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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Health and Fitness

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OSCE helps Albania dispose of toxic chemicals

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 11:37:39 UT

OSCE Ambassador Bernd Borchardt urged other Western Balkan countries to follow Albania's model of demilitarization and "make best use of (its) existing infrastructure and experienced workforce."



Stopgap spending bill to be unveiled as Congress finishes up

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 08:40:03 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is quickening its pace toward adjourning late this week, marching toward a final vote on legislation boosting medical research and speeding drug approvals and readying a separate stopgap spending bill to prevent the government from shutting down this weekend. Current spending expires at midnight on Friday. Since the measure is the only absolute must-do bill before Congress adjourns, it's likely to carry several add-ons, including flood relief, money for overseas military operations, and help for Flint, Mich., to fix its lead-tainted water system.



UN says dairy a potential ally in Asia nutrition challenges

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 03:56:03 UT

Milk and other dairy products have become an unexpected ally in the fight against Asia's newest dietary challenges: obesity, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies, according to a report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released Tuesday. On top of still-persistent undernourishment in South Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh, only seven out of 19 developing Asian countries are now on track to reach the UN FAO's bold goal of "zero hunger". The main beneficiaries have been small farmers, who produce nearly 80 percent of the milk in Asia, because of low costs and a more equal distribution of cows and goats — in contrast to farmland, which can be dominated by big landowners. More dairy cattle also means more manure, a potential threat to water supplies — meaning good policy is needed in the decades ahead, says FAO officials.



Bill speeding federal drug approvals clears Senate hurdle

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 03:37:51 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan bill to speed government drug approvals and bolster biomedical research cleared its last procedural hurdle in the Senate on Monday in an emotional moment for outgoing Vice President Joe Biden. The Senate agreed, and lawmakers of both parties applauded and lined up to share quiet words and pats on the shoulder with the vice president, who sat teary-eyed in the presiding officer's chair of the chamber where he served as senator for 36 years. Some Democrats complained that the measure would make it easier for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries — strong supporters of the legislation —win federal approval for their products while raising risks to consumers. There was also anger that while the bill would require subsequent legislation by Congress to actually provide the money, it would lock in savings including cuts in a public health program created by Obama's health care law. Current spending expires at midnight Friday. Since the measure is the only must-do bill before Congress adjourns, it's likely to carry several add-ons.



Many smartphone health apps don't flag danger, says review

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 23:08:52 UT

The study published Monday in the journal Health Affairs found problems even with apps considered to be among the highest-quality offerings on the market. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, there are more than 165,000 health apps out there. "The state of health apps is even worse than we thought," said Dr. James Madara, chief executive of the American Medical Association, who was not involved in the study. The research team reviewed 137 apps designed for patients with serious ongoing health problems, including asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Perhaps most concerning was what happened when doctor reviewers entered information that should have drawn warnings from the app — like selecting "yes" when the app asked if the user was feeling suicidal, or entering extremely abnormal levels for blood sugar levels.



Ex-firefighter gets prison for holding colleagues hostage

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 22:06:28 UT

(AP) — A former firefighter who held four colleagues hostage at gunpoint after he was terminated from the suburban Philadelphia department where they all volunteered has been sentenced to at least a decade in prison. Jordan was angry because he was expelled after a prospective member accused him of sexual harassment.



Correction: Medical Marijuana-New York story

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 21:51:08 UT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In a story Dec. 4 about New York state's medical marijuana program, The Associated Press reported erroneously on where Columbia Care NY operates dispensaries, in addition to one in Manhattan. New York is loosening some restrictions in its nearly year-old medical marijuana law but there is no sign the state is in any hurry to embrace full legalization ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York is loosening restrictions in its nearly year-old medical marijuana law but, to the dismay of some pot advocates, there is no sign the state is in any hurry to join eight other states in embracing full legalization. New York's medical marijuana law still has some of the strictest rules among the more than 20 states that allow medical pot. The state is considering authorizing home deliveries and this past week announced plans to add chronic pain to a list of 10 qualifying conditions that also include cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. "The time to have a conversation about ending the prohibition on marijuana in New York is now," said Kassandra Frederique, New York state director at the Drug Policy Alliance. State Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat who helped write New York's law, said she wonders what approach the Trump administration will take to state marijuana laws that violate federal drug laws.