Health Tips | Stroke treatments, toxic chemicals in receipts, and new alcohol and sugar-drink risks

November 12, 2010 by David Despain

Welcome to our new weekly Health Tips column, covering breaking news of medical findings and other health-related information you can use now, or in the near future. This week: new stroke treatments, toxins in food packaging and cashier receipts, and new risks from alcohol and sugary drinks.

(credit: stock image)

Three new stroke treatments: DHA, found in fish oil, protects the brain from damage and enhances recovery, even five hours after a stroke [Louisiana State University]; potent neuroprotectant protein erythropoietin attached to an antibody can cross the blood-brain barrier in mice (also helps brain or spinal cord injury and chronic neurodegenerative disorders) [Molecular Pharmaceutics]; and non-invasive electric brain stimulation coupled with physical and occupational therapy tripled the improvement in stroke victims [Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center].

Dangerous chemicals found in receipts and food wrappers: The thermal paper used to make cashier receipts may be tainted with bisphenol A (BPA), which is absorbed through skin, increasing risk of breast and prostate cancer (canned vegetables are also a source) [Environmental Health Perspectives]. Some fast-food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags are also poisoning people with perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs), known carcinogens [University of Toronto].

New alcohol risks include weak immune system, brittle bones, raised risk of contracting HIV, slowed healing and recovery from injuries, and hindered recovery from burns, trauma, bleeding and surgery [Loyola University Health System, The Lancet].

Women increase their gout risk by 75 percent by drinking just one serving of a sugary beverage a day (including orange juice), and more than double their risk with two or more servings (gout is aggravated by high-sugar beverages because of their rich content of fructose, which raises uric acid levels) [JAMA].

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