Daily Rounds: Bacterium Mystery; Cancer Costs; Stable Sperm Count; Tongue-Piercing For Research

E coli outbreak: EU to hold emergency summit | World news | "EU farm ministers will hold emergency talks in Luxembourg after German scientists said there was as yet no evidence from tests to link the E coli bacterium to a farm producing bean sprouts in the northern state of Lower Saxony." (Guardian Unlimited)

As Cancer Treatments Advance, So Do Costs | WBUR & NPR "Costs of cancer care in the U.S. hit $124.6 billion in 2010 and are expected to surpass $158 billion in 2020, the National Cancer Institute found in an analysis earlier this year. Check NCI's site for the costs of care for specific cancers. Even people with health insurance struggle with the bills. A study from Duke and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that out-of-pocket drug copayments and other costs of care not picked up by insurance caused patients to scrimp. To cope with those costs, more than half the people spent less on food and clothing. Nearly half used all or part of their savings, and almost one-third didn't fill prescriptions. "People still couldn't afford groceries and were spending life savings on cancer care," Duke's Dr. Yousuf Zafar told Reuters." (WBUR | 90.9 FM)

Study finds slight decline in ER use among patients with "low-severity" problems - White Coat Notes - "While overall emergency room visits increased about 4.1 percent between 2006 and 2008, visits among patients who are poor or uninsured using the emergency room for "low-severity" issues fell slightly, by about 1.8 percent." (

Updating a Debate on Sperm Counts, Data Show No Decline -" It is one of the most fraught topics in environmental health. Are men becoming less fertile, with declining sperm counts and diminishing sperm quality? If they are, then sperm might be an early warning sign of environmental dangers. And the prime suspects have been substances like plastics and pesticides that can have weak estrogenlike effects on cells.
But now 15 years of data from 18-year-old Danish men taking their military physicals show no decline in sperm counts, after all." (

Piercing a Tongue, in the Name of Mobility - "Martin Mireles says his mother was not happy with his tongue piercing: It didn’t fit his image as a former church youth leader. Martin Mireles is part of a clinical trial at Northwestern's medical school.But as Mr. Mireles told her, it was for research. Paralyzed from a spinal cord injury since he was shot in the neck almost two decades ago, he was recently fitted with a magnetic stud that allows him to steer his wheelchair with his tongue." (

This program aired on June 7, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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