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E-cigarettes boost quitting success among smokers, study finds

e-cigarettesSmokers trying to quit are 60 percent more likely to report success if they switch to e-cigarettes than if they use nicotine products like patches or gum, or just willpower, scientists said on Tuesday.

Presenting findings from a study of almost 6,000 smokers over five years, the researchers said the results suggest e-cigarettes could play an important role in reducing smoking rates and hence cutting tobacco-related deaths and illnesses.

As well as causing lung cancer and other chronic respiratory diseases, tobacco smoking is also a major contributor to cardiovascular diseases, the world's number one killer.

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1.8 million pounds of beef recalled, linked to E. coli

meat recallAbout 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products are being recalled due to possible E. coli contamination, according to federal food safety regulators.

Detroit-based Wolverine Packing Company had shipped the meat for restaurant use in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio, according to the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

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Drug can reduce HIV infection rates by more than 90 percent

HIV medicationNew guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recommend daily drug therapy for people who are at high risk for contracting HIV.

The U.S. Public Health Service recommends doctors evaluate their male and female patients who are sexually active and at high risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus or who are injecting illicit drugs, and consider offering Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention as a prevention option.

The federal guidelines recommend PrEP be considered for those who are HIV-negative, but at substantial risk for HIV, such as a person who is in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner, or heterosexual people who do not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status.

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Silently among us: Scientists worry about milder cases of MERS

MERS fearsScientists leading the fight against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome say the next critical front will be understanding how the virus behaves in people with milder infections, who may be spreading the illness without being aware they have it.

Establishing that may be critical to stopping the spread of MERS, which emerged in the Middle East in 2012 and has so far infected more than 500 patients in Saudi Arabia alone. It kills about 30 percent of those who are infected.

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Texas abortion law creates obstacles for Valley women

Texas abortion obstaclesThe women who visit Lucy Felix at her advocacy center are lately faced with a slate of difficult choices: risk deportation to drive to a clinic, cross the nearby border into Mexico for a risky abortion or keep an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy to term.

Since Texas lawmakers passed new restrictions on abortion clinics last year, the number of clinics in the Rio Grande Valley that perform the service has dropped from two to zero, forcing women to drive more than 300 miles roundtrip to other cities for services or attempt riskier procedures across the border.

In the Valley, the poorest and neediest part of the state, the law is crippling women's rights to abortions, said Felix, a Brownsville-based field coordinator with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

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Missouri one step closer to 72-hour wait period for abortions

Missouri abortion lawMissouri lawmakers passed legislation requiring women to have a three-day wait period before having an abortion.

The law would make women, seeking to terminate their pregnancy, wait 72 hours between the time they meet with their doctor and the actual procedure. There is only one clinic in St. Louis that provides abortions in the state. This means that women will either have to stay for three days in the city or travel back and forth. This has some Democrats concerned that the measure will affect low-income women who have problems accessing proper healthcare.

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Massive dose of measles vaccine clears woman's cancer

Measles vaccine cures cancerMayo Clinic researchers announced a landmark study where a massive dose of the measles vaccine, enough to inoculate 10 million people, wiped out a Minnesota woman's incurable blood cancer.

The Mayo Clinic conducted the clinical trial last year using virotherapy. The method discovered the measles virus wiped out multiple myeloma cancer calls. Researchers engineered the measles virus (MV-NIS) in a single intravenous dose, making it selectively toxic to cancer cells.

Stacy Erholtz, 49, of Pequot Lakes, was one of two patients in the study who received the dose last year, and after 10 years with multiple myeloma has been clear of the disease for over six months.

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