Egyptian seeds most likely source of deadly E. coli

LONDON (Reuters) - A single shipment of fenugreek seeds from Egypt is the most likely source of a highly toxic E. coli epidemic in Germany which has killed 49 people and of a smaller outbreak in France, European investigators said on Tuesday. The European Food Safety Authority urged the European Commission to make "all efforts" to prevent any further consumer exposure to suspect seeds and advised consumers not to eat sprouts or sprouted seeds unless they are thoroughly cooked.

Mental problems of soldiers' kids tied to wars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The longer U.S. soldiers were deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, the more likely their children would be diagnosed with mental health problems, according to a study published Monday. The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, analyzed medical records of 307,520 children of active-duty Army personnel, aged 5 to 17 years old. It found almost 17 percent of them exhibited mental health problems.

Too many women get HPV tests: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Doctors are testing women for human papillomavirus, or HPV, more often than guidelines recommend, suggests a new study. Not only is that a waste of money, researchers say, it also means that women who test positive may be getting extra treatment that won't necessarily help them, but comes with a risk of complications and side effects.

Who wants to live forever? Scientist sees aging cured

LONDON (Reuters) - If Aubrey de Grey's predictions are right, the first person who will live to see their 150th birthday has already been born. And the first person to live for 1,000 years could be less than 20 years younger. A biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, de Grey reckons that within his own lifetime doctors could have all the tools they need to "cure" aging -- banishing diseases that come with it and extending life indefinitely.

Environment, not just genetics, at play in autism

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Environmental factors may play a greater role in autism than previously thought, tipping the scale away from a strict focus on genetics, two studies released on Monday suggest. In one, a team at Stanford University compared cases of autism in identical and fraternal twins and found that fraternal twins -- who share only half of the same genes -- have unusually high rates of autism, suggesting that factors other than genetics may be triggering the disease.

Burning coal indoors linked to birth defects

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Parents who inhale coal smoke at home may put their babies at increased risk of birth defects, Chinese researchers say. Zhiwen Li and colleagues at the Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing found that the odds of having malformations of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects are 60 percent higher for children whose mothers inhaled coal smoke than for the children of unexposed mothers.

Pfizer's quit smoking drug raises heart risks: study

LONDON (Reuters) - Healthy, middle-aged smokers who take Pfizer's Chantix or Champix, one of the most popular quit-smoking drugs, have a higher risk of suffering heart attacks or other serious heart problems, a study found on Monday. British and American scientists analyzed 14 clinical trials of Champix, sold as Chantix in the United States and known generically as varenicline, and found the likelihood of developing serious heart problems resulting in hospitalization, disability or death was 72 percent higher in patients taking the drug compared with those taking a placebo.

UK government asked to pay more for elderly care

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's cash-strapped government should spend more on caring for the elderly, according to proposals on Monday that would for the first time limit the amount anyone has to pay for help in old age. The cost to the individual should be capped at around 35,000 pounds ($56,000), the government-commissioned report said, with the state picking up the bill thereafter. The proposals would cost taxpayers up to 2.2 billion pounds annually.

Moms' diet not tied to kids' heart health: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study from West Africa suggests that supplementing pregnant women's diets with extra calories and protein doesn't protect their kids against risk factors for heart disease once they're teenagers. But researchers unconnected to the new work suggest that it might take more time for those extra prenatal calories to show up in the form of lower cholesterol and blood pressure among adult children.

Evidence "increasingly against" phone cancer risk

LONDON (Reuters) - Despite a recent move to classify mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic, the scientific evidence increasingly points away from a link between their use and brain tumors, according to a new study. A major review of previously published research by a committee of experts from Britain, the United States and Sweden concluded there was no convincing evidence of any cancer connection.

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