Health

High U.S. cocaine cost shows drug war working: Mexico
September 15, 2007 09:56 AM - Reuters

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexico's attorney general said on Friday fewer drug-related killings at home and rising narcotics prices in the United States showed his government is winning the war against cartels. President Felipe Calderon has sent thousands of troops and federal police to combat drug gangs since the start of the year but hitmen continue to carry out daylight revenge attacks across Mexico. A police chief of the central state of San Luis Potosi was killed by gunmen on Thursday.

Sick? Lonely? Genes tell the tale
September 15, 2007 09:47 AM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lonely people are more likely to get sick and die young, and researchers said on Thursday they may have found out why -- their immune systems are haywire. They used a "gene chip" to look at the DNA of isolated people and found that people who described themselves as chronically lonely have distinct patterns of genetic activity, almost all of it involving the immune system. The study does not show which came first -- the loneliness or the physical traits. But it does suggest there may be a way to help prevent the deadly effects of loneliness, said Steve Cole, a molecular biologist at the University of California Los Angeles who worked on the study.

Foot and mouth found in second culled herd
September 14, 2007 10:44 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Cattle culled at a second farm in southern England have tested positive for foot and mouth disease, the agriculture ministry said on Friday. The herd was at a farm in Egham, in Surrey, close to one at which the disease was first found on Tuesday.

Frightened Indonesians suffer new Sumatra quakes
September 14, 2007 10:42 AM - Ahmad Pathoni, Reuters

BENGKULU, Indonesia (Reuters) - Frightened residents on Indonesia's Sumatra island huddled in tents outside their damaged homes on Friday, traumatized by the latest of more than 40 aftershocks since a huge earthquake struck two days ago. Indonesia's meteorology agency issued on Friday the latest in a series of tsunami warnings after another strong quake in Sumatra, although it was lifted about an hour later. Officials said food and other aid had reached some of the areas hit by the quake, but added many more tents were needed as people were still sleeping in the open, either because their houses had been destroyed or because they were too scared to return home in case of further quakes.

NASA Keeps Eye on Ozone Layer Amid Montreal Protocol's Success
September 14, 2007 07:21 AM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA scientists will join researchers from around the world to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to reduce the hole in Earth's protective ozone layer. The United Nations Environment Program will host the meeting from Sept. 23-26 in Athens, Greece. NASA scientists study climate change and research the timing of the recovery of the ozone layer.

Prolonged respiratory problems for oil spill clean-up volunteers
September 14, 2007 07:19 AM - American Thoracic Society

Workers and volunteers who helped in the clean-up effort after the 2002 Prestige oil spill off the Galician coast of Spain exhibit prolonged respiratory symptoms resulting from their exposure, say researchers from Spain in the first study to examine the long-term effects of such exposures on workers’ respiratory health.

Dirty energy threatens health of 2 billion: study
September 13, 2007 08:22 AM - Ben Hirschler -Reuters

The health of about 2 billion of the world's poor is being damaged because they lack access to clean energy, like electricity, and face exposure to smoke from open fires, scientists said on Thursday. Dangerous levels of indoor air pollutants from badly ventilated cooking fires are a common hazard, while lack of electricity deprives many of the benefits of refrigeration.

Life expectancy in U.S. rises to all-time high of 78
September 13, 2007 07:39 AM - Will Dunham -Reuters

Life expectancy in the United States has increased to almost 78 years, the country's highest on record, amid a downturn in deaths from heart disease, cancer and stroke, according to new federal estimates published on Wednesday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said preliminary figures for 2005 showed an increase in the U.S. infant mortality rate from the previous year, although it called the rise statistically insignificant. Black babies under age 1 remained far more likely to die than white babies.

U.S. Failed to Boost Produce Inspections
September 13, 2007 07:13 AM - Garance Burke -Associated Press

Government regulators never acted on calls for stepped-up inspections of leafy greens after last year's deadly E. coli spinach outbreak, leaving the safety of America's salads to a patchwork of largely unenforceable rules and the industry itself, an Associated Press investigation has found. The regulations governing farms in this central California region known as the nation's "Salad Bowl" remain much as they were when bacteria from a cattle ranch infected spinach that killed three people and sickened more than 200.

Haze of confusion over most-polluted city list
September 13, 2007 06:54 AM - Reuters

A U.S. group's report naming the Chinese city of Tianjin as one of the world's most polluted places apparently confused the large northern port with a notorious lead-processing town in the country's east. Tianjin, with more than 10 million people, gained unwelcome global attention on Wednesday when the New York-based Blacksmith Institute named it as one of the world's most heavily polluted places for its outpouring of toxins from scrap lead processing.

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