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Some Types Of Temporary Neurological Problems Associated With Increased Risk For Stroke, Dementia

Patients who experience symptoms described as transient neurological attacks, such as temporary amnesia or confusion, may have a higher risk for stroke and dementia, according to a study in the December 26 issue of JAMA.

Transient neurological attacks (TNAs) are episodes involving temporary (less than 24 hours) neurological symptoms. These symptoms can be nonfocal (that can include nonlocalizing cerebral symptoms), focal (known as transient ischemic attacks [TIAs], similar to ischemic stroke, except for duration [commonly 2-15 minutes, maximum 24 hours]), or a mixture of both focal and nonfocal. Although it has been well-documented that patients with TIA are at high risk of major vascular disease, few studies have examined whether nonfocal TNAs are a serious health threat, according to background information in the article.

Syringe

Japan PM Apologizes for Tainted Blood

Japan's prime minister apologized Tuesday to four people who contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood products and promised to enact legislation to compensate them.

Yasuo Fukuda met the hepatitis sufferers at his office. They are among hundreds seeking damages from the government and pharmaceutical companies in the blood products scandal. Part of the meeting was broadcast on television.

©AP/ Yoshikazu TSUNO
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, left, bows as he apologizes to victims and relatives of hepatitis C, who were caused by tainted blood products, at his office in Tokyo on Tuesday December 25, 2007. Fukuda and his ruling coalition would seek new legislation to compensate all the victims of dirty blood products contaminated with hepatitis C

"I apologize for the years of indescribable suffering you have gone through," said the prime minister, who has struggled to regain public support following a series of scandals. "The only way to respond to your wishes is to enact legislation, and I'll do my utmost to achieve that goal."

The plaintiffs say they contracted hepatitis C, mainly in the 1980s, from defective blood-clotting agents that the government and the pharmaceutical companies kept using despite knowledge of their potential contamination.

Hepatitis C is a chronic, blood-borne virus that can cause liver ailments, including cancer, cirrhosis and liver failure. It is treatable, but those who have the disease are often unaware of their infection.

Bulb

Clue to migraine headache cause

Scientists may be a step closer to uncovering the cause of certain types of debilitating migraine headaches.

A French team observed activation in the hypothalamus region of the brain as sufferers had a migraine attack.

The hypothalamus has long been suspected as it regulates physiological responses to factors known to trigger headaches, such as hunger.

It is hoped the discovery, featured in the journal Headache, could lead to new treatments.

Magnify

E. coli Thrives in Beach Sands

The perils of a day at the beach aren't always as easy to see as riptides, broken shells and jellyfish - the sand at the shore may harbor E. coli and other potentially dangerous disease-causing bacteria, a recent study showed.

E. coli is one of the main species of bacteria that live in the lower intestines of mammals, including humans - one person excretes billions of them in a day. Pathogenic strains of E. coli can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Government testers look for E. coli as an indicator of fecal contamination at freshwater beaches all over the country, because the other microbes present are more difficult to detect (another bacteria is used to test for fecal matter at ocean beaches because E. coli does not survive well in salt water).

Alarm Clock

Child Care in First Two Years Greatly Affects IQ

How well children are cared for in their first two years directly affects brain development and IQ later in life, a new study finds.

Researchers studied abandoned young children in Romanian orphanages over time and found that those placed in foster care at younger ages had significantly higher IQ's than those placed in foster care after the age of 2.

"Our findings suggest that there may be a sensitive period in the first two years of life in which experiences are especially important in shaping cognitive development," said principal investigator Charles Zeanah, professor and chief of child psychiatry at Tulane University School of Medicine. "This work adds to a growing body of scientific evidence about the importance of early relationship experiences."

The research, done in collaboration with scientists at Harvard University, the University of Maryland and Temple University, is detailed in the Dec. 21 issue of the journal Science.

Health

Bird flu outbreak in south Russia spreads

A fifth case of bird flu has been confirmed at a farm in the Rostov Region, south Russia, close to the site of previous outbreaks, the regional emergencies ministry said.

"The outbreak at two smallholdings was registered on Saturday, samples were taken and sent for analysis, they came back positive for bird flu," the ministry said.

All 79 birds on the smallholding have been culled. A quarantine zone has been introduced in the Tselinsky district near the site of the first case of the deadly virus.

Document

Nigeria court issues arrest warrant for Pfizer staff

A Nigerian state court Monday issued an arrest warrant for three Pfizer Inc. group staffers who allegedly defied a summons and failed to appear in court for hearings of a case against the US drugs company for an alleged illegal clinical trial.

Presiding judge Shehu Atiku said the three accused resident in Nigeria had been served summonses to appear before the court on November 6.

"But up till this moment none of them has appeared before this court either out of neglect, disrespect or contempt," the judge said before issuing the warrant.

Red Flag

Nigeria Takes On Pfizer over 'Killer Drug'

The Nigerian government is taking on Pfizer, the world's biggest pharmaceutical company. It accuses the company of using a meningitis epidemic to test an unapproved drug on Nigerian children. Eleven children who participated in the tests died and others were left with disabilities.

©Der Spiegel
Anas Mohammed who was one of the children tested with Pfizer's meningitis epidemic experimental drug. He is now suffering brain damage.

People

Tea drinking may not curb ovarian cancer risk



©REUTERS/David Gray
A man prepares to drink a cup of tea from a traditional Chinese cup in Chengdu September 10, 2007.

Tea drinking, in general, does not appear to decrease the risk for ovarian cancer, according to combined data from nine studies.

Coffee

Coffee, tea linked to lower risk of kidney cancer



©REUTERS/Osman Orsal
A waiter carries two cups of Turkish coffee at a coffee shop in Istanbul October 19, 2007.

Coffee and tea lovers may have a slightly reduced risk of developing kidney cancer, research hints.