Health

Fearful looks get brain's attention fast: study
October 14, 2007 09:31 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Smiles may take a while, but a horrified expression is a sure-fire attention getter, U.S. researchers said on Sunday, based on a study of how fast people process facial expressions.

They believe fearful facial expressions make a beeline to the alarm center of the brain known as the amygdala, cuing humans to potential threats.

Afghanistan struggles with heroin addiction scourge
October 14, 2007 09:29 PM - Hamid Shalizi, Reuters

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan, the world's biggest heroin producer, is struggling to cope with a drug problem as thousands of Afghans -- trying to cope with the traumas of war, displacement and poverty -- are becoming addicted to narcotics.

On the outskirts of Kabul, a sprawling bombed-out building that was once a centre for culture and science is home to over 100 squatters whose main concern is feeding their heroin habit.

Illinois firm recalls beef patties on E.coli scare
October 14, 2007 09:21 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 173,554 pounds (78.7 tonnes) of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam's Choice" labels due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. government said this weekend.

The Coal Valley, Illinois-based company produced the patties in June and distributed them to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, said in a statement.

U.S. maternal death rate higher than Europe's: report
October 14, 2007 10:14 AM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has a sharply higher rate of women dying during or just after pregnancy than European countries, even some relatively poor countries such as Macedonia and Bosnia, according to the first estimates in five years on maternal deaths worldwide.

The report released by various United Nations agencies and the World Bank on Friday shows that Ireland has the lowest rate of deaths, while several African countries have the worst.

The United States has a far higher death rate than the European average, the report shows, with one in 4,800 U.S. women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth, the same as Belarus and just slightly better than Serbia's rate of one in 4,500.

Indonesian boy dies of bird flu: health ministry
October 14, 2007 09:14 AM - Reuters

A 12-year-old Indonesian boy has died of bird flu, taking the total death toll from the disease in the country to 88, a health ministry official said on Saturday.

Another official at the ministry's bird flu centre had earlier said was not clear how the boy, from Tanggerang city in West Java, contracted the virus, but that some chickens had died in his neighborhood.

Challenged By Customers, Cosmetic Company Goes Greener
October 12, 2007 06:51 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Austin, TX. - A texas cosmetics company, challenged by a group of it's customers to take a moral stand, and be greener, decided it's best to listen.

The company, Gourmet Body Treats currently uses only post-consumer recycled paper in all of it's facility's, along with several other energy saving practices. But customers and friends wanted more and challenged the company to use only sustainable ingredients in both product and packaging. They've set a deadline for them selves to meet this challenge for early this coming year. This is unprecedented in the cosmetic industry, and would be yet another way that the company has set a bench mark in ethics for the field.

 

Old virus causing new disease in United States
October 12, 2007 04:46 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A strain of virus best known for causing colds and "stomach flu" is becoming more common and more dangerous, U.S. researchers report.

They said that adenovirus 21 was surprisingly common and was causing an unexpected level of severe disease and deaths.

The researchers used a new test developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and said the wider use of such tests might help doctors and health officials better understand what diseases are making people sick.

U.S. marshals seize supplements promoted as cures
October 12, 2007 03:55 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. marshals seized $71,000 worth of goods from a Florida company that illegally marketed supplements to treat serious conditions such as diabetes, anemia and high blood pressure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday.

It said FulLife Natural Options, Inc., of Boca Raton, Florida, was marketing Charantea Ampalaya Capsules and Charantea Ampalaya Tea as an unapproved drug.

ConAgra Foods Recalls All Banquet Pot Pies and Store Brand Pot Pies
October 12, 2007 10:59 AM -

OMAHA, Neb.- ConAgra Foods announced today that it is continuing its efforts to ensure consumer safety by voluntarily recalling all varieties of Banquet brand frozen pot pies and all varieties of store brand frozen pot pies sold under the names of Albertson's, Hill Country Fare, Food Lion, Great Value, Kirkwood, Kroger, Meijer and Western Family.

Earlier this week, ConAgra Foods was contacted by state health officials regarding concerns that some of its Banquet poultry pot pie products may be linked to an outbreak of salmonella. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), on Oct. 9, ConAgra Foods directed retailers to remove the poultry pot pies from shelves, suspended pot pie production in its Marshall, Mo., plant and advised consumers to not eat these products and discard these products while an investigation was conducted.

New Research: Pollutant linked to bronchitis in toddlers
October 12, 2007 09:51 AM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Toddlers who breathe polluted air are far more likely to be diagnosed with bronchitis than children living in cleaner environments, U.S. and Czech researchers reported on Thursday.

They found a component of pollution known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, was strongly linked with cases of bronchitis among children aged 2 to 4 and a half.

The study is one of the first to look at PAHs, which are produced when fuels that contain carbon such as wood, coal, diesel or tobacco are burned.

Most environmental regulations in the United States and Europe focus on controlling particulate emissions -- tiny particles in the air -- as well as sulfur dioxide and ozone.

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