Friday, 31 January 2014

China's medical news for Friday 31 January

Breast milk contains high levels of DDT
Breastfeeding mothers in Zhejiang have high levels of DDT in their milk, a study has shown. Researchers said the high levels of DDT found in breast milk were in excess of safe limits and showed that human milk was "grossly polluted". The DDT was thoght to come from seafood in the diet, the researchers said in the journal Environment International.

Shanghai obesity myth dispelled
Shanghai researchers have dispelled the concept of 'metabolically healthy obese'. In a study of more than 211,000 people over 40 i 25 areas of China they showed that  obesity was a risk factor for  CHD regardless of the presence or absence of insulin resistance. The findings are published in the International Journal of Cardiology.

Zinc levels linked to naughty children
Low zinc levels have been linked to behavioural problems in pre-school children in China. A study conducted in 1314 children in Jintan, Jiangsu found that low zinc levels were significantly associated with increased reports of total behavior problems. Living in the suburbs was associated with increased internalizing problems, while higher mother’s education and being female were associated with decreased externalizing problems, the study in the journal Nutrients found.

N95 face masks prove effective
A study of the effectiveness of N95 masks in Beijing has found that they are protective against bacterial colonization, co-colonization and viral-bacterial co-infection. The clinical trial of 1441 hospital staff found the rate of bacterial colonization was 2.8% with N95 mask users, 5.3% in medical mask users  and 7.5% in staff who did not wear any mask. Co-infections of bacteria and/or a virus  occurred in up to 3.7% of healthcare workers and were significantly lower in N95 wearers, the study in Preventive Medicine showed. (NB: See our earlier story that found N95 masks were a poor fit for Chinese faces).

Medicine costs and hospitals
The Economist has an article explaining why China's hospitals are dependent on revenue from drug sales for their financial viability. The magazine says efforts to reduce corruption will be difficult until the system is reformed, as hospital derive 40% of income from commissions on medicines and medical products.

China has psychotherapy boom
Mental disorders have traditionally been a taboo subject in China, but SBS reports that a reality television show Psychological Sessions has been captivating audiences across China. And a researcher says there is now a 'psychotherapy-boom' in China as people have become aware of modern-day stresses and the need for treatment. 

Women don't get a fair go in health
Women face medical discrimination in China as they appear to have lower rates of treatment than men, a study suggests. Published in the International Journal for Equity in Health, the study finds that women have lower rates of hospital admission than men for the same conditions. Women also have lower rates of investigations and shorter hospital stays compared to their male equivalents.

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