Saturday, October 31, 2009

Woman dies from drinking too much water

The more this becomes known the better. It is a danger most people are unaware of

THE family of a woman who died while taking part in a radio station water-drinking contest to win a Nintendo Wii has been awarded more than $US16.5 million by a jury in California. A 12-person jury in Sacramento reached the verdict today after deliberating for nearly two weeks. The trial began in early September.

Mother-of-three Jennifer Strange was 28 when she died in 2007 after participating in the "Hold Your Wee For a Wii" contest run by KDND-FM. The contest promised the popular Nintendo video game console to the person who could drink the most water without urinating or vomiting. An autopsy determined that Strange died of water intoxication. No criminal charges were filed in the case, but Strange's family sued the station and its owners for more than $US34 million. Attorneys for the station argued that Strange's death was unforeseeable and that the woman's "contributory negligence" led in part to her death.

Jurors awarded Strange's husband and three children $US16.57m. Under the contest's rules, participants were given eight 225mm bottles of water to drink at 15-minute intervals. The competitor drinking the most water without urinating was to be declared the winner. Strange had complained to work colleagues of a sore head hours after participating in the contest and went home early. She was later found dead.

Water intoxication can occur when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is altered by a rapid intake of water. This can cause brain swelling, seizures, coma or death.


Snoring cure?

Hadi Al-Jassim's team of consultants are the only ones in the country to offer an injection which they say is a genuine alternative to painful surgery. The ear, nose and throat specialist - from Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust near Liverpool - has treated 400 patients at one of his hospitals and with excellent results.

"As everyone knows, snoring can cause major problems for patients and in particular their partners," said Mr Al-Jassim. "In most cases it's the men who snore and their partners suffer sleep deprivation and at the end of the day you have to keep your partner happy - though women do snore as well. "It causes all sorts of problems between partners and leads to marital, social and health problems. "I am delighted with the treatment because, until this, there has been no effective treatment other than surgery."

The treatment - called the snoreplasty - is quick and cheap. It is a two-minute procedure done under local anaesthetic in which sodium tetradecyl is injected into the roof of the mouth. The chemical, a sclerosing agent, is usually used in the treatment of varicose veins. The injection combats snoring by stopping the soft tissue at the back of the mouth from vibrating.

Mr Al-Jassim, who is now giving lectures to other specialists across the country about the jab, added: "Surgical treatment is very painful and takes weeks of recovery time so many patients decide not to do it because they can't get the time off work or their health's not strong enough for surgery. "And in other cases surgery doesn't work. "After the jab, patients can go home straight away and eat about an hour later. "It will help around 70 per cent of sufferers and has made life easier for many patients and their partners. "Even with those people it hasn't cured, they reported sleeping better and waking up feeling fresher. "The jab can be given three times a year but some people find one injection lasts them a year."


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