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US approves first heart pump for children

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a first mechanical cardiac assist device for children that can help keep patients alive as they await a transplant. The EXCOR Pediatric System, made by German company Berlin Heart, can be sized to fit young people from newborns to teenagers. “This is…

South Carolina has first human rabies case in 50 years

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) – A middle-aged woman in South Carolina has contracted the state’s first case of human rabies in more than 50 years, health officials said on Friday. “There are only about one to three cases of human rabies each year in this country,” said Dr. Eric Brenner,…

Study: Cocaine, marijuana can be detected in atmosphere

A study released this week by the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research claims that marijuana and cocaine, much like cigarettes, have second-hand effects that can be detected in the atmosphere around communities where usage is high. Researchers also found that the amount of the drug detected in the atmosphere was…

Many surgeons don’t discuss end-of-life care: study

(Reuters) – Many U.S. surgeons fail to discuss their patients’ wishes in case a risky operation goes awry, and even more would not operate if patients limited what could be done to keep them alive, a survey found. Such medical wishes and plans for end-of-life care, called “advance directives,” outline…

New limits on chimpanzee research in the U.S.

The leading US medical research agency has said it would review all government-funded experiments on chimpanzees after an independent panel of experts urged strict limits on their use in biomedical research. The head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Francis Collins, said he agreed with the findings of the…

Marriage equality has health benefits for gay men: study

Same sex marriage legalization reduces doctor visits and health care costs for gay men, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Laws prohibiting same sex marriage deprive gay couples of many benefits and privileges that heterosexual married couples have under federal and state laws.…

NASA at work on ‘spearfishing’ for comets

WASHINGTON — The US space agency is developing a high-tech harpoon that could one day pierce a comet and grab samples for scientists on Earth to study for hints about how the universe formed. The idea borrows on a concept developed by the European Space Agency but adds a sample…

US, Australia, NZ ‘disappointed’ on Japan whale hunt

The United States, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands said they were “disappointed” over the start of Japan’s annual whale hunt off Antarctica and warned against violent clashes. Japanese ships operating in the icy waters of the Southern Oceanhave in recent years faced interference from the US-based militant environmentalist group Sea Shepherd, with repeated…

Microsoft co-founder unveils space travel plans

A giant airplane that can in mid-flight launch a rocket carrying cargo and humans into orbit is the future of space travel, billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said. The first test flight of the ambitious venture by Allen’s new company Stratolaunch Systems is not scheduled until 2015, but partners in the project vowed…

Nuclear industry seeks end to regulatory spat

(Reuters) – The nuclear industry asked the White House and Congress on Monday to resolve a nasty power struggle at theNuclear Regulatory Commission, an internal fight that will be scrutinized at two Congressional hearings this week. The Nuclear Energy Institute, the main lobby group for the utilities and power companies that run the…

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