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Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2000

Health Briefs

July 22, 2000

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No prescription necessary?

Envision powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs sitting between the cough syrup and dental floss on store shelves no doctor's prescription required. Just toss a box of Mevacor or Pravachol into the shopping cart and you're off. Is that a safe way to ward off a heart attack? And if the government lets those cholesterol medicines start selling without a prescription, what's next? That's what the Food and Drug Administration has begun debating as it considers major changes in how it regulates over-the-counter drugs. The fate of Mevacor and Pravachol could signal whether a new wave of non-prescription drugs is headed for a store near you.

Easier to comb for criminals

Hairy crooks, beware. German police authorities have announced a breakthrough in DNA testing that will make it easier to identify criminals through hair samples. Until now, scientists could identify only about 5 percent of hair found at crime scenes, because they couldn't pinpoint the origin of samples that did not contain cell material from the hair root. That meant having to rely on hair that had been pulled out. The new technique allows police to examine hair that has simply fallen out. And human beings shed a dead hair every 15 minutes.

Sense of well-being ages well

Hair and other things may deteriorate with age, but emotional well-being isn't necessarily one of them. In fact, a new study by California State University at Fresno and the University of California at Berkeley found that overall, psychological well-being tended to improve with age. Even those who had a troubled adolescence tended to improve as they grew older.

Ovarian tissue transplanted

Canadian doctors have transplanted human ovarian tissue into the muscles of mice to grow human eggs in a technique that could one day be used to retain the fertility of cancer patients. Scientists from the Samuel Luenfield Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto told the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology that it was the first time tissue from the human ovarian cortex has been grafted and yielded eggs.

The latest exercise kick

Still doing step aerobics? You're so out of step. These days, the hottest class in gyms across the country is kickboxing. The number of kickboxers rose 65 percent to 3.8 million from 1998 to 1999, making it the fastest growing sport, American Demographics magazine reports.

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