This week in health news: Early birds get the worm - Metro US

This week in health news: Early birds get the worm

Kids who go to sleep at a regular time tested better in school. Credit: Getty Images Kids who go to sleep at a regular time tested better in school.
Credit: Getty Images

Early to bed might make kids wiser
Location of study:U.K.
Study subjects:11,000 seven-year-olds.
Results:Children who don’t go to bed at a regular time or who go to bed late don’t appear to do as well at school, says a new study. Children were monitored at age three, five and seven and those who had no bedtime routine, or who went to bed after 9 p.m., had lower scores for reading and math, and spatial awareness. The impact was shown to affect early childhood girls more so than boys.
Significance:Lack of sleep or disruption of the body’s natural circadian rhythms may impair learning. Study author Professor Amanda Sacker of University College London concluded: “Establishing a good bedtime routine early in childhood is probably best, but it’s never too late.”

Acetaminophen overdose survivors show significantly poorer general health
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 282 adult acute liver failure patients
Results: Patients who had liver transplants following non-drug induced acute liver failure were in better health than survivors of acetaminophen overdose, according to a new study published online in Liver Transplantation. Acetaminophen overdose is known to damage liver function.
Significance: According to the report, 3,000 patients develop acute liver failure in the U.S. annually. The study, which was condcted by the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, looked at quality of life for the 67 percent of people who survive the illness.

Stem-cell transplants reduce virus in two HIV-positive patients
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: two HIV-positive patients
Results: Dr. Timothy Henrich of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston report that no trace of the HIV virus was found in two lymphoma patients following stem cell transplants. The virus became undetectable by eight months post-transplant. The research was funded by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and reported at the 7th annual International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Significance: The news offers the possibility of a new therapy for HIV patients, but because of its costs and complexity, stem-cell transplantation is not yet a viable option for people with HIV on a broad scale.

Independent testing finds contamination in “green” supplements
Study subjects: Laboratory study
Results: Contamination of health supplements made from wheat grass, alfalfa, kelp, spirulina, leafy vegetables and other chlorophyll-containing ingredients is common, according to ConsumerLab.com. Lead, arsenic, bacteria, microbes and pesticides were among the contaminants that the site found. Cost had little effect: Some of the most expensive products were those that failed testing. One that passed was Swanson GreenFoods Green Max Powder; one that didn’t was Green Vibrance, which was found to have arsenic in it.
Significance: In America, $834 million worth of these supplements were purchased in 2011. Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com, commented: “It’s not uncommon for a greens product to list more than a dozen plant-based ingredients — if one is highly contaminated, it can spoil the entire product.”

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