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WHO: 12% of world population affected by mental disorders

Mental disorders are affecting nearly 12 percent of the world's population, but mental health generally ranks low on the public health agenda, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Some 450 million people all over the world experience a mental illness that could benefit from diagnosis and treatment, WHO said in a statement. Problems associated with mental illness and disorders will continue to rise unless more is done to tackle the issue and to reduce the burden of mental disorders.

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F.D.A. Says Cancer Test Failed to Get Its Approval

The Food and Drug Administration has told the Laboratory Corporation of America that it is illegally marketing a blood test to detect ovarian cancer, according to a warning letter posted Wednesday on the F.D.A.’s Web site. The test, introduced in June, has raised hopes among women and their doctors because it promises to detect ovarian cancer at an early stage, when it is still treatable.

But some outside experts, including the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, have said the test had not been proved accurate and might cause women to have unnecessary surgeries to remove their ovaries. The F.D.A. itself, in a previous letter to LabCorp, said the test “may harm the public health.”

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'St John's Wort plant as effective as Prozac for treating depression', say scientists

It also had fewer side effects than many standard drugs used to help those battling despair.

Researchers compared the effects of the plant hypericum perforatum - popularly known as St John's Wort - with placebos or a wide range of old and new anti-depressants, including those from the new generation of SSRI drugs, such as Prozac and Seroxat.

The findings could prompt more GPs to prescribe St John's Wort.

In Germany, it is commonly given to children and teenagers.

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Climate change seen aiding spread of deadly diseases

A "deadly dozen" diseases ranging from avian flu to yellow fever are likely to spread more because of climate change, the Wildlife Conservation Society said on Tuesday.

The society, based in the Bronx Zoo in the United States and which works in 60 nations, urged better monitoring of wildlife health to help give an early warning of how pathogens might spread with global warming.

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Doctors: No hamsters or exotic pets for young kids

Warning: young children should not keep hedgehogs as pets - or hamsters, baby chicks, lizards and turtles, for that matter - because of risks for disease. That's according to the nation's leading pediatricians' group in a new report about dangers from exotic animals.

Besides evidence that they can carry dangerous and sometimes potentially deadly germs, exotic pets may be more prone than cats and dogs to bite, scratch or claw - putting children younger than 5 particularly at risk, the report says.

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Bailout Provision Provides Equal Coverage for Mental and Physical Ailments

More than one-third of all Americans will soon receive better insurance coverage for mental health treatments because of a new law that, for the first time, requires equal coverage of mental and physical illnesses.

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Vaccine for breast cancer within reach, says expert

Enough is known about the causes of breast cancer to make a vaccine or prophylactic drug a real possibility, a leading cancer expert said last night.

Professor Valerie Beral of Oxford University, who leads the Million Women's Study into the causes of the disease, told the Guardian the study had put beyond doubt what had long been guessed - that many breast cancers are caused by the absence of hormonal changes connected with childbirth.

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