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It’s World Tuberculosis Day: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About TB

It’s World Tuberculosis Day: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About TB

Duncan Smith/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The lung disease Tuberculosis kills nearly 1.5 million people each year, mostly in developing countries. World Tuberculosis Day is observed on March 24 to “raise awareness about the burden of tuberculosis (TB) world…

Virulent Flu Season Winding Down

Virulent Flu Season Winding Down

Pixland/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — This year’s virulent — and in some cases fatal — flu season is winding down, health officials say.While the rate of flu activity is still elevated above normal for the end of March, activity declined in most parts of t…

Tuberculosis in US Hits Lowest Levels Ever

Tuberculosis in US Hits Lowest Levels Ever

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The rate of tuberculosis hit an all-time low in the United States in 2012, with fewer than 10,000 new cases reported.With World Tuberculosis Day on Sunday, the Center for Disease Control’s National Tuberculosis Surveill…

Chicago Gym Offers Overweight Only Membership

Chicago Gym Offers Overweight Only Membership

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In a culture that values thin, the fat debate is on fire. From plus-size models strutting the catwalks, to curvaceous superstars like Adele belting it out at the Oscars (and winning one for “Skyfall”) and Lena Dunham…

Spring Could Bring Worst Allergy Season Ever

Spring Could Bring Worst Allergy Season Ever

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In news that’s nothing to sneeze at, seasonal allergy experts are confirming that 2013 allergies are going to start sooner — and last longer — in most parts of the country.The 2013 allergy season is expected to beg…

Study: Immune Therapy Promising in Treatment of Advanced Leukemia

Study: Immune Therapy Promising in Treatment of Advanced Leukemia

MedicalRF.com/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An experimental form of immune therapy may hold the key to successful treatment of a deadly form of adult leukemia, a preliminary study suggests.According to HealthDay News, the study, which included just five ad…

Researchers Urge Against Use of Indoor Tanning

Researchers Urge Against Use of Indoor Tanning

Cultura/Liam Norris(NEW YORK) — More than one million people visit tanning salons in the United States every day.Many of those that do use tanning salons are teenage girls. According to an article in the journal Pediatrics, 35 to 40 percent of white a…

Cold or Allergies? How to Tell

Cold or Allergies? How to Tell

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Spring is just around the corner, but don’t be surprised to see winter weather — and viruses — linger a little longer.  So what’s behind your stuffy nose: Spring allergies or a cold?The two miser…

Study Found Adults ‘Functionally Cured’ of HIV Before Mississippi Baby

Study Found Adults ‘Functionally Cured’ of HIV Before Mississippi Baby

ABC News Radio(NEW YORK) — On the heels of the supposed first “functional cure” for HIV in a baby born in Mississippi, French researchers reported Friday that they had studied 14 adult patients who had experienced a similar remission from the virus. T…

New Technology Could Improve Preservation of Livers for Transplant

New Technology Could Improve Preservation of Livers for Transplant

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A device created by researchers at the University of Oxford in Britain is capable of preserving human livers for up to 24 hours outside the body.With the massive demand for liver transplants, the promising creation…

Bee Venom May Provide Protection Against HIV

Bee Venom May Provide Protection Against HIV

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A toxin contained in bee venom may have the ability to prevent HIV infection when packaged properly.Researchers at Washington University in Saint Louis, tested a specific delivery system of the toxin, called melittin…

Couple’s Dream Honeymoon Comes True Thanks to Kindness of Strangers

Couple’s Dream Honeymoon Comes True Thanks to Kindness of Strangers

Strangers donated over $60,000 to give one couple battling cancer their dream wedding and honeymoon. Photo Courtesy ABC News(NEW YORK) — Marrying his high school sweetheart in his hometown of Kewanee, Ill., was a day Nolan Keane had dreamed of, but di…

Compounding Pharmacists Await Changes After Meningitis Scandal

Compounding Pharmacists Await Changes After Meningitis Scandal

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Despite efforts to close perceived loopholes that allowed the New England Compounding Center (NECC) to distribute thousands of tainted steroid injections that killed 50 people, questions continue to arise about…

