Researchers have identified a gene in African Americans that can increase the risk of irregular heartbeat. The gene, called Y-1102, is found in some people of African descent. Researchers say the gene alone isn't responsible for an Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, but it can contribute to it in patients lacking electrolytes like potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium. A study shows people who carry the gene are eight times more likely than others to experience an Arrhythmia. The study is published in the journal "Science" and it emphasizes the need for blacks in particular to get regular annual checkups.
Scientists have pinpointed a group of natural carbohydrates called "Gags" found in cartilage and joint fluid. Their research shows that rheumatoid arthritis may be triggered when the body starts attacking these "Gags". That response causes painful inflammation and swelling. Researchers say more studies are needed to confirm the findings, but say it suggests that the disease is the result of an unusual immune response. They are now looking into drugs that may help turn off the body's attack. The research was conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital and is being presented at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting.
Your doctor's stethoscope may help diagnose aliments, but it could also be a source of potentially dangerous bacteria. A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found 200 stethoscopes from four different hospitals tested positive for potentially serious infections in hospital patients. Now, a new disposable device could help. Safeseal is a soft diaphragm that fits snuggly over the stethoscope. It's saturated with a compound that kills infectious bacteria for up to two weeks.By the way, the cost of treating hospital-acquired infections reaches almost $5-billion a year.