- -01-02-07 Starbucks, Along with New York City, Bans Trans Fats (MSNBC News)
"Standalone Starbucks stores in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore. will have zero trans fats in their food as of Wednesday, Borrman said."
"Getting the other half of U.S. stores to follow suit will take some time, as the company adjusts recipes with regional bakers and food suppliers."
"In December, New York became the first American city to ban artificial trans fats in restaurants and eateries. With some exceptions, restaurants will be barred from using spreads and frying oils containing artificial trans fats by July 1." 01-07
- -01-18-07 Staph Germ Can Kill Quickly (MSNBC News)
"A nasty staph germ circulating in the community and some hospitals produces a poison that can kill pneumonia patients within 72 hours, researchers said Thursday."
"Staphylococcus aureus bacteria — Staph for short — can pass one another the gene for the toxin and are apparently swapping it more often, the researchers report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science." 01-07
- -01-29-07 McDonald's to Go "Trans-Fat Free" (USA Today)
"McDonald's (MCD) has finally selected a new trans-fat-free oil for cooking its famous french fries after years of testing, the fast-food chain said Monday." 01-07
- -02-02-07 Texas Passes First Law to Mandate Anti-Cancer Vaccinations (CBS News)
"Bypassing the Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed an order Friday making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer." 01-07
- -02-07-07 Sleep Deprivation Linked to Being Overweight (USA Today)
"Children who don't get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight than those who get plenty of sleep, a study reports Wednesday."
"The National Sleep Foundation recommends that preschoolers get 11 to 13 hours of sleep each night. Children ages 5 to 12 years are supposed to sleep 10 to 11 hours a night; teens, nine hours." 02-07
- -02-09-07 FDA Approves a Device to Save the Limbs of Soldiers (MSNBC News)
"A plastic shunt that can temporarily rejoin the severed blood vessels of soldiers wounded on the battlefield won federal approval Friday, following an expedited review." 02-07
- -03-05-07 Locally Grown or Organic? (Time Magazine)
"In her 2001 memoir, This Organic Life, Columbia University nutritionist Joan Dye Gussow writes that her commitment to eating locally "is probably driven by three things. The first is the taste of live food; the second is my relation to frugality; the third is my deep concern about the state of the planet." I don't have much relation to frugality, and, perhaps foolishly, I'm more optimistic than Gussow about our ability to develop alternative energy sources." 03-07
- -03-15-07 Scientists Discover 6 Million New Genes in the Ocean (PBS News)
"Scientists spent two years trawling the oceans for bacteria and viruses, and in the process discovered 6 million new genes, doubling the number known on Earth and holding promise for new antibiotics and alternative energy sources."
"The newly discovered genes include those that help microbes use the sun's energy in new ways, help them use nitrogen and protect them from ultraviolet light, the scientists reported." 03-07
- -03-18-07 "Tough" Guys May Heal Faster (MSNBC News)
"The annual incidence of traumatic brain injuries in the United States is greater than that of all cancers, Good writes in his study, and men account for three-quarters of such injuries. The number will increase if the Iraq war continues, he said."
"But, men who focused on their careers, success, power and competition reported better relations in their community. These same participants showed greater improvement a year after their hospitalization." 03-07
- -03-31-07 Texas Lawmakers Propose Strong Dog-Bite Law (Bloomberg.com)
"Lawmakers are reacting to a spate of fatal attacks that manifest Texas's status as the U.S. dog-bite capital. Texas has had at least 13 fatal dog attacks since 2004 and the most such fatalities in two of the past three years, according to data compiled by Richard Polsky, an animal behaviorist based in Los Angeles." 03-07
- -04-14-07 Study: Drug Reduces Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Chicago Tribune)
"A widely used hypertension drug improves sleep and reduces traumatic nightmares in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, federal researchers say." 04-07
- -04-18-07 Study: Chondroitin Not Very Effective for Joint Pain (ABC)
"The study, called a meta-analysis, combines data from 20 prior studies examining the benefits of chondroitin on knee or hip arthritis."
