Scientists Say Twitter Tracks the Flu Better than the CDC

Plus: Lightning may trigger migraines; marriage may save your life; and more health news.

By | Hub Health |

Scientists say Twitter tracks disease better then the CDC. We covered how Google tracks the flu, and how researchers at Boston Children’s¬†Hospital¬†are using Twitter and Google to study migraines, but¬†now, the Wall Street Journal reports that researchers at Johns Hopkins University are using Twitter to track the flu. Scientists screen the site to collect data on influenza cases in the U.S.¬†because¬†people with the flu usually stay home in bed, and so it’s been hard to track it in the past. Now, social media sites like Twitter can provide researchers with information once¬†unavailable¬†because¬†it was behind closed doors. [Wall Street Journal]

Lightning may trigger migraines. New research out of thew University of Cincinnati Health Center found that when a lightning storm took place within 25 miles of a person’s home, they were 31 percent more likely to suffer from a headache and 28 percent more likely to experience a migraine. The findings were recently published in the journal Cephalalgia. Researchers are not certain about why this happens yet. Some theories are that lightning strikes produce extra ozone, which may irritate headache sufferers. Also, the extreme conditions when lightning occurs could release allergens, such as fungal spores, which can lead to more headaches. Or, perhaps the electromagnetic waves trigger headaches. One other theory is that tens of thousands of strikes drastically changing the air’s ionization, which can lead to more pain. [NBC News]

Eyebrow transplants are¬†gaining¬†popularity. As we age,¬†our¬†eyebrows thin, just like the rest of our hair. There are some over-the-counter ways to try to get thicker brows like using products designed for other areas of the face and scalp, like Rogaine (yes, that Rogaine), or eyelash thickeners like Peter Thomas Roth’s version. But now¬†women¬†and trying hair¬†transplants. Hairs are harvested from the nape of the neck, the arms, or the legs and then¬†individually¬†transplanted. The two and a half hour¬†procedure¬†can cost up to $8000. [ABC News]

Marriage may reduce heart attack risk. New research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that marriage reduces the risk of having acute coronary events, like a non-fatal or deadly heart attack, in both men and women, regardless of age. So if you think your marriage might be killing you, you may be better off then your single friends. [CBS News]

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2013/02/01/scientists-twitter-tracks-disease-illness-cdc/