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Sunday, Apr 20th

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Judge overturns strict N.D. anti-abortion law

ND abortion law overturnedA federal judge Wednesday overturned as unconstitutional a North Dakota law banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ruled that the law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected "cannot withstand a constitutional challenge."

Supporters of the measure have cast it as a challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks. Abortion rights advocates call the heartbeat law the most restrictive in the country.

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Researchers speak to new study exposing link between SSRIs and autism

SSRIResearchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are calling attention to a new study linking anti-depressants with autism.

Published online earlier this week in the journal Pediatrics, the study was joint effort between researchers at Bloomberg and at the University of California at Davis' MIND Institute.

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Tamiflu: Millions wasted on flu drug, claims major UK report

TamifluHundreds of millions of pounds may have been wasted on a drug for flu that works no better than paracetamol, a landmark analysis has said.

The UK has spent £473m on Tamiflu, which is stockpiled by governments globally to prepare for flu pandemics.

The Cochrane Collaboration claimed the drug did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications, and only slightly helped symptoms. The manufacturers Roche and other experts say the analysis is flawed

The antiviral drug Tamiflu was stockpiled from 2006 in the UK when some agencies were predicting that a pandemic of bird flu could kill up to 750,000 people in Britain. Similar decisions were made in other countries.
Hidden data

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Study: E-cigarettes affect cells similarly to regular tobacco

e-cigsA new study shows that the vapor from e-cigarettes damages human cells similarly to smoke from traditional cigarettes.

The researchers present the study, published in the journal of Clinical Cancer Research, at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting on April 6 in San Diego. The scientists described how they took human bronchial cells and grew some in an environment with e-cigarette vapor and some in an environment with cigarette smoke.

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Some doctors make millions off of Medicare

MedicareSome doctors are making millions of dollars off of Medicare, with a handful collecting multi-million payments annually.

One ophthalmologist from West Palm Beach, Fla., collected nearly $21 million, while a cardiologist from Ocala, Fla., received $18 million in 2012. Seven doctors pulled in more than $10 million in payments, while nearly 4,000 are Medicare millionaires.

The doctors' payments were part of an unprecedented data release, which covers 880,000 physicians, therapists, labs and other medical facilities. Medicare paid providers a total of $77 billion in 2012 to care for more than 50 million of the nation's elderly and disabled, according to federal statistics released Wednesday. These figures do not include what doctors collect from patients in co-pays or from private insurers for non-Medicare patients.

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Stimulation restores some function for 4 paralyzed men

hope for paralyzed patientsParalysis may not last forever anymore. In an experiment hailed as "staggering," a team of researchers at the University of Louisville and the University of California-Los Angeles restored some voluntary movement to four men who were told they would never move their legs again.

The finding, published online today by the journal Brain, upends understanding of the spinal cord and is likely to transform the lives of more than 1.2 million Americans who lack control over their lower limbs.

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Heroin addicts face barriers to treatment

Heroine addictsAs the ranks of heroin users rise, increasing numbers of addicts are looking for help but are failing to find it — because there are no beds in packed facilities, treatment is hugely expensive and insurance companies won't pay for inpatient rehab.

Some users overcome their addictions in spite of the obstacles. But many, like Salvatore Marchese, struggle and fail.

In the course of Marchese's five-year battle with heroin, the Blackwood, N.J., man was repeatedly denied admission to treatment facilities, often because his insurance company wouldn't cover the cost. Then one night in June 2010, a strung-out Marchese went to the emergency room seeking help. The doctors shook their heads: Heroin withdrawal is not life-threatening, they said, and we can't admit you. They gave him an IV flush, and sent him home.

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