- Men were less likely than women to clean their hands. Fifteen percent of men and 7 percent of women didn‘t wash their hands at all. When they did wash their hands, only 50 percent of men used soap, compared with 78 percent of women.
- People were less likely to wash their hands if the sink was dirty.
- People were more likely to wash their hands earlier in the day. This may be because when people are out at night for a meal or drinks, they are relaxed and hand washing becomes less important, the researchers suggested.
- People were more likely to wash their hands if they saw a sign encouraging them to do so.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The next time you reach out to shake someone‘s hand, consider this finding: A recent study of hand-washing habits found only 5 percent of people who used the restroom scrubbed long enough to kill germs that can cause infections.
Thirty-three percent didn‘t use soap, and 10 percent didn‘t wash their hands at all, according to the study, based on Michigan State University researchers‘ observations of more than 3,700 people in a college town‘s public restrooms.
"These findings were surprising to us because past research suggested that proper hand washing is occurring at a much higher rate," lead investigator Carl Borchgrevink, an associate professor of hospitality business, said in a university news release.
Among the other findings:
Hand washing is the single most effective thing a person can do to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Failure to sufficiently wash hands contributes to nearly 50 percent of all foodborne illness outbreaks, the agency says.
It takes 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing with soap and water to effectively kill germs, the CDC says, but people only wash their hands for an average of about 6 seconds, according to the study, published recently in the Journal of Environmental Health.
The findings have implications for consumers and restaurant and hotel owners, says Borchgrevink.
"Imagine you‘re a business owner and people come to your establishment and get foodborne illness through the fecal-oral route -- because people didn‘t wash their hands -- and then your reputation is on the line," he said. "You could lose your business."
Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues surveyed 37 amateur soccer players (mean age, 30.9 years; 75 percent men) regarding frequency of heading in the prior 12 months and lifetime concussions.
Diffusion-tensor magnetic resonance imaging at 3.0 T was performed. A computerized battery of tests was used to assess cognitive function.Repeated soccer heading is tied to subconcussive brain injury and poorer memory functioning, with evidence of a threshold dose-response relationship, according to a study published online June 11 in Radiology.
The researchers found that participants had headed a median of 432 times over the previous year.
Lower fractional anisotropy (FA) at three locations in temporo-occipital white matter was associated with heading. The heading threshold varied according to location (885 to 1,550 headings per year; P < 0.00001).
There was also a significant association between lower levels of FA and poorer memory scores, with a threshold of 1,800 headings per year.
There were no significant associations with lifetime concussion history and demographic features with either FA or cognitive performance.
"Heading is associated with abnormal white matter microstructure and with poorer neurocognitive performance," the authors write.