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House Passes Historic Health Care Bill in Washington

House Passes Historic Health Care Bill in Washington

The United States House of Representative vote tally passes the critical 216 number during the electronic vote counting on the House floor on March 21, 2010 in Washington, DC. The House’s final vote was 219-212 on the controversial bill that provides health care to almost all Americans. Photo made from CNN footage on television. UPI

Date Taken: March 21, 2010

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House Begins Final Healthcare Vote

WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) — The U.S. House Sunday voted 219-212 to adopt the Senate healthcare reform bill and send it to President Barack Obama for signature.

The House next takes up a reconciliation bill that made the Senate bill more palatable to the lower house.

Thirty-four Democrats voted against the measure, joining 178 Democrats. No Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

The vote came hours after the House approved a procedural measure to be followed leading up to the final vote.

During the final debate, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, pleaded with members to vote no, arguing the House “is broken” and if Congress passes the reform measure, “We break the ties of history in this chamber and we break our trust with Americans.”

Boehner accused Democrats of “arrogance” and said passage of the measure “will be the last straw for the American people.”

In her closing remarks in support of the bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., thanked President Barack Obama “for his unwavering commitment to healthcare for all Americans” and said the legislation will create jobs and “strengthen economic security.”

“I believe that this legislation will unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power into our economy,” Pelosi said.

The vote came after anti-abortion Democrats said they had reached a deal with the White House, ensuring enough votes for House passage of healthcare reform. Under the deal, Obama would sign an executive order stipulating no federal funding will pay for abortion under healthcare reform, the White House said.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., joined at least eight other anti-abortion House Democrats to announce the deal at a news conference. All nine said they would support the healthcare bill.

“We are very pleased with this order,” Stupak said. In answer to a reporter’s question, Stupak said, “We’re well past 216″ votes, the amount needed for passage in the House.

Based on changes made by Democrats Saturday, the Congressional Budget Office revised the bill’s cost estimate to $938 billion over 10 years. The CBO said that would be more than covered by new tax revenues and spending cuts, including $500 billion from a program known as Medicare Advantage, resulting in a $138 billion reduction in the deficit.

The measure would extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans who have none, add millions of people to Medicaid rolls and forbid insurance companies to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions. All Americans would have to have insurance or face fines, and business would be required to provide coverage for employees.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Drug-resistant TB Strains Worry Experts

LOS ANGELES, March 21 (UPI) — Tuberculosis cases are falling dramatically in the United States, but drug-resistant strains of the disease are rising in other areas of the world, reports say.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported U.S. cases of the disease fell by 11.8 percent in 2009, the largest yearly drop since monitoring began in 1953, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

But the World Health Organization reported an estimated 440,000 people contracted multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in 2008, and a third of them died, the newspaper said.

About half of those cases were in China and India, the countries hardest hit in the outbreak. But in some parts of the world, 25 percent of cases are from the drug-resistant strains, WHO said.

Experts worry the hard-to-treat strains will overtake conventional strains of the TB mycobacterium, complicating treatment. Drugs to treat conventional TB cost about $20, and treatment takes six months. Drug-resistant strains can push the cost to as much as $500, and effective treatment can take up to two years, the Times reported.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Too Little, Too Much Sleep Ups Belly Fat

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 3 (UPI) — African-American and Hispanic U.S. young adults who sleep too little or too much have greater increases than others in belly fat, researchers found.

Compared with people who reported a nightly sleep duration of six to seven hours, those with a self-reported sleep duration of five hours or less per night had an average body mass index increase over a five-year period that was about 4 pounds higher, and greater accumulations of subcutaneous adipose tissue and visceral adipose tissue — belly fat.

Those who reported sleeping eight hours or more had a BMI increase that was 1.75 pounds higher, as well as greater accumulations of belly fat.

Lead author Dr. Kristen G. Hairston of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., said obtaining a sufficient amount of sleep is important for people of all races and ethnicities. However, ethnic minorities disproportionately report extremes in sleep duration, putting them at risk for negative metabolic outcomes such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“Appropriate amounts of sleep are important for maintenance of healthy weight,” Hairston said in a statement. “In a group of African-American and Hispanic participants, those who slept less than this had greater increases in belly fat over a five-year period.”

Data were collected from 332 African-Americans and 775 Hispanics with a mean age of 41.7 years at baseline and an age range from ages 18-81.

The findings are published in the journal Sleep.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Air Pollution Linked to Ear Infections

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1 (UPI) — Improvements in air quality over the past decade have resulted in fewer cases of ear infections in children, U.S. researchers suggest.

Study co-author Dr. Nina Shapiro of Mattel Children’s Hospital University of California, Los Angeles, and of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and colleagues reviewed National Health Interview Survey data for 120,060 children between the years of 1997-2006.

Shapiro and colleagues measured the number of instances of frequent ear infections — three or more within a year — and respiratory allergy. Seizure activity, which is not influenced by air quality, was included as a control.

