Today’s Headlines: Chinese Bird Flu Death Toll, Decreasing Infant Death Rate, and Tylenol

Chinese Bird Flu Death Toll Rises to 17: Chinese officials confirmed five new infections and another fatality, increasing the total number of deaths attributed to the virus to 17. An 83rd bird flu infection was “detected in a 38-year-old poultry trader in Henan province, according to state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua.” WHO spokesman Timothy O’Leary stated that health officials are still unaware where “the disease reservoir” is. O’Leary also said, “We need to establish where the virus is living, in which animal it has its reservoir, and then try to figure out how it’s being transmitted to people. All the evidence points to animal-to-human transmission but which animal and how is it being transmitted? This is the big mystery.” (CNN)

Infant Death Rate on the Decline: “The number of US children who died in 2011 within a year of birth in 2011 declined 12% from 2005, as fewer babies are born prematurely,” health authorities reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “6 in 1,000 children died within their first year in 2011, compared with 6.9 per 1,000 in 2005.” Notably, “the leading cause of infant death in the US was birth defects, followed by premature births. … Those health issues, along with sudden infant death syndrome, maternal complications and unintentional injuries accounted for more than half of the infant deaths in 2011.” (Bloomberg News)

Acetaminophen May Ease Feelings of “Existential Dread”: According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, “Tylenol may relieve not just physical aches and pains, but feelings of existential dread.” The medication’s active ingredient, acetaminophen, “appears to dull the mechanisms in the brain that make us worried and uneasy when faced with uncertainty.” (New York Daily News)