Catheters that deliver intravenous nutrients and medication to patients can also deliver a serious blood infection. But researchers reported last week that a new device coated with antibiotics--called a Cook Spectrum Catheter--can protect against infection 12 times as well as those that are treated with antiseptics only.
Bad News on Formaldehyde
Talk about strange bedfellows. Scientists have shown that new bedsheets can emit formaldehyde--a possible carcinogen. The chemical is present in the coating that makes sheets--and permanent-press shirts--wrinkle-free. Other offenders: wet fingernail hardeners, latex paint and some floor finishes. What to do? Wash shirts and sheets before using, and keep your distance after applying fresh paint and other products.
Good News for Hearts
What would Dracula say? The thickness of arterial walls in the neck may be a more powerful predictor of heart attack and stroke for elderly folks than high blood pressure or cholesterol, scientists reported last week. The walls of the carotid arteries can be easily viewed with a $250 sonogram.
Bad News on Salmonella
Parents, clean up your act! A study of young children infected with salmonella found that in at least 35% of cases, contaminated food was not to blame. Instead the source of the bug was parents' and pets' stool and even dirt on the floor.
Sources: New England Journal of Medicine (1,3); Environmental Science Technology; Pediatrics