Medical Watch: The importance of the flu vaccine

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 25, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 6:41 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

With the recent death of a local man from H1N1 flu, doctors are reminding us that the flu vaccine saves lives. And here's another reason: getting a flu vaccine may lower your risk of having a heart attack or other major cardiac events.

Doctors also recommend that pregnant women get a flu vaccine. It not only protects your baby against the influenza infection months after birth, but one study finds that women who get the flu during pregnancy have babies with an increased risk of the brain illness bi-polar disorder.  Studies find that the vaccine, including the H1N1 flu vaccine, are safe for expectant mothers and their unborn babies.

There are many dangerous ways that smoking during pregnancy permanently hurts your baby. One is an increased risk of being overweight as a teen and adult because the reward center of the brain is smaller. And now another study finds smoking during pregnancy damages the baby's immune system, putting the child at a higher risk of infections and illness, requiring more hospitalizations.  

And finally, dog lovers already believe their dogs love them back, but now is there scientific evidence? When dogs went through an MRI,  scans of their brain activity reveal striking similarities between dogs and humans in both the structure and function of a key brain region.  It's the part that plays a key role in the anticipation of things we enjoy, like food, love and money. It's the part that is activated with positive emotions. In dogs, this part of the brain was active when a hand signal indicated food was coming, by the smell of a familiar person and when the dog could see the owner again after he had stepped away.  

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