What's the buzz


Passive smoking on the rise

Researchers have raised concerns over increasing exposure to second-hand smoke among college students.

“It is well-known that there are some serious health issues surrounding secondhand smoke,” said Dr Mark Wolfson, lead author on the study.

“While some college campuses are smoke free, others have virtually no restrictions on smoking, not even in the residence halls.”

“There is a growing movement to move away from that, but it still very much varies by campus. In this first study to evaluate SHS exposure among college students, we were really kind of floored to see how many, and how frequently, students are exposed to it,” he added.

During the study, the researchers surveyed 4,223 undergraduate college students of which 83 per cent reported having been exposed to SHS at least once in the seven days preceding the survey.

Students who binge drink were more likely than other students to report exposure to SHS.

Embedding stem cells in sutures

Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering students have shown that it is possible to embed surgical thread with a patient’s own adult stem cells to promote healing, and reduce the likelihood of re-injury without changing the surgical procedure itself.

This work has even won 10 undergraduates, sponsored by a Maryland-based medical technology company, first place in the recent Design Day 2009 competition, conducted by the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The students have now joined forces with orthopedic physicians, and started testing the stem cell-bearing sutures in an animal model, paving the way for possible human trials within about five years.

Aerobics reduce heart problem

Strength training helps lower heart disease and stroke risk factors, while all-around exercise reduces neck and shoulder pain, suggests a new study.

Lead researcher Dr Mogens T Pedersen, of the University of Copenhagen, says that strength training and all-around exercise are a valuable part of work site exercise programmes that have multiple benefits.

During the study, the researchers randomly assigned 841 Danish employees to two exercise groups.

One group did all-around exercise like aerobics and walking, while the other focused on strength training, particularly on the shoulder and cervical spine (neck) muscles.
A third group received no exercise programme at work.

The researchers found reductions in cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure and body fat, in not only those assigned to aerobic exercise, but also in those who did strength training.

Men ignore ill health symptoms

Millions of British men put their health at risk by ignoring symptoms of ill health, warn experts.

Dr Harvey Simon, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, called this “the ostrich phenomenon”, warning that doing so could lead to worsening conditions and also cause severe illness.

“I call it the ostrich phenomenon. Guys are very prone to sticking their head in the sand. It’s a very bad idea,” he said.

‘Friends Provident’, in a study to mark the launch of Men’s Health Week, reported nearly 18 million overlooked aches and pains despite knowing about its potential dangers.

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