Catching Ebola, Narcissists and Other News of the Week

Health Hub health and medical picks from around the Web

Here is this week’s round-up of stories from around the Web featuring Cleveland Clinic experts that we know you won’t want to miss.

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Know a narcissist?

Seeking confirmation that someone you know is narcissistic? All you have to do is ask. A new report finds when people are asked if they are narcissistic, they answer accurately. Researchers asked people how much they agreed with the statement “I am a narcissist,” then had them complete a longer questionnaire that is traditionally used to measure narcissism. The results matched, indicating that when it comes to self-awareness, narcissists tend to know they are disagreeable. Narcissistic people have inflated egos; they often feel entitled, unique and misunderstood. They often alienate themselves and experience less empathy toward others. How to spot a narcissist: Study reveals the only question you need to ask (TODAY.com).

Infectious, not contagious

The possibility of catching Ebola is remote for Americans. Ebola is aggressively infectious, so people who are infected are highly likely to get sick. But the Ebola virus is not highly contagious and doctors know how to control it. The two American patients with Ebola were flown to the United States in a plane outfitted with an isolation pod and they are being kept in isolation at Emory hospital in a specialized containment ward. “This is much like any other infectious disease we deal with,” says Delos M. “Toby” Cosgrove, MD, CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic. “We are in a global world. … Diseases are globalized as well.” Cleveland Clinic President Talks Ebola Outbreak (NBCNews.com).

Paging the PA

With tens of millions of Americans newly insured under the Affordable Care Act, and a shortfall in the number of doctors to care for them, it’s little wonder that physician assistant is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States. Their numbers are expected to increase 38 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Studies have found that including physician assistants on health care teams can shorten hospital stays and decrease postoperative complications, among other improvements in care. The Physician Assistant Will See You (NYTimes.com).

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Is less more?

Not so very long ago, women birthed their children without drugs, at home, in bed and perhaps without much comfort aside from gripping the hand of a midwife. No doubt, childbirth is high atop the list of painful human experiences – even with the pain-blocking drugs that are available today. But women are increasingly interested in giving birth using alternative methods to drugs – such as sitting in water or practicing hypnosis. Health care providers warn, however, that so-called natural childbirth is tough. It’s not for the faint of heart. And it may put your baby at risk. ‘Tough Mudder:’ Grinning and Bearing Natural Childbirths (usnews.com).

Really, truly gluten-free

The term gluten-free appears on just about anything. That’s because the term never had any regulation behind it. Gluten-free might have meant that a product contained no wheat, but had barley, which also has gluten. It could have meant that the product was gluten-free but made in a facility that handled gluten, meaning there was cross-contamination. But thanks to new requirement from the FDA, the label gluten-free will actually mean that foods are gluten-free. Now, if companies want to label a product as gluten-free, no gluten, without gluten, or free of gluten, there can be just 20 parts per million units of gluten. FDA calls for more specific gluten-free labels (TODAY.com).

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