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Study links garden pesticides to Parkinson’s risk

NeurologyMay 26 05

Gardeners should wear protective clothing when using pesticides, say scientists who have concluded in a new study that the chemicals can increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have discovered that the more pesticides gardeners are exposed to, the more likely they are to develop the degenerative brain disease.

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Taiwan denies reports of re-emergence of SARS

InfectionsMay 26 05

Taiwan’s health authorities denied on Wednesday domestic media reports that a man who died last week had tested positive for SARS.

The Chinese-language China Times reported that a businessman who had recently returned from China was suspected to have died from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and one of his sons had since been hospitalised with similar symptoms.

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The bladder does not shrink with age

Urine ProblemsMay 26 05

Bladders do not appear to shrink with age, suggesting that urinary troubles in older people can no longer be considered a normal part of aging, according to new study findings released this week.

Investigators from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania found that women between the ages of 22 and 90 had bladders that could hold roughly the same amount of fluid.

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Embryo clone scientist urges women to donate eggs

Public HealthMay 25 05

Women having fertility treatment should be given the option to donate for research any extra eggs they do not use, the head of the first European team to clone a human embryo believes.

Dr Miodrag Stojkovic, of Newcastle University in northern England, told Reuters one of the greatest obstacles to stem cell research - which could lead to cures for conditions such as diabetes, cancer and Parkinson’s - was obtaining fresh eggs.

“What we are using are eggs which are usually discarded. The development potential is not the same as fresh eggs,” said Stojkovic, a stem cell expert from Serbia who has also worked in Germany.

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House to debate expanded stem cell research

NeurologyMay 25 05

Legislation that would loosen restrictions on government funding of embryonic stem cell research headed for debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday under a veto threat from President Bush.

Bush, who has yet to veto a bill during his presidency, planned to join the debate from the White House with a speech about why the government should stick with his policy.

In 2001 Bush allowed federal funding for stem cell research but limited it to 78 stem cell lines that existed as of Aug. 9, 2001. Advocates of expanded research are pressuring Congress to change the policy, hoping stem cells will one day lead to medical advances on such diseases as Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

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Philippines culls 500 parrots on bird-flu fears

FluMay 25 05

The Philippines culled about 500 parrots imported from Indonesia as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the bird-flu virus from other Southeast Asian countries, officials said on Tuesday.

The Philippines, which has remained free of the virus that ravaged poultry farms and killed 53 people across large parts of Asia since late 2003, has banned the import of poultry from countries affected by bird flu.

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Groups urge US to reject silicone breast implants

Breast CancerMay 25 05

U.S. regulators should deny applications to sell silicone gel-filled breast implants because the manufacturers have not met the legal benchmark for proving safety, 20 consumer groups and individuals said in a petition released on Tuesday.

Inamed Corp. and Mentor Corp. are trying to win Food and Drug Administration approval to resume widespread sales of silicone breast implants for the first time since 1992.

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Scan effective at finding clogged arteries - study

HeartMay 25 05

An imaging device that scans slices of the body diagnosed clogged arteries about as well as the traditional method where dye is injected through a catheter threaded into the body, researchers said on Tuesday.

The scanning method, called multislice computed tomography, was performed on 103 patients suspected of having coronary artery disease and the accuracy of diagnoses were only percentage points lower than traditional invasive coronary angiography.

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China rushes in vaccine after deadly bird flu found

FluMay 24 05

China has rushed more than three million doses of bird flu vaccine to a remote western province after migratory birds were found dead from the H5N1 strain which can be fatal to humans, state media said on Monday.

Poultry across Qinghai province, neighbouring Tibet and Xinjiang, had become the “target of a compulsory vaccination campaign”, the China Daily newspaper said.

Scientists had proved that the virus killed scores of geese in Qinghai in early May, media said at the weekend, the first report of H5N1 detected in China since last year.

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Resveratrol may have anti-flu activity

FluMay 24 05

Resveratrol, a chemical found in red grapes, blocks replication of the influenza virus in cell culture and in animals, Italian researchers report.

“Resveratrol merits further investigation as a potential weapon for combating the growing threat of influenza,” Dr. Anna Teresa Palamara of the Institute of Microbiology in Rome and colleagues conclude.

In cell culture experiments, resveratrol prevented influenza from replicating.

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U.N. adopts new rules to curb disease spread

Public HealthMay 24 05

Possible travel and trade restrictions to help prevent deadly diseases such as bird flu or SARS crossing borders were among new rules approved by member states of the World Health Organization on Monday.

The regulations, adopted by the U.N. agency’s 192 member states after two years of negotiations, oblige countries to tighten up disease detection and set guidelines for international measures to be taken.

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Computers no cure-all for drug errors

Public HealthMay 24 05

Even with computerized systems for ordering and checking medications, a high rate of adverse drug events (ADEs) occurs, according to a report released today.

Several reports have shown that computerized ordering is useful in reducing medication errors, but the impact such systems have on adverse drug events was unclear, investigators explain in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Bird flu kills Vietnamese, toll hits 18 since Dec

FluMay 24 05

Bird flu may have claimed the life of a Vietnamese man in the past week, bringing the country’s toll to 18 since the latest outbreak in late December, health officials said on Monday.

A provincial health official told Reuters preliminary tests by the Hanoi-based National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology had confirmed the 46-year-old man from the northern province of Hung Yen died last Thursday at a Hanoi hospital from bird flu.

The official said by telephone from Hung Yen, 64 km (40 miles) southeast of Hanoi, that the man was admitted to hospital a week ago with a high fever and coughing.

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Iodine pills curb radiation-induced cancer risk

CancerMay 24 05

A study confirms that exposure in childhood to radioactive iodines, mainly iodine-131, increases the risk of thyroid cancer and suggests that both iodine deficiency and iodine supplementation may be important and independent modifiers of this risk.

These results have important public health implications, researchers say. They think, based on their study, that giving iodine pills to iodine-deficient populations may substantially reduce the risk of thyroid cancer from radioactive iodine exposure in childhood that may occur after radiation accidents or during medical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

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Bush would veto House bill on stem cells

Public HealthMay 21 05

President Bush said on Friday he would veto legislation that would loosen restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and expressed concern about human cloning research in South Korea.

In the House of Representatives, supporters of embryonic research sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware and Democratic Rep. Diane DeGette of Colorado hope for a vote next week and believe it will be close.

Bush said the bill would violate his principles.

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