Brain Pacemakers, Vaccine Ethics and Other News of the Week

Health Hub health and medical picks from around the Web

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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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Pacemakers for Parkinson’s patients

More than 7 million people worldwide can’t button a shirt, drink a cup of coffee or get out of a chair because of Parkinson’s disease. But a little-known surgery can help people with Parkinson’s get their lives back. The surgery helps Parkinson’s patients control the body thanks to a pacemaker. The device doesn’t send electrical signals to the heart, but directly to the part of the brain in charge of motion. ‘Pacemaker for the Brain’ Offers Treatment Options (CBSNews.com).

The ethics of immunization

One in 10 parents in the U.S. forgo or delay vaccinations for their kids in the belief that immunizations are dangerous, a recent study shows. Those beliefs now are powering a full-blown health crisis. Are parents who choose not to immunize their children contributing to the loss of innocent lives? The Ethical Negligence of Parents Who Refuse to Vaccinate Their Children (washingtonpost.com).

Going gluten-free

Gluten-free foods are more popular than ever — but are they good for you? Before you give up spaghetti dinners, sandwiches and beer (yes, some beer has gluten in it), you might want to get the lowdown on gluten-free diets. Gluten-free doesn’t mean guilt-free, eliminating gluten can lead to deficiencies and gluten-free food can have extra sugar and salt. Perhaps most important, the science is still out on gluten-free diets. 5 things you didn’t know about gluten-free diets (TODAY.com).

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Why we need arts in medicine

There are more than 300,000 hospitals around the world by some estimates. Most patients come with family members or friends. So for hundreds of millions of people, the hospital becomes a home for a period of time. What are hospitals doing to address those times when families wait and the clock drags? Or to address the burnout of physicians, nurses and other caregivers? Medicine and technology might change the time when we arrive at the end of our destinations, but arts will change our perception of that time. Visionary hospitals need some form of the arts: visual, performing and literary — with their latent therapeutic powers fully activated. Arts and Medicine. Do It. (TheHuffingtonPost.com)

Debate over Vitamin D

A government health panel this week decided against endorsing widespread screening for vitamin D levels in healthy adults, despite research suggesting most Americans might have a vitamin D deficiency. The panel said it was unclear whether otherwise healthy adults with low levels would benefit from taking vitamin D supplements. The issue is complex because it is not clear exactly what constitutes a vitamin D deficiency, and vitamin D screening can yield unreliable results depending on things like a person’s ethnicity. Some doctors say they will continue to screen patients, however, because of the patient’s individual needs and circumstances. Vitamin D Screening Not Backed by Expert Panel (NYTimes.com).

3-D imaging promising

A new study finds adding a 3-dimensional breast imaging technique to digital mammography is better at detecting cancer. The technique also cuts down on the number of women who must return to have more images taken. Results of the study are encouraging, but more research is necessary, doctors say. 3-D Imaging (WSYX-TV)

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