"What the analysis found was that chondroitin was only minimally beneficial, if at all, in treating joint pain from arthritis and should not be recommended as treatment." 04-07
- -04-21-07 Beef Recalled in E. coli in Five States (MSNBC News)
"State health officials announced a recall in five states of frozen ground beef patties after at least three Napa County children who ate at Little League baseball snack shacks were sickened by E. coli." 04-07
- -05-01-07 Heart Attack Deaths Plummet (MSNBC News)
"In just six years, death rates and heart failure in hospitalized heart attack patients have fallen sharply, most likely because of better treatment, the largest international study of its kind suggests." 05-07
- -05-07-07 Bees Disappearing at an Alarming Rate (CBS News)
"According to the Apiary Inspectors of America, a hive-tracking group, more than a quarter of the country's bee colonies have been lost — more than half-a million bee colonies that have simply vanished. What is actually happening — and what repercussions could it have on your dinner table?" 05-07
- -05-07-07 Senate Fails to Pass Bill to Allow Prescription Drug Imports (CBS News)
"In a triumph for the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate on Monday killed a drive to allow consumers to buy prescription drugs from abroad at a significant savings over domestic prices." 05-07
- -05-14-07 Bush Responds to Court Order on Environment (MSNBC News)
"President Bush responded Monday to a Supreme Court ruling by ordering federal agencies to find a way to begin regulating vehicle emissions by the time he leaves office." 05-07
- -05-14-07 Stem Cells May Cure Eye Disease (ScienceDaily.com)
"Scientists have completed a study using mice which showed that bone marrow stem cells can switch roles and produce keratocan, a natural protein involved in the growth of the cornea—the transparent, outer layer of the eyeball. This ability of marrow cells to “differentiate” into keratocan-producing cells might provide a means for treating abnormal corneal cell growth in people." 05-07
- -05-15-07 World Food Program Names Drew Barrymore Ambassador (MSNBC News)
"“I can’t think of any issue that is more important than working to see that no schoolchild in this world goes hungry,” Barrymore said in a statement Wednesday. 'Feeding a child at school is such a simple thing, but it works miracles. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.' "
"Founded in 1962, WFP provides food aid to an average of 90 million poor people, including 58 million hungry children in at least 80 of the world’s poorest countries. The United States said it provides nearly half the annual contributions to the Rome-based agency, which has an annual budget of just under $3 billion." 05-07
- -06-06-07 Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells (MSNBC News)
"In a leap forward for stem cell research, three independent teams of scientists reported Wednesday that they have produced the equivalent of embryonic stem cells in mice using skin cells without the controversial destruction of embryos."
"If the same could be done with human skin cells — a big if — the procedure could lead to breakthrough medical treatments without the contentious ethical and political debates surrounding the use of embryos."
"Embryonic stem cells are prized because they can develop into all types of tissue. So experts believe they might be used for transplant therapies in people who are paralyzed or have illnesses ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease." 06-07
- -06-06-07 Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells (New York Times)
"In a surprising advance that could sidestep the ethical debates surrounding stem cell biology, researchers have come much closer to a major goal of regenerative medicine, the conversion of a patient’s cells into specialized tissues that might replace those lost to disease."
"The new technique, developed by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, depends on inserting just four genes into a skin cell. These accomplish the same reprogramming task as the egg does, or at least one that seems very similar."
"The technique, if adaptable to human cells, is much easier to apply than nuclear transfer, would not involve the expensive and controversial use of human eggs, and should avoid all or almost all of the ethical criticism directed at the use of embryonic stem cells." 06-07
- -06-07-07 Congress Passes Bill Supporting Stem Cell Research (MSNBC News)
"The Democratic-controlled Congress passed legislation Thursday to loosen restraints on federally funded embryonic stem cell research, but the bill’s supporters lacked the votes needed to override President Bush’s threatened veto." 06-07
- -06-12-07 Cheap, Deadly Form of Heroin Aimed at Teens (CNN News)
"A cheap, highly addictive drug known as 'cheese heroin' has killed 21 teenagers in the Dallas area over the past two years, and authorities say they are hoping they can stop the fad before it spreads across the nation."
