October 28th, 2010
04:18 PM ET
Bedbugs are no fan of the United Nations. They've been making a home at some of the chairs at the international organization. Along with their march toward world domination, a few other headlines caught our eye this week: news about pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest; who is and isn't getting a flu shot; and the drinking habits of smart people.
A few quick hits:
UN infected by bedbugs
It’s not enough for the bedbugs to take over Manhattan. It turns out they want to invade the United Nations too.
Over the weekend, dogs detected bedbugs in conference room chairs at one office building in the complex. A U.N. spokesman said in a briefing Wednesday that the infested chairs were fumigated and none of the building occupants have reported bites.
This is not the first time the UN has been invaded by bedbugs – another building was fumigated last year for the pests. Bedbugs creep out New York
To be fair, it’s not only New York. A Pennsylvania campus was closed after a student showed up to class with a bug on his clothing, according to the Pittsburgh newspaper.
Chemical in plastics a male birth control?
BPA, the seemingly ubiquitous chemical found in clear plastics could be hurting your sperm count. The chemical has been found to affect erectile function too. More about plastics and sperm
BPA is found pretty much in almost all plastics such as water bottles, baby food containers and etc. It has also been thought to increase the risk of birth defects, early puberty, obesity, brain damage, and some forms of cancer.
This alarmed Canadians so much that their government declared the substance a toxic earlier this month.
Progress on pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer has claimed the lives of Jefferson Thomas, one of the so-called "Little Rock Nine," actor Patrick Swayze and professor Randy Pausch (author of "The Last Lecture"). It's one of the leading cancer killers as 95 percent of patients die within five years of diagnosis.
Because it’s relatively rare, the research on pancreatic cancer has been scant.
But new findings, published in Nature, suggest that pancreatic cancer can take a long time - an average of 21 years to become fatal. It’s a step towards understanding how pancreatic tumors develop, suggesting that there may be ways to detect it earlier before it becomes so lethal.
Thanks, but no thanks to flu shots
A survey by Consumer Reports finds that more than half of Americans will skip the flu shot this year.
The top reason for skipping the vaccine was “the mistaken belief that it’s best to build one’s own natural immunities,” according to Consumer Reports.
It's not only the lay people spurning the vaccine. The survey also points out that 28 percent who work in health care settings such as nursing homes and hospitals indicated they would definitely not get the vaccine.
Smart people drink more
People who are "very bright" drank more alcohol compared with the "very dull" counterparts. That finding comes from the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States, according to Discovery News.
These findings don't really provide any explanations.
So does drinking make you smarter? Or do smart people naturally gravitate towards alcohol?
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.