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Short-sightedness may be tied to refined diet

by Douglas Fox

The food children eat might play as big a role as books and computer screens when it comes to causing short-sightedness.

Diets high in refined starches such as breads and cereals increase insulin levels. This affects the development of the eyeball, making it abnormally long and causing short-sightedness, suggests a team led by Loren Cordain, an evolutionary biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and Jennie Brand Miller, a nutrition scientist at the University of Sydney.

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Painless needle copies mosquito's stinger

April 3, 2002

by David Cohen

A needle which mimics the mosquito's unique "stinger", making injections painless, has been developed by a team of Japanese microengineers.
Contrary to popular belief, a mosquito can stab you with its proboscis without you feeling a thing. It then injects anticoagulant saliva to stop your blood clotting while it feeds, and it is this that carries the bacteria that cause irritation and pain.

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Nicotine Lollipops Cause Concern in US

Wed Apr 3, 2002

By Lisa Richwine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sucking on nicotine-laced lollipops is catching on as a way to quit smoking, but critics Wednesday worried about the products' appeal to children and urged a ban until studies prove they are safe and effective.

Sold in flavors such as apricot, eggnog and watermelon, the lollipops are available at some pharmacies and over the Internet. Unlike gums and patches to kick the tobacco habit, the lollipops do not have Food and Drug Administration approval.

Infant Screening for Cancer Found Ineffective

Wed Apr 3, 2002

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Screening infants for a type of childhood cancer does not appear to cut death rates and could actually cause harm by leading to unnecessary treatment, according to the results of two studies released Wednesday.

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Muscle, Bone Mass Linked in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wed Apr 3, 2002

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women with rheumatoid arthritis are at high risk of developing the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, but exercise could help strengthen the bones of these patients, Danish researchers report.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks joint tissues, leading to damage in many parts of the body, including bone, cartilage and various internal organs. The disease can cause severe disabilities, particularly in older people, and its exact causes are still not known.

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Kidney Stone Back Pain More Likely in Morning

Mon Apr 1, 2002

By Alison McCook

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who experience a type of excruciating back pain caused by kidney stones are more likely to be miserable in the morning than at night, a new study reports.

Such back pain is sometimes known as renal colic and is caused when a tiny kidney stone travels down the ureter, the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder.

A kidney stone is a hard mass made up of crystals that have settled out of urine while inside the kidney.

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Skin Pigment Density Linked to Skin Cancer Risk

Mon Apr 1, 2002

By Alison McCook

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The density of a particular skin pigment appears to predict a person's risk of developing skin cancer, new research suggests.

"It is important to have better measures of risk, so that people can avoid developing disease if they take appropriate precautions," study co-author Dr. Marianne Berwick, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told Reuters Health.

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Blood Flow to Heart Hampered After High-Fat Meal

Mon Apr 1, 2002

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - While a lifetime of fatty meals can lead to a heart attack, a study released Monday suggests that chowing down on just one high-fat meal can interfere with blood flow to the heart in healthy young men.

In the study, 15 healthy men in their 20s or early 30s consumed a shake containing a whopping 1,200 calories and 100 grams of fat--roughly the equivalent of eating a fast-food meal plus dessert. All of the men underwent a heart test and had blood samples taken before and after consuming the liquid meal.

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Major Lifestyle Changes Needed to Prevent Diabetes

Mon Apr 1, 2002

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Intensive lifestyle changes can help people at risk of developing diabetes to ward off the disease, according to a report. But more modest efforts to boost exercise and improve diet may not be successful.

Insulin resistance occurs when a person begins to lose the ability to respond to the effects of this blood sugar-regulating hormone. People with insulin resistance are at risk of going on to develop full-fledged diabetes.

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Report Urges Exercise to Lower Blood Pressure

Mon Apr 1, 2002

By Jacqueline Stenson

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Researchers who reviewed more than 50 studies on the effects of exercise on blood pressure have a message for all couch-potatoes out there: Get moving.

Whether you are overweight or trim, have hypertension or normal blood pressure, engaging in regular exercise such as walking, cycling, jogging or swimming can help lower your blood pressure and your subsequent risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the report in the April 2nd issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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