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Friday, Aug 28th

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FDA moves to ban trans fat from U.S. food supply

TransfatsThe Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday finalized a plan to rid the nation’s food supply of artery-clogging trans fats, a move the agency estimates could reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of heart attack deaths a year.

Companies will have three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils from their products.

“Today’s action is an important step forward for public health, and it’s an action that FDA is taking based upon the strength of the science that we have,” said Susan Mayne, director of the agency’s center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

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Oregon women to get a year's supply of birth control at once

birth control pillsIt's like a ritual for women across the nation: frequent treks to the pharmacist to refill birth control prescriptions.

It's a hassle for busy students, a headache for rural women with long drives and a cause for panic for travelers on the road when their packs run out.

Soon, however, women in Oregon will be able to avoid such problems. The state has enacted a first-of-its-kind insurance law that will allow them to obtain a year's worth of birth control at a time, instead of the 30- or 90- day supply available now.

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Whistleblower: Indiana health system endangered babies for profit

Indiana hospital discriminationAt 2 years old, Denise Koger can mutter sounds and gurgle noises, but she can't speak or stand on her own. The toddler – with a few dozen mini blond braids woven around her head – gets around in a wheelchair or stroller and receives food through a tube.

During birth, she ingested fecal matter and was deprived of oxygen, according to her mother, Nancy Koger. The 31-year-old blames her daughter’s disability on the hospital where she gave birth.

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FDA Considers New Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

Monoclonal antibodiesAdvisers to the Food and Drug Administration will meet this week to consider approval of a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that could help hundreds of thousands of people who cannot take statins.

They're injectable, so they wouldn't be as easy to take as a pill. And they are in a class of biotech drugs called monoclonal antibodies, so they are likely to be very pricey - perhaps $10,000 a year. But studies show they can lower bad cholesterol to extremely low levels, without the side-effects suffered by some people who take statins. Heart experts are very excited about them.

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Scientists discover how breast cancer travels in the body

Discovery: how breast cancer moves in bodyA new discovery about how breast cancer cells move to other parts of the body may help reduce deaths from the disease.

Immune cells called macrophages help breast cancer cells move to the lungs to set up secondary tumors, researchers have found.

The majority of deaths from breast cancer are caused by tumors spreading to other parts of the body, with the lung often being one of the first organs affected, making the discovery potentially significant for reducing deaths.

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Big Pharma seeks special trade deal

Big Pharma seeks trade billA revolutionary class of drugs with the potential to treat intractable diseases like cancer and other killers — as well as to explode health spending globally — is at the center of the toughest negotiations of the biggest trade deal in history.

The pharmaceutical industry has been pressing the Obama administration to insist that the Trans-Pacific Partnership include 12 years of monopoly pricing power for the makers of these complex and costly drugs. But critics and international relief organizations warn that the deal would lock in higher costs and mean that far fewer people in developing countries would be able to afford life-saving medication.

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Hollywood and the downwinders still grapple with nuclear fallout

John WayneThe photograph shows John Wayne with his two sons during a break in filming on the set of The Conqueror, a big budget blockbuster about Genghis Khan shot in the Utah desert in 1954. It was one of Hollywood’s most famous mis-castings. The duke could do many things but playing a 13th century Mongol warlord was not one of them. Film geeks consider it one of the great turkeys of Hollywood’s golden age.

There is another, darker reason it endures in film lore. The photograph hints at it. Wayne clutches a black metal box while another man appears to adjust the controls. Wayne’s two teenage sons, Patrick and Michael, gaze at it, clearly intrigued, perhaps a bit anxious. The actor himself appears relaxed, leaning on Patrick, his hat at a jaunty angle. The box, which rests on a patch of scrub, looks unremarkable. It is in fact a Geiger counter.

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