" 'Cheese heroin' is a blend of so-called black tar Mexican heroin and crushed over-the-counter medications that contain the antihistamine diphenhydramine, found in products such as Tylenol PM, police say. The sedative effects of the heroin and the nighttime sleep aids make for a deadly brew." 06-07
- -06-14-07 First Approved Diet Drug (CBS News)
"The first over-the-counter weight-loss pill approved by the FDA, Alli works by blocking about one-fourth of consumed fat. The drug's makers don't claim that it's a miracle drug — a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet and regular exercise are necessary companions for it to be effective — but dieters are eager to reap its potential rewards."
"Alli users must contend with some less-than-glamorous side effects — gas, oily discharge and an inability to control bowel movements — and skeptics of the pill's enduring benefits point out that those aren't the only reasons to think twice before taking the drug." 06-07
- -06-22-07 Gene Therapy for Parkinson's Disease (CBS News)
"The gene therapy treatment involved slipping billions of copies of a gene into the brain to calm overactive brain circuitry." 06-07
- -07-01-07 Study: Five Types of Alcoholics (CBS News)
"New alcoholism research identifies five types of alcoholics and shows that young adults account for more than half of U.S. alcoholics." 07-07
- -07-09-07 How to Cope With Allergies (MSNBC News)
"The two most common types of allergy medications are antihistamines, which can stop all the major symptoms of hay fever but don't work well on established congestion, and decongestants. The latter comes in the form of oral medications and nasal sprays. The sprays are good for the short term but can cause dependency. If decongestants keep you up at night, or you can't take them due to heart or thyroid problems, try an anti-leukotriene, a medication that helps fight allergic inflammation. Prescription steroid nasal sprays are another effective option." 08-07
- -07-09-07 Relief for Cat Allergies (MSNBC News)
"People who are allergic to cats may not have to get rid of their pets to find relief, if the findings of a new study hold up."
- -07-10-07 Ex-Surgeon General: Bush Administration Put Politics Ahead of Science (MSNBC News)
" 'Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried,' Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation's top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives committee."
" 'The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party' Carmona added."
Editor's Note: Provides a short guide to stem cell research. 07-07
- -07-10-07 New Tablet Could Help Smokers Quit (CBS News)
"A drug called varenicline may be the answer. The tablets already have been shown to make smoking less rewarding for some. Preliminary work, done in rats, suggests they could do the same for drinking." 07-07
- -08-14-07 Mapping the Face (MSNBC News)
"New research into how the face stores fat could lead to more effective anti-aging strategies, better facial reconstruction techniques, and may even help doctors assess heart-disease risks."
" 'Human anatomy has been studied for over 500 years,' says study coauthor Joel Pessa, an assistant professor and plastic surgeon at UT Southwestern. 'It’s pretty unusual to see something this new at the macroscopic, anatomical level.' ” 08-07
- -08-15-07 Mattel Recalls 9 Million Dangerous Toys (PBS.org)
"Toy-maker Mattel recalled over 400,000 Chinese-made toys Tuesday due to "impermissible levels of lead" and millions of other toys whose powerful magnets could be swallowed by children. The company also said recalls may continue as product testing is stepped up." 08-07
- -08-21-07 India Moves to Protect Traditional Medicine from Patents (PBS.org)
"A new digital library in India is safeguarding ancient knowledge from patents, which can force royalty payments for knowledge that is common in that part of the world. NewsHour correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports from New Delhi." 08-07
- -09-08-07 Chip Implants May Be Dangerous (CBS News)
"When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved implanting microchips in humans, the manufacturer said it would save lives, letting doctors scan the tiny transponders to access patients' medical records almost instantly. The FDA found 'reasonable assurance' the device was safe, and a sub-agency even called it one of 2005's top "innovative technologies."
"But neither the company nor the regulators publicly mentioned this: A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had 'induced' malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats." 09-07
- -09-15-07 Toy Safety: What We Can Do (US News)
"At least we have an army of government regulators serving as a safety net, right? Uh, nope. The New York Times and others have pointed out that the Consumer Product Safety Commission, responsible for enforcing safety standards, has been gutted in recent years, even as imports have been surging. The federal government, it turns out, spends more money monitoring the safety of animal feed than testing the safety of products used by children."
" 'Made in China' isn't the problem."
