DETECTING DEADLY PRIONS
There is a new, more accurate way to test brain tissue for the biochemical signal of prions--proteins that cause a human brain-wasting illness related to mad-cow disease. The developers of the technique hope it can also be used to detect mad cow in cattle.
An intravenous antibiotic can prevent surgical infections, yet it's given correctly only 56% of the time, says a study in the Archives of Surgery. Most common mistake: giving it too late, too early or using the wrong antibiotic.
HERB SPELLS HEADACHE RELIEF
Two new studies conclude that the herbal extract butterbur may be effective in cutting the number and severity of migraine headaches in children and adults. Like other supplements, butterbur (an ancient treatment for plague) should be used with care.
HEARING WOES IN THE HEAD
For many elderly people, hearing problems may lie not in their ears but in their aging brains. Our brains do a masterly job of sorting out signal from noise amid the daily din. Age can diminish this ability, which means that a senior who can hear just fine in a quiet environment may find a busy restaurant to be auditory chaos.
ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO STAY ACTIVE
Men who exercise vigorously and regularly reduce their risk of developing Parkinson's disease 50% to 60%, according to a study of 125,000 adults. For women, however, the link between exertion and Parkinson's is not statistically significant.
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE ER
Emergency-room docs often fail to spot psychiatric disorders in patients, says a study in an American Psychological Association journal. For millions who use ERs for primary care, that's a missed chance for treatment. --By David Bjerklie