Egypt Independent: Science-Main news http://www.egyptindependent.com//enhome_channel/Environment/rss.xml en Most US medical schools fail to accommodate disabilities http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2466581 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2013/12/13/16030/2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Most US medical schools fail to accommodate students with disabilities, a study shows.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The researchers analyzed policies covering admission eligibility and what assistance to give people who have difficulties with hearing, vision or mobility.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While most schools posted their policies, known as technical standards, on their websites, only one third appeared to provide accommodations to students who might be eligible for help under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the analysis found.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The students&rsquo; ability to process complex information and help render diagnoses and help patients is not the issue &mdash; rather the means by which educational information is provided is the issue,&rdquo; said lead author Dr Philip Zazove of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It&rsquo;s crucial that medical schools do a better job of ensuring that patients with disabilities encounter people like them when they go to the doctor, Zazove added by email.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;People often prefer, when possible, to see a physician who looks like them,&rdquo; Zazove said. &ldquo;This includes the desire to see someone of the same gender, ethic group and disability, among other things.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For the study, Zazove and colleagues focused on students with physical disabilities who might, for example, be able to practice medicine aided by a motorized scooter or assisted by a sign-language interpreter.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Technical standards were available for 161 of 173 medical schools reviewed from 2012 to 2014.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While 146 schools posted these documents on their websites, only 100 of the plans were easy to find online, the researchers reported in the journal Academic Medicine.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Just 53 schools &mdash; a third &mdash; had technical standards specifically supporting accommodations for students with disabilities, while roughly half had no clearly stated policies and about 4 percent were unsupportive.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many schools also lacked information on who would be responsible for providing any needed accommodations, though 27 percent of the programs indicated they would offer this support and 10 required students to assume at least some of the burden themselves.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While about 40 percent of the schools permitted use of auxiliary aids like motorized scooters, less than 10 percent allowed intermediaries like sign language interpreters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One limitation of the study is that the analysis based on the technical standards might not accurately reflect the accommodations that schools offer students with disabilities, the authors note. It&rsquo;s possible that schools provide and pay for assistance even though this isn&rsquo;t spelled out in their written policies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In addition, the study didn&rsquo;t explore the experiences of applicants or students with disabilities or assess the nature of accommodations needed on an individual basis to see what type of assistance schools might provide in specific situations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still, Zazove, who is deaf and chairs the family medicine program at the University of Michigan, notes that technology and tolerance can make a wide range of medical specialties possible for people with disabilities.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>When he trained in the 1970s, he rigged a bed to vibrate when he was needed during on-call shifts because they couldn&rsquo;t give him a vibrating beeper. Today, he can use a combination of sign interpreters, text-to-speech computer software and Bluetooth-directed voices in his hearing aid.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Many accommodations are now available that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago, and individuals with specific disabilities can and do practice effectively with unique dedication to their profession and empathic attunement to their patients who have chronic illnesses and related disabilities,&rdquo; said Dr Annie Steinberg of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Medical schools are also legally required to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, Steinberg, who wasn&rsquo;t involved in the study, said by email.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;In addition, having diverse health-care providers, including those with disabilities, assures patients that they will be equally respected for what they can contribute, and that their lives matter equally,&rdquo; Steinberg added.</div> Sat, 13 Feb 2016 12:12:00 +0000 Reuters 2466581 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2013/12/13/16030/2.jpg Weight-loss surgery after age 35 linked to survival benefit http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2466586 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/02/19/43/obesity.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Obese people who undergo a certain kind of weight-loss operation after age 35 may live longer than obese people of the same age who don&#39;t have the surgery, a study suggests.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The findings, reported in JAMA Surgery, show that the so-called gastric bypass operation is associated with a mortality benefit along with its better-known &quot;metabolic&quot; benefits, said lead author Lance Davidson, of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He told Reuters Health the benefit is &quot;pretty significant and pretty convincing.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a gastric bypass procedure &mdash; formally known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass &mdash; surgeons reduce the size of the stomach and also reconstruct the gastrointestinal tract so that food will bypass part of the intestines as it&#39;s being digested.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Past research has found weight loss surgeries are tied to reduced deaths from any cause, cancer and heart disease. Those studies left several unanswered questions, however.