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Evil Rays

Health fear over new airport scanners

New X-Ray scanners at British airports could be exposing passengers to potentially dangerous levels of radiation, according to one senior radiologist.

The machines are designed to "strip search" passengers by using low-level X-Rays, which produce an image of their bodies, revealing whether they are secretly carrying weapons, explosives or illegal drugs.

But the scanners may not be safe for certain people, particularly children and women in the early stages of pregnancy, according to Dr Sarah Burnett, who works as an independent radiologist in London.

Bomb

Finger length predicts SAT scores

"A quick look at the lengths of children's index and ring fingers can be used to predict how well students will perform on SATs, new research claims."


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Scientists find war vets' hand dexterity determines susceptibility to PTSD, and how it effects their role as a Human Killing Machines.

A recent study conducted by investigators with the Geisinger Center for Health Research shows a clear link between combat veterans' use of both hands for common tasks and the likelihood that they will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Combat veterans with an extreme level of mixed handedness are nearly twice as likely to develop (PTSD) after combat compared to veterans who use both hands less often, according to the study, which is being published in the May issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

The study also found that veterans with extreme mixed handedness and high combat exposure were nearly five times more likely to have PTSD than those with lower degrees of mixed handedness.

Joseph Boscarino, PhD, MPH and Stuart Hoffman, DO of the Geisinger Center for Health Research measured PTSD and handedness among a national sample of 2,490 Vietnam veterans exposed to combat.

Health

Police in southern Russia hunt anthrax-infected meat

Local police and agriculture inspectors in southern Russia are searching for itinerant gypsies who may have contracted anthrax when they bought contaminated meat from a local farm, authorities said Tuesday.

Investigators, who followed medical workers cleaning the farm of Apatovo in Stavropol Territory of an anthrax case that killed a local resident May 12, learned that the man who had killed an infected ox six days earlier sold part of its meat to gypsies.

"Any anthrax case is an emergency," Alexei Alexeienko of Rosselkhoznadzor, the inspectorate overseeing compliance with standards and official requirements in the agricultural sector, said.

Health

WHO bans vaccine, sends experts to probe child deaths in Vietnam

The World Health Organization has suspended the use of a Hepatitis B vaccine worldwide after three newborns died and another became seriously ill in Vietnam after getting shots in the last few weeks.

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Medical journal criticizes WHO for neglecting evidence when issuing health advice

When developing "evidence-based" guidelines, the World Health Organization routinely forgets one key ingredient: evidence. That is the verdict from a study published in The Lancet online Tuesday.

The medical journal's criticism of WHO could shock many in the global health community, as one of WHO's main jobs is to produce guidelines on everything from fighting the spread of bird flu and malaria control to enacting anti-tobacco legislation.

Bulb

Men's Minds Decline More with Age

Everyone becomes a little more forgetful as they get older, but men's minds decline more than women's, according to the results of a worldwide survey.

Certain differences seem to be inherent in male and female brains: Men are better at maintaining and manipulating mental images (useful in mathematical reasoning and spatial skills), while women tend to excel at retrieving information from their brain's files (helpful with language skills and remembering the locations of objects).

Health

Marijuana Compound May Fight Lung Cancer

While smoking marijuana is never good for the lungs, the active ingredient in pot may help fight lung cancer, new research shows.

Harvard University researchers have found that, in both laboratory and mouse studies, delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cuts tumor growth in half in common lung cancer while impeding the cancer's ability to spread.

Magic Wand

Passengers, not just mobile phones, contribute to road accidents. So being anti-social loner is the safest way to drive.

The new study, by The George Institute for International Health, was designed to determine the risk of a crash associated with passenger carriage compared with that of using a mobile phone while driving. Both the carrying of passengers, and having a larger number of passengers in the car, are associated with an increased likelihood of a crash, though not to the same extent as mobile phone use. Earlier studies at The George Institute found that a driver's use of a mobile phone was associated with a four-fold increase in the likelihood of crashing.

The study's lead investigator, Dr Suzanne McEvoy, says that "carrying passengers in the car has a number of potentially distracting effects that also occur with mobile phone use while driving. Moreover, carrying passengers may have additional effects on the driver, including peer influence."

"Drivers with passengers were almost 60% more likely to have a motor vehicle crash resulting in hospital attendance, irrespective of their age group. The likelihood of a crash was more than doubled in the presence of two or more passengers," noted Dr McEvoy.

Evil Rays

Epidemiologic evidence relevant to radar (microwave) effects

Abstract from Environ Health Perspect. 1997 December; 105(Suppl 6): 1579 - 1587.

Public and occupational exposures to microwave (RF) are of two main types. The first type of exposures are those connected with military and industrial uses and, to some extent broadcast exposures. It is this type that most of the data cited in this study draw upon. The second type, cellular telephones and their associated broadcast requirements, have raised concerns about current exposures because of their increasingly widespread use. Four types of effects were originally reported in multiple studies: increased spontaneous abortion, shifts in red and white blood cell counts, increased somatic mutation rates in lymphocytes, and increased childhood, testicular, and other cancers. In addition, there is evidence of generalized increased disability rates from a variety of causes in one study and symptoms of sensitivity reactions and lenticular opacity in at least one other. These findings suggest that RF exposures are potentially carcinogenic and have other health effects. Therefore, prudent avoidance of unneeded exposures is recommended as a precautionary measure. Epidemiologic studies of occupational groups such as military users and air traffic controllers should have high priority because their exposures can be reasonably well characterized and the effects reported are suitable for epidemiologic monitoring. Additional community studies are needed.

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