Medical Notes this week…

As much as 10 percent of the population have restless leg syndrome, a nervous system disorder creating an irresistible urge to move the legs, often during sleep. It also creates an increased risk of heart disease death, according to a new study in the journal Neurology. The study is perhaps the first to weed out other heart disease risk factors common in people with RLS, such as high blood pressure. Researchers conclude that restless leg syndrome alone increases heart disease death risk in women by 43 percent.

When you’re sick with the flu or another upper respiratory infection, it pays to know if a virus or bacteria is responsible. For one thing, viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. now there’s an experimental test that can quickly and easily tell the difference. Scientists writing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases say the test could be performed with a nasal swab and could be available in one to five years.

And finally, most cases of bad breath are linked to bacteria growing in the mouth but around three percent of people have chronic bad breath for no apparent reason. It turns out, it’s their genes, according to a study in the journal Nature Genetics. Researchers say these people have a mutation in a gene that normally enables the body to break down smelly sulfur compounds in the blood. But while scientists now know why those people have halitosis there’s nothing yet they can do about it.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

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