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Painkiller overdose ‘epidemic’ strikes U.S.

WASHINGTON — The United States is facing an epidemic of lethal overdoses from prescription painkillers, which have tripled in the past decade and now account for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. The quantity of painkillers on the market is so high that it would be enough for every…

Math grades improving for U.S. pupils, report finds

WASHINGTON — US youngsters are scoring better in mathematics, but progress in reading skills is mixed, a national yardstick of student achievement released Tuesday showed. In the fourth and eighth grades, the average math score in 2010 was one point higher than in the previous year, said the National Assessment…

UK company: Sing Beatles songs in shower ‘to save planet’

A British water company has urged customers to sing in the shower and recommends Beatles songs as they are short and so can help save water and cut energy bills. Thames Water says singing as you lather makes you feel better and provided the right songs are sung you use less water. It wants…

Robot uses gecko power to climb walls

Inspired by the gecko, scientists have developed a tank-like robot that can scale vertical walls and crawl over ledges without using suction cups, glue or other liquid bonds to adhere to the surface. The 240-gramme (6.9-ounce) beast has tracks that are covered with dry microfibres modelled on the toe hairs…

Scientists make human blood protein from rice

WASHINGTON — Scientists at a Chinese university said Monday they can use rice to make albumin, a protein found in human blood that is often used for treating burns, traumatic shock and liver disease. When extracted from rice seeds, the protein is “physically and chemically equivalent to blood-derived human serum…

Yoga aids chronic back pain: study

WASHINGTON — People who took yoga classes for chronic lower back pain experienced more lifestyle improvements and better overall health than those who sought a doctor’s advice, said a study published Monday. The research in the US journal the Annals of Internal Medicine was led by scientists at the University…

Group calls for HIV screening of teens who have sex

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – All sexually active adolescents should be screened for HIV, the American Academy of Pediatricssaid Monday in a new policy statement that broadens earlier recommendations. And in areas with higher rates of the infection, all teens over 16 should get the test, the group added in its statement. More than…

Russia launches first ISS supply ship after mishap

MOSCOW — Russia on Sunday launched its first supply ship destined for the International Space Station since the embarrassing loss of a similar vessel in August raised questions about its space programme. The unmanned Progress spacecraft took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1011 GMT on a Soyuz-U…

More and more twins delivered by C-section

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The proportion of twins who are delivered by cesarean section in the U.S. has shot up “dramatically” since the mid-1990s, according to a new study. While sometimes the babies’ position or other delivery complications make a C-section necessary, California researchers reported that the largest relative…

Air pollution tied to lung cancer in non-smokers

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People who have never smoked, but who live in areas with higher air pollution levels, are roughly 20 percent more likely to die from lung cancer than people who live with cleaner air, researchers conclude in a new study. “It’s another argument for why the…

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