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Pesticides still found in Coke, Pepsi - Indian study

Food & NutritionAug 03 06

An environmental group said on Wednesday bottles of Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. soft drinks in India still contained traces of pesticide, highlighting weak food safety laws in the country.

“If soft drinks are the choice of millions, the least that can be done is that these drinks are regulated,” said Sunita Narain, director of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), at a news conference.

A 2003 study by CSE briefly dented the companies’ sales when it said it found levels of pesticide in the companies’ soft drinks in excess of international standards.

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Indonesia tests 7 for bird flu from same village

FluAug 03 06

Seven Indonesians from the same village in North Sumatra have been hospitalised and are being tested for bird flu, an official said on Wednesday, raising fears of new cluster cases in the country.

The group comes from Karo district in North Sumatra province where bird flu killed as many as seven people in an extended family in May, triggering fears the H5N1 bird flu virus had mutated into a form that could spread easily between people.

“Whether it is a new cluster or not, that must be scientifically proved,” said Runizar Ruesin, head of the bird flu information centre at Indonesia’s health ministry.

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Diets high in low-calorie foods high in quality

DietingAug 01 06

People who favor lower-calorie foods may eat a lot over the course of a day, but they end up consuming relatively few calories and a healthy dose of nutrients, according to a study published Tuesday.

Using dietary information from 7,500 U.S. adults, researchers found that those who reported eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich grains and other lower-calorie foods typically ate a larger amount of food than their peers who favored richer fare.

Yet they ate several hundred fewer calories a day, while consuming more calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A, C, B6 and folate.

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“Welcome…you’ve got death…”

Public HealthAug 01 06

A social networking Web site for Americans aged 50-plus went live on Monday—complete with an online obituary database that sends out alerts when someone you may know dies and that plans to set up a do-it-yourself funeral service.

The founder of Internet job site Monster.com, Jeff Taylor, launched Eons.com, a similar site to the popular online teen hangouts MySpace or Facebook for the 50-plus crowd.

Instead of career and school sections, Eons.com has interactive games to build brain strength, news on entertainment and hobbies for older people, a personalized longevity calculator and tips to live longer.

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Skin test predicts remaining immunity to smallpox

InfectionsAug 01 06

Skin testing with killed vaccinia virus, which is related to smallpox, is a simple and reliable way of predicting residual immunity to smallpox, a study shows.

“Residual immune response decades after smallpox vaccination is important for public health and vaccine development,” the study team notes. The current findings suggest that skin testing with inactivated vaccinia virus is useful in assessing this response, they add.

Dr. Myoung-don Oh, from the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues administered the skin test to 83 subjects, 63 of whom had a history of smallpox vaccination. Two days later, all of the subjects underwent smallpox vaccination.

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Cardiac arrest victims make viable kidney donors

Urine ProblemsAug 01 06

People who are transplanted with a kidney from a victim of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest do very well, new research suggests.

In the United States, transplanted kidneys come from “beating-heart” donors, who include living individuals and those declared brain dead. Previous reports have shown acceptable outcomes when using kidneys from in-hospital cardiac arrest victims, but it was unclear if the same applied to organs taken from out-of-hospital arrest victims.

To investigate, Dr. Ana I. Sanchez-Fructuoso, from Hospital Clinico San Carlos in Madrid, and colleagues compared the outcomes of 320 transplant patients who received a kidney from a non-beating-heart donor and 584 who received a kidney from a beating-heart donor, some of whom were older than 60 years of age.

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Dietary changes may slow prostate cancer growth

Prostate CancerAug 01 06

Increasing the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet appears to slow the progression of prostate cancer, according to the results of an animal study.

The so-called Western diet commonly consumed in the US contains mostly omega-6 fatty acids, derived from corn oil and other sources. Omega-3 fatty acids, by contrast, are abundant in cold-water fish, a food source missing in the diets of many Americans.

“Our study showed that altering the fatty acid ratio found in the typical Western diet to include more omega-3 fatty acids and decreasing the amount of omega-6 fatty acids reduced prostate cancer tumor growth rates and PSA levels in mice,” senior author Dr. William J. Aronson, from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, told Reuters Health.

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