Health Headlines

The New Research on Resting Your Brain: In Health Headlines this morning, there are stories about breast implants, infant mortality and  head injury, but none of the stories are more talkable than the Wall Street Journal’s fascinating feature on research into the best ways to rest our minds.

The Journal’s Shirley Wang, who regularly uncovers just plain interesting research, says that if someone was studying or working intently at their job , “a stroll in the park could do wonders” while a coffee break could leave you “just as stressed and depleted as before the break.”

Texting Their Way Weight Loss: How to help teenagers lose weight? The Los Angeles Times found a study that used text messaging. The study involved 24 overweight male and female teenagers. They tested six different types of texts, including testimonials, meal and recipe ideas, targeted tips, reflective questions, feedback questions and tailored messages. The study found the teens “liked messages that told them what to do, such as recipes and testimonials about weight-loss strategies — those the teens found encouraging, but only when they came from another teen.”  But they didn’t like “mentions of unhealthful behaviors and foods, even if they were accompanied by references to healthier options. Mentioning unhealthful foods … might trigger them to crave those items.”

Rare Onfield Death of College Athlete: The New York Times reports this morning : “A 22-year-old football player for Frostburg State University in Maryland has died from head trauma sustained on the field. The Times says the death of this college student is noteworthy because “Two to five high school football players die each fall as a direct result of on-field brain injuries,” but adds that “such deaths are rare among college players.”

Where Is the Breast Implant Follow-Up Data? In covering the FDA hearing on breast implants, MedPage Today’s Emily Walker paints a picture of how the companies that make silicone breast implants, which returned to the market in 2006 , have failed miserably in providing the data that the FDA wanted to make sure the implants were safe. The FDA wanted to know how the implants would hold up long term. They also wanted studies of women who had already received implants. Walker reports from the hearing,  “Allergan has mustered only about a 60 percent follow-up rate after two years for its studies — far short of the goal of 93 percent — and only one in four patients who received a Mentor implant were followed up after two years.” This prompted calls by consumer groups to remove the implants from the market.

Saving Lives With Cell Phones: In Global Health stories this morning, National Public Radio reports on a fascinating finding in Haiti: “Cell phones can help stem an unfolding epidemic and funnel aid to the needy.” NPR says “Shortly after the quake, Linus Bengtsson at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute helped put together a team to capitalize on Haiti’s cell phone system. “When people start to move around, as they often do after a natural disaster, it’s very difficult to know where to deliver supplies,” Bengtsson says.

A  third of Haiti’s population has cell phones, so  “Bengtsson and colleagues collaborated with the cell phone company Digicell to track calls by the SIM cards in the phones. The phone owners remained anonymous, but their whereabouts showed that some 600,000 fled Port-au-Prince within three weeks of the quake.”  Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, called this an “incredible application of available technology to saving lives — not just of value in developing countries.”