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General Health

Health Highlights: August 12, 2002

Mon Aug 12, 2002

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of The HealthScout News Service:

Bioweapons Expert Denies Anthrax Role

A Virginia bioweapons expert vehemently denies he was behind last fall's anthrax mail attacks, saying that law enforcement and the media have destroyed his life and career.

Group Says Fat Folks Can Be Healthy

Fri Aug 9, 2002

By JUSTIN BACHMAN, Associated Press Writer

When people see Phyllis Warr, a short, stout woman who tips the scales at more than 250 pounds they assume she's out of shape — until she starts getting down on the dance floor.

Cathy Davis Pannone weighs more than 300 pounds, but in the swimming pool she glides along with a grace that justifies her nickname — cat.

The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance has a new message to sell at its annual convention this week: Being fat doesn't mean you can't be fit.

Calls for Public Defibrillators Rise

Sat Aug 10, 2002

By JAY LINDSAY, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - A man's deadly heart attack on a train has become the latest rallying point of people who advocate putting more portable defibrillators in public places.

James Allen went into cardiac arrest last week and had to wait for proper medical attention while the train made two more regular stops. Medical experts said his chances of survival were slim without access to a portable defibrillator.

W. Nile Cousin Studied For Clues

Sat Aug 10, 2002

By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - In 1975, an outbreak of the mosquito-borne St. Louis encephalitis spread through 29 states, killing 95 people and infecting about 3,000 others. The following year, infection rates were down, and they have stayed down over the decades that followed.

Health officials expect a similar trend in the country's second major outbreak of West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease that first appeared in 1999 and has killed seven people and infected more than 130 this year.

U.K. Legionnaires' Outbreak Slows

Sun Aug 11, 2002

LONDON (AP) - Britain's worst outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in a decade is slowing down and appears to be nearing an end, the head of the hospital treating many of the patients said Sunday.

Ian Cumming, chief executive of Morecambe Hospitals NHS Trust, said the number of new patients testing positive for the illness had decreased.

One person was diagnosed with the disease overnight, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 124.

New Polio Cases in India Triple

Mon Aug 12, 2002

By NEELESH MISRA, Associated Press Writer

NEW DELHI, India (AP) - The number of new polio cases in India nearly tripled in the first six months of this year, compared with the same period in 2001, in a setback to the world's goal of eradicating the crippling disease by 2005.

According to the National Polio Surveillance Project, run by the government and the World Health Organization, 86 new cases were reported from January through June this year — compared with 31 cases over the same period last year.

Some Doctors Happier Than Others with Career Choice

Fri Aug 9, 2002

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - About 1 in 5 US doctors is dissatisfied with their career, but those in certain specialties or in certain parts of the country are happier than others, according to a survey.

For example, those treating the elderly (geriatric internal medicine), newborns (neonatal-perinatal medicine) or children (pediatrics), as well as those specializing in skin conditions (dermatologists), reported high levels of career satisfaction.

Study: Botox Can Aid Stroke Victims

Wed Aug 7, 2002

By JEFF DONN, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - Botox, the wrinkle-smoothing botulism toxin that has become the biggest sensation in cosmetic medicine, also can help stroke victims regain use of their clenched and rigid hands.

The findings, published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, add to the evidence that the food-poisoning toxin — in diluted form — can relax muscles contracted by a broad range of conditions, from writer's cramp to cerebral palsy.

Canadian Man Dies of Mad Cow

Fri Aug 9, 2002

By BARRY BROWN, Associated Press Writer

TORONTO (AP) - A Canadian man has died in the country's first confirmed case of the human brain condition linked to "mad cow" disease, officials said Thursday.

The unidentified man, said to be under 50 years old, contracted the "new variant" form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease while in Britain, which has faced several outbreaks of the disease, said Dr. Antonio Giulivi, an official with the Canadian government agency, Health Canada.

Bone Marrow Cells May Stave Off Amputation

Fri Aug 9, 2002

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Researchers have used cells taken from patients' own bone marrow to treat their diseased leg arteries, preventing toe amputations in some patients.

They say this early success could lead to a way to sprout healthy new blood vessels in patients with artery disease affecting the limbs and, possibly, the heart. The technique has been tried in two patients with heart disease, and looks promising, the researchers report.