Older Americans Over-Screened for Colon Cancer

Older Americans Over-Screened for Colon Cancer

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Screening is the best way to prevent colon cancer.  So everyone should get a colonoscopy, right?  Not so fast.The recommendations for colorectal cancer screening are pretty clear: Start screening at age 50 …

Experts Weigh In on Childhood Obesity

Experts Weigh In on Childhood Obesity

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Obesity in America is a growing problem, and not just in adults.  More than a third of the children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese, according to 2010 data from the U.S. Centers for …

Kleenex Designer Goes Public as Survivor of Sexual Assault

Kleenex Designer Goes Public as Survivor of Sexual Assault

Courtesy Christine Mau and No More(NEW YORK) — In 2010, Christine Mau, a brand design director for Kimberly-Clark, was named one of Advertising Age’s “Women to Watch.”  She created the oval-shaped Kleenex box and added rainbow colors to tampon wr…

Skate Your Way to Better Health

Skate Your Way to Better Health

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Skating, whether it’s ice hockey or figure skating, is a great muscular and cardiovascular workout.It engages your glutes, your core and your thighs, not to mention your arms, which help you maintain stability. …

Facebook ‘Likes’ Used to Predict Personal Information

Facebook ‘Likes’ Used to Predict Personal Information

Facebook(NEW YORK) — New research may have you watching what you “like” online.  A study from the University of Cambridge in England says that Facebook likes can reveal a lot about your personal information.

The Cambridge study claimed to have had success in gleaning “highly sensitive personal attributes” — such as sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender — just from what people liked online.

The analysis surveyed over 58,000 U.S. Facebook users.  The users’ likes were figured against their “Facebook profile information… psychometric test scores, and survey information,” said the study.

“It’s very easy to click the ‘like’ button, it’s seductive,” David Stillwell, one of the study authors, told AFP.  “But you don’t realize that years later all those likes are building up against you.”

Stillwell is a psychometrics researcher who worked on the project with colleagues from Cambridge University and Microsoft Research.  The work has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The best results were seen when likes were used to guess automatically between what are called dichotomous variables — cases where there are just two choices.

For instance, the researchers said, “African Americans and Caucasian Americans were correctly classified in 95 percent of cases, and males and females were correctly classified in 93 percent of cases.”  

Likewise, Christians and Muslims were correctly identified in 82 percent of cases, as were Democrats and Republicans with 85 percent accuracy.

“Sexual orientation was easier to distinguish among males (88 percent) than females (75 percent), which may suggest a wider behavioral divide (as observed from online behavior) between hetero- and homosexual males,” the report said.

This may sound like stereotyping, but the study said, “Individual traits and attributes can be predicted to a high degree of accuracy based on records of users’ Likes.”

While those who participated in the study volunteered their information and likes (an average of 170 likes per user), not all users elect to keep their pages, posts, and likes public.  However, the cautionary way in which the Cambridge study concludes may be reason enough for some to keep their information as private as possible.

“Commercial companies, governmental institutions, or even one’s Facebook friends could use software to infer attributes such as intelligence, sexual orientation, or political views that an individual may not have intended to share,” researchers said.  “One can imagine situations in which such predictions, even if incorrect, could pose a threat to an individual’s well-being, freedom, or even life.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Fearing Cancer, Woman with Lynch Syndrome Has Colon Removed

Fearing Cancer, Woman with Lynch Syndrome Has Colon Removed

Courtesy Lynne Fisher(NEW YORK) — What would you do to reduce the chance of dying of cancer?  How far would you go if you had a 70 to 90 percent chance of contracting bowel cancer — and your uncle, mother, father and two of your brothers had die…

Childhood Obesity: Is 7 Too Young to Diet?

Childhood Obesity: Is 7 Too Young to Diet?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When Dara-Lynn Weiss’ daughter Bea went for her annual checkup at age 7, the pediatrician pronounced her obese.  In one year, Bea had gained 23 pounds and her blood pressure had bumped up significantly.Weiss’ so…

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