Change in UK diets 'could trigger mental health crisis'
By Maxine Frith and Sophie Goodchild
27 June 2004
Source: The Indipendent

Changes in British diets are going to lead to an explosion in mental health problems, medical experts said yesterday. They warned of a crisis even bigger than the epidemic of obesity afflicting the UK.

They said that most of the increase could probably be blamed on changes in farming and food over the past 20 years, which have led to deficiencies in essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Experts will present new evidence at an international conference into the study of the impact of fatty acids in Brighton this week.

The role of omega-3 has previously been underplayed by scientists, but evidence is emerging that it could have a big affect on mental well-being.

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Mobile phone use can reduce sperm count, study shows
By Maxine Frith
June 28, 2004
Source: The Indipendent

Regular mobile phone use can reduce a man's sperm count by up to 30 per cent, a study shows. Even carrying a handset in a belt or trouser pocket can affect male fertility, it suggests.

Experts believe radiation from mobile phones has a dramatic impact on the numbers of sperm, and their swimming ability, both of which are linked to successful conception.

The study, being presented this week at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Berlin, adds to the health concerns about mobile-phone use.

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PRESS RELEASE
FDA Knew of Crestor Dangers but Approved Drug Anyway, Public Citizen Writes in Lancet Medical Journal
June 24, 2004
Source: Citizen.org

More Cases of Muscle Deterioration, Kidney Failure Reported

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had evidence before approving the cholesterol drug Crestor that it caused an increased incidence of rhabdomyolysis (severe muscle deterioration), yet the agency approved it anyway, erroneously believing that this toxicity was limited to an 80 milligram dose that was not ultimately approved, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, writes in this week’s issue of The Lancet (June 26).

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Toxic chemical found in California milk
Study: Rocket fuel Perchlorate more widespread than thought
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:23 a.m. ET June 22, 2004
Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5268705

SAN FRANCISCO - Young children and pregnant women who drink milk from California cows may be exposed to unsafe levels of a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel, according to a new study by an environmental group.

The study released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group comes as state and federal regulators consider setting new standards to regulate perchlorate — the explosive ingredient in missile fuel that has been linked to thyroid damage.

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NHS sues drug firms 'for £100m'
23 June, 2004
Source: BBC News

The NHS is seeking at least £100m compensation from two drug companies who it alleges "fixed" the price of an ulcer drug in the late 1990s.

The NHS's Counter Fraud Service has issued proceedings in the High Court against Generics UK Ltd and Ranbaxy.

The allegations relate to the sale and supply of ranitidine between 1997 and 2000.

The CFS is currently investigating similar concerns in regard to around 30 other drugs.

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Senate Panel OKs Bill on Vaccine
The measure, already approved by the Assembly, would ban the use of mercury in inoculations given to young children.
June 24, 2004
By Myron Levin, Times Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Times

SACRAMENTO — A bill to ban mercury from early childhood vaccines by 2006 moved a step closer to becoming law Wednesday, when it was endorsed on a 10-2 vote by the state Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

The bill by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), which the Assembly approved last month, would eliminate thimerosal beyond trace levels from vaccines administered to expectant mothers and children younger than 3 years old. The compound, which is about half ethyl mercury, is used to prevent the growth of bacteria in certain vaccines.

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WHO publishes first ever Atlas of Children's Health and the Environment
23 Jun 2004
Source: Medical News Today

Around the world, polluted air and water and other environment-related hazards kill more than three milion children under the age of five every year.

While industrialization, urban population growth, climate change, the increasing use of chemicals and environmental degradation expose children to risks that were unimagined a few generations ago, it is the old and largely understood basic threats that are still today responsible for killing most children: factors such as unsafe water, lack of sanitation, malaria and indoor air pollution.

Just 10% of the world's population is under five years of age, yet 40% of the environment-related disease burden falls on children in this age group. This is partly because they have a higher intake of harmful substances in relation to body weight, and partly because they have less strength and knowledge to protect themselves.

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Inquiry into pharmaceutical industry a victory for consumer rights - Mind Chief Executive

Immediate release - June 18, 2004

Inquiry into pharmaceutical industry a victory for consumer rights

Source: Mind

Richard Brook, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind, has today welcomed the announcement there is to be a parliamentary inquiry into the influence wielded by the pharmaceutical industry on UK health policy and treatment provision. Key terms of reference for the inquiry will include the power of drugs companies in relation to medical research, drugs trials and the independent regulation of pharmaceutical medicine.

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Drug sales rising yearly, data show

By ANDRÉ PICARD
PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTER
Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - Page A2
Source: The Globe and Mail

Canadians seem to have a boundless appetite for drugs.

New data published yesterday show that spending on prescription and non-prescription drugs reached $19.6-billion last year, an 8.1-per-cent jump from the previous year.

"As technological possibilities increase, so does use, so I don't see any drop-off in the foreseeable future," said Paul Grootendorst, an associate professor in the University of Toronto's faculty of pharmacy.

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Estrogen pills may raise Alzheimer's risk
June 23, 2004

BY LINDSEY TANNER
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Estrogen pills appear to slightly increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in postmenopausal women, a study found, echoing recent findings involving estrogen-progestin supplements.

The findings contradict the long-held belief that estrogen pills can help keep older women's minds sharp.

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