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.

Most complete new giant dinosaur found in Patagonia
October 16, 2007 08:35 AM - Andrei Khalip -Reuters

Brazilian and Argentine paleontologists have discovered the largely complete fossil of a new species of giant dinosaur that roamed what is now northern Patagonia about 80 million years ago.

The herbivorous Futalognkosaurus dukei measured an estimated 105 feet to 112 feet from head to tail and was as high as a four-storey building. It is one of the three biggest dinosaurs yet found in the world.

Heart deaths, suicides up after weightloss surgery
October 15, 2007 11:15 PM -

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Among people who have undergone so-called bariatric surgery for obesity, death rates are higher than seen among other people of the same age, new research shows. In particular, deaths due to suicide and coronary heart disease are higher than might be expected normally.

The study looked at data for all Pennsylvania residents who underwent a bariatric operation such as stomach stapling or gastric bypass between 1995 and 2004. Deaths in these patients were compared with those seen in the general population.

A total of 440 deaths were noted after 16,683 weightloss procedures during the study period, Dr. Lewis H. Kuller, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues report.

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.

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.

American trio wins 2007 Nobel for economics
October 15, 2007 07:56 AM - Reuters

American economists Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson won the 2007 Nobel for economics on Monday for laying the foundations of an economic theory that determines when markets are working effectively.

Hurwicz, Russian-born but an American citizen, is 90 years old and is the oldest ever recipient of a Nobel prize.

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."

Smoking Turns On Cancer Genes, Permanently: Study
October 14, 2007 09:59 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking may turn on some genes in the body in a permanent and harmful way, scientists said on Thursday in a study that may help explain why the risk of cancer remains high even after smokers quit.

They found many genetic changes that stop when a smoker quits, but found several genes that stay turned on for years, including several not previously linked with tobacco use.

"These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation," the researchers wrote in their report, published in BioMed Central journal BMC Genomics.

Genes found that slow both aging and cancer
October 14, 2007 09:52 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers have identified a batch of genes that not only prevent cancer but slow the aging process in worms, and say they are now looking to see if the genes have the same properties in humans.

Many of the genes in the worms are already known to have counterparts in humans, and the team at the University of California, San Francisco, say they hope to better understand some of the processes that cause both aging and cancer.

Drugs that mimic the effects of these genes might help people both avoid cancer and also live longer, they wrote in Sunday's issue of the journal Nature Genetics.

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