• U.S. Recalls over 1/2 Million Toys for Lead Levels

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half a million toys ranging from key chains to Winnie the Pooh bookmarks and Baby Einstein color blocks are being recalled because of excessive lead levels, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday.

    Among the recalled toys, all made in China, were key chains with words like "truth" or "believe" engraved on them that have "high levels" of lead, the commission said in a statement.

    Dollar General Merchandising Inc sold 192,000 of the key chains for $1, the CPSC said.

    Lead is toxic in large amounts. A 4-year-old Minneapolis boy died of lead poisoning in 2006 when he swallowed a small charm. In smaller amounts, lead can cause developmental delays and behavioral problems.

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  • Could Drinking Puffer Fish "Pop" KO Karoshi or Can Jellyfish Juice Take the Sting Out of Alzheimer's

    Japan - Beverage companies are working on a safe fugu (puffer fish) extract to be used in Japanese energy drinks, the fish is highly toxic, but despite this or perhaps because of this deadly side effect, it is considered a delicacy among the Japanese. Puffer fish (Sphoeroides testudineus) poisoning results from the ingestion of fish containing the deadly nerve toxin called tetrodotoxin and it is the most common and lethal form of marine poisoning in Japan. >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers Discover Link Between Schizophrenia, Autism and Maternal Flu

    PASADENA, Calif.- A team of California Institute of Technology researchers has found an unexpected link connecting schizophrenia and autism to the importance of covering your mouth whenever you sneeze.

    It has been known for some time that schizophrenia is more common among people born in the winter and spring months, as well as in people born following influenza epidemics. Recent studies suggest that if a woman suffers even one respiratory infection during her second trimester, her offspring's risk of schizophrenia rises by three to seven times.

    Since schizophrenia and autism have a strong (though elusive) genetic component, there is no absolute certainty that infection will cause the disorders in a given case, but it is believed that as many as 21 percent of known cases of schizophrenia may have been triggered in this way. The conclusion is that susceptibility to these disorders is increased by something that occurs to mother or fetus during a bout with the flu.


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  • To Treat Patients Doctors' Alter Own Pain Responses: Study

    CHICAGO - Physicians apparently learn to “shut off” the portion of their brain that helps them appreciate the pain their patients experience while treating them and instead activate a portion of the brain connected with controlling emotions, according to new research using brain scans at the University of Chicago.

    Because doctors sometimes have to inflict pain on their patients as part of the healing process, they also must develop the ability to not be distracted by the suffering, said Jean Decety, Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry at the University and co-author of “Expertise Modulates the Perception of Pain in Others,” published in the Oct. 9 issue of Current Biology and currently available on-line.

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  • Discovery Supports Theory of Alzheimer's Disease as Form of Diabetes

    EVANSTON, Ill. --- Insulin, it turns out, may be as important for the mind as it is for the body. Research in the last few years has raised the possibility that Alzheimer's memory loss could be due to a novel third form of diabetes.

    Now scientists at Northwestern University have discovered why brain insulin signaling -- crucial for memory formation -- would stop working in Alzheimer's disease. They have shown that a toxic protein found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's removes insulin receptors from nerve cells, rendering those neurons insulin resistant. (The protein, known to attack memory-forming synapses, is called an ADDL for “amyloid ß-derived diffusible ligand.”)

    With other research showing that levels of brain insulin and its related receptors are lower in individuals with Alzheimer's disease, the Northwestern study sheds light on the emerging idea of Alzheimer's being a “type 3” diabetes.
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  • DNA test could detect cervical cancer early: study

    LONDON (Reuters) - A DNA test for the virus that causes cervical cancer helps detect potentially dangerous lesions earlier than the commonly used pap smear technique, Dutch researchers said on Thursday.

    The test could mean fewer screenings for women and ensure that they receive earlier treatment for lesions that might lead to cancer, they said in the journal Lancet.

    "It is a better test because you pick up more lesions," Chris Meijer, a pathologist at VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, said in a telephone interview. "And because you pick them up earlier, you have more time to treat the women."

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  • "Healthy Buddies" teach lifestyle lessons to kids

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A school-based healthy lifestyle program appears to improve the attitudes elementary school children have toward healthy foods and physical activity, study findings suggest.

    Over one school year, participants in the "Healthy Buddies" program, boosted their physical activity levels, gained less weight, and showed smaller increases in blood pressure, compared with age-matched counterparts not enrolled in the program, the study found.

    Dr. Jean-Pierre Chanoine, of British Columbia's Children's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada and colleagues enlisted two public elementary schools to participate in a comparative study of their Healthy Buddies program.

    In the intervention school, teachers taught healthy-living lessons -- the value of being physically active, eating healthy foods, and having a positive body image -- to students in grades 4 to 7. These older students then paired with students in kindergarten to grade 3 to teach them similar healthy-living lessons.


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  • Contraception Ban Harms Philippine Women

    Our new report, "Imposing Misery," documents the impact of Manila's contraception ban on women and their families. It was a joint effort between three groups: the International Legal Program here at the Center for Reproductive Rights; Likhaan, a women's health organization based in Quezon City, Philippines; and ReproCen, a reproductive rights and health organization based at the University of the Philippines in Manila. >> Read the Full Article
  • What’s that dear? Around 500 US cosmetics are unsafe?

    According to US NGO, the Environmental Working Group. The group has published research, revealing that 478 cosmetic products sold in the US contain doses of toxic chemicals which are unsafe, even when used as directed on the bottle! These would simply not be allowed in Canada, Japan or the EU 23,000 beauty products were tested and 751 failed to meet one or more US government safety standard. Large quantities of formaldehyde, selenium, hydrogen peroxide and lead acetate were found.

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  • Green Doesn't Mean Sacrificing Lifestyle

    MIAMI - Americans do not need to pare back their lifestyles to help protect the global environment but may need to use sugar or orange peel to power their energy-guzzling Hummers and Cigarette boats, Florida's governor said on Tuesday.  Gov. Charlie Crist, who in July signed executive orders setting new limits on greenhouse gas emissions in his state, said he did not believe the American lifestyle was incompatible with the need to address climate change and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

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