Health

Experimental malaria vaccine works in babies
October 17, 2007 01:14 PM - Ben Hirschler

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A study involving nearly 3,500 women in several countries suggests that Chinese herbs might be more effective in relieving menstrual cramps than drugs, acupuncture or heat compression.

Australia-based researchers said herbs not only relieved pain, but reduced the recurrence of the condition over three months, according to the Cochrane Library journal.

"All available measures of effectiveness confirmed the overall superiority of Chinese herbal medicine to placebo, no treatment, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), OCPs (oral contraceptive pill), acupuncture and heat compression," said lead author Xiaoshu Zhu from the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney.

Israel's Mediterranean: a "septic tank"
October 17, 2007 09:44 AM - Tova Cohen, Reuters

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - The Mediterranean is often called the world's most polluted sea and the waters around Tel Aviv offer a reason why.

Heavy metals and pesticides are discharged into the sea under government licenses, environmentalists say, and the company responsible for the sewage of the area's 2.5 million people is the biggest polluter in the eastern Mediterranean.

"The state of Israel's coastal waters is appalling," the environmental group Zalul said in its State of the Sea Report for 2007.

Chinese herbal medicine may help relieve painful menstrual cramps
October 17, 2007 09:35 AM - John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Women with menstrual cramps are often offered either non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or oral contraceptives. Many women, however, find that this treatment does not work or they can not take the drugs, and more women would prefer a non-drug alternative.

Insulin's brain impact links drugs and diabetes
October 17, 2007 09:27 AM - Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Insulin, long known as an important regulator of blood glucose levels, now has a newly appreciated role in the brain.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers, working with colleagues in Texas, have found that insulin levels affect the brain’s dopamine systems, which are involved in drug addiction and many neuropsychiatric conditions.

Government urged to clean Mississippi River
October 16, 2007 07:15 PM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Mississippi River, storied in American culture and commerce, needs more federal government action if it is once again to be clean enough for fishing and swimming, scientists said on Tuesday.

In a report issued by the National Research Council, the scientists called on the Environmental Protection Agency to take a more aggressive role in enforcing the Clean Water Act, which aims to make U.S. waters "fishable and swimmable."

Team Of 100 Scientists Unlock Secrets Of Amazing Green Algae
October 16, 2007 03:02 PM - Stuart Wolpert

Los Angeles - Culminating a three-year research project, 115 scientists from around the world report in the Oct. 12 issue of the journal Science a "gold mine" of data on a tiny green alga called Chlamydomonas, with implications for human diseases.

The single-celled Chlamydomonas, a slimy organism that grows in soil and ponds, has approximately 15,000 genes, and scientists now know 95 percent of the sequence of its genome. Several years ago, they knew less than 2 percent.

Study: Big Tobacco's War On Linking Secondhand Smoke And Heart Disease
October 16, 2007 12:46 PM -

San Francisco, California - After combing through nearly 50 million pages of previously secret, internal tobacco-industry documents, UC Davis and UC San Francisco researchers say they have documented for the first time how the industry funded and used scientific studies to undermine evidence linking secondhand smoke to cardiovascular disease.

In a special report published in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal Circulation, authors Elisa K. Tong and Stanton A. Glantz say that the tobacco-related documents they reviewed show how the industry initially worked to question scientific evidence about the harmful effects of secondhand smoke as a way to fight smoke-free regulations. More recently, they suggest, tobacco-company-funded studies have been conducted to support the development of so-called "reduced-harm" cigarettes.

Obesity genetics
October 16, 2007 08:10 AM - Inderscience Publishers

New evidence that genetics plays a key role in obesity is published today in the International Journal of Bioinformatics Research and Applications. The findings relate to the genetics of modern Pima Indians who have an unusually high rate of obesity but could be extrapolated to all people. Their obesity is thought to be linked to a thrifty metabolism that allowed them to metabolize food more efficiently in times when little was available but causes problems when food is in abundance.

Fruit compound fights head, neck cancer
October 16, 2007 08:03 AM - Tan Ee Lyn -Reuters

Lupeol, a compound in fruits like mangoes, grapes and strawberries, appears to be effective in killing and curbing the spread of cancer cells in the head and neck, a study in Hong Kong has found.

An experiment with mice showed lupeol worked most effectively with chemotherapy drugs and had almost no side effects, scientists at the University of Hong Kong said in a report published in the September issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Heart deaths, suicides up after weightloss surgery
October 15, 2007 11:15 PM -

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Among people who have undergone so-called bariatric surgery for obesity, death rates are higher than seen among other people of the same age, new research shows. In particular, deaths due to suicide and coronary heart disease are higher than might be expected normally.

The study looked at data for all Pennsylvania residents who underwent a bariatric operation such as stomach stapling or gastric bypass between 1995 and 2004. Deaths in these patients were compared with those seen in the general population.

A total of 440 deaths were noted after 16,683 weightloss procedures during the study period, Dr. Lewis H. Kuller, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues report.

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