This week in health news: Americans don’t wash their hands properly

America: Let's get better at this!
America: Let’s get better at this!

Just 5 percent of us properly lather up

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: 3,749 people in college towns

Results: Only 5 percent of people wash their hands correctly, reports a new study in the Journal of Environmental Health. Researchers from Michigan State University found that women washed their hands more often, used soap more often and washed for longer. Researchers noted that only 5 percent of the total sample (men and women) washed for more than 15 seconds; 15 percent of men and 7 percent of women left the restrooms without washing at all.

Significance: The Centers for Disease Control recommends washing hands for more than 15 seconds to effectively kill germs. Hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of infectious diseases and bacterial related illnesses.

Tobacco advertising’s impact on teens

Location of study: Germany

Study subjects: 1,320 ten to 15-year-olds who had never smoke

Results: Tobacco ads have an impact on teens’ decisions to smart smoking cigarettes, a report published on BMJ Online found. With every 10 sightings of a tobacco ad, the risk of becoming an established smoker rose by almost 40 percent among the teens monitored.

Significance: The research suggests that advertising strongly influences the smoking habits of teenagers, but researchers admitted that smoking among peers was the strongest influence.
Correlation found between mild traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: 64 MTBI patients, 15 control patients

Results: Some patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) and early Alzheimer’s sufferers had similarities in the distribution of white matter brain abnormalities, a new study published online in the journal “Radiology” found.
The researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine focused on sleeping disturbances, too.

Significance: The study’s lead author, Dr. Saeed Fakhran, noted the importance of sleep for sorting and storing memories, a problem that both types of patients experience. Dr. Fakhran suggests that concussion patients have greater problems in how the brain responds to injury than the injury itself.
Not all protein powders and drinks up to par

Study subjects: Lab study

Location of study: U.S.

Results: Thirty-one percent of the protein powders and drinks tested by ConsumerLab.com did not contain what they claimed or were contaminated with lead. The tests found that the amount of protein was less than stated on some labels and the amount of carbohydrate and cholesterol was understated.

Significance: Ask your doctor about any protein powders or drinks you are interested in incorporating into your diet.


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