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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Michigan women will now have to purchase ‘rape insurance’ to get an abortion

rape insuranceThe Republican-dominated Michigan state legislature pushed through a bill on Wednesday requiring women to purchase separate insurance policies if they want to have an abortion, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“I don’t think elective abortion should be a part of insurance,” state Rep. Nancy Jenkins (R) told the Free Press. “This doesn’t affect access to abortion. It will still be legal when this law takes effect. Who should be required to pay? Not Michigan taxpayers.”

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Report: Louisiana policies help fuel HIV epidemic

Louisiana policies help fuel HIVTela Love, a 36-year-old transgender woman who used to work the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter as a prostitute, has been HIV-positive for nearly 10 years. When she started exchanging sex for food and drugs, she said, local police arrested her after finding condoms in her bag. She was subsequently incarcerated at Orleans Parish Prison, where another inmate forced her to have unprotected sex with him. She later heard he was HIV-positive, she told Al Jazeera.

Love’s experiences with police harassment and sexual violence in prison partly explain why Louisiana’s death rate from AIDS is nearly double the national average and the New Orleans metropolitan area has the second-highest rate of new HIV infections in the United States, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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FDA to crack down on antibiotics in meat

fdaThe Food and Drug Administration will issue two major proposals Wednesday in an effort to cut back on antibiotics used on farms that can spur drug-resistant superbugs, making a final push to limit drugs fed to animals before they’re turned into steaks and pork chops.

The move — just the latest by the agency to tighten regulation of the American food supply — puts drug companies on notice and starts the clock on the Obama administration’s three-year strategy to rein in the use of antibiotics. It comes on the heels of a recent effort to ban trans fats and a handful of other sweeping new food safety regulations.

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An effective eye drug is available for $50. But many doctors choose a $2,000 alternative.

lucentisThe two drugs have been declared equivalently miraculous. Tested side by side in six major trials, both prevent blindness in a common old-age affliction. Biologically, they are cousins. They’re even made by the same company.

But one holds a clear price advantage.

Avastin costs about $50 per injection. Lucentis costs about $2,000 per injection.

Doctors choose the more expensive drug more than half a million times every year, a choice that costs the Medicare program, the largest single customer, an extra $1 billion or more annually.

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Immune system may play crucial role in mental health

mental healthA growing body of research on conditions from bipolar disorder to schizophrenia to depression is starting to suggest a tighter link than was previously realized between ailments of the mind and body. Activation of the immune system seems to play a crucial role in both.

"We just didn't understand how much of a role the immune system plays in how we think and feel and act," says Andrew Miller, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University. "An overactive immune system or when there's something going on in the immune system, it can have consequences on the brain."

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A handful of tree nuts a day reduces death risk by 20 percent

tree nutes mean longer lifeAlmonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts and pistachios are linked to a 20 percent lower death rate, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Dr. Ying Bao of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues analyzed nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality among 76,464 women in the Nurses' Health Study and 42,498 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

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Coca-Cola's Assault on Tap Water

coca colaWhile public health advocates have sung the praises of tap water for years, Coca-Cola has been focusing on its own covert assault on the affordable, healthful, and refreshing beverage.

Unbeknownst to many in the nutrition and public health world, the soft drink giant launched a  "Cap the Tap" program -- aimed at restaurants -- in 2010, described in the following manner on the Coke Solutions Web site:

Capture Lost Revenue By Turning Off the Tap

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