimize health risks, the optimal amount of alcohol someone should consume is none. That’s the simple, surprising conclusion of a massive study, co-written by 512 researchers from 243 institutions, published Thursday in the prestigious journal the Lancet.

The researchers built a database of more than a thousand alcohol studies and data sources, as well as death and disability records from 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2016. The goal was to estimate how alcohol affects the risk of 23 health problems. The number that jumped out in the end was zero. Anything more than that was associated with health risks.

Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, August 23, 2108

 

 

 

Can Science Beat Jet Lag? Airlines Seek Help for 19-Hour Flights

A wave of ultra-long flights that will get you halfway around the world in one hop is pushing airlines to deal with the one extra you can’t escape: Relentless insomnia, debilitating fatigue and tormented bowels, better known as jet lag.

Qantas Airways Ltd., which will start the first non-stop service between Australia and Europe in March, is working with scientists in Sydney to discover ways to limit body-clock breakdown on the 17-hour flight. They’ve tried to make the color and intensity of the jet’s interior lights mimic dawn and dusk. Cabin temperatures and specially made meals will aim to put passengers to sleep or keep them awake—depending on the time at the destination.

Key to the problem is circadian disruption—messing with the internal body clock that regulates everything from brainwave activity to hormone production and cell regeneration.

The main cue for resetting that clock is light, said Steve Simpson, academic director of the Charles Perkins Centre, which is carrying out the research with Sydney-based Qantas. But there’s a baked-in biological catch: the clock can only reset by about 90 minutes a day, even in the right conditions. An ill-timed dose of sunshine or a badly chosen snack at the wrong hour can mean days of suffering, he said.

Angus Whitley, Bloomberg, February 5, 2018