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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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U.S. alone among Western countries on lack of paid maternity leave, UN finds

Maternity leave in USThe United States is the only Western country _ and one of only three in the world _ that does not provide some kind of monetary payment to new mothers who’ve taken maternity leave from their jobs, a new U.N. study reports.

Two other countries share the U.S. position of providing “no cash benefits during maternity leave,” according to the report, which was released Tuesday by the International Labor Organization: Oman, an absolute monarchy in the Persian Gulf; and Papua New Guinea, a South Pacific nation where the U.S. State Department says violence against women is so common that 60 percent of men in a U.N. study acknowledged having committed a rape.

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Another 90 Arrests As Strike Force’s Medicare Fraud Tally Hits $6 Billion

Medicare fraudIn the seventh “takedown” since the government formed a Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 2007, federal agents arrested 90 people on May 13th, including 50 in Miami, on charges they schemed to falsely bill taxpayers $260 million.

In what is becoming an annual affair, the latest figures offer a staggering picture of the extent to which fraudsters are preying on the huge health care program for the nation’s elderly.

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FDA approves 'Star Wars' robotic arm for amputees

robotic arm approvedThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a robotic arm for amputees that is named for the "Star Wars" character Luke Skywalker and can perform multiple, simultaneous movements, a huge advance over the metal hook currently in use.

The FDA said on Friday it allowed the sale of the DEKA Arm System after reviewing data, including a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs study in which 90 percent of people who used the device were able to perform complex tasks. These included using keys and locks, feeding themselves, using zippers and brushing and combing hair.

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