Health

Health Insurer Pays $20 Million For Claims Hassles
September 10, 2007 10:32 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc., one of the largest providers of health insurance in the United States, has paid $20 million to 37 states in order to settle claims processing problems, according to the New York State Department of Insurance.

Major Study Links Hyperactivity and Food Additives
September 10, 2007 10:09 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Southampton, UK - A new study at the University of Southampton shows evidence of increased levels of hyperactivity in young children eating mixtures of some artificial food colors and the preservative sodium benzoate. The possibility of food colors and preservatives affecting children’s behavior has long been an unresolved question for parents. This significant new research by a team from the University of Southampton’s Schools of Psychology and Medicine provides a clear demonstration that changes in behavior can be detected in three-year-old and eight-year-old children.

Toys "R" Us Steps Up Toxins Testing
September 10, 2007 09:41 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Retailer Toys "R" Us is increasing the frequency of safety checks conducted on products sold in its stores after a slew of Chinese-made toys were recalled this summer due to unsafe levels of lead paint. "Earlier this year we began spot checking of products on our store shelves as part of our increased efforts for quality assurance," said Toys "R" Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh. "But in light of recent recalls we have begun a systematic recheck of all products on our store shelves." Lead paint has been linked to health problems in children, including brain damage.

New Cause Of Blindness Discovered
September 10, 2007 08:20 AM - PLOS

The scientific community is just starting to appreciate the importance of pH regulation in normal vision, according to researchers. Drs Joe Casey and Yves Sauvé found evidence for blindness associated with a gene involved in retinal pH regulation. Their characterization of a mouse model with a targeted disruption of the Slc4a3 gene has revealed a new cause of blindness. Identification of Slc4a3 as underlying a previously unrecognized cause of blindness has direct clinical implications: it opens the door to a new diagnostic possibility for many yet unknown causes of blindness, including hereditary vitreoretinal degenerations (HVDs). No link has been established between Slc4a3 and HVDs.

Antidepressant shows early promise in treating agitation and psychotic symptoms of dementia
September 10, 2007 08:15 AM - Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care

Researchers have found surprising evidence that an antidepressant (citalopram) may perform as well as a commonly-prescribed antipsychotic (risperidone) in the alleviation of severe agitation and psychotic symptoms of dementia. Researchers also found that the antidepressant was associated with “significantly lower” adverse side effects.

Beyond 2 Hours Of TV, Kids' Risk Attention Problems
September 8, 2007 08:42 PM - Anne Harding, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Young children who watch more than a couple of hours of television a day are more likely to have attention problems as adolescents, researchers from New Zealand have found. "The two-hour point is very, very clear with our data, very consistent with what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends," Carl Erik Landhuis of the Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago, the study's first author, told Reuters Health. "We're not saying don't watch TV, just don't watch too much TV," he added.

Imagined Milk Intolerance Causes Problems For Girls Bones
September 8, 2007 08:07 PM - Anne Harding, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Young girls who believe they are lactose-intolerant take in less calcium and have thinner bones than their peers who don't think they had any trouble consuming dairy products, a new study shows. But when these girls were tested to determine if they actually did have difficulty digesting lactose, many did not. "It's a little concerning that you have young girls during this period of time when they actually obtain their peak bone mass...that they have already been influenced that they are intolerant to milk for whatever reason," said Dr. Carol J. Boushey of Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, the study's lead author.

Human Ecology: Bin Laden Video May Signal New Attacks
September 8, 2007 06:53 PM - Mark Trevelyan, Security Correspondent, Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Abandoning his Kalashnikov and dyeing his beard from grey to black, Osama bin Laden presents a new image to the world in a video that makes no specific threats but may be a signal for new al Qaeda attacks. In a half-hour address released four days before the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States, bin Laden lurched between history lesson and sermon, urging Americans to ditch capitalist democracy and embrace Islam if they want to end the war in Iraq.

Congress Looks Into Mattel After Toy Recalls; Toymakers Call For Safety Tests
September 7, 2007 03:26 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress is looking into Mattel Inc's procedures for alerting federal regulators about hazardous toys, The Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition on Friday. Senior Democrats in the Senate and the House have launched separate probes, which are expected to focus on Mattel's dealings with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the report said. Mattel said on Tuesday that it would recall more than 800,000 toys for excessive lead levels, its third such recall this summer. The CPSC has disagreed sharply with the toy company over the investigation of reports of dangerous products.

MIT works toward safer gene therapy
September 7, 2007 10:34 AM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In work that could lead to safe and effective techniques for gene therapy, MIT researchers have found a way to fine-tune the ability of biodegradable polymers to deliver genes.

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