Lifestyle

Study: Big Tobacco's War On Linking Secondhand Smoke And Heart Disease
October 16, 2007 12:46 PM -

San Francisco, California - After combing through nearly 50 million pages of previously secret, internal tobacco-industry documents, UC Davis and UC San Francisco researchers say they have documented for the first time how the industry funded and used scientific studies to undermine evidence linking secondhand smoke to cardiovascular disease.

In a special report published in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal Circulation, authors Elisa K. Tong and Stanton A. Glantz say that the tobacco-related documents they reviewed show how the industry initially worked to question scientific evidence about the harmful effects of secondhand smoke as a way to fight smoke-free regulations. More recently, they suggest, tobacco-company-funded studies have been conducted to support the development of so-called "reduced-harm" cigarettes.

Wyeth Jury Awards $99 Million: HRT Drugs Blamed For Cancers
October 15, 2007 11:11 PM -

RENO, Nevada (Reuters) - A Nevada jury on Monday awarded $99 million in punitive damages to three women who blamed their breast cancer on Wyeth hormone replacement drugs.

Judge Robert Perry, presiding over the case in the Washoe County District Court, slashed the compensatory damages to $35 million from $134.5 million on Friday, after the jury said the original sum included some punitive damages.

The new total is about the same as the original figure.

Cancer death rates continue to fall
October 15, 2007 11:06 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Death rates from cancer continue to fall in the United States, dropping more than 2 percent per year from 2002 through 2004, cancer experts reported on Monday.

They found important declines in deaths from lung, prostate and colorectal cancers in men, as well as in breast and colon cancer among women. Lung cancer deaths were still on the rise among women but this increase slowed, according to the report.

"The significant decline in cancer death rates demonstrates important progress in the fight against cancer that has been achieved through effective tobacco control, screening, early detection, and appropriate treatment," U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said in a statement.

U.S. agencies stick to pregnancy fish-eating limits
October 15, 2007 10:29 PM - Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government said on Monday it was holding firm to its recommendations that pregnant and breast-feeding women limit how much fish and other seafood they eat and avoid certain types with high levels of mercury.

The two agencies that have set government policy on the subject -- the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency -- have declined to alter their recommendations that these women eat no more than 12 ounces of fish weekly.

Their stance comes a week after a health advocacy coalition that received funding from the fish industry and 14 experts on October 4 urged these women to eat more fish.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies that are members of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition have actively distanced themselves from the coalition's new advice.

AOL to cut one-fifth of global work force
October 15, 2007 10:16 PM - Kenneth Li, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc's Internet unit AOL will eliminate 2,000 jobs as part of an ongoing restructuring to better focus on boosting online advertising, according to a memo obtained by Reuters on Monday.

The cuts, which begin on Tuesday, amount to about one-fifth of AOL's global work force and are spread across operations in the United States and in Europe, where the company has sold off its Internet access businesses.

AOL plans to boost investment in higher growth areas such as advertising and new international regions, AOL Chief Executive Randy Falco said in the memo to staff.

Scientists call for drastic cuts in EU cod fishing
October 15, 2007 10:59 AM -

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's trawlermen should cut back drastically next year on trawling for cod in the North Sea and aim to take less than half their 2006 catch from the sea, a group of international scientists said on Monday.

Cod, one of Europe's most threatened species due to years of chronic overfishing, has long risked a collapse in numbers. But matters seem to have improved slightly, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) said.

"Our scientific surveys show that the number of young fish has increased, although only to half of the long-term average," said Martin Pastoors, chairman of the ICES' main committee on compiling scientific advice on fish stocks and numbers.

Air Pollution Linked To Bronchitis In Preschoolers
October 15, 2007 10:04 AM -

Davis, California - In one of the first studies to examine air pollution in relation to infant and early childhood health, a UC Davis researcher has discovered a strong link between exposure to components of air pollution and acute bronchitis diagnoses in preschool-aged children. Those components - polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs - contribute to air pollution from a variety of sources, including coal burning, vehicle exhaust, wood-burning stoves, tobacco smoke and grilling food.

Led by UC Davis environmental epidemiologist Irva Hertz-Picciotto, the Czech Early Childhood Health Study involved 1,133 children from birth to 4.5 years of age born in two districts of the Czech Republic between 1994 and 1998. One of those districts, Teplice (pronounced Tuh-PLEET-zuh), is known for its high levels of air pollution. The other, Prachatice (pronounced prah-kuh-TEET-zuh), has much lower levels of air pollution.

Global Imbalances and Developing Countries
October 15, 2007 07:46 AM - Jan Joost Teunissen, Global Policy Innovations Program

The abrupt unwinding of global imbalances is a major risk for the world economy; it affects countries across the globe, but is particularly harmful to developing countries.

This second volume on global imbalances includes an unorthodox, long-term view on global imbalances, an in-depth discussion about the role of the IMF, and a discussion about the need for reform of the international monetary and financial system. It pays special attention to Africa and East Asia.

Animal food allergens unmasked
October 15, 2007 07:43 AM - Norwich BioScience Institutes

The relatedness of an animal food protein to a human protein determines whether it can cause allergy, according to new research by scientists from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich and the Medical University of Vienna.

In theory all proteins have the potential to become allergens, but the study found that in practice the ability of animal food proteins to act as allergens depends on their evolutionary distance from a human equivalent.

No sex for 40 million years? Works for some
October 14, 2007 10:45 PM - Michael Kahn, Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - One microscopic organism has thrived despite remaining celibate for tens of millions of years thanks to a neat evolutionary trick, researchers said.

Asexual reproduction has allowed duplicate gene copies of the single-celled creatures -- called bdelloid rotifers -- to become different over time.

This gives the rotifers a wider pool of genes to help them adapt and survive, the researchers said in the journal Science.

"It is like having a bigger tool kit," Alan Tunnacliffe, a molecular biologist at the University of Cambridge, said in a telephone interview. "You can do the same job but better."

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