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UK clubbers turn to animal drug Ketamine

Tobacco & MarijuanaSep 06 05

Ketamine, an animal anaesthetic with hallucinogenic properties, is gaining popularity as a recreational drug in Britain, an independent survey reported on Tuesday.

Charity Drugscope found that the drug, first popular in gay nightclubs, had now spread to a wider group of partygoers, and was on sale in eight of the 15 British towns and cities surveyed.

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Hepatitis C threatens new generation of Egyptians

InfectionsSep 06 05

Egyptian children face a high risk of contracting the liver disease Hepatitis C from their parents, probably through the use of dirty needles in a country with one of the world’s highest infection rates, a medical journal said.

About 14 to 18 percent of Egyptians carry the deadly Hepatitis C (HCV) virus. The disease exploded in Egypt between 1960 and 1970, when unsterilised needles were used during a government campaign to treat the water-borne disease bilharzia.

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Genes found that may improve knowledge of spina bifida

PregnancySep 05 05

Irish scientists said on Monday they have discovered two genes linked to spina bifida that will improve understanding of one of the most common birth defects.

Professor John Scott of Trinity College, Dublin told a science conference that the genes known as MTHF and CT677 increase the risk of a woman giving birth to a child with the neural tube defect.

“These genes will illustrate genetic risk in a very understandable way,” Scott told a science conference.

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Radiation-induced chromosomal aberrations persist

GeneticsSep 05 05

Chromosomal aberrations persist for years after occupational exposure to ionizing radiation, according to a new report in the September issue of Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer.

Establishing a link between complex chromosome aberrations, or a biological marker for one of these chromosome abnormalities, and disease would be helpful in establishing the correct diagnosis and prognosis, Dr. Manoor Prakash Hande, from National University of Singapore, told Reuters Health. “Our study was mainly focused on the identification of a biomarker for plutonium exposure and, as such, it may have minimal clinical implications.”

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Men and women fare equally well after angioplasty

HeartSep 05 05

Gender does not affect outcome in patients who undergo Angioplasty in a blocked artery in the leg. Therefore, gender alone should not be used in making decisions about who should undergo the procedure among patients with this type of circulatory disease, said Dr. Steven G. Katz from the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Pasadena.

Angioplasty is a procedure in which a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded into the arteries to clear fatty plaques, according their report, published in the Archives of Surgery.

Katz and his colleagues evaluated the initial and long-term success of Angioplasty conducted in 173 women and 178 men with blocked arteries in the leg, treated over a 10-year period.

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Long work hours may raise injury risk

TraumaSep 03 05

Working beyond the standard 8-hour day may raise the risk of job-related injuries, regardless of a person’s occupation, a new study suggests.

Among nearly 10,800 U.S. adults followed for 13 years, researchers found that those who worked overtime or on regularly extended shifts were at greater risk of on-the-job injuries. And the effect was not limited to hazard-fraught industries.

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Australia’s “Dr. Death” inquiry shut down

Public HealthSep 03 05

An inquiry into an Australian hospital’s director of surgery, dubbed “Dr. Death” by staff after he was linked to 87 patient deaths, was shut down on Friday after a court ruled the inquiry chief was biased.

The A$6 million (US$4.5 million) inquiry, called to examine problems in the health system in Australia’s tropical Queensland state, had four witnesses and 10 days left to run.

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New rules on sun exposure divide EU lawmakers

Skin CareSep 03 05

The European Parliament is split over controversial legislation intended to protect workers from over-exposure to sunshine, ahead of a vote next week.

The 732-member assembly will vote next Wednesday on a bill that seeks to protect workers from exposure to artificial and natural forms of radiation that can damage eyes and skin.

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Co-pays, drug cuts to save Medicaid $11 bln:report

Drug NewsSep 03 05

A federal commission on Thursday recommended $11 billion in Medicaid savings over 5 years from raising prescription drug co-payments, drug pricing reforms and curbs against asset transfers to qualify for benefits.

The controversial Medicaid Commission, charged in May with finding $10 billion in immediate savings, delivered its first of two reports to Congress and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt.

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California to ban soda in high schools

Food & NutritionSep 03 05

California high schools will ban carbonated soda in legislation approved by the state assembly on Thursday as part of an effort to combat teen Obesity.

The bill allows milk, drinks with at least 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice and water without sweetener. The ban will be phased in starting in 2007 and take full effect in 2009.

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Condoms effective for preventing chlamydia

Sexual HealthSep 02 05

For people who run the risk of catching chlamydia from their sex partners, the consistent use of condoms offers significant protection, results of a study indicate.

“These findings add to a growing body of evidence that condoms can and do prevent some sexually transmitted infections,” Dr. Linda M. Niccolai of Yale University told Reuters Health.

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Tourists advised to stay away from animals

InfectionsSep 02 05

While animal-loving travelers may find it hard to stay away from dogs, cats and other animals, it is a necessary precaution, experts warn.

The warning, contained in a paper in the British Medical Journal this week, comes on the heels of the recent case of a British woman who died of rabies after being bitten by a dog while on a two-week trip in Goa, India. The woman was in her late 30s.

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Two drugs better than one for bedwetting

Urine ProblemsSep 02 05

For kids who suffer from frequent bedwetting—known as primary nocturnal enuresis—two drugs used in combination seem to combat the problem better than one.

Specifically, results of a clinical trial indicate that the combination of desmopressin (a synthetic ‘anti-diuretic’ hormone) plus oxybutynin (an anti-spasmodic drug used to treat overactive bladder) is well tolerated and produces “significantly faster and more cost-effective results” than single-drug therapy with either desmopressin or imipramine, an antidepressant widely used to treat bedwetting.

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Medical teams head to Gulf for Katrina aftermath

Public HealthSep 02 05

Experts in sanitation, infectious disease and mosquito-borne illnesses are heading to the Gulf of Mexico region to help cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the CDC is combing its ranks for doctors who can pitch in.

But there is no rush to send hundreds of personnel yet, because it is not clear what is going on and resources must be saved for the long haul, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said on Thursday.

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UK study shows poor people get worse services

Public HealthSep 02 05

Poor people with the greatest need for good healthcare, education, jobs and transport live in areas with the worst access to these services, said a charity’s analysis of British census data on Thursday.

“The census data show quite clearly that although living standards have increased in 60 years, the rich and poor in Britain continue to live in different worlds,” said Ben Wheeler, co-author of the study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

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