Health Highlights: Jan. 15, 2015

Health Highlights: Jan. 15, 2015

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Digital Technology Not Increasing Stress: Study

A new study challenges the widely-held belief that increased use of digital technology is boosting people’s stress levels.

Researchers found that regular users of the Internet and social media don’t have higher stress levels than those who use digital technology less often, The New York Times reported.

The investigators also found that stress levels among women who frequently use Twitter, email and photo-sharing apps were 21 percent lower than those who do not use those digital tools.

Experts say this may be because sharing life events can enhance well-being, and women tend to do this type of sharing more than men, both online and off, The Times reported.

Social media, particularly Facebook, did increase stress in one way. It made people more aware of serious problems in the lives of close friends, and the effect was strongest among women, the Pew Research Center and Rutgers University researchers said.

They said the finding lends support to the theory that stress can be contagious.

However, learning about serious problems in the lives of people who are not close friends actually lowered social media users’ stress levels, perhaps because they’re grateful that they aren’t having to deal with such troubles, the researchers suggested.

They said their findings show that while new technology changes people’s lives, it doesn’t necessarily lead to increased stress.

“The fear of missing out and jealousy of high-living friends with better vacations and happier kids than everybody else turned out to be not true,” said Lee Rainie, director of Internet, science and technology research at Pew and an author of the study, The Times reported.

“It’s yet another example of how we overestimate the effect these technologies are having in our lives,” said Keith Hampton, a sociologist at Rutgers and an author of the study.


At Least 40 Patients Mistakenly Given Unsterile IV Fluid: FDA

Unsterile intravenous fluids were mistakenly given to at least 40 patients, resulting in numerous hospitalizations and one death, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

Instead of sterile saline solution normally given to patients, these people received unsterilized “simulated” intravenous fluids meant for training only, USA Today reported.

Many of the patients who received the unsterilized fluids developed fevers, chills, headaches and tremors almost immediately, and an unspecified number of them were hospitalized.

The bags of simulated saline were recalled Jan. 7 by Wallcur of San Diego after the company said it learned that the products were “not used for their intended purpose,” USA Today reported.

In order to ease shortages of saline solution in the United States, the FDA has allowed companies to import bags of intravenous saline from Europe.