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Specifically, why are deaths from so-called external causes &mdash; like accidents and poisoning &mdash; more common among people who have weight loss surgery? Also, does the reduced risk of death apply to older people undergoing weight loss surgeries?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For the new study, the researchers studied 7,925 patients who had gastric bypass between 1984 and 2002, and 7,925 similarly obese patients who didn&#39;t have surgery.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Over the next seven years, surgery patients ages 35 through 44 were 46 percent less likely to die from any cause than people who didn&#39;t undergo surgery.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Similarly, people ages 45 through 54 had a 57 percent reduced risk of death, and people age 55 through 74 years had about a 50 percent reduced risk of death.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There was no difference in death rates among people under age 35, however. The researchers found the lack of difference is primarily due to the increased risk of death from external causes being concentrated among women in that age group.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For women under age 35, the risk of dying from an external cause was over three times greater for those who had gastric bypass than those who didn&#39;t have surgery.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Davidson said the new study can&#39;t say why young women who have gastric bypass surgery are at an increased risk of death from external causes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It could be, he added, that we would see a reduced risk of death in these younger patients, too, if researchers followed them for another decade or so.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As for older obese people considering gastric bypass, Davidson said the benefits are likely larger as people get older because deadly conditions related to obesity are more likely to occur as people age.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I&rsquo;d say if they qualify for it and are safe to undergo that surgery, the mortality and metabolic benefits are pretty strong,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But the new results should be interpreted with caution, Dr Malcolm Robinson, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women&rsquo;s Hospital in Boston, wrote in an accompanying editorial.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Bariatric surgeons exclude high-risk patients from surgery, which represents the major flaw in this study,&quot; wrote Robinson. In other words, the obese people who had the surgery were a relatively healthy group to start with.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Davidson said bariatric surgery patients tend to be the most obese, however.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sat, 13 Feb 2016 12:12:00 +0000 Reuters 2466586 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/02/19/43/obesity.jpg Zika link to birth defects could be proven within weeks: WHO http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2466578 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2016/02/08/501184/babay_with_zika.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The suspected link between the Zika virus and two neurological disorders, the birth defect microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome, could be confirmed within weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A sharp increase in microcephaly cases in Brazil has triggered a global health emergency over the mosquito-borne virus, which had previously been viewed as causing only a relatively mild illness, and spurred a race to develop a vaccine, medicines and better diagnostic tests.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The WHO said US government scientists and an Indian biotechnology firm were the front-runners in the vaccine effort but said it would take at least 18 months to start large-scale clinical trials of potential preventative shots. The UN health agency also for the first time advised pregnant women to consider delaying travel to Zika-affected areas.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Brazil is at the center of the Zika outbreak that has spread to more than 30 countries. Researchers there are working to determine whether Zika has caused a big rise in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and may have developmental problems.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Brazil&#39;s health ministry issued fresh figures on Friday, reporting 4,314 suspected and confirmed cases of microcephaly, up from 4,074 cases on February 2. The ministry said it had confirmed 462 of those cases as microcephaly or other alterations to the central nervous system. Researchers have identified evidence of Zika infection in 41 of these cases, either in the baby or in the mother. But scientists have not confirmed that Zika can cause microcephaly.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It seems indeed that the link with Zika [and microcephaly] is becoming more and more probable, so I think that we need a few more weeks and a few more studies to have this straight,&quot; Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, told a news briefing in Geneva.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Studies of Zika-infected pregnant Latin American women who were due to deliver their babies soon should yield evidence, Kieny said, adding that data also was coming from studies in French Polynesia and Cape Verde.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kieny said Zika-hit areas also have experienced increased cases of the neurological disease Guillain-Barre, adding: &quot;The direct causality has still to be demonstrated but the association in time and in location seems to be clear.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Guillain-Barre syndrome, in which the body&#39;s immune system attacks part of the nervous system, causes gradual weakness in the legs, arms and upper body and sometimes total paralysis.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a statement, the WHO reiterated it was not recommending any general travel or trade restrictions related to the virus. But it added, &quot;Women who are pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider and consider delaying travel to any area where locally acquired Zika infection is occurring.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Brazil is set to host the Olympics in August in Rio de Janeiro, an event expected to draw hundreds of thousands of athletes, officials and spectators.