Parents Fearful of Chicken Pox Vaccine Opt for Infected Lollipops

And more in our health news roundup.

By: Melissa Romero

Find a “Pox Party” Near You: In the most disturbing news we’ve heard in a while, parents in Tennessee who don’t want to get their children vaccinated for chickenpox are actually paying for lollipops licked by people who have the virus. They’re even taking their kids to “pox parties,” where they can interact with infected children. Not only does this sound like extremely poor parenting, but these folks also don’t seem to realize that sending diseases in the mail (e.g., anthrax) can lead to up to 20 years in prison. [CBS News]

Cell Me Something I Don’t Know: A preliminary study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found that children with autism have more brain cells and heavier brains compared with other children. Researchers counted the cells in postmortem brains of boys who had autism, as well as those of typically developing males. They found that the autistic children had 67 percent more neurons in their prefrontal cortex than the others. These neurons are produced before birth, so scientists say the development of autism may be a result of “faulty prenatal cell birth or maintenance.” [Science Daily]

Facing the Truth: Forget what your mom told you while growing up—looks do matter, at least in the workplace. A study found that people with birthmarks, scars, or other “facial disfigurements” tended to receive poor ratings in job interviews. The job interviewers were more likely to be distracted by the interviewee’s face, and thus recalled less about the actual interview. “It just shows that despite maturity and experience levels, it is still a natural human reaction to react negatively to facial stigma,” says Juan Madera, a coauthor of the study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. [Futurity]

“You Are [Not] My Brown-Eyed Girl”: Have you always longed to change your brown eyes to baby blues, or invested a fortune in colored contact lenses? Well, in three years or so, a laser procedure may allow you to make a permanent switch in eye color. Brown-eyed Time reporter Katy Steinmetz writes, “For many, the idea of permanently redraping the windows to the soul is awfully upsetting.” [Time Healthland]

Employees Must Wash Hands . . . Usually: Let’s hope this isn’t as bad as it sounds. Apparently, some doctors and nurses get a little too lazy when it comes to washing their hands thoroughly if they wear latex gloves. A study conducted in England and Wales found that the hand-washing rate for hospital staff who wore gloves was 41 percent; the overall rate was 47.7 percent. Sounds like doctors need to start taking their own advice as flu season rolls around. [New York Times]

Cowabunga, Dude: And just for fun, check out Garrett McNamara break a world record by surfing a 90-foot wave. Yeah, you read right: 90-foot. You know, only the size of a tsunami.