Health

Researchers surprised so few kids take vitamins
October 1, 2007 06:23 PM - Will Dunham, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Less than a third of U.S. children are taking vitamin and mineral dietary supplements, according to a study published on Monday by researchers who were surprised the number was so low.

All told, 32 percent of U.S. children used a dietary supplement in the past month, based on a nationally representative survey from 1999 to 2002 that included 10,136 children age 18 or younger, the researchers said.

The most commonly used supplements were multivitamins and multiminerals, taken by 18 percent of the children. Another 4 percent used single-vitamin supplements and 2 percent used single-mineral supplements, and just under 1 percent used botanical supplements, the researchers said.

Beverly Hills bans smoking at outdoor restaurants
October 1, 2007 05:56 PM -

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Outdoor smoking at Beverly Hills restaurants was officially banned on Monday under a city law aimed at promoting a healthier environment for diners in the home to the stars.

Smokers who light up on outdoor restaurant and bar patios face fines ranging from $100 for a first offense to $500 for persistent offenders as the ordinance took effect in the city famous for its Rodeo Drive designer shopping street.

It applies to virtually all outdoor restaurants and hotels, including celebrity haunts like the Caffe Roma and Spago patios frequented by cigar-loving California governor and former action star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

USDA seeks help from consumers after beef recall
October 1, 2007 05:44 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department on Monday said consumers play a major role in avoiding any of the 21.7 million pounds of ground beef, at risk for the E. coli bacteria, flagged in the fifth-largest meat recall in U.S. history.

The recall by Topps Meat Company LLC has generated reports of 27 illnesses suspected to be linked to the recalled meat, USDA said, but just three have been confirmed.

The department suspended the raw processed meat operations of Topps on September 26 after an initial recall of 331,582 pounds of frozen ground beef products.

"This is frozen product" and could still be in home freezers, said Richard Raymond, the Agriculture Department's undersecretary for food safety. He added that "consumers have a big role" in getting the meat out of circulation.

Killer Amoeba Blamed for Six Deaths
October 1, 2007 03:50 PM - Chris Kahn, AP, Lisa Vorderbruggen, Contra Costa Times / MCT

PHOENIX (Sept. 29) — It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.
 
Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.

"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational waterborne illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

Importers Cry Politics Over Tough Taiwan Food Inspections
October 1, 2007 09:51 AM - Reuters

TAIPEI - A row that began a year ago when Taiwan rejected Chinese crabs containing a banned substance has spread to other imports from pork to wheat, raising the ire of trading partners who accuse the country of protectionism.  Taiwan says that concerns for the public health are behind tougher inspection standards, which trace their roots back to last fall when crabs from China were found to contain traces of the banned antibiotic nitrofuran. The new policy has already threatened the wheat imports - upon which it relies to meet its milling needs, cutting market access for U.S. producers who are the island's largest foreign suppliers.

Smoking is a turn-on for some genes: study
September 30, 2007 05:43 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking may turn on some genes in the body in a permanent and harmful way, scientists said on Thursday in a study that may help explain why the risk of cancer remains high even after smokers quit.

They found many genetic changes that stop when a smoker quits, but found several genes that stay turned on for years, including several not previously linked with tobacco use.

"These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation," the researchers wrote in their report, published in BioMed Central journal BMC Genomics.

Tropical Storm Juliette forms in Mexican Pacific
September 30, 2007 05:27 PM - Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Juliette formed in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico and was forecast to whirl along off the Baja California peninsula over the next few days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

Juliette was carrying maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) and was more than 350 miles southwest of the peninsula.

The center described Juliette as a "weaker storm" that could lose force as it hit cooler waters.

Ground Beef Recall Expanded Across U.S.
September 30, 2007 09:14 AM - Tom Hester -Associated Press

The Topps Meat Co. on Saturday expanded its recall of frozen hamburger patties to include 21.7 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria that sickened more than a dozen people in eight states.

The recall of products distributed to retail grocery stores and food service institutions in the United States was a drastic increase from the 332,000 pounds recalled Tuesday.

Ozone shuts down early immune response in lungs and body
September 30, 2007 09:09 AM - Duke University Medical Center

As policy makers debate what levels of ozone in the air are safe for humans to breathe, studies in mice are revealing that the inhaled pollutant impairs the body’s first line of defense, making it more susceptible to subsequent foreign invaders, such as bacteria.

Researchers Challenge Assumptions Of GMO Agriculture
September 29, 2007 06:42 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Manhatten, Kansas - A  researcher is challenging the assumption that genetically engineered plants are the great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture and the only efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population. They are working on non-GMO methods to accelerate plant breeding. It's called "market-assisted selection". The research is focused on breeding methodology, finding more efficient ways to breed better varieties of corn, sorghum, wheat or barley that yield higher, require less irrigation and are resistant to diseases in farmers' fields. The work was recently published in an edition of the scientific journal Crop Science.

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