Daily Briefing

Keep up-to-date with the latest health headlines. Every day, you’ll find links to the newest articles on medicine, health and wellness -- the information you need to stay informed.

Family Heirloom: Facial Expressions (WebMD)

Parents and children smile or grimace in the same way even when blind, according to a study that suggest that facial expressions may follow genetic patterns. While facial individual performs these movements in a particular way, said the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New Autism Gene Doubles Risk (WebMD)

A gene mutation that raises the risk of autism might provide needed insight into how the brain disorder occurs, scientists said in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. The gene, called MET, is involved in normal brain development, immune system regulation, and digestive system repair, all of which are affected in autism.

Study finds caffeine abuse among young Americans (WebMD/Via FoxNEws)

Young Americans searching for a legal high or just trying to stay alert may be abusing caffeine pills, sending some to the hospital, a study said Monday. The American College of Emergency Physicians said a review of records at the Illinois Poison Center in Chicago found more than 250 cases of medical complications from ingesting caffeine supplements, 12 percent of them requiring hospitalization, including treatment in intensive-care units.

Bird Flu Kills 150th Person; May Have Infected Brain (Bloomberg)

Bird flu may have infected an Indonesian woman’s brain before it killed her yesterday, marking the 150th fatality caused by the virus worldwide since late 2003. The 67-year-old woman from Indonesia’s West Java province tested positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza on Oct. 11, four days after she was hospitalized in the city of Bandung with flu-like symptoms. Her condition deteriorated when she developed encephalitis, or an acute inflammation of the brain, said Hadi Yusuf, one of her doctors at Hasan Sadikin Hospital.

Gap Widens Between Best and Worst U.S. Hospitals, Study Says (Bloomberg via Denver Post)

Quality of health care in the U.S. is increasingly becoming a question of location. Older patients were 69 percent less likely to die at the nation’s best hospitals last year than at the worse-performing facilities, according to an annual study of Medicare hospitalization records released by Health Grades Inc. The gap in risk-adjusted mortality rates widened about 5 percent between the top and bottom hospitals from 2004, even as overall mortality rates dropped about 8 percent.

UnitedHealth in Shake-Up Over Options (LAT)

The chief executive of the nation’s largest health insurance provider was ousted Sunday, the latest executive to fall victim to an options accounting scandal that is unfolding at dozens of public companies nationwide.

Red wine can help prevent stroke damage - study (Reuters)

Red wine might work to protect the brain from damage after a stroke and drinking a couple of glasses a day might provide that protection ahead of time, U.S. researchers reported Sunday. In an effort to better understand how red wine works, the scientists from Johns Hopkins University fed mice a moderate dose of a compound found in red grape skins and seeds before inducing stroke-like damage. They discovered that the animals suffered less brain damage than similarly damaged mice who were not treated with the compound, which is called resveratrol.

U.S. warns about fake diabetic blood test strips (Reuters)

U.S. health officials warned diabetics Friday not to use counterfeit blood sugar test strips that were distributed nationwide and could provide inaccurate results. The test strips are being sold for use with various models of LifeScan Inc. One Touch brand blood glucose monitors, the Food and Drug Administration said. LifeScan is a unit of Johnson & Johnson .