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Tuesday, Sep 02nd

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The Most Dangerous Things to Do on Your Phone While Driving

phone dangersIf Werner Herzog hasn't already convinced you not to touch your phone while driving, perhaps this will. Dialing a cellphone is the most dangerous thing you can do in a car, according to a new study from the New England Journal of Medicine, and increases your risk of crashing or nearly crashing eight-fold.

Researchers collected 12-18 months of driving data from 42 newly licensed teenaged drivers from southwestern Virginia, as well as from 109 more experienced motorists from Washington, all driving cars that had been outfitted with cameras, accelerometers, and GPS devices.

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Justice Dept. opposes block on contraceptive mandate

us justice dept.The Obama administration on Friday called on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to lift her order temporarily blocking a part of the president's signature health care law that requires some religious-affiliated organizations to cover forms of contraception in their health care plans.

The Justice Department said in court papers filed Friday that the challenge to the contraceptive requirement, filed by the Catholic nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor for the Aged, did not impose a "substantial burden" and the Denver-based nuns "fail to satisfy the demanding standard for the extraordinary and rarely granted relief they seek.''

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Traditional Chinese Medicine Plant Found to Relieve Chronic Pain

new pain compound

A plant used in traditional Chinese medicine has been found to have potent pain-reliving properties, researchers have found.

The flowering plant Corydalis, a member of the poppy family, has been used for centuries for pain relief in Chinese medicine.

However, researchers have now found it contains a compound called dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), which has the potential to lead to new drug therapies for people experiencing chronic pain.

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A half million U.S. surgeries on knee cartilage may be unnecessary

knee surgeryFinnish researchers found repairing meniscal cartilage in the knee is no more effective than a placebo and about 500,000 U.S. surgeries may be unnecessary.

Adjunct Professor Teppo Jarvinen of the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital and Raine Sihvonen of Hatanpaa Hospital in Tampere said the most common diagnosis of the knee that requires treatment is a tear in the meniscus -- the shock-absorbing cartilage of the knee. Most of the treated meniscal tears are degenerative -- caused by aging, not trauma.

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"Let the Crime Spree Begin": How Fraud Flourishes in Medicare's Drug Plan

Medicare prescription drug fraudToday, credit card companies routinely scan their records for fraud, flagging or blocking suspicious charges as they happen. Yet Medicare’s massive drug program has a process so convoluted and poorly managed that fraud flourishes, giving rise to elaborate schemes that quickly siphon away millions of dollars.

Frustrated investigators for law enforcement, insurers and pharmacy chains say they don’t see evidence that Medicare officials are doing much to stop it.

“It’s kind of a black hole,” said Alanna Lavelle, director of investigations for WellPoint Inc., which provides drug coverage to about 1.4 million people in the program, known as Part D.

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Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Found At Fracking Sites Linked To Cancer, Infertility: Study

fracking linked to cancerHormone-disrupting chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and a slew of other health problems have been found in water samples collected at and near hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," sites in Colorado, according to a new study published in the journal Endocrinology this week.

Researchers say they found elevated levels of these chemicals -- known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) -- in surface water and groundwater samples collected in the state's Garfield County, a fracking hotspot with more than 10,000 natural gas wells.

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States spend 2% of tobacco settlement money on cessation

tobacco settlementFifteen years after the $246 billion tobacco legal settlements were reached most states are not spending much on tobacco cessation, U.S. researchers say.

Tobacco use is the top cause of preventable U.S. death, killing more than 400,000 Americans and costing the nation $96 billion in healthcare bills each year and most states involved in the settlements promised a significant portion of the money would be spent on programs to prevent children and teens from smoking and help smokers quit.

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