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Time Is Right for Vets and Doctors to Debate Food Policy

Public HealthNov 25 05

The time is right for vets and doctors to join together to examine the case for radical reform of current food policy, say researchers in this week’s BMJ.

They argue that cheap food, particularly meat, is linked to reduced human health and reduced farm animal welfare, both of which are important matters of public interest that are within the professions’ respective purviews.

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Delayed surgery for bladder cancer not harmful

Urine ProblemsNov 24 05

Contrary to several recent reports, delaying bladder cancer surgery for several weeks after diagnosis does not worsen a person’s odds of surviving the disease, Swedish investigators report in The Journal of Urology. The author of a related editorial, however, contends that the sooner the surgery is performed, the better.

Recent research suggesting that delays between diagnosis and surgery in patients with bladder cancer adversely affects survival is “alarming” because it suggests that slow hospital routines influence patient prognosis, Dr. Fredrik Liedberg and colleagues from Lund University Hospital write.

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Osteoporosis linked to heart disease

HeartNov 24 05

People with the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis are at increased risk for having coronary artery disease (CAD), in which plaque build-up starves the heart of its blood supply, investigators in Michigan report. In fact, osteoporosis is a stronger factor than some traditional risk markers for CAD.

“A previous study showed that women with osteoporosis have more strokes and cardiovascular events, such as congestive heart failure and chest pain,” said lead author Dr. Pamela A. Marcovitz. “Also, a radiologist had published a study showing they have higher coronary calcium scores, implying that they have more coronary disease as well.”

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Christmas is coming and toys can be dangerous

Children's HealthNov 24 05

Even though toys today are safer than ever before, parents shopping for Christmas presents for their children are being warned to be aware of the hidden hazards some toys present.

Years of work by product safety advocates, parents and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), have ensured the toy market is a relatively safe place.

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Stress shown to raise bad cholesterol levels

StressNov 24 05

British scientists have found that cholesterol levels in healthy adults can be raised by stress.

Experts were already aware that stress can increase heart rate and signs of inflammation, and weaken the immune system, but until now it was not clear whether stress could directly influence levels of cholesterol in the blood.

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China has another death from bird flu

FluNov 24 05

China has confirmed a third human case of bird flu.

According to local media the Health Ministry has said that a 35-year-old woman farmer in Anhui province developed fever and pneumonia-like symptoms on Nov. 11 after contact with sick and dead poultry, and she died on Nov. 22.

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Obese and overweight refused joint operations

ObesityNov 24 05

A regional health authority in the UK will refuse to treat overweight people needing hip and knee replacements on the National Health Service.

The rationing of operations in east Suffolk will save £47.9m and has come about because of “pressing financial problems” in the region.

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Tiny Placental Ruptures Send HIV From Mother to Child

AIDS/HIVNov 23 05

HIV is likely passed from mother to child through tiny tears in the placenta that occur during labor, researchers here reported.

So-called “microtransfusions” allow the mother’s HIV-laden blood to infect the infant, according to epidemiologist Steven Meshnick, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina.

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Stress Lingers in Pocket of Brain

StressNov 23 05

There may be a reason why some people need a drink or a run after a hard day at the office. The reason resides in the ventral right prefrontal cortex of the brain.

That’s the part of the brain that when activated under stress stays active long after the stressful stimulus is over, researchers here reported today. So it’s hard to just dump the stress and relax.

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Chocolate Makers Fortify Cocoa Snacks for Health

Food & NutritionNov 23 05

The candy-maker that markets Snickers, Dove bars, and M&M’s is going “heart healthy” with specially fortified cocoa treats.

But don’t call them candy bars, insist the confection word police at Mars, Inc. They are flavonol- and sterol-rich snacks.

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Lack of Hugs Can Change Children’s Neurobiology

Children's HealthNov 23 05

Children raised in the uncaring environment of some eastern European orphanages ended up with a long-lasting deficit in two hormones involved in forming social bonds, reported researchers here.

In other words, nurture—or the lack of it—can trump nature when it comes to the ability to form social bonds, according to Seth Pollack, Ph.D., and assistant professor of psychology and of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin.

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U.S. bans some of Canada’s poultry because of bird flu

FluNov 23 05

Following the discovery of a non lethal strain of the bird flu virus in a duck in British Columbia, the United States has placed an interim ban on poultry from the area.

According to Elizabeth Whiting, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Agriculture department, the U.S. will continue to accept exports from the rest of Canada.

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Two Anticoagulant Therapies for Treating Acute Coronary Syndromes

HeartNov 23 05

High-risk patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) treated with an early revascularization strategy and enoxaparin or unfractionated heparin at the time of hospitalization for ACS had similar outcomes at one year, including remaining at substantial risk for adverse cardiovascular events, according to a study in the November 23/30 issue of JAMA.

Patients with non–ST-segment elevation (NSTE - a certain pattern on an electrocardiogram) acute coronary syndromes (ACS) comprise a spectrum of risk for adverse cardiac events, according to background information in the article. In the Superior Yield of the New Strategy of Enoxaparin, Revascularization, and Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Inhibitors (SYNERGY) trial, patients at high risk for recurrent ischemic cardiac events were randomly assigned to receive the anticoagulants low-molecular-weight heparin (enoxaparin) or unfractionated heparin.

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Were Drugs or Disease the Muse Behind These Famous Artists?

Drug NewsNov 23 05

If our modern clinical chemistry, toxicology, immunology, and infectious disease labs had existed during the 16th to early-19th centuries, the world might have missed out on the work of some of the world’s most creative painters, sculptors and poets, hints a paper recently published in November 2005 issue of the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

According to Paul Wolf, M.D., Professor of Pathology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, artists ranging from Renaissance sculptors Benvenuto Cellini and Michelangelo to Romantic poets Coleridge and Keats, may have been creatively driven by the effects of their disease or the drugs and chemicals they ingested.

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Study Confirms Physical Toll of Stressful Events

Depression • • StressNov 23 05

The death of a child. Divorce. An assault. Loss of a job. These and other highly stressful events can take a toll on physical health and mortality many years later, according to a University of Michigan study published in the current issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

And life-altering events like these are especially likely to happen to people with low levels of education and income, the study found.

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