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US-HEALTH Summary

Sep 1, 2011, 8:52 p.m.

9/11 firefighters have higher cancer risk: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Male firefighters who were exposed to toxic dust and smoke from the 9/11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center have a 19 percent higher risk of getting cancer of all kinds than colleagues who were not exposed, U.S. researchers said on Thursday. The study is the first to look at cancer rates among the all of the exposed firefighters, and the findings may help pave the way for federal health benefits for rescue workers now suffering from cancer nearly a decade after the attacks.

Gut bacteria picky about what we eat: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Gut bacteria -- colonies of bacteria that live in the human digestive tract -- appear to have fairly picky dining habits, with one type preferring high-fat, fast-food fare, and another preferring a high-fiber feast, U.S. researchers said on Thursday. Researchers are increasingly trying to understand the interplay of bacteria and their human hosts.

Five VA patients blinded by Avastin injections: report

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Five patients being treated for eye disease were blinded after being injected with Roche Holding AG's Avastin at the Los Angeles Veterans Affairs medical center, according to the New York Times. VA officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Special Report: A pinch of doubt over salt

LONDON (Reuters) - In Britain it started with Sid, the "giant slug with a message", who slicked his way onto television screens back in 2004 as part of a government health campaign to warn people about the dangers of consuming too much salt. "Stay away from fast cars, loose women and SALT!" he screamed. Sid's message -- that liberal sprinklings of sodium, the main component of salt, don't only kill slugs but humans too -- has now become conventional wisdom worldwide. High salt intake is linked to high blood pressure, or hypertension, a key risk factor for strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. Together those rank as the world's number one killers. The World Health Organization (WHO) puts cutting salt intake alongside quitting smoking as one of the top 10 "best buys" in public health.

South Carolina passes on health exchange grants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - South Carolina does not want any more federal money to set up an insurance exchange, the state's health regulator said on Thursday, citing fears about the strings attached to the funds. South Carolina joins a handful of other Republican states rejecting millions of dollars in federal grants tied to insurance exchanges that are a key aspect of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration's healthcare overhaul.

Vitamin D levels tied to colon cancer risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new analysis of earlier research finds that both higher vitamin D intake and higher blood levels of the vitamin's active form are linked to lower risk of colon and rectal cancers. In 18 studies that included more than 10,000 people, colon cancer risk was as much as 33 percent lower in subjects with the highest blood levels of vitamin D compared to those with the lowest levels, researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Those with the highest intake of vitamin D through supplements and food had 12 percent lower risk than those with the lowest intakes.

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