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Health

Drinking may dampen hearing in the short term
September 28, 2007 05:50 PM -

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If you have a hard time hearing conversation at a bar, it may not be because of the noise, a study suggests.

Alcohol, UK researchers found, seems to temporarily drain a person's hearing -- particularly when it comes to discerning the sounds of conversation.

In a study of 30 healthy volunteers, they found that as participants drank, their hearing became less acute. Lower-frequency hearing, which is necessary for discerning speech, suffered the most, the researchers report in the online journal BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders.

3 Dead, Hurricane Lorenzo Plows Into Mexico
September 28, 2007 05:20 PM - Alejandro Juarez,

NAUTLA, Mexico (Reuters) - Hurricane Lorenzo crashed into Mexico's Gulf coast on Friday, killing three people in a mudslide and knocking out power to 85,000 homes.

In the coastal fishing town of Nautla, Lorenzo's 80 mph (130 kph) winds ripped off bits of roofs, blew down trees and scattered debris in the streets.

"It hit us hard and there is an incredible amount of rain," said Mayra Castro, 29, a waitress who spent the night mopping up water that leaked into her house through windows and under doors.

Corn-based Plastic Packaging Hits The Marketplace
September 27, 2007 07:56 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.- A Florida body care company has launched an innovative and earth friendly way to package their products. Their new case, which contains five travel size products, is made entirely from 100% U.S. grown corn, not foreign petroleum. This material is produced from plastic that consists of polylactide, a corn-based versatile polymer.

EPA Orders Five Illinois Feedlots To Halt Stream Discharges
September 27, 2007 07:49 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

CHICAGO - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has ordered five Illinois feedlots to stop all unauthorized discharges of manure and wastewater into area streams. The feedlots were told they had to comply with the Clean Water Act. The EPA also ordered several of the feedlots to apply to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for discharge permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

So far, none of the lots has been fined.

Human parasite genome reveals long past
September 27, 2007 07:21 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An icky parasite that is a major source of tummy trouble for young children and nature lovers appears to have been infecting mammals for a very long time, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

Giardia lamblia is one of the most common human parasites in the United States, causing more than 20,000 intestinal infections each year.

A complete genetic sequence of this parasite now suggests it had ancestors reaching back more than a billion years.

"We think it is deep in the evolutionary tree," said Hilary Morrison, of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, whose study appears in the journal Science.

Report: Pandemic is Overdue, Prepartions Almost Nil
September 27, 2007 06:41 PM -

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - A report issued today by two of the world's foremost risk experts, warns that the catastrophic impacts of a long-lasting pandemic are not only likely to happen, but overdue.

The study, funded by the large pharmacetical company Roche, also says the impact of a pandemic is likely to exceed what most corporate and governmental leaders imagine, or are prepared for. This comes on the heels of U.S. government reports issued earlier this month that come to similar conclusions. 

Lawmakers Say Food Safety System In Crisis
September 27, 2007 12:52 PM - Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans are skeptical of imported food and other products after repeated safety scares, said lawmakers on Wednesday, who want to give the Food and Drug Administration more power to inspect imports and recall defective ones.

The "system has pretty much fallen apart from top to bottom," said Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. "People are shocked by the continuing number of food safety issues we have."

Merkel urges rich nations to give to Global Fund
September 27, 2007 11:33 AM - Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday appealed to about 30 donor countries gathered in Berlin to promise money to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Organizers of the three-day replenishment conference for the Fund expect to raise at least $8 billion for 2008-2010 for projects to fight the three diseases which, they say, claim 6 million lives a year.

Study shows lead-based paint problem isn't isolated to China
September 27, 2007 11:28 AM - University of Cincinnati

A multinational team of environmental and occupational health researchers has found that consumer paints sold in Nigeria contain dangerously high levels of lead.

Increased globalization and outsourcing of manufacturing has drastically increased the likelihood that products with unacceptably high levels of lead are being traded across borders—including between China and Africa as well as into regulated countries like the United States.

Some cancers spur divorce risk
September 27, 2007 10:52 AM - Michael Kahn, Reuters

BARCELONA (Reuters) - The risk of divorce increases if one partner suffers from testicular or cervical cancer, but other types have no effect on whether a couple stays together, Norwegian researchers said on Thursday.

With most forms of cancer, the healthy spouse was likely to support his or her partner through the illness, according to the study presented at the European Cancer Conference in Barcelona.

The research compared divorce rates of 215,000 cancer survivors with those among couples free of cancer over a 17-year period.

However, testicular and cervical cancer seemed to lead to a higher chance of marriages breaking up, the study found.

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