"That's because the image of shoddy Chinese-owned factories hoodwinking naive American corporations is largely a myth. Most big American companies importing products from China own the factories where those products are made or partially own them through a joint venture. So the companies themselves are on-scene at the source of the problem—or should be—and they represent the first line of responsibility for dangerous components." 09-07
- -10-05-07 Fitness Myths (MSNBC News)
"We've all heard the expression 'No pain, no gain,' but did you know that's actually not true? Author and celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak dispels this and some other common fitness myths:" 10-07
- -10-08-07 Three Win Nobel in Medicine for Gene Technology (New York Times)
"Two Americans and a Briton won the 2007 Nobel Prize in medicine today for developing the immensely powerful 'knockout' technology that allows scientists to create animal models of human disease in mice."
"The winners, who will share the $1.54 million prize, are: Mario R. Capecchi, 70, of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City; Oliver Smithies, 82, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; and Sir Martin J. Evans, 66, of Cardiff University in Wales." 10-07
- -10-09-07 Blood Transfusions May Cause Heart Disease (Time.com)
"Logically, and medically, patients who need transfusions — those with low blood counts — should benefit immediately from a transfusion of new oxygen-laden red blood cells. Yet many get sicker. Puzzled by the paradox, Stamler and his colleagues decided to look more closely at banked blood — to figure out whether it underwent certain changes that turned it from life-saving in the donor to potentially deadly in the bag."
"Their finding, reported this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: nitric oxide (NO). A workhorse of the blood, the gas helps red blood cells ferry oxygen to tissues and props open tiny vessels to allow freer blood flow. It turns out that within hours of leaving the body, levels of nitric oxide in the blood begin to drop, until, by the time donated blood expires after 42 days, the gas is almost nonexistent. 'The reality is that we are giving blood that cannot deliver oxygen properly,' says Stamler, lead author of the study. 'Many patients who are getting blood are being put at increased risk.' " 10-07
- -10-23-07 The Places with the Most Germs (MSNBC News)
"Sure, there are outbreaks of microbes and viruses across the country, but some of these germs are lurking where you least expect them."
- -10-24-07 Seniors Sleep Worse and Other Myths of Aging (USNew.com)
"To researchers’ great surprise, it turns out that sleep does not change much from age 60 on. And poor sleep, it turns out, is not because of aging itself, but mostly because of illnesses or the medications used to treat them." 09-07
- -11-26-07 Skin Cells into Stem Cell Breakthrough? (Christian Science Monitor)
"Colonies of tiny cells flourishing in petri dishes in the US and Japan are reshaping the political and ethical landscape surrounding human stem-cell research."
"In the process, these diminutive colonies also may level the playing field in stem-cell research – internationally and domestically."
"These are some of the effects analysts say they see coming out of this week's announcements that two teams have genetically reprogrammed skin cells so that they take on the traits of embryonic stem cells." 11-07
- -11-27-07 Implications of Stem Cell Breakthrough (New York Times)
"Biologists were electrified on Tuesday, when scientists in Japan and Wisconsin reported that they could turn human skin cells into cells that behave like embryonic stem cells, able to grow indefinitely and to potentially turn into any type of tissue in the body."
"The discovery, if it holds up, would decisively solve the raw material problem. It should provide an unlimited supply of stem cells without the ethically controversial embryo destruction and the restrictions on federal financing that have impeded work on human embryonic cells."
"There are two ways that stem cells can lead to treatments for diseases. Making replacement tissues for ailing organs is the direct way. But many scientists say the biggest impact of the new cells will be on the indirect way: using the cells to learn about diseases and then applying that knowledge to develop conventional drugs. 11-07
- -12-25-07 New Proton Machines for Combating Cancer (New York Times)
"The machines accelerate protons to nearly the speed of light and shoot them into tumors. Scientists say proton beams are more precise than the X-rays now typically used for radiation therapy, meaning fewer side effects from stray radiation and, possibly, a higher cure rate."
"X-rays, which are high-energy electromagnetic waves, pass through the body, depositing their energy all along the way, not just in the tumor. By contrast, protons — subatomic particles with a positive electrical charge — can be made to stop on the tumor and dump most of their payload there." 12-07
- -Editorial: A Review of Sicko (New York Times)
"Mr. Moore makes much of the fact that the World Health Organization ranked the United States 37th in an evaluation of health systems, only one notch above Slovenia. He failed to mention that it was two notches above Cuba."
