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Archive for Sunday, February 15, 2004

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February 15, 2004

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Seattle

Studies: Alcohol, drugs kill brain cells in fetuses

Just two cocktails consumed by a pregnant woman may be enough to kill some of the developing brain cells in the unborn child, leading to neurological problems that can haunt a person for a lifetime, new studies suggest.

Dr. John W. Olney, a brain researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, said his studies showed that alcohol could cause nerve cells in the developing brain to die.

And, based on animal studies, it doesn't take much alcohol to have this effect, Olney reported Friday.

Two cocktails, in most women, is enough to elevate alcohol levels in the blood to 0.07 percent, he said. The animal studies show that in unborn mice this concentration is enough to kill developing brain cells.

Texas

Five in family killed when car hits van

A car turned suddenly into oncoming traffic on a wet state highway and smashed head-on into a minivan, killing five members of a family, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Saturday.

It was unclear why the Geo Metro veered into the northbound lanes of State Highway 34 on Friday near Terrell.

The victims in the car were identified as Martha Silkey, 33; her husband, Alfred Alonzo Silkey, 33; and their three children, ages 9, 10 and 11.

Two people in the minivan were injured. One was treated and released from a hospital, the other was in stable condition with ankle and foot injuries and a broken pelvis.

Texas

Mexico cruise returns with 300 ill passengers

A Carnival Cruise Lines ship returned Saturday to Galveston from a five-day cruise to Mexico with more than 300 people sick with a gastrointestinal illness.

Carnival officials said preliminary tests showed the outbreak might have been caused by a norovirus. The virus is spread through contaminated food, contact with infected people or poor hygiene. It can be prevented by regular hand-washing.

North Carolina

Minivan collides with RV on highway; seven dead

The driver of a minivan collided with a motor home Saturday, killing seven people in the van, including four children, a state trooper said.

Three other children in the minivan were critically injured, said Trooper Sgt. B.T. Burr.

Two infants were among those killed.

The accident happened about 9:15 a.m. on U.S. Highway 220 just north of Ellerbe.

A motor home was headed north while the Ford Aerostar van was headed south when it started drifting onto the right shoulder. The van then swerved back onto the road, crossed the center line and was hit in the side by the motor home.

Illinois

Judge reverses decision to strip steer of title

Mongo the steer may now be Mongo the steak, but it isn't too late to give the dethroned state fair champion his title back, a judge has ruled.

Officials ruled at last year's Illinois State Fair that Mongo's owners had given him banned medicine to treat a sore hoof. They stripped him of his ribbon and gave the title -- and the thousands of dollars it generates -- to the runner-up.

Mongo's owner, 14-year-old Whitney Gray, sued officials -- accusing the state Agriculture Department of failing to follow its own procedures for publishing the rules for fair exhibitors.

The judge awarded Gray attorneys' fees and costs.

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