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Harvard Reviews of Health News


Harvard News ReviewsA team of Harvard physicians reviews health news headlines 24/7/365, and creates commentary and provides advice on how a consumer should react to the news. For urgent breaking health news, articles are written within 6-18 hours of the news story’s first appearance. If desired, they can be delivered immediately upon completion. Over 200 new articles are written annually.

Resistant Staph Bacteria Found in Homes

The "super bug" known as MRSA isn't just in hospitals, prisons and locker rooms. A new study shows that it could be in your home, too. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. These staph bacteria are hard to kill because they resist most antibiotics. MRSA once was found mainly in hospitals and nursing homes. But in recent years it has spread to the community. Some people have been infected in close quarters, such as prisons and locker rooms. The new study focused on 161 New York City residents infected with MRSA. Researchers compared the genetic makeup of MRSA from these people with a group who were not sick. They also tested other household members and social contacts of both groups. Finally, they tested surfaces in people's homes. They found that the homes of people with MRSA were "major reservoirs" of a MRSA strain called USA300.

Study Shows Teens Don't Sleep Enough

In a study of 250 teenagers, most got less sleep than they needed. Teens in the study were from low- and middle-income families. They wore a device called an actigraph to measure their sleep for one week. They also kept sleep diaries. They recorded an average of 6.8 hours a night during the week. This rose to 8.7 hours a night during the weekend. But the actigraphs showed they actually slept less. The average nightly total was 6 hours during the week and 7.4 hours during the weekend. Black and male students slept less. The actigraphs showed that blacks and males also tended to wake or shift into a less-deep stage of sleep more often. This is called fragmented sleep. In their diaries, female students were more likely to report poor sleep quality. They also were more likely to say they felt sleepy in the daytime.

Foodborne Illness Stable; Salmonella Down

Though salmonella rates fell, cases of food poisoning overall have remained steady in recent years, U.S. health officials say. The new report comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It includes cases in 10 states. The CDC's reporting system confirmed 19,000 cases of foodborne illness in these states in 2013. About 4,200 people required a hospital stay. Eighty people died. Salmonella alone caused 38% of the confirmed cases. Campylobacter was close behind, with 35% of the cases. Salmonella bacteria caused 15 cases per 100,000 people. That's down 9% from 2010-2012. The CDC hopes to cut the rate to 11.4 by 2020. Campylobacter rates have been stable for the last 5 years. Vibrio bacteria are a lesser known cause of illness.

Harvard Reviews of Health News

The "super bug" known as MRSA isn't just in hospitals, prisons and locker rooms. A new study shows that it could be in your home, too. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. These staph bacteria are hard to kill because they resis...

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