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Tarantula toxin may be used as powerful painkiller

peruvian taratulaResearchers in Australia have identified a peptide in the Peruvian green velvet tarantula's venom that may work as a more effective, less addictive painkiller, according to a new study.

In addition to the peptide discovery, researchers reported a new role the cell membrane can play in the efficacy of drugs on pain receptors, which could help other studies on the painkilling potential of other substances.


The cancer cluster of Piketon, Ohio

cancer cluster piketonA patch of land in the hills of rural Pike County, Ohio, hardly looks as if it played a key role in the Cold War. But as politicians dueled on the world stage, workers at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant south of Piketon toiled away producing weapons-grade uranium for the United States’ military.

The plant went online in 1954, lasted through the Cold War and is now in the process of winding down. Presciently, a group of Amish settlers who once plowed the land pulled up stakes when construction on the plant began in 1952. They were worried about the environmental impact, and the traditional pacifists were uncomfortable with the militaristic aspects of the complex.


Cuba's Had A Lung Cancer Vaccine For Years, And Now It's Coming To The U.S.

Cuba has lung cancer vaccinePresident Barack Obama will become the first president to visit Cuba in almost 90 years when he and first lady Michelle Obama travel to the island nation on March 21. But one of the most exciting things about the thawing of relations between Cuba and the U.S. is happening stateside right now: the possibility of clinical trials on a drug to prevent lung cancer, and possibly other cancers, too.

CimaVax, which is both a treatment and vaccine for lung cancer, has been researched in Cuba for 25 years and free to the Cuban public since 2011. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s trade mission to Cuba in April 2015 resulted in a signed agreement to bring CimaVax to the U.S., but as with all international drugs and treatments, U.S. researchers need to conduct clinical trials and replicate international scientists’ results before it becomes available to the American public.


SF declares tent city of homeless is health hazard

Tents on SF hazardousSan Francisco health officials declared a tent city that has been growing along a city street a health hazard and gave homeless people living on the sidewalk 72 hours to clear the area.

The Department of Public Health said notices declaring the area along Division Street a public nuisance and encouraging homeless people to move to city shelters would be posted Tuesday.


Lumber Liquidators' stock falls after CDC says cancer risk from flooring three times higher

lumber liquidatorsA statement from the CDC that it underestimated the cancer risk from some flooring caused Lumber Liquidators' stock to fall 17 percent in pre-market trading on Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week it was notified of an error in its Feb. 10 report on possible health effects from exposure to formaldehyde, a known carcinogen which can cause, at high levels, myeloid leukemia and other cancers. Formaldehyde is found in some laminate flooring. It cited higher-than-announced health risks, potentially causing eye, ear, nose and throat irritation, and increased its estimates of cancer associated with exposure to the flooring.


Colombia: 6300 Pregnant Women Have Zika

Colombia zika cases riseColombia has now registered more than 37,000 cases of people infected with Zika, including more than 6,300 pregnant women, the country's National Institute of Health reported Saturday.

The latest count, based on data reported as of February 13, reflects an increase of 5,456 cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the last week for which data is available.

The rapid spread of the virus has raised alarms in Latin America because it has been tentatively linked to a serious birth defect known as microcephaly in babies born to women who became infected while pregnant.


Wisconsin blocks federal funds from reaching Planned Parenthood

Scott walkerWisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker signed two bills into law on Thursday that block federal funding from Planned Parenthood and could cost the local organization millions of dollars.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin could lose about $7.5 million a year because of the measures, an organization spokeswoman said.

Texas, Louisiana other Republican-controlled states tried to halt funding for the reproductive health organization after an anti-abortion group released videos last summer purported to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue. Under federal law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research, but profiting from its sale is prohibited.


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