Half of U.S. doctors mum about incompetence: survey
December 3, 2007 02:07 PM - By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly half of all U.S. doctors fail to report incompetent or unethical colleagues, even though they agree that such mistakes should be reported, researchers said on Monday.

They found that 46 percent of physicians surveyed admitted they knew of a serious medical error that had been made but did not tell authorities about it.

"There is a measurable disconnect between what physicians say they think is the right thing to do and what they actually do," said Eric Campbell of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the survey.

Study: More Than 20% of Staph Infections Linked to Animal Agriculture
December 3, 2007 01:14 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

WASHINGTON, - A new study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases links a new strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), once found only in pigs, to more than 20 percent of all human MRSA infections in the Netherlands.

Glucosamine not likely to raise "good" cholesterol
December 3, 2007 01:08 PM - By Megan Rauscher, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Glucosamine at commonly taken doses does not increase HDL ("good") cholesterol in people with diabetes, researchers have found.

"Many people take glucosamine for arthritis-like symptoms and, from previous research, we thought glucosamine may also have a beneficial effect on HDL cholesterol," Dr. Stewart G. Albert noted in comments to Reuters Health.

Sens. Kerry, Boxer and Feinstein call on FDA to Establish Maximum Level for Lead in Lipstick
December 3, 2007 11:02 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

WASHINGTON - Senators John Kerry, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are urging the Food and Drug Administration to test a wide range of lipstick brands for the presence of lead, to publicly report their results, and to limit lead in lipstick and other cosmetics products to "the lowest detectable levels found in laboratory tests."  The action by three U.S. Senators comes on the heels of a report last month by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which found lead in 61 percent of 33 lipsticks tested. Levels ranged from 0.02 to 0.65 parts per million.

Exercise may boost brain's natural antidepressant
December 3, 2007 10:41 AM - Amy Norton, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Exercise seems to increase the production of naturally occurring brain chemical with antidepressant effects in mice, researchers reported Sunday.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Medicine, point to potential new ways to treat depression in people.

Studies have found that exercise can help ease depression symptoms, but the reasons for the benefit have not been clear. For the new study, scientists used a tool called a microarray to examine how exercise changed gene activity in the brains of mice.

Weigh Roche cancer drug toxicity, say FDA staff
December 3, 2007 10:10 AM - Kim Dixon, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The benefits of Roche Holding AG's cancer drug Avastin in breast cancer should be weighed against some toxic side effects including the potential for death, U.S. regulatory staffers said in documents released on Monday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff review comes ahead of a Wednesday advisory panel on a bid by Roche and U.S. partner Genentech Inc to extend use of Avastin, already approved to treat lung and colon cancer, to patients with breast cancer.

The expert panel will give advice to the FDA on broadening use of the drug as a first-line treatment for patients with breast cancer whose disease has spread.

Natural compound in broccoli could treat devastating genetic skin disorder
December 3, 2007 09:03 AM - American Society for Cell Biology

Washington, D.C. -- The compound sulforaphane whose natural precursors are found at high levels in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables has been hailed for its chemopreventive powers against cancer. Now sulforaphane has demonstrated new skills in treating a genetic skin blistering disorder called epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS), Pierre Coulombe and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore report at the American Society for Cell Biology 47th Annual Meeting.

"Naughty" nations in a coal lot of trouble in Bali
December 3, 2007 07:35 AM - Reuters

BALI, Indonesia (Reuters) - It's not easy being green. Particularly if you are big polluters Saudi Arabia, the United States and Canada. All three earned the first "Fossil of the Day Awards" at U.N.-led climate change talks in Bali on Monday, with each receiving a little sack of coal adorned with their national flags at a mock award ceremony filled with boos and laughter.

The awards, a daily feature of annual Kyoto Protocol gatherings, are presented by youth delegations from around the world to heap scorn on nations accused of having less-than-green views.

Fever can unlock autism's grip: study
December 3, 2007 01:06 AM - Michael Conlon, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fever can temporarily unlock autism's grip on children, a finding that could shed light on the roots of the condition and perhaps provide clues for treatment, researchers reported on Monday.

Study: Lead levels below U.S. limits may harm children's brain function
December 2, 2007 06:12 PM - Susan Lang, Cornell Newswire

Cornell, New York - Even very small amounts of lead in children's blood -- amounts well below the current federal standard -- are associated with reduced IQ scores, finds a new, six-year Cornell study.

The study examined the effect of lead exposure on cognitive function in children whose blood-lead levels (BLLs) were below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standard of 10 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl) -- about 100 parts per billion. The researchers compared children whose BLLs were between 0 and 5 mcg/dl with children in the 5-10 mcg/dl range.

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