How eye exams could save your life; Plus, scientists grow hair follicles in a lab, and more health news

Not just for glasses: Eye exams could save your life

Eyes may be your window to good health.

Patient Barbara Krupar, a 65-year-old Ohio retiree, learned this firsthand.

Krupar made an appointment with her ophthalmologist after experiencing disturbing vision changes.

Dr. Nicole Bajic detected possible early warning signs of a stroke. She advised Krupar to go to the emergency room immediately to have her head and neck imaged.

At the hospital, the ER physician discovered that the carotid artery in her neck was 85% blocked, putting Krupar at imminent risk of suffering a stroke. The eye exam may have saved her life.

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Study: Some donor livers keep working for 100 years

Some human livers are tougher than others, lasting more than 100 cumulative years between the organ’s original host and a transplant recipient, a new study discovers.

Understanding what makes these livers so resilient could help improve the donor pool by paving the way for expanded use of livers from older donors, the researchers said.

“We previously tended to shy away from using livers from older donors,” said study co-author Dr. Christine Hwang, an associate professor of surgery with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas. “If we can sort out what is special amongst these donors, we could potentially get more available livers to be transplanted and have good outcomes.”

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Flesh-eating bacteria cases spike in Florida county after Hurricane Ian

Florida residents dealing with the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Ian now need to be concerned about a spike in flesh-eating bacteria cases, health officials warned.

“The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is observing an abnormal increase in cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections as a result of exposure to the flood waters and standing waters following Hurricane Ian,” the county health department said in a statement. Residents should “always be aware of the potential risks associated when exposing open wounds, cuts or scratches on the skin to warm, brackish or salt water.”

“Sewage spills, like those caused from Hurricane Ian, may increase bacteria levels,” the statement continued.

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Physicians with disabilities experience more mistreatment

Physicians with disabilities had a significantly higher likelihood of experiencing every type of mistreatment from both patients and coworkers, according to a study published online in the October issue of Health Affairs.

Lisa M. Meeks, from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from a nationally representative sample of 5,851 physicians to examine workplace mistreatment experienced by physicians with disabilities and determine whether physicians with disabilities are more likely to experience mistreatment in their workplace than physicians without disabilities.

The researchers found that the majority of physicians with disabilities reported at least one type of mistreatment (64 percent) and were more likely to experience all types of mistreatment both from coworkers and from patients, compared with nondisabled physicians.

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Scientists grow hair follicles in a lab

In what could be an advance against hair loss, researchers say they’ve successfully grown hair follicles in culture in the lab.

The Japanese research team created a system that produces fully mature hair follicles — the tube-like structure in which the root and strand of a hair grow — as well as hair as long as 3 millimeters after a few weeks’ growth.

The system relies on organoids — tiny, simple versions of an organ that scientists create in lab culture dishes using stem cells.

As an embryo develops, hair follicles form due to the interaction between the outer layer of the skin and the connective tissue called mesenchyme that lies beneath, the researchers said.

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Use of relaxers, chemical hair straighteners tied to double risk for uterine cancer

Women who regularly use chemical hair straighteners may be more prone to developing uterine cancer, a new large government study suggests.

The study, which followed nearly 34,000 U.S. women over a decade, found that those who frequently used hair straighteners were 2.5 times more likely to develop uterine cancer, versus non-users. “Frequent” was defined as more than four times in the past year.

Experts cautioned that the findings do not prove cause and effect. And given that uterine cancer is relatively uncommon, even the increased risk linked to hair straighteners is small.

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