• New strain of strep emerges as major U.S. infection

    A new strain of bacteria is emerging as a major cause of childhood infections but even drug-resistant versions of the bug can be killed off with the right antibiotics, doctors said on Thursday. Doctors and parents should be aware of it, however, and switch antibiotics for children with severe infections who do not respond quickly to standard therapy. >> Read the Full Article
  • A day in the life of U.S. teens: thousands do drugs

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A snapshot of an average day in the lives of U.S. teens shows hundreds of thousands are smoking, drinking and ingesting illegal drugs, according to a report from the federal government.

    On an average day, nearly 1.2 million teenagers smoked cigarettes, 631,000 drank and 586,000 used marijuana, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found.

    Nearly 50,000 used inhalants, 27,000 used hallucinogens, 13,000 used cocaine and 3,800 used heroin, SAMHSA said in its report.

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  • Doctors warn of harm from kids' cough, cold drugs

    SILVER SPRING, Maryland (Reuters) - Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines can be dangerous for young children and there is no evidence they work, doctors told a U.S. advisory panel on Thursday.

    A week ago, major makers voluntarily pulled cough and cold drugs for children up to age 2. But physicians are pushing the government to restrict marketing for use up to age 6.

    "Cough and cold products pose genuine risks when given to children under the age of 6 with no associated benefit," Dr. Michael Shannon, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, told a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel.

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  • Experimental malaria vaccine works in babies

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - A study involving nearly 3,500 women in several countries suggests that Chinese herbs might be more effective in relieving menstrual cramps than drugs, acupuncture or heat compression.

    Australia-based researchers said herbs not only relieved pain, but reduced the recurrence of the condition over three months, according to the Cochrane Library journal.

    "All available measures of effectiveness confirmed the overall superiority of Chinese herbal medicine to placebo, no treatment, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), OCPs (oral contraceptive pill), acupuncture and heat compression," said lead author Xiaoshu Zhu from the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney.

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  • Israel's Mediterranean: a "septic tank"

    TEL AVIV (Reuters) - The Mediterranean is often called the world's most polluted sea and the waters around Tel Aviv offer a reason why.

    Heavy metals and pesticides are discharged into the sea under government licenses, environmentalists say, and the company responsible for the sewage of the area's 2.5 million people is the biggest polluter in the eastern Mediterranean.

    "The state of Israel's coastal waters is appalling," the environmental group Zalul said in its State of the Sea Report for 2007.

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  • Chinese herbal medicine may help relieve painful menstrual cramps

    Women with menstrual cramps are often offered either non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or oral contraceptives. Many women, however, find that this treatment does not work or they can not take the drugs, and more women would prefer a non-drug alternative. >> Read the Full Article
  • Insulin's brain impact links drugs and diabetes

    Insulin, long known as an important regulator of blood glucose levels, now has a newly appreciated role in the brain.

    Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers, working with colleagues in Texas, have found that insulin levels affect the brain’s dopamine systems, which are involved in drug addiction and many neuropsychiatric conditions.

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  • Government urged to clean Mississippi River

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Mississippi River, storied in American culture and commerce, needs more federal government action if it is once again to be clean enough for fishing and swimming, scientists said on Tuesday.

    In a report issued by the National Research Council, the scientists called on the Environmental Protection Agency to take a more aggressive role in enforcing the Clean Water Act, which aims to make U.S. waters "fishable and swimmable."

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  • Leaded Lipsticks a Concern for Young, Frequent Users, Expert Says

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University expert says a recent study discussing levels of lead in lipstick should empower consumers with information to take more personal responsibility for their health.

    The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said tests on 33 brand-name red lipsticks by a California testing group found that 61 percent had detectable lead levels of 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million.

    Wei Zheng, (pronounced Way Zsheng) a professor and university faculty scholar in Purdue's School of Health Sciences, studies the toxic effects of heavy metals on the brain.

    "It is interesting to me that cosmetics companies considered these relatively small amounts," Zheng says. "Other recent studies have shown that there really is no such thing as a safe level of lead in the blood."
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  • New Book: How Shyness Became a Mental Illness

    EVANSTON, Ill. --- What's wrong with being shy, and just when and how did bashfulness and other ordinary human behaviors in children and adults become psychiatric disorders treatable with powerful, potentially dangerous drugs, asks a Northwestern University scholar in a new book that already is creating waves in the mental health community.
    In “Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness” (Yale University Press, October 2007), Northwestern's Christopher Lane chronicles the “highly unscientific and often arbitrary way” in which widespread revisions were made to “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM), a publication known as the bible of psychiatry that is consulted daily by insurance companies, courts, prisons and schools as well as by physicians and mental health workers.

      >> Read the Full Article