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Saturday, Jul 26th

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Why American Apples Just Got Banned in Europe

American apples banned in europeBack in 2008, European Food Safety Authority began pressing the chemical industry to provide safety information on a substance called diphenylamine, or DPA. Widely applied to apples after harvest, DPA prevents "storage scald"—brown spots that "becomes a concern when fruit is stored for several months," according to Washington State University, reporting from the heartland of industrial-scale apple production.

DPA isn't believed to be harmful on its own. But it has the potential to break down into a family of carcinogens called nitrosamines—not something you want to find on your daily apple. And that's why European food safety regulators wanted more information on it.

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3,000 types of bacteria found on U.S. $1 bills

one dollar bill bacteriaResearchers at the New York University's Dirty Money Project analyzed DNA on $1 bills and found some 3,000 types of bacteria -- many times more than studies using a microscope found.

Jane Carlton, director of genome sequencing at NYU's Center for Genomics and Systems Biology told the Wall Street Journal: "It was quite amazing to us. We actually found that microbes grow on money."

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Chikungunya, a highly infectious disease, may soon arrive in the U.S.

ChikungunyaWhen Clare Rourke woke up one morning March of last year with a sore toe, she didn’t worry too much about it. She, her husband and their three daughters were living in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for a few months as part of a family year abroad. She and her husband had traveled widely — through India, the Middle East and South America — and had never been seriously ill. And they took necessary precautions, making sure everyone in the family received the recommended vaccinations.

But by the middle of that day, Rourke was sicker than she had ever been before. “I hurt in so many places — my feet, hand, wrists, ankles, elbows, knees,” she says. “I actually remember thinking that I just might die.” Her joints were so swollen, hot and painful that she couldn’t rest her elbows on the bed. Her temperature rose to 104 degrees. “I felt like something was attacking me and I was seriously losing the fight,” she says.

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Tamiflu: Millions wasted on flu drug, claims major UK report

TamifluHundreds of millions of pounds may have been wasted on a drug for flu that works no better than paracetamol, a landmark analysis has said.

The UK has spent £473m on Tamiflu, which is stockpiled by governments globally to prepare for flu pandemics.

The Cochrane Collaboration claimed the drug did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications, and only slightly helped symptoms. The manufacturers Roche and other experts say the analysis is flawed

The antiviral drug Tamiflu was stockpiled from 2006 in the UK when some agencies were predicting that a pandemic of bird flu could kill up to 750,000 people in Britain. Similar decisions were made in other countries.
Hidden data

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Some doctors make millions off of Medicare

MedicareSome doctors are making millions of dollars off of Medicare, with a handful collecting multi-million payments annually.

One ophthalmologist from West Palm Beach, Fla., collected nearly $21 million, while a cardiologist from Ocala, Fla., received $18 million in 2012. Seven doctors pulled in more than $10 million in payments, while nearly 4,000 are Medicare millionaires.

The doctors' payments were part of an unprecedented data release, which covers 880,000 physicians, therapists, labs and other medical facilities. Medicare paid providers a total of $77 billion in 2012 to care for more than 50 million of the nation's elderly and disabled, according to federal statistics released Wednesday. These figures do not include what doctors collect from patients in co-pays or from private insurers for non-Medicare patients.

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Stimulation restores some function for 4 paralyzed men

hope for paralyzed patientsParalysis may not last forever anymore. In an experiment hailed as "staggering," a team of researchers at the University of Louisville and the University of California-Los Angeles restored some voluntary movement to four men who were told they would never move their legs again.

The finding, published online today by the journal Brain, upends understanding of the spinal cord and is likely to transform the lives of more than 1.2 million Americans who lack control over their lower limbs.

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New Analysis: 9.5 Million Uninsured People Covered Under Obamacare

obamacareAbout 9.5 million Americans who were previously uninsured have gotten health coverage under Obamacare, according to a new analysis.

The Los Angeles Times reported the number, which combines data from an unpublished study by RAND Corp. with other publicly available figures. It's one of the most comprehensive efforts yet to asses the law's impact on the uninsured as open enrollment comes to a close.

The numbers break down like this:

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