Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Menstrual cramps may alter brain structure.

From ScienceDaily:

Primary dysmenorrhea (PDM), or menstrual cramps, is the most common gynecological disorder in women of childbearing age. Lower abdominal pain starts with the onset of menstrual flow and this ongoing pain stimulus can cause alterations throughout the nervous system.

In a study scheduled for publication in the September issue of the journal Pain, researchers report abnormal changes in the structure of the brain in PDM patients, whether or not they are in fact experiencing pain.

Lead investigator, Professor Jen-Chuen Hsieh, MD, PhD, Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, commented, "Our results demonstrated that abnormal GM [gray matter] changes were present in PDM patients even in absence of pain. This shows that not only sustained pain but also cyclic occurring menstrual pain can result in longer-lasting central changes. Although the functional consequences remain to be established, these results indicate that the adolescent brain is vulnerable to menstrual pain. Longitudinal studies are needed to probe hormonal interaction, fast-changing adaptation (intra-menstrual cycle) and whether such changes are reversible or not."

Wells Fargo deliberately manipulated overdraft fees, ordered to pay $200 million.

From CNN:
Wells Fargo was ordered to pay more than $200 million in restitution to California customers for manipulating and multiplying overdraft fees, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup of Northern California, in his 90-page ruling Tuesday, said Wells Fargo used "a bookkeeping device" that turned one instance of overdrawing an account into as many as 10, allowing the bank to multiply the number of fees it could collect from a single mistake.

"The bank went to considerable effort to hide these manipulations while constructing a facade of phony disclosure," he said.

The ruling said Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) must pay $203 million in restitution to California customers for its liberal use of $35 overdraft fees. This is a fraction of the $1.8 billion in overdraft fees that the bank collected in California from 2005 to 2007, according to the court.

"The revenue generated from these fees has been massive," wrote the judge.

Untreatable superbug hits UK.

From Orange:
A 'superbug' that is resistant to the most powerful antibiotics has reached the UK.

Scientists are warning the bug, an enzyme called New Delhi-Metallo-1 (NDM-1), could spread across the world as nothing is being developed to treat it.

There has been 37 reported cases in the UK, mainly among patients who travelled to areas of Asia for cosmetic surgery, transplants and cancer treatment.

The bug can exist inside different bacteria, like E.coli, and cause infections in other parts of the body.

It can also move from one bacterium to another and experts are concerned it may attach itself to more dangerous diseases and cause them to become resistant to antibiotics.

The scientists, writing in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, said: "It has an alarming potential to spread and diversify."

Dr David Livermore, one of the researchers and who works for the UK's Health Protection Agency (HPA), said: "The NDM-1 problem is likely to get progressively worse in the foreseeable future.

"The potential for wider international spread and for NDM-1 to become endemic worldwide are clear and frightening."

Infections have already been passed from patient to patient in UK hospitals.

Researchers say the way to stop NDM-1 is to identify and isolate any patients who are infected.