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Blood donors also receive gift of life

Many people know that donating blood saves lives, but the life they save just may be their own, researchers say. “Excessive iron is believed to contribute to heart disease and donating blood reduces the iron stores in the body,” Ivan Pacold, from Loyola University Health System’s GottliebMemorial Hospital, said.

“Plus you get a mini-assessment each time you give blood to reinforce wellness."
“Blood can only be obtained through human donation; there is no synthetic substitute for blood. “One pint of blood can help up to three people in need; four if you include the donor,” Pacold said. An American Medical Association study reports that giving blood every six months led to fewer heart attacks and strokes in participants ages 43 to 61. Each donor has their temperature taken, pulse checked, blood pressure and blood count measured.

Nurses, technicians, phlebotomists, physicians and more who care for patients around-the-clock at Loyola University Health System also voluntarily donate their own blood to help those in need through regular on-campus blood drives.

Illinois legislation allows individuals who got a tattoo after Jan 1, 2010 to skip the
previously enforced 12-month waiting period before donating blood.

Antibiotics may be behind spread of superbug MRSA

Overuse of antibiotics is behind the spread of the superbug MRSA, scientists have warned.

The research by St George’s, University of London, dispels the belief that dirty hospitals were the cause of the deadly infection.  “We were surprised by our findings. Our research suggests we should spend more time focusing on what we believe works to reduce the spread of MRSA, which is more prudent use of antibiotics,” the Daily Express quoted Dr Jodi Lindsay, who lead the 10-year study, as saying.

“Surprisingly, hygiene and hand washing, although important for many reasons, were not main factors responsible for its spread.

“We have had a big push for improved cleanliness and this has been the focus of government targets, probably because this is easy to do. However, our research shows controlling the use of antibiotics is a better way to reduce MRSA,” she said. She warned that routine infections and major surgery could become life threatening “within a generation.”

The findings are published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Drivers unaware of how much they text behind the wheel

Even though texting while driving is a serious threat to public safety, most people might not be aware of their actions, researchers say.

University of Michigan researchers found that texting while driving is predicted by a person’s level of “habit”—more so than how much someone texts.

When people check their cell phones without thinking about it, the habit represents a type of automatic behaviour, or automaticity, the researchers say.  Automaticity, which was the key variable in the study, is triggered by situational cues and lacks control, awareness, intention and attention.

“In other words, some individuals automatically feel compelled to check for, read and respond to new messages, and may not even realise they have done so while driving until after the fact,” Joseph Bayer, lead author of the study, said.

In the current study, the researchers investigate the role of habit in texting while driving, with a focus on how (rather than how much) the behaviour is carried out. Scott Campbell, associate professor of communication studies and Pohs Professor of Telecommunications, says that understanding this behaviour is not just about knowing how much people text—it’s about understanding how they process it. “A texting cue, for instance, could manifest as a vibration, a ‘new message’ symbol, a peripheral glance at a phone, an internal ‘alarm clock’, a specific context or perhaps a mental state,” Campbell said.

“In the case of more habitual behaviour, reacting to these cues becomes automatic to the point that the person may do so without even meaning to do it,” Campbell said.

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