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Wednesday, Aug 27th

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Top scientists warn WHO not to stub out e-cigarettes

E cigsA group of 53 leading scientists has warned the World Health Organisation not to classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, arguing that doing so would jeopardize a major opportunity to slash disease and deaths caused by smoking.

The UN agency, which is currently assessing its position on the matter, has previously indicated it would favor applying similar restrictions to all nicotine-containing products.

In an open letter to WHO Director General Margaret Chan, the scientists from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia argued that low-risk products like e-cigarettes were "part of the solution" in the fight against smoking, not part of the problem.

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Abortion doctor restrictions take root in South

abortion doctor restrictions take holdFrom Texas to Alabama, laws are being enacted that would greatly restrict access to abortion, forcing many women to travel hundreds of miles to find a clinic. The laws, requiring abortion doctors to have privileges to admit patients to local hospitals, could have a profound impact on women in poor and rural sections of the Bible Belt.

In many places in the South, clinic doctors come from out of state to perform abortions and don't have ties to a local hospital. Critics say the laws mean hospitals, leery of attracting anti-abortion protesters, could get veto power over whether the already-scarce clinics remain in business. They say the real aim is to outlaw abortions while supporters say they are protecting women's health.

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Trial Drug Reverses Alzheimer’s Disease in Mice

lab miceA drug in early animal trials has shown promising results, appearing to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

Additionally, in mice, the treatment reduced inflammation in parts of the brain that are associated with memory and learning, according to a study led by Susan Farr of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The mice were engineered to produce a mutant form of human beta amyloid, one of the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In a previous study, the researchers had tested mice that naturally overproduced mouse beta amyloid; this step was to see if the drug would work with the human version. Both types of mice showed impaired learning as they aged, much like humans with Alzheimer’s disease.

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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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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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Study: Everyday chemicals that may increase breast cancer risk

chemicals causing breast cancerGasoline and chemicals formed by combustion from vehicles, lawn equipment, smoking and charred food are among the largest sources of mammary carcinogens in the environment.

Ruthann A. Rudel, Janet M. Ackerman and Julia Green Brody of the Silent Spring Institute and Kathleen R. Attfield of Harvard School of Public Health identified the highest priority chemicals to target for breast cancer prevention.

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