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Monkeys' Minds Used to Move Computer Cursor

Wed Mar 13, 2002

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - US researchers have developed a technology that allows monkeys to move a computer cursor with their minds alone--raising the possibility that a similar system could one day help people with severe paralysis communicate and function more independently.

This stranger-than-fiction science, in which implanted electrodes helped the monkeys' brain activity control the computer-cursor movement, could "potentially be applicable to humans," the study's lead author told Reuters Health.


Medical Experts Advise UK to Ease Cannabis Laws

Thu Mar 14, 2002

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) - Medical experts have given the go-ahead for the government to reclassify cannabis as low-risk in the latest in a series of moves relaxing attitudes towards soft drugs.

In a report to Home Secretary David Blunkett, medical experts from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said all cannabis preparations should be downgraded to Class C--the lowest risk grouping of controlled drugs. Classifying it as any higher risk was "disproportionate," the report said on Thursday.


More Caution Urged with Contact Lens Use

Tue Mar 12, 2002

By Jacqueline Stenson

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people underestimate the risks of contact lenses, continuing to wear them when their eyes become tired or irritated and not cleaning them as directed, according to a Florida doctor.

In the short term, these missteps can lead to sore, itchy eyes, abrasions and sometimes to potentially blinding ulcers and infections, said Dr. Thomas J. Liesegang, an ophthalmologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Smokers Unrealistic About Odds of Quitting

Fri Mar 8, 2002

By Merritt McKinney

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If given the chance to turn back time, the overwhelming majority of smokers would not start smoking, a new UK survey shows. But even though most smokers would like to kick the habit, they are deluded about how easy it will be for them to quit, researchers say.


Exclusive Breast-Feeding Boosts IQ of Small Babies

Fri Mar 22, 2002

By Suzanne Rostler

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Breast-feeding exclusively for the first 6 months of life may boost the IQ of full-term infants weighing less than 6 pounds, new study findings suggest.

Small infants who received only breast milk for the first 6 months of life scored an average of 11 points higher on IQ tests at age 5 than infants who received formula and solid food in addition to breast milk, according to researchers.

Vision Loss Reported in Handful of Men on Viagra

Fri Mar 22, 2002

By Merritt McKinney

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Five men developed permanent vision loss while taking the impotence drug Viagra (sildenafil), researchers report.

Though the cases do not prove that Viagra caused the vision loss, people who experience problems with their sight while taking the drug should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible, the study's lead author, Dr. Howard D. Pomeranz of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, told Reuters Health.

Briton Wires Nervous System to a Computer

Fri Mar 22, 1:49 PM ET

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - A controversial British robotics scientist has had his nervous system wired up to a computer in an experiment he hopes will eventually give paralyzed people more control over their own bodies.

Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading University, southern England, has had minute sensors implanted into the main nerve in his left arm and hooked up to a radio transceiver that will send and receive messages from a computer.


Paralyzed British Woman Wins Right to Die

Fri Mar 22, 2002

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - A British woman paralyzed from the neck down on Friday won the right to die "peacefully and with dignity" in a landmark case. The 43-year-old social worker, who can now effectively sign her own death sentence, was given the court decision by video link to her hospital bed.


Loss Can Trigger Split-Second, Irrational Response

Thu Mar 21, 2002

By Merritt McKinney

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - They say it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, but don't tell that to your brain. New research suggests that in situations such as gambling, the brain views wins and losses in absolute terms and responds in the same way regardless of the size of the loss.