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many scientists are convinced the link between Zika and birth defects is real. New evidence of Zika in the brain of an aborted foetus, reported on Wednesday, added to the case.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Speaking at an American Association for the Advancement of Science news conference in Washington, another WHO official, Christopher Dye, reiterated the agency&#39;s strong suspicion.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;If we take all the information we have at the moment, the case for a causal link is quite strong,&quot; Dye said. &quot;We should now say that Zika is guilty until proven innocent.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Vaccine race</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The WHO&#39;s Kieny said two vaccine candidates seem to be more advanced: one from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and one from the Indian company Bharat Biotech.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The NIH is working on a DNA-based vaccine that uses the same approach as one being developed for West Nile virus. India&#39;s Bharat said last week its experimental vaccine would start pre-clinical trials imminently in animals.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Overall, about 15 groups are working on Zika vaccines.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kieny said new diagnostic test kits also were being rapidly developed and could be available within weeks.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Zika is predominantly spread by mosquito bites, but scientists are studying transmission by blood transfusions and sexual contact.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>British health officials reported Zika was found in a British man&#39;s semen two months after being infected, suggesting the virus may linger in semen long after infection symptoms fade.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They said the 68-year-old man, infected in 2014 in French Polynesia, had low levels of the virus in initial blood tests. Subsequent tests of semen showed positive results at 27 days and 62 days after the start of Zika symptoms, with higher levels of the virus in the semen than the initial blood tests.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Our data may indicate prolonged presence of virus in semen, which in turn could indicate a prolonged potential for sexual transmission&quot; of this virus, the researchers from Public Health England and the National Institute for Health Research in Liverpool wrote in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The WHO has advised women, particularly pregnant women, to protect themselves from mosquito bites in Zika-affected areas and to practice safe sex through the use of condoms.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sat, 13 Feb 2016 10:25:00 +0000 Reuters 2466578 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2016/02/08/501184/babay_with_zika.jpg Not getting enough sleep? You're probably on Facebook http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2466558 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/03/10/43/facebook.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>In a recent study by the University of California, Irvine, researchers found that a lack of sleep is linked to a higher level of online browsing, including checking social media websites such as Facebook.</p><div>Wanting to look at how sleep duration could affect internet use, rather than how internet use affects sleep, the team recruited 76 UCI students and monitored them for a one-week period.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Using logging software the team could monitor participants&#39; computers and smartphones to see how often they spoke on the phone, texted, or used applications.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sensors were used to measure their behavior, activities, and levels of stress.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Participants were also asked to complete a survey every morning reporting on their sleep and to complete an end-of-day survey at night. The students also had to complete a general questionnaire and take part in an interview.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The researchers collected further data by asking participants during the week about their mood, the level of engagement in their work, and how difficult they were finding the task they were currently working on.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The study also looked into the idea of &quot;sleep debt,&quot; the accumulated difference between the amount of sleep needed and the amount experienced.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>After taking into account factors such as gender, age, university work load, and course deadlines, the results showed a direct connection between a chronic lack of sleep, a cranky mood, lower productivity, and also more time spent checking Facebook.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The researchers also found that not enough sleep leads people to be more easily distracted, with their attention flicking between different computer screens and apps.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;When you get less sleep, you&#39;re more prone to distraction,&quot; said lead researcher Gloria Mark, &quot;If you&#39;re being distracted, what do you do? You go to Facebook. It&#39;s lightweight, it&#39;s easy, and you&#39;re tired.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The study&#39;s findings will be presented at CHI, a leading computer-human interaction conference in May in San Jose, California.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The effect of technology on quality of sleep has been shown in many previous studies, with a study published last month in the Journal of Child Neurology finding that teenagers who continue to text at night after they have switched out the lights experience poorer sleep and poorer grades than those who text with the lights on.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The study found once the lights go out, the &quot;blue light&quot; emitted from smartphones and tablets is intensified in the dark, delaying the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy, and disrupting our sleep patterns and quality.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Blue light can affect the release of melatonin and our sleep even if it is emitted from the phone when eyelids are closed.</div> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:32:00 +0000 AFP 2466558 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/03/10/43/facebook.jpg