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5 Fascinating Health Studies You May Have Missed!

We read a lot of newspapers and magazines, but what most of us can't be bothered reading may be some of the most interesting things - the results of medical studies. The realm of medical studies is where we are as a people in terms of the medical field, and what they are discovering right now may be our focus point tomorrow. Here is a summary of 5 recent and interesting medical studies, including a very bizarre one in the end...


#1 ICU puts patients at risk of cognitive impairment
Journal: New England Journal of Medicine
A study conducted recently found this distressing trend: Patients discharged from the intensive care unit tend to suffer from cognitive impairment that may last for more than a year. In the experiment, adults who were in the ICU for respiratory problems and shock were evaluated 3 months later and then again a year later. What they discovered was that of the 820 people, 74% of them developed types of delirium, meaning confusing thinking, while in the hospital.
The researchers were surprised to discover that this impairment affected both older and younger patients. After a year, 34% of the patients had the same performance on congitive tests as would someone with moderate brain injury, and 24% had results similar to people in the milder stages of Alzheimer's disease. Tbe longer the delirium held on, the worse off were the patients.
#2 Depression may be connected to Parkinson's disease
Journal: Neurology
A new study scares many by claiming that if you suffer from chronic depression, you are 3 times more likely to develop parkinson's disease than other people. 
Cancer and stroke have, in the past, been connected with depression as well. That is not to say that having depression means you're going to have parkinson's.
"Many questions remain, including whether depression is actually an early sign of Alzheimer's." Says Dr. Albert C. Yang, one of the authors of the study.
#3 Out come the stem cells!
Journal: Angewandte Chemie International
Stem cells used to be a hot issue of debate, because the only way of getting them was from embryos. These days, scientists are discovering more ways to get stem cells from regular adults. The reason stem cells are so important, is that they are shape changers - they can still be any kind of cell in the body, like the cells that are hardest to heal - brain cells. Neurons are extremely hard to heal, especially with degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. 
Recently, a team from the University of Oxford invented a technique so extract stem cells from the neural system by using tiny particles known as nanoparticles. These are magnetized so they will attach to neural stem cells. A magnetic field is then switched on and used to bring the stem cells together and 'fish them out'.
#4 Experimental drug may lower cholesterol
Journal: The Lancet
Many people take statins to treat their high levels of cholesterol. But as anyone who's used them knows, they can have some nasty side effects, and don't work the same for everyone. 
There are very encouraging results from a phase 1 trial (preliminary human clinical trial). They will be evaluating safety. But the researchers, so far, have found that an injection of this compound can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) up to 36-56% in healthy people. Let's hope the drug makes it all the way out. After being properly tested, thatis.
#5 Scientists create first-ever penis shame scale 
Journal: Journal of Sexual Medicine
Saving the weird one for last.
Some men are proud of what they have, while others... not so much. Researchers (who I hoped were not funded) developed a way to decide on the man's beliefs about the size of his penis. It's called "Beliefs about Penis Size Scale" - say THAT with a straight face..
The tool uses questions to address issues of anxiety, erectile disfunction, body image, overall satisfaction and personal importance of penis size. 
Interestingly, no correlation was found between actual penis size and the results of the scale - so guys, it may all be in your head!

Images Courtesy of: imagerymajestic, Stuart Miles, Praisaeng, artur84, jscreationzs / freedigitalphotos.net

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