The data were cross-referenced with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air-quality data on pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrous dioxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, for the same time period.

The study authors discovered that as air quality steadily improved, the number of cases of frequent ear infections significantly decreased.

“We believe these findings, which demonstrate a direct correlation between air quality and ear infections, have both medical and political significance,” Shapiro says in a statement.

The findings are published in Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Air Pollutants, Human Health & Wellness0 Comments

Federal Agents Seize 77 Ozone Generating Medical Devices at Request of FDA

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) — Federal marshals, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have seized 77 ozone generators because they had not been proved safe or effective.

The FDA said the generators, models AOS-1M and AOS-1MD valued at $75,000, were seized from Applied Ozone Systems of Auburn, Calif.

FDA inspectors said the medical devices were said to treat cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, herpes and other diseases and conditions, but were produced under poor manufacturing conditions and posed public health risk

“The FDA advises healthcare professionals and consumers to discontinue use of these devices … (because) the FDA has not determined that the seized products are safe and effective in treating the diseases or conditions, and officials at Applied Ozone Systems never responded to a Dec. 21, 2009, FDA request for a voluntary recall of these ozone generators.

“In addition, the agency is concerned that patients who use these AOS ozone devices as directed by the manufacturer may believe that ozone therapy serves as an appropriate treatment and as a result delay or stop conventional or prescribed effective treatment.” officials said. “There is also a risk of infection from potential contamination of the applicator or catheter.”

Ozone generators are devices that produce ozone from oxygen. FDA officials said administration methods suggested by the manufacturer of the seized generators include using a catheter to blow ozonized air into rectal and vaginal areas.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Healthy Living, Human Health & Wellness, Ozone0 Comments

George Clooney Organizing Haiti Earthquake Telethon with MTV

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14 (UPI) — Film star George Clooney is working with MTV on a telethon to raise money for the people affected by this week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti.

The actor and humanitarian told The Hollywood Reporter exclusively he is reaching out to his famous friends in hopes of getting them to participate in the Jan. 22 fundraiser.

The telethon is to air on MTV’s networks, the entertainment industry trade newspaper said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Earthquakes, Human Health & Wellness, Natural Disasters0 Comments

University of California, Irvine Finds Third Envelope of White Powder as Anthrax Worries Continue

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 5 (UPI) — A third envelope containing white powder has been found on the University of California, Irvine, campus, officials said Tuesday.

The envelope, identical to two other letters with the words “black death” written on them, was sent to a woman who works in the computer sciences building, the Los Angeles Times reported. University security evacuated the Office of Information Technology on the third floor and shut down an elevator and the building’s ventilation systems.

The two white powder envelopes received Monday by an engineering professor and a sociology professor tested negative for toxic material, and no university workers reported any unexplained health problems, the newspaper said.

Orange County public health workers and paramedics checked people who were in the areas where the earlier envelopes were opened and FBI investigators were trying to identify the powder.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Engineering, Human Health & Wellness0 Comments

Coffee Linked to Less Liver Fibrosis for Hepatitis C Patients

BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 5 (UPI) — Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus who consumed about 2 1/4 cups of coffee with caffeine daily had milder liver fibrosis, U.S. researchers found.

Dr. Apurva Modi, the lead author, and fellow researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases determined that for patients with chronic hepatitis C virus other sources of caffeine beyond coffee did not have the same therapeutic effect

Liver fibrosis, or scarring of the liver, is the second stage of liver disease, characterized by a degradation of liver function due to accumulated connective tissue.

From January 2006 to November 2008, all patients evaluated in the Liver Disease Branch of the National Institutes of Health were asked to complete a questionnaire to determine caffeine consumption. Questions were asked pertaining to: regular and diet soft drinks; regular and decaffeinated coffee; black, green, Chinese and herbal teas; cocoa and hot chocolate; caffeine-fortified drinks; chocolate candy; caffeine pills and medications with caffeine.

The study, published in the journal Hepatology, suggested that a beneficial effect requires caffeine consumption above a threshold of about 2 coffee-cup equivalents daily, but consumption of soda, green or black tea containing caffeine was not associated with reduced liver fibrosis.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Consumption, Human Health & Wellness0 Comments

Battery Company Shengxiang Power Source Linked to Lead Poisoning in 51 Children

DAFENG, China, Jan. 5 (UPI) — Lead poisoning in 51 children has been linked to a battery company located 55 yards from a village in China’s Jiangsu province, officials said.

The Shengxiang Power Source was ordered closed and moved after environmental inspectors found excessive levels of lead in dust emissions, Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, reported Tuesday.

The company opened in March 2007 on the edge of Hekou Village and had passed environmental inspections before failing an inspection late last year, Sun Jie, a village spokesman, said.

Test results showed excessive lead levels in 51 children with another 140 children yet to be tested, Xinhua reported. Lead levels in some of the 51 children were high enough to affect their memory and physical development, doctors said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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