The car industry puts seat belts in every vehicle because they reduce crash related deaths. So, what happens if you're too big for that strap to comfortably reach around you? A study from Vanderbilt University finds that with the growing obesity epidemic, more and more people are not buckling up. Among those who are obese, 30 percent say they will not put on a seatbelt and of those who are extremely obese, the number of non-seat belt users jumps to more than half. Researchers say that the bottom line from this study is that automakers need to make seatbelt extenders more readily available.
According to a new study from the California Department of Public Health, the theory that vaccines containing mercury increase the risk for autism may not be true. Researchers studied the prevalence of autism from 1995 to 2007 and found that the number of children diagnosed with the disease continued to climb after 2001 (the year mercury was removed from most vaccines). Researchers say that studies aimed at identifying a risk factor for the disease should still go on but that this finding would indicate that vaccines are likely not the trigger.
Take a close look at your hands. If your ring finger is significantly longer than your index finger you may be at a greater risk for osteoarthritis (a joint disease associated with physical activity and estrogen deficiency) of the knee, particularly if you're a woman. A new study led by researchers at the University of Nottingham in England and published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, Jan. 2008, found an association between a large difference in the lengths of the index and ring fingers and an increased risk for osteoarthritis of the knees and hips. Although men generally have shorter index fingers in relation to their ring fingers, it was women with uncommonly long ring fingers who were most at risk for knee osteoarthritis. The reason for this finding is unclear, but other research has linked finger lengths with hormonal differences.