The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

State & National News

June 27, 2013

Health officials investigate unexplained hiccups in high schoolers

Mass. conducted air-quality tests, contacted physicians

DANVERS, Mass. — State health officials continue to quietly investigate what may have caused one to two dozen students to exhibit unexplained vocal tics or repetitive hiccups at Essex Agricultural and Technical School in Danvers and, to a lesser extent, North Shore Technical High in Middleton, this past school year.

The state is reaching out to more than 2,600 doctors in the region while investigating environmental factors that may have caused the symptoms, including air testing and visual observations inside school buildings. So far, according to a May 10 status report from the state Department of Public Health, air tests did not turn up anything that would contribute to “significant neurological effects.”

Danvers Health Director Peter Mirandi, in an update to the Board of Health on May 30, said the state is casting a wide net to gather information from doctors and their patients.

“They will be looking for correlations between the symptoms and the students,” Mirandi said. “The effort from the Department of Public Health is very thoughtful, deliberate, and I wouldn’t mind recognizing them for stepping up when we needed assistance.”

A spokesman for the state Department of Public Health had no update on the investigation.

“It’s a very extensive process, and there is no report that I have,” said Ann Roach, media relations manager for the state Department of Public Health.

In February, state public health officials met with parents of affected students, school officials and Danvers and Middleton health officials to learn more about their concerns.

In March, the Department of Public Health and the Board of Registration of Medicine sent letters to more than 2,600 “attending physicians, encompassing more than a dozen medical specialties” looking to see if any had treated patients with vocal tics or chronic hiccups from the two schools. The doctors were asked to discuss the state investigation with parents to see if they would consent to allow the state to obtain the patients’ medical records.

Text Only
State & National News
  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    WASHINGTON - The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • NCSU Study: People Pay More Attention to the Upper Half of Field of Vision

         A new study from North Carolina State University and the University of Toronto finds that people pay more attention to the upper half of their field of vision – a finding which could have ramifications for everything from traffic signs to software interface design.

    April 23, 2014

  • NC State Receives $25 Million NNSA Grant to Develop Leaders, Improve Technological Capabilities for Detecting Nuclear Proliferation

    NC State today was awarded a five-year, $25 million grant by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development to develop the next generation of leaders with practical experience in technical fields relevant to nuclear nonproliferation. NC State was selected by NNSA over 22 other proposals following a competitive process that began in May 2013.

    April 23, 2014

  • Winter created urge to get out of town

    This year's harsh winter contributed to an exodus of travelers seeking refuge from the weather by booking tours, cruises and hotels in record numbers, according to AAA Carolinas Travel Agency. Trips taken by those booking through AAA, the largest leisure travel agency in the Carolinas, showed an increase in tours (15 percent), cruises (12 percent) and hotels (33 percent) over the first quarter of 2013.

    April 22, 2014

  • NCSU Study: The Trials of the Cherokee Were Reflected In Their Skulls

    Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.

    April 22, 2014

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    NEW YORK - Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 22, 2014

  • NCSU STUDY: Impurity Size Affects Performance of Emerging Superconductive Material

    Research from North Carolina State University finds that impurities can hurt performance – or possibly provide benefits – in a key superconductive material that is expected to find use in a host of applications, including future particle colliders. The size of the impurities determines whether they help or hinder the material’s performance.

    April 22, 2014

  • U.S. Archivist to Speak at NC State Commencement

    David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, will deliver NC State’s commencement address on Saturday, May 10, at 9 a.m. at the PNC Center in Raleigh.

    April 22, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 20, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content