Health

Panel Urges "Smarter" Tracking Of Risky Imports
September 11, 2007 02:50 PM - Paul Eckert, Asia Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Bush administration import safety panel urged government agencies on Monday to work together to focus on the riskiest products in a "fundamental change" in import monitoring, following a spate of tainted or unsafe goods from China. The panel headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt told President George W. Bush in a report that inspecting all of the $2 trillion of imports that enter the United States each year would slow international trade and divert attention away from the riskiest products. "Instead, we have to be smarter about what we do," said the report of the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety.

Prenatal Testosterone May Play Autism Role
September 11, 2007 12:52 PM - Michael Kahn, reuters

YORK (Reuters) - Children exposed to high levels of testosterone in the womb showed more autism-related traits later in life, according to findings that suggest the male hormone may play a key role in the complex brain disorder. The results support a hypothesis that higher levels of testosterone may contribute to autism and reinforce findings from tests on animals, said Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Britain's Cambridge University, who worked on the study. He called the findings of the ongoing research promising but cautioned that they did not show a direct link between autism and testosterone and said other factors could be involved. None of the 235 children in the study had autism.

House of Representatives Plans To Go Carbon Neutral
September 11, 2007 12:29 PM - Courtesy of, BuildingGreen

WASHINGTON - A new report details plans to move the U.S. House of Representatives to carbon-neutral operation by the end of 2008, to reduce energy consumption in House facilities by 50% from 2006 levels by 2017, and to “make House operations a model of sustainability.” The initiative, headed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D—CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D—MD), calls for the House to achieve carbon neutrality by purchasing electricity from renewable sources, purchasing carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange, and switching the fuel for the Capitol power plant from coal to natural gas.

Chemicals Pollute Ontario’s Political Leaders
September 11, 2007 12:09 PM - Environmental Defense

Toronto, Ontario — Test results reveal that three Ontario political leaders are contaminated with pollutants found in the environment and in everyday products, according to a report released today by Environmental Defence. For the first time in Canada, Environmental Defence tested for bisphenol A (found in hard plastic bottles and tin can linings), a hormone disruptor that is under review by the federal government.

Can't Quit Chocolate? Don't Fret, It's No Addiction
September 11, 2007 11:48 AM - Michael Kahn, Reuters

YORK (Reuters) - Resistance is futile. The more we try to fight off a craving for chocolate, the more our desire for it grows, a British researcher said on Tuesday. But chocoholics can take heart that such sweets are not addictive despite the fact many people consider themselves as having no control over their urges to eat the sweets, said Peter Rogers, a psychologist at the University of Bristol. "Food behavior can look like addictive behavior in extreme situations but chocolate does not fit these criteria," Rogers told a meeting sponsored by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

South Africa Warns Nations Of Active Nuke Smugglers
September 11, 2007 11:38 AM - Karin Strohecker, Reuters

VIENNA (Reuters) - Parts of a global nuclear smuggling ring initiated by the disgraced father of Pakistan's atom bomb may remain active and nations must do more to crack down on the network, South Africa said on Tuesday. The plea followed last week's conviction by a South African court of a German engineer for his part in the network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, who admitted giving proliferation-prone nuclear technology to nations under international embargo. The network apparently operated in more than 30 countries, senior South African envoy Abdul Minty told a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors. Some of those entities may remain active, he told reporters afterwards.

Diesel exhaust kills throat cells
September 11, 2007 10:57 AM - Research Australia

Researchers at Deakin University have found that diesel exhaust is far more damaging to our health than exhaust from biodiesel, the plant-based fuel. Associate Professor Leigh Ackland, Associate Head of Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, led a team of researchers who compared the effects of diesel exhaust and biodiesel exhaust on human airway cells. They found that diesel exhaust damaged and killed the cells, while biodiesel exhaust had little effect. “Australia's escalating need for fuel is posing a major health problem,” Associate Professor Ackland said.

Study: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, In Spinach & Eggs, Protects Against Blindness
September 11, 2007 10:35 AM - Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Two nutrients found in eggs, spinach and other leafy green vegetables offer some protection against the most common cause of blindness among the elderly, researchers said on Monday. Age-related macular degeneration affects 1.2 million Americans, mostly after age 65, and the irreversible condition gets gradually worse, robbing victims of the center of their vision. Many people may be susceptible due to genetic factors, while smoking is known to heighten the risk.

U.S. not ready for bird flu, other disasters: reports
September 11, 2007 07:26 AM - Maggie Fox -Reuters

An incident in which a tuberculosis-infected man walked past U.S. border controls in May shows how poorly the country is defended against importing infectious diseases, according to a report released on Monday. The report from the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security is one of three published on Monday that fault U.S. government preparations against pandemics and other potential disasters.

Study: Vitamin C Has Cancer-Fighting Properties
September 10, 2007 05:06 PM - Will Dunham, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vitamin C can impede the growth of some types of tumors although not in the way some scientists had suspected, researchers reported on Monday. The new research, published in the journal Cancer Cell, supported the general notion that vitamin C and other so-called antioxidants can slow tumor growth, but pointed to a mechanism different from the one many experts had suspected. The researchers generated encouraging results when giving vitamin C to mice that had been implanted with human cancer cells -- either the blood cancer lymphoma or prostate cancer. Another antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, also limited tumor growth in the mice, the researchers said.

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