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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Colorado Fracking Health Study Opposed by Oil and Gas Interests

Colorado driling studyA Colorado proposal to commission a new study about the health effects of drilling on the Front Range sparked strong emotions Thursday in its first legislative hearing.

The House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee declined to vote Thursday but heard hours of testimony on the proposal. The bill would order the state Health Department to study "health and quality of life effects" of drilling in Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties.

"This is the sort of thing that government should get involved with," said Irene Fortune, a Loveland chemist who urged lawmakers to spend money on another study about the health effects of oil and gas production.

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Gilead Sciences' $84,000 price for hepatitis drug is scrutinized

SovaldiU.S. lawmakers have asked Gilead Sciences Inc. to justify the price of its new $84,000 drug for hepatitis C patients amid growing concern about the high cost to taxpayers and consumers.

In a letter to the Foster City, Calif., company, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., and two other Democratic lawmakers asked Gilead Chief Executive John C. Martin to explain the rationale for selling Sovaldi for $1,000 per pill.

Medical experts say previous therapies for hepatitis C helped only about half of patients and had numerous side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, anemia and depression. In comparison, clinical trials of Sovaldi have shown cure rates approaching 90 percent with far fewer complications.

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Why Is the Future of Birth Control In the Hands of the Supreme Court?

Birth Control in hands of SCThe Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court partially upheld in 2012 when it issued one of the most important decisions in decades, has spawned more litigation—topped by two consolidated cases that could become the justices’ biggest ruling on religious liberty in years.

The oral arguments regarding the law’s contraception coverage mandate, slated for March 25, will be a rematch between two lawyers who squared off in the first health law challenge—Obama administration Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. and former Bush administration Solicitor General Paul Clement.

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Bill restricting Medicaid expansion in Georgia passes

Nathan DealLawmakers in Georgia would get the final say on whether to expand a government health insurance program for the poor under a bill passed Tuesday, making it even less likely the state will join an overhaul sought by President Obama.

The election-year legislation came up for a vote in the General Assembly during a busy, second-to-last day of the legislative session. Legislators are in a mad rush to pass their bills because any legislation that does not win approval by the final day Thursday automatically fails.

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The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains

neurotoxinsForty-one million IQ points. That’s what Dr. David Bellinger determined Americans have collectively forfeited as a result of exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides. In a 2012 paper published by the National Institutes of Health, Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, compared intelligence quotients among children whose mothers had been exposed to these neurotoxins while pregnant to those who had not.

Bellinger calculates a total loss of 16.9 million IQ points due to exposure to organophosphates, the most common pesticides used in agriculture.

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Federal Government Signs Off On Study Using Marijuana To Treat Veterans' PTSD

marijana for pstdThe federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.

The Department of Health and Human Services' decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug's medical uses.

The proposal from the University of Arizona was long ago cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but researchers had been unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency's Mississippi research farm is the only federally-sanctioned source of the drug.

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Global tobacco marketing campaign accused of targeting minors

Tobacco marketing minorsA stylish young woman clad in tight maroon pants and a short leather jacket has her fellow up against a brick wall as they share a passionate kiss. The caption underneath the photo reads, “Maybe never fell in love.”

A musician laughs while she picks a guitar, holding a lit cigarette in the other hand. The caption reads, “Maybe never wrote a song.”

A third young person is airborne above the outstretched hands of fellow concertgoers, accompanied by the caption “No more maybe.”

Each advertisement ends with the command to “Be Marlboro,” and is part of an international marketing campaign that public health advocates say is targeted toward children and teenagers in 50 countries with the goal of hooking them on a lifelong and deadly habit.

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