"Mr. Moore’s heart clearly lies with the single-payer, tax-supported, governmental health systems abroad. That solution would be hard to sell here, where suspicion of the insurance companies is matched if not exceeded by suspicion of the government. Yet the case for some form of universal coverage is strong. The claim that we provide the best medical care in the world is hollow; international comparisons rank us below other industrialized countries on measures of quality, access and clinical outcomes. Mr. Moore is right to ask how a country that spends so much more on health care than any other nation can’t take care of everyone who is sick." 07-07
- 01-14-07 Gene Linked to Alzheimer's Disease (MSNBC New)
"A huge international study has identified a gene that apparently can raise the risk of developing the most common form of Alzheimer's disease, a discovery that may help scientists develop new treatments." 01-07
- 01-27-07 Melinda Gates in the Spotlight (MSNBC News)
"Melinda Gates has traveled the world with her husband, meeting with the rich and powerful and visiting its poorest in remote African villages. She and her husband share top billing at the world’s richest foundation, but Bill Gates always dominated the spotlight — until this year." 01-07
- 02-01-07 France Bans Public Smoking (CBS News)
"A ban on smoking in public spaces came into effect Thursday, a change that may alter the image of a country defined in part by its smoky cafes and cigarette-puffing intellectuals." 01-07
- 02-01-07 U.S. Lags on Family-Friendly Workplaces (CBS News)
"The United States lags far behind virtually all wealthy countries with regard to family-oriented workplace policies such as maternity leave, paid sick days and support for breast-feeding, a new study by Harvard and McGill University researchers says." 01-07
- -02-01-07 The Threat of Flu (LiveScience.com)
"But just what is the flu? How does it infect people? How deadly is it? And how can you protect yourself?"
"In a three-part series this week, LiveScience looks at the science behind the flu and why experts are so concerned." 01-07
- -Editorial: $40 Billion from Gates and Buffet May Change World Health (WorldPress.org - Akukwe)
"The recent announcement by multibillionaire investor Warren Buffet that he will give a substantial part of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has the makings of a watershed moment in global health. By giving what Fortune magazine estimates to be $37 billion in today's value, Buffet is beefing up the already deep pockets of the Gates foundation, which had more than $30 billion as of June 2006. Since more than 60 percent of the Gates foundation programming is in the area of global health, the implications of a steady source of funds for many years to come cannot be overestimated." 07-06
- Alzheimer's Rate Increases (CBS News)
"More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, a 10 percent increase since the last Alzheimer's Association estimate five years ago — and a count that supports the long-forecast dementia epidemic as the population grays." 03-07
- Another Atkins Diet Study (ABC News)
"Several recent studies suggest that overweight people might have more success with weight loss when they follow a diet lower in carbohydrates (and higher in fat and protein) than by following the standard guidelines for a lower fat, higher carbohydrate diet."
"These findings have surprised and concerned many nutritional experts. Critics have correctly pointed out that these studies didn't involve enough people and were too short in duration to draw strong conclusions or to change standard recommendations."
"Most experts agree that, more important than specific diet composition, are the following recommendations — not only for weight control, but for overall health:" 03-07
- Best Hospitals for 2007 (US News)
"Hospitals are ranked by specialty and not by specific procedures because the goal is to identify facilities that excel at treating a variety of demanding illnesses and procedures within a specialty, not just a few."
"Out of 5,462 hospitals evaluated, only 173 met that standard in one or more specialties. Most that did are referral centers, places accustomed to seeing the toughest patients and conducting bench-to-bedside research that advances the state of the art." 07-07
- Distinguishing Insect Bites (CBS News)
"Dr. Bruce Katz, from the Juva Skin-Laser Center in New York, visited The Early Show with tips for distinguishing bug bites. " 05-07
- Heart Pill Could Save Millions (CBS News)
"A three-in-one pill being developed to treat heart disease could save millions, particularly in developing countries where most heart attacks occur, experts said Monday at the World Congress of Cardiology." 09-06
- Malaria-Resistant Mosquito Developed (CBS News)
"Researchers have developed a malaria-resistant mosquito, a step that might one day help block the spread of an illness that has claimed millions of lives around the world." 03-07