Health Buzz: The Latest in Medical News

A Page 1 story in the Washington Post notes the sharp increase in recent decades of immune system diseases and allergies, including food allergies, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. The reasons behind this rise, according to the article, are still being determined, but researchers are beginning to blame our "modern lifestyle." That is, our desire to live and raise children in sterile environments provides us little to no exposure to the bacteria and microbes our immune systems need to fight in order to later attack more serious diseases. Other causes include a more sedentary lifestyle, less time spent outdoors, and air pollution.

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What's Wrong With Our Immune Systems?

 A Page 1 story in the Washington Post notes the sharp increase in recent decades of immune system diseases and allergies, including food allergies type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. The reasons behind this rise, according to the article, are still being determined, but researchers are beginning to blame our "modern lifestyle." That is, our desire to live and raise children in sterile environments provides us little to no exposure to the bacteria and microbes our immune systems need to fight in order to later attack more serious diseases. Other causes include a more sedentary lifestyle, less time spent outdoors, and air pollution.

Autism and the Campaign Trail

Republican presidential candidate John McCain added the rise of autism to the political issues he's bringing up on the campaign trail. A New York Times article  quotes the Arizona senator asking, "What's causing it? And we go back and forth, and there's strong evidence that indicates that it's got to do with a preservative in vaccines."

Yet two studies recently published reveal no connection between autism and vaccines. Specifically, the research shows that autism is caused by genetics.

Is It a Boy or a Girl?

At-home gender DNA tests are leaving a lot to be desired, according to the Los Angeles Times. Costing roughly $300 and promising high accuracy rates, these prenatal gender tests are being bought by thousands of consumers. Though seeming to use scientific research from the growing genomics industry, they don't appear to be all that correct in determining the correct sex of the baby. One company is being sued in federal court.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests a "healthy dose of skepticism" when considering purchasing a genetic test.

And From the Common Sense Desk ...

Federal researchers have found limiting computer and television time for children helps them lose weight.