• USDA seeks help from consumers after beef recall

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department on Monday said consumers play a major role in avoiding any of the 21.7 million pounds of ground beef, at risk for the E. coli bacteria, flagged in the fifth-largest meat recall in U.S. history.

    The recall by Topps Meat Company LLC has generated reports of 27 illnesses suspected to be linked to the recalled meat, USDA said, but just three have been confirmed.

    The department suspended the raw processed meat operations of Topps on September 26 after an initial recall of 331,582 pounds of frozen ground beef products.

    "This is frozen product" and could still be in home freezers, said Richard Raymond, the Agriculture Department's undersecretary for food safety. He added that "consumers have a big role" in getting the meat out of circulation.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Killer Amoeba Blamed for Six Deaths

    PHOENIX (Sept. 29) — It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.
     
    Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.

    "This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational waterborne illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    "This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases." >> Read the Full Article
  • Importers Cry Politics Over Tough Taiwan Food Inspections

    TAIPEI - A row that began a year ago when Taiwan rejected Chinese crabs containing a banned substance has spread to other imports from pork to wheat, raising the ire of trading partners who accuse the country of protectionism.  Taiwan says that concerns for the public health are behind tougher inspection standards, which trace their roots back to last fall when crabs from China were found to contain traces of the banned antibiotic nitrofuran. The new policy has already threatened the wheat imports - upon which it relies to meet its milling needs, cutting market access for U.S. producers who are the island's largest foreign suppliers.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Study: Naturopathic Medicine Helps Chronic Low Back Pain

    Ontario, Canada - A new study shows that Naturopathic medicine offers real help for patients with chronic low back pain. The study was done at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario.

    Researchers performed a randomized clinical trial on 75 postal employees with low back pain of longer than six weeks. The group was divided in two. 39 received  Naturopathic care, 36 got standardized physiotherapy over a period of 12 weeks.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Drinking Dampens Hearing

    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.

    It's a "well observed phenomenon" that alcohol seems to build people's tolerance to loud noise, according to the study authors, led by Tahwinder Upile of the University College London Hospitals.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Smoking is a turn-on for some genes: study

    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.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Tropical Storm Juliette forms in Mexican Pacific

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Juliette formed in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico and was forecast to whirl along off the Baja California peninsula over the next few days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

    Juliette was carrying maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) and was more than 350 miles southwest of the peninsula.

    The center described Juliette as a "weaker storm" that could lose force as it hit cooler waters.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Ground Beef Recall Expanded Across U.S.

    The Topps Meat Co. on Saturday expanded its recall of frozen hamburger patties to include 21.7 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria that sickened more than a dozen people in eight states.

    The recall of products distributed to retail grocery stores and food service institutions in the United States was a drastic increase from the 332,000 pounds recalled Tuesday. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ozone shuts down early immune response in lungs and body

    As policy makers debate what levels of ozone in the air are safe for humans to breathe, studies in mice are revealing that the inhaled pollutant impairs the body’s first line of defense, making it more susceptible to subsequent foreign invaders, such as bacteria. >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers Challenge Assumptions Of GMO Agriculture

    Manhatten, Kansas - A  researcher is challenging the assumption that genetically engineered plants are the great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture and the only efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population. They are working on non-GMO methods to accelerate plant breeding. It's called "market-assisted selection". The research is focused on breeding methodology, finding more efficient ways to breed better varieties of corn, sorghum, wheat or barley that yield higher, require less irrigation and are resistant to diseases in farmers' fields. The work was recently published in an edition of the scientific journal Crop Science.
    >> Read the Full Article