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Growth in violence against women feared as recession hits

A government booklet offering advice to women on how to deal with recession-related domestic violence and discrimination from employers will be issued today, reflecting concern that women are to be worst hit by the economic crisis.

The 30 page document, Real Help Now for Women, published by the Government Equalities Office, is based on the premise that "women, especially those who are pregnant or work part-time, can feel particularly vulnerable during economic downturns". The document provides a summary of benefits already available, and details support groups women can call on if they feel their job or personal safety is threatened as a result of the recession.

Magnify

American Public Health Officials Lie about Fluoridation Safety

The American Public Health Association's (APHA) new Fluoridation Position Statement is based on many documents that neither support nor evaluate fluoridation's safety and/or effectiveness as it claims. (1)

APHA asserts, "All of these reviews have found CWF [Community Water Fluoridation] to be safe and effective." Here's the truth about APHA's "supportive" references:

Attention

Tests find Bisphenol A in majority of soft drinks

The estrogen-mimicking chemical BPA, already banished from baby bottles and frowned upon in water jugs, has now shown up in significant levels in soft drinks.

Tests by Health Canada scientists revealed the highest levels were in energy drinks, the often caffeine-loaded beverages that have become popular with teenagers seeking a buzz and athletes chasing a quick pick-me-up. But the study also found the controversial compound in a wide variety of ginger ales, diet colas, root beers and citrus-flavoured sodas.

Bisphenol A was detected in 96 per cent of soft drinks tested, in quantities below regulatory limits. But a growing body of science suggests the chemical may have harmful effects at levels far below those limits.

Health Canada did not disclose the brand names of the beverages it evaluated, but estimated that the survey covered at least 84 per cent of canned soft drinks sold in Canada.

Comment: More information on Bisphenol A:
Bisphenol A, Chemical Used to Make Plastic, Lingers in Body
Bisphenol A Linked to Metabolic Syndrome in Humans
Bisphenol A in infant formula at 'dangerous' levels, says group
Plastics chemical alters female brains - Research renews debate over the toxicity of bisphenol A, a plastics chemical found in humans.


Health

Common ingredient offers AIDS protection

A cheap ingredient used in ice cream, cosmetics and found in breast milk helps protect monkeys against infection with a virus similar to AIDS and might work to protect women against the virus, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The compound, called glycerol monolaurate, or GML, appears to stop inflammation and helps keep away the cells the AIDS virus usually infects, the researchers said.

While it does not provide 100 percent protection, it might greatly reduce a woman's risk of being infected, and she could use it privately and without hurting her chances of pregnancy, the researchers reported in the journal Nature.

Evil Rays

Medical Radiation Exposure Of The U.S. Population Greatly Increased Since The Early 1980s

In 2006, Americans were exposed to more than seven times as much ionizing radiation from medical procedures as was the case in the early 1980s, according to a new report on population exposure released March 3rd by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) at its annual meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2006, medical exposure constituted nearly half of the total radiation exposure of the U.S. population from all sources.

The increase was primarily a result of the growth in the use of medical imaging procedures, explained Dr. Kenneth R. Kase, senior vice president of NCRP and chairman of the scientific committee that produced the report. "The increase was due mostly to the higher utilization of computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine.

These two imaging modalities alone contributed 36 percent of the total radiation exposure and 75 percent of the medical radiation exposure of the U.S. population."

People

Brain Differences Found Between Believers In God And Non-believers

Believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress, according to new University of Toronto research that shows distinct brain differences between believers and non-believers.

In two studies led by Assistant Psychology Professor Michael Inzlicht, participants performed a Stroop task - a well-known test of cognitive control - while hooked up to electrodes that measured their brain activity.

Compared to non-believers, the religious participants showed significantly less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a portion of the brain that helps modify behavior by signaling when attention and control are needed, usually as a result of some anxiety-producing event like making a mistake. The stronger their religious zeal and the more they believed in God, the less their ACC fired in response to their own errors, and the fewer errors they made.

Fish

Two Food Additives Have Previously Unrecognized Estrogen-like Effects

Scientists in Italy are reporting development and successful use of a fast new method to identify food additives that act as so-called "xenoestrogens" - substances with estrogen-like effects that are stirring international health concerns.

They used the method in a large-scale screening of additives that discovered two additives with previously unrecognized xenoestrogen effects.

In the study, Pietro Cozzini and colleagues cite increasing concern about identifying these substances and about the possible health effects. Synthetic chemicals that mimic natural estrogens (called "xenoestrogens," literally, "foreign estrogens") have been linked to a range of human health effects. They range from reduced sperm counts in men to an increased risk of breast cancer in women.

Health

New York, US: County lawmakers vote to ban BPA baby bottles

Lawmakers in a Long Island county have voted to approve what would be the nation's first ban on baby bottles and toddler sippy cups made with a chemical that some studies suggest may be harmful to infants.

The ban on Bisphenol-A (BPA) was approved unanimously by the Suffolk County Legislature on Tuesday. It will take effect if County Executive Steve Levy signs it, but he has not indicated whether he will do so.

The FDA had said last fall that BPA was safe, but after an independent report found deep flaws in its study the agency announced in December that it was planning more research.

Health

Depression increases risk for heart disease more than genetics or environment

A history of major depression increases the risk of heart disease over and above any genetic risks common to depression and heart disease, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the VA. The findings are reported this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society this week in Chicago.

The researchers analyzed data gathered from more than 1,200 male twins who served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. The men were surveyed on a variety of health issues in 1992, including depression, and were assessed again in 2005.

In the study, investigators looked at the onset of heart disease in depressed study participants between 1993 and 2005. Men with depression in 1992 were twice as likely to develop heart disease in the ensuing years, compared to men with no history of depression.

Syringe

Vaccines as Biological Weapons?

There's a popular medical thriller novel in which a global pandemic is intentionally set off by an evil plot designed to reduce the human population. In the book, a nefarious drug company inserts live avian flu viruses into vaccine materials that are distributed to countries around the world to be injected into patients as "flu shots." Those patients then become carriers for these highly-virulent strains of avian flu which go on to infect the world population and cause widespread death.

There's only one problem with this story: It's not fiction. Or, at least, the part about live avian flu viruses being inserted into vaccine materials isn't fiction. It's happening right now.

Deerfield, Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Baxter International Inc. has just been caught shipping live avian flu viruses mixed with vaccine material to medical distributors in 18 countries. The "mistake" (if you can call it that, see below...) was discovered by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Canada. The World Health Organization was alerted and panic spread throughout the vaccine community as health experts asked the obvious question: How could this have happened?