Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Health Headlines - February 25

Video Game Overuse Causes Skin Disorder

Skin specialists have identified a new skin disorder linked to overuse of video game consoles. The condition -- PlayStation palmar hidradenitis -- is described in a case study by doctors at Geneva University Hospital in Switzerland.

They treated a 12-year-old girl who had intensely painful sores on her hands. She couldn't recall any recent trauma to her hands and hadn't done any sports or physical exercise recently, BBC News reported.

However, her parents said she had recently started to play a video game on a PlayStation console for several hours a day, and continued playing even after she developed the sores on her hands.

The doctors cited a combination of factors: tight and continuous grasping of the console's hand grips, repeated pushing of the buttons, and sweating caused by game-related tension, BBC News reported.

The girl made a full recovery after 10 days of not using the game console. The study appears in the British Journal of Dermatology.


Huge Increase in U.K. Diabetes Rate

From 1997 to 2003, there was a 74 percent rise in the number of new cases of diabetes in the U.K., an alarming increase linked to growing obesity rates, say researchers who analyzed data from nearly five million medical records.

By 2005, more than 4 percent of the U.K. population had diabetes, nearly double the rate of a decade earlier, BBC News reported.

Of the more than 42,000 people newly diagnosed with diabetes between 1996 and 2005, more than 41,000 had later-onset type 2 diabetes, which is associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits.

The findings suggest that diabetes rates in the U.K. are rising faster than in the United States, which has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world, BBC News reported.

The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.


Baby Milk Powder Safe: Wyeth

A U.S. company says its baby milk powder is safe and did not cause kidney stones in Chinese babies.

A Chinese newspaper had reported that at least 20 families claimed their infants developed kidney stones after consuming Wyeth products, Agence France Presse reported.

"At this point, there is no clear evidence showing that these ailments have any link to Wyeth products," the company said in a statement posted on its China Web site Monday. The company said its products have been cleared by Chinese inspectors and said it would cooperate in finding the cause of the kidney stones in the babies.

Similar allegations prompted Chinese authorities to investigate the domestically produced milk powder of Danone Dumex, a unit of French food giant Danone. The company was cleared by China's product-quality regulator, AFP reported.

Last year, milk products contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine sickened about 300,000 infants and killed six.


Fish Pedicure Banned in Florida

Florida regulators have banned a pedicure treatment in which fish nibble dead skin from the feet or other parts of the body, a procedure that's popular in Asia and has spread to some U.S. cities, the Associated Press reported.

It's not even known if the treatment is offered anywhere in the state, but the Florida Board of Cosmetology said salons have been asking about the legality of the procedure. That prompted the board to take action before the issue became a problem.

A spokeswoman for the Florida board said there were concerns because there's no way to disinfect a pool of fish in between use by different patients, the AP reported.

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Texas and Washington have also banned the treatment, in which clients put their feet, hands or other parts of the body in a bowl or pool so that small fish can consume soft decaying skin.


Mental Fatigue Affects Exercise Duration

Being mentally fatigued can make people feel more exhausted when they exercise, according to researchers at Bangor University in Wales, U.K.

Their small study included 16 volunteers who twice rode a stationary bike until they were exhausted -- once when they were mentally rested and once when they were mentally fatigued, United Press International reported.

On average, the participants stopped exercising about 15 percent earlier when they were mentally fatigued. But the researchers found that mental fatigue didn't affect the performance of the heart or muscles. It was the participants' "perceived effort" that determined when they reached physical exhaustion while exercising.

The researchers suggested that mental fatigue may lower the brain's inhibition against quitting exercise, or may affect the brain chemical dopamine, which plays a role in motivation and effort, UPI reported.

The study appears in the March issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

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