High healthcare costs plague Asians
International health experts have estimated that 78 million more Asians than previously thought are living in poverty because of healthcare costs. Many people in Asian countries do not have health insurance and pay for doctorsí bills and medical treatments. But the out-of-pocket health expenses are not included in conventional estimates of poverty, according to a study in the journal Lancet. When researchers deducted the medical costs from total household resources in 11 Asian countries, millions more people fell below the internationally accepted poverty threshold of $1 per head per day. Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia had the lowest burden of healthcare payments. The situation was more striking in larger nations such as Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal and Vietnam.
Subway noise harms ears
In a new survey of noise levels of the New York City transit system, researchers at Columbia University found that exposure to noise levels in subways have the potential to exceed recommended guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the research reported in the Journal of Urban Health, as little as 30 minutes of exposure to decibel levels measured in the New York City transit system per day has the potential to result in hearing loss. Noise exposure and noise-induced hearing loss is a global health problem of significant magnitude, especially in urban settings.
Alcoholic milk benefits kids
Feeding babies alcoholic milk may help to protect them against some food allergies, according to a study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Kefir, a traditional fermented drink, is consumed in Eastern Europe as a health food, and is often used to wean babies, as it is easily digested. The researchers report that the milk drink inhibits the allergen specific antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE) which can stimulate allergic responses, such as inflammation and constriction of airways in babies.The findings of the new study could be especially significant, as infants under the age of three are most susceptible to food allergies.
Shopping sans gender bias
Contrary to popular opinion, nearly as many men as women experience compulsive buying disorder, a condition marked by binge buying and subsequent financial hardship, according to new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study has been published in the October issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.