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US-HEALTH Summary

Jul 6, 2011, 11:02 p.m.

South Korea back in stem cell spotlight with new treatment

SEONGNAM, South Korea (Reuters) - More than five years after South Korea's scientific reputation was shattered by a cloning research scandal, the country has approved stem cell medication in the form of a treatment for heart attack victims for the world's first clinical use. South Korea all but put stem cell research into the deep freeze after a pre-eminent scientist, Hwang Woo-suk, was found guilty of fraud for his work in the field in 2005.

Sunburn offers clues for pain drug development

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have found a molecule in the body which controls sensitivity to pain from UVB irradiation, or sunburn, and say it may help them develop new drugs to treat pain in other common conditions such as arthritis. The CXCL5 molecule is part of a family of proteins called chemokines which recruit inflammatory immune cells to injured tissue, triggering pain and tenderness, the researchers said in a study in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Breastfeeding may not stop MS flare-ups: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Some studies have suggested that breastfeeding might offer women with multiple sclerosis a way to prevent symptom flare-ups after childbirth. But new findings refute that idea, researchers reported Wednesday. In a study of nearly 300 pregnant women with MS, Italian researchers found no evidence that breastfeeding lowered a woman's odds of having worsening symptoms in the months after giving birth.

Review raises questions over benefits of cutting salt

LONDON (Reuters) - In an analysis that set off a fierce debate over the health effects of salt, researchers said on Wednesday they had found no evidence that small cuts to salt intake reduce the risk of developing heart disease or dying prematurely. In a systematic review published by The Cochrane Library, British scientists found that while cutting salt consumption did appear to lead to slight reductions in blood pressure, that was not translated into lower death or heart disease risk.

Fewer mammograms needed for low-risk women: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Less-frequent mammograms for women at low risk for breast cancer can be a cost-effective way of saving lives, according to a new study that challenges current screening guidelines for the disease. Researchers found that women with no family history of the cancer, no previous biopsy from a cancer scare, and breasts that are not very dense might get a similar benefit from having a mammogram every three to four years, instead of every two as advised by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an expert panel with federal support.

Green tea lowers cholesterol, but only a little

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Drinking green tea seems to cut "bad" cholesterol, according to a fresh look at the medical evidence. The finding may help explain why green tea has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, the leading killer worldwide, Xin-Xin Zheng and colleagues from Peking Union Medical College in Beijing report.

Rural hospitals fall short in heart, pneumonia care