Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

A TB outbreak in the City of Angels and relationship anxiety: In health news today

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In today's health news:

Local and federal health officials are trying to contain an outbreak of tuberculosis in Downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row, reports KPCC. As many as 4,600 people may have been exposed to the potentially lethal disease. The Los Angeles County Public Health Department's director said the outbreak is the largest in a decade.

This season's flu vaccine was only 55 percent effective, according to a federal analysis. The percentage represents the proportion of flu patients for whom the vaccine worked. Reuters says the vaccine "largely failed to protect the elderly" against a strain of the virus that was particularly deadly. "We simply need a better vaccine against influenza," said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A drug therapy for breast cancer called Kadcyla has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, reports Bloomberg. Kadcyla is able to narrowly target cancerous cells for chemotherapy without affecting healthy cells.

A new study pinpoints two steps school cafeterias can take to encourage healthier lunchtime eating habits among students, says HealthDay: First, cafeteria staff ought to make the fruit looks attractive – put it in a nice bowl or fancy display, for example. Second, staffers should gently prompt children by asking them whether they'd like to try a piece of fruit. One of the major appeal factors in this plan: It's inexpensive.

Your circadian rhythm is your body's internal clock – it's why you get tired and hungry at certain times. A new study appearing in the journal Current Biology is the first to definitively show that disrupting that rhythm can affect the body's insulin activity, which can lead to obesity and up a person's risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Parents: If you think it's a good idea to tell your children about how you dabbled in smoking, heavy drinking or pot use back in the day, a new study says think again. HealthDay reports young people are more likely to view such substances negatively if their parents don't reveal they've used them.

Neurological researchers believe they've may have found a reason why women, on average and scientifically speaking, talk nearly three times as much as men do: protein. Science World Report says scientists found a much higher level of a "language protein" known as FOXP2 in women's brains – 30 percent more, in fact.

And finally: Not only are feelings of insecurity and anxiety about your romantic relationship not fun at all – they could also be bad for your health. HealthDay says anxious feelings could cause a spike in stress hormone levels and weaken your immune system. Researchers noted that most lovebirds experience these feelings at some point – but for some people, they're chronic.

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