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False Positives Common in Lyme Disease Lab Tests

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – Some patients rely­ing on com­mer­cially avail­able lab­o­ra­tory test­ing may be get­ting false indi­ca­tions that they may have con­tracted Lyme disease.

Lyme dis­ease, a bac­te­r­ial infec­tion trans­mit­ted by tick bites in the north­east­ern U.S., often can mimic other dis­eases and can be an elu­sive diagnosis.

A study in CMAJ eval­u­ated the accu­racy of lab tests admin­is­tered to Cana­di­ans who sent their blood to Amer­i­can labs and ques­tions whether these tests may be caus­ing more harm than they are help in find­ing a diagnosis.

The type of lab­o­ra­tory test­ing involved in the diag­no­sis of Lyme dis­ease is known as a ‘West­ern Blot’ test. Researchers looked at 40 patients with­out Lyme dis­ease and found that as many as 25 per­cent had a false pos­i­tive result with this test.

The authors of this report con­cluded that com­mer­cial lab­o­ra­tory test­ing may have too low of a thresh­old for a pos­i­tive test result – in other words, too many false positives.

While the treat­ment for Lyme dis­ease is a sim­ple course with an antibi­otic, the researchers warn that a false-positive test result may be dan­ger­ous, say­ing “Mis­takes in diag­no­sis can deprive patients of treat­ment spe­cific to the true cause of their symp­toms, and can result in pro­longed ther­apy for a con­di­tion they do not have.”

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Teen Athlete Dies After Contracting Brain-Eating Amoeba

KTRK-TV(HOUSTON) — The fam­ily of a 14-year-old ath­lete has con­firmed that he died after being infected with a deadly amoeba that attacks the brain.
Michael Riley is believed to have con­tracted the amoeba dur­ing a swim in a fresh water lake, and his fa…


Minimal Sleep May Put You at Higher Risk of Catching a Cold

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – Catch some winks, or catch a cold.

New research pub­lished in the jour­nal SLEEP sug­gests that a good night’s sleep, while not likely the cure for the com­mon cold, might just help you avoid one.

Researchers stud­ied at a group of 164 peo­ple, assess­ing how many hours of sleep they got each night. They then exposed the study vol­un­teers to rhi­novirus, the bug known to cause the com­mon cold.

Those sleep­ing fewer than five hours a night had a greater chance of devel­op­ing the com­mon cold than their better-rested coun­ter­parts who got at least six hours of sleep per night.

The find­ings sup­port what sci­en­tists and doc­tors have long believed – that get­ting the right sleep helps your body keep its immune sys­tem at its best.

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Social Media Defending Mother Who Left Baby in Shopping Cart

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) — A mother of four is at the cen­ter of a blis­ter­ing social media move­ment dubbed #IStandWithCherish.Cherish Peter­son is under fire for leav­ing behind her 2-month-old son, Hux­ton, out­side an Ari­zona super­mar­ket Aug. 24. A pho…




Ice Cream that’s Better for You… and Doesn’t Melt?!

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Reduced-fat ice cream that doesn’t melt? That’s what British sci­en­tists are said to be work­ing on. A team of sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­sity of Edin­burgh and the Uni­ver­sity of Dundee said in a writ­ten state­ment that they hav…


Pediatricians Urge Parents to Talk to Teens Early About Alcohol

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It may be bet­ter to talk to your teens about alco­hol ear­lier rather than later.

The Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Pedi­atrics issued a state­ment Mon­day telling par­ents to talk to their teens about alco­hol, and specif­i­cally address the dan­gers and health effects of binge drinking.

And the mes­sage may not come a moment too soon.

Past research cited by the group shows that over three-quarters of U.S. teens will even­tu­ally exper­i­ment with alco­hol. These teens are more likely to engage in risky behav­ior lead­ing to such neg­a­tive con­se­quences as unwanted preg­nan­cies, irre­versible brain changes, and severe injury and death.

The group also notes that kids as young as 9 years old have started to think about try­ing alcohol.

What’s the solution?

Talk to your kids about alco­hol. The AAP says the very act of address­ing the dan­gers with them influ­ences their deci­sions around alco­hol and leads them to make smarter choices.

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