Half of plastic airport security bins may carry viruses that cause respiratory infections, said a study by Finnish and British researchers. The results, they said, demonstrated that airports can serve as a potential risk-zone for an “emerging pandemic threat.”

Researchers also found a high frequency of cold-causing viruses at the airport pharmacy’s payment terminal (50 percent of samples tested positive) and at playground, where a plastic toy dog played host to cold-causing viruses 67 percent of the time.

Scientists concluded that the best approach might be a wipedown. Frequent cleaning, they pointed out, is exactly the reason why an unlikely surface topped the list of the most virus-free spots: the toilet. Of the 42 samples taken on lids, flush buttons and door locks, there were zero samples where a cold virus was detected.

Metabolic syndrome linked to Parkinson’s risk

Symptoms of poor cardiovascular health may be linked to an increased risk for Parkinson’s.

Researchers used data on 17,163,560 South Koreans older than 40 and found 44,205 cases of Parkinson’s over a five-year follow-up. They looked for five risk factors that define metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high glucose. They found that each component of the syndrome significantly increased the risk for Parkinson’s. Compared with having none of the risk factors, having all five was associated with a 66 percent increased risk. The association was particularly strong for people older than 65.

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