Why Hospitals Are Switching To Copper

Hospital-bed railings can transmit infection-causing bacteria to patients, but in a trial at three US hospitals, introducing handrails made with copper-which naturally kills bacteria, yeasts, and viruses-lowered infection rates by 58 percent.

Updated: Sep 25, 2018 11:43:02 IST
2018-09-25T11:43:02+05:30
Why Hospitals Are Switching To Copper

Why Hospitals Are Embracing Copper

Hospital-bed railings can transmit infection-causing bacteria to patients, but in a trial at three US hospitals, introducing handrails made with copper-which naturally kills bacteria, yeasts, and viruses-lowered infection rates by 58 percent. The trial hospitals and others are considering switching more surfaces to copper. An Iowa hospital, for example, has already installed everything from copper light-switch plates to toilet flushers.  

More Yogurt, Less Diabetes

One additional serving of Yogurt (curd) a day is linked with an 18 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a large Harvard study. Researchers hypothesize that yogurt's probiotics may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, but more clinical trials are needed to determine this. Total dairy consumption was not associated with diabetes risk, and the study didn't differentiate between yogurt types.

Health Risk in Your E-mail

Here's a simple way to feel less stressed: Sign out of e-mail. For two weeks, Canadian researchers assigned more than 120 adults to either check their inboxes only three times a day or to check as often as possible (about the same number of times they normally would). After the first week, participants switched scenarios. For most people, checking e-mail less frequently significantly lowered overall daily stress levels.

Drug Cure for Hepatitis C

A newly [US] FDA-approved treatment, Viekira Pak, could be a game changer for patients with hepatitis C, the most common cause of liver cancer and transplantation. According to new research in the New England Journal of Medicine, an oral combination drug regimen cured hepatitis C in 97 percent of the 30 liver transplant patients studied. The new treatment is taken by patients for 24 weeks or less and has a higher success rate and a lower risk of organ rejection than other classic treatments.

Silent Signs of Cancer

More than half of 1700 participants in a recent British study reported signs of a malignancy, such as unexplained coughing or bleeding, but only 2 percent of them thought cancer was a possibility. Patients ignored not only subtle signs like changed urination habits (a bladder cancer symptom) but also more obvious signs like lumps. Researchers say this shows that opportunities for early diagnosis are being missed and that patients need to see their doctors sooner when something is abnormal.

Swallowing Capsules, Now Made Simple

Spoonful of sugar won't help the medicine go down? In a recent German study, a different approach helped 90 percent of patients with difficulty swallowing large capsules: Put the pill on your tongue, take a sip of water, and tilt your head forward as you swallow. Capsules (but not tablets) are lighter than water, so they naturally float towards your throat when you lean forward. Still, an earlier study showed that only 2 percent of participants knew to bend forward.

When Chest Pain Isn't an Asthma Symptom

In a new study of nearly 7000 asthma patients (average age: 62), those with cases severe enough to require daily medication were 60 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or related condition within ten years than those without asthma. Researchers don't know the exact link (they plan to study the effect of daily asthma medication and chronic inflammation). Experts urge asthma patients to seek prompt medical care if they experience any chest pain, as it is a common symptom of both asthma and heart disease.

Foods Making You Forgetful

A known heart threat, trans fat-found in foods like margarine and cookies-may also mess with memory. In a recent study presented at an American Heart Association meeting, researchers evaluated the trans fat consumption of about 1000 healthy men and gave them memory tests. Each additional gram of trans fat eaten per day was linked to poorer performance on the test.

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