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Public health officials warn effort to eradicate polio at risk

The quest for polio eradication is faltering, with millions of children still unvaccinated and insufficient funds available to finish the job, the official monitoring group says in a new report. Global politics is having a severe impact on vaccination programmes in some parts of the world, according to health officials,…

U.S. kids taking less antibiotics and more ADHD meds

 More drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and fewer antibiotics are being prescribed to US children and teenagers compared to a decade ago, said a US study on Monday. Also, contraceptive prescriptions soared 93 percent from 2002 to 2010, though the reasons for the rise remain unclear, said the research…

Palaeontologists find 47 million year-old turtles caught in final ‘embrace’

German palaeontologists have dug up the remains of nine turtle pairs that died while mating some 47 million years ago, sinking into poisonous waters while locked in a final embrace, a report said Wednesday. The find represents the first-ever fossil record of copulating vertebrates (animals with a backbone), said a…

Study: Chemicals in baby soaps can trigger marijuana-positive drug tests

A study (PDF) featured in the June 2012 print edition of the medical journal Clinical Biochemistry claims that tiny traces of certain baby soaps and shampoos can trigger drug test results showing the presence of marijuana, which can in some cases cause state authorities to remove a child from parental…

Studies suggest that microbes can control our minds

An increasing amount of evidence is coming to light suggesting that human moods, emotions and perceptions can be influenced by the type and number of microscopic life forms inhabiting our gut, according to an article in Scientific American magazine. Scientists say a time may even come when we treat mental…

Night shifts may increase breast cancer risk by 30 percent

Night work may increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer by 30 percent — a slightly elevated but “statistically significant” risk, French researchers said Tuesday. This placed night work in the same order of risk as factors like genetic mutation, a late first pregnancy or hormonal treatment, Pascal Guenel,…

Study: World faces food crisis if American weight-gain trends spread

If the human race keeps growing fatter at American rates, the Earth may face a rise in food demand equal to that of nearly a billion extra people, British researchers warned on Monday. Expanding waistlines in the rich world pose a grave threat to our planet’s finite resources, said the…

Study finds medical marijuana has no impact on teen drug abuse

A working paper published Monday (PDF) claims that, despite the insistence of numerous U.S. officials, legalizing medical marijuana had no distinguishable effect on teen drug abuse rates in the surrounding communities. Drawing upon data from 13 states from 1993 – 2009, professors from Montana State University, the University of Oregon and…

Scientists use touch-screen computers to catch bears ‘counting’

It appears that U.S. political pundit Stephen Colbert was right to be worried about the rising threat posed by your run-of-the-mill bears: As it turns out, they’re much smarter than previously thought. A study published earlier this month in the scientific journal Animal Behaviour revealed, for the first time ever,…

62 years later, passing the ‘Turing test’ remains elusive

It is 100 years this week since the birth of the revered wartime codebreaker Alan Turing, and 67 years since he was awarded an OBE for leading the team, in Bletchley Park’s Hut 8, that cracked the German navy’s Enigma code. It has also now been 60 years since he…

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