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  • China Races to Avoid Olympic-Size Food Scare

    It was a harsh penalty even by the standards of China, which executes more criminals every year than any place else in the world. The former head of the State Food and Drug Administration was put to death last week. His crime: approving untested medicines in exchange for $850,000 in bribes. At least 10 deaths have been blamed on bogus antibiotics that were OK'd during his tenure. But his offense went far beyond that—an SFDA spokeswoman said Zheng Xiaoyu had brought "shame" on the agency.Shame has always been a dreaded force in China—and now it has Beijing's leaders scrambling to save face amid the country's multiplying food-, drug- and product-safety scandals. In centuries past, the Chinese emperor's No. 1 responsibility was to guarantee that his subjects were adequately fed. Only then did he earn the "mandate of heaven" that justified his reign. And this in essence has been the Communist Party's bargain with China since the days of Deng Xiaoping: in return for accepting a sometimes...
  • Transcript: Near-Death Experiences

    The good news: millions of Americans know how to perform CPR. The bad news: when confronted with an apparent victim of cardiac arrest, most bystanders won't do it because it includes mouth-to-mouth breathing.Now Dr. Gordon Ewy, director of the University of Arizona's Sarver Heart Center, is championing a new form of CPR called cardio-cerebral resuscitation, or CCR, which focuses on rapid, forceful chest compressions, about 100 per minute, minus the mouth to mouth. "Mouth to mouth inflates the lungs, but it's not the lungs that need oxygen, it's the heart and the brain," says Ewy. "Chest compressions alone will help save those organs."The Sarver researchers have developed two separate CCR protocols. Bystanders who witness a cardiac arrest are urged to perform chest compressions until help arrives. Paramedics are to attempt CCR for two minutes, before they use a defibrillator. Several Arizona fire departments have adopted the new approach. An analysis of that data shows survival rates...
  • Study: Zocor May Help Prevent Alzheimer's

    Who wouldn't love to find a drug to help prevent or at least delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease? It turns out that one may already exist. Dr. Benjamin Wolozin, professor of pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine, posted a study this week in the online journal BioMed Central Medicine showing that the cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor (simvastatin) reduced the incidence of both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's by about 50 percent in a population of 4.5 million veterans over a three-year period. By comparison, two other statin drugs—Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Mevacor (lovastatin)—showed little or no effect.Before you rush to your doctor, be aware that it's too early to draw clinical recommendations from the new findings. This was a broad observational study rather than a gold-standard randomized clinical trial, in which all the variables are carefully controlled. "At least one, sometimes two, randomized clinical trials would be required before the FDA would approve...
  • The Real Story of the Lunch-Hour Boob Job

    Can you really get your breasts enlarged in your lunch hour? Here's the real story behind those reports--and a look at the research that could make fat your friend.
  • Teens and Antidepressants: Did Warnings Go Too Far?

    Seventeen-year-old Michael didn't want to end up crazed and suicidal like the Columbine killers. The Massachusetts teen had read that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were taking antidepressants when they rampaged murderously through their Colorado high school in 1999, and he didn't want to snap as they had. "He'd say it was like there was an evil guy on his left shoulder and a good guy on his right, but the evil guy just kept winning," Michael's mother, Lorraine, recalls. Despite his pain, Michael feared that antidepressants would "put him over the edge." Lorraine wasn't so sure. After consulting a specialist, she persuaded Michael in January to try Prozac, one of a family of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. By spring, the "good guy" was winning: Michael made the honor roll for the first time.Lorraine can't know for certain whether Prozac saved Michael's life, although she's convinced it did. These days, however, fewer parents or doctors are following...
  • My Turn: Finding God and Grace Among the Dying

    When I try to describe my work as a hospital chaplain I sometimes fall back on the line from the film “The Sixth Sense”: “I see dead people.” Not all the time, granted, but more than I'd ever seen before in my life.Death and dying are a natural part of life, and yet most of us are far removed from it; I know I was. Before I started this work a year ago, the only dead person I'd ever seen was my father. My time at a suburban hospital has shown me that death and dying come in as many forms as there are people and lifestyles. As someone told us in a hospital lecture on dying, "People pretty much die as they lived."People with dysfunctional families often die amid tumult. At times, family members are estranged, and the remaining parent and adult children may hurl angry words at one another over the lifeless corpse, as we hospital chaplains try to offer some form of comfort or coming together amid the flying barbs."I'm the bereaved one!" shouted one widow at the chaplain who showed...
  • Joycelyn Elders on the Clash of Politics, Science

    On Thursday, President Bush's nominee for surgeon general, Dr. James Holsinger, faced blunt questioning at his Senate confirmation hearing about how he would react if he were pressured to put politics before science. "I would resign," Holsinger said.If history is any indication, he's likely to be tested on that promise. Earlier in the week, three former surgeons general—including Dr. Richard Carmona, the most recent occupant of that august office—testified before Congress that he felt intense political pressure. Carmona, who left office in July, said that the Bush administration had delayed his reports and changed his speeches on controversial issues such as smoking and stem cells. "Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried," he testified. That came as no surprise to Joycelyn Elders, who served as surgeon general from 1993 to 1994 under President Bill Clinton; she was asked to step...
  • Water and Life, Redux

    The ink was hardly dry on last week’s report taking NASA to task for being so narrow-minded about what form alien life might take and what conditions it could live in when researchers showed that old-think has some life in it yet, no pun intended. Writing in today's issue of the journal Nature, an international team analyzing data from NASA’s Spitzer telescope, which orbits Earth, announced the first-ever discovery of water on a planet beyond the Sun--and got all excited about how important this is for the question of life beyond Earth....
  • Ornish: Stop Stress-Related Weight Gain

    New studies show that stress not only makes you gain weight, but it affects what you eat and even where you pack on those extra pounds. What you can do to stop it.
  • Autism: Earliest Diagnosis Ever

    A new study finds that autism can be identified at around 14 months, much earlier than previously thought. How early diagnosis can improve outcomes.
  • On Science and Literacy

    For those of you who have been disappointed by your scores on the science or environment portions of the Newsweek online quiz that ran in conjunction with our double issue on "What You Need to Know," rest assured: you are in good company....
  • Rachel Hunter's Strange Diet Campaign

    Rachel Hunter is promoting a diet company's 'Find Your Slim' campaign. The problem(s): she's already slim—and she hasn't tried the weight-reducing drink.
  • New Diet Drug: Accidents May Happen

    GlaxoSmithKline has a tip for people who decide to try Alli, the over-the-counter weight-loss drug it is launching with a multimillion-dollar advertising blitz—keep an extra pair of pants handy. That's because Alli, a lower-dose version of the prescription drug Xenical, could (cue the late-night talk-show hosts) make you soil your pants. But while Alli's most troublesome side effect, anal leakage, is sure to be good for a few laughs, millions of people who are desperate to take off weight may still decide the threat of an accident is worth it.Unlike traditional diet pills, Alli, the first over-the-counter weight-loss product approved by the FDA, is not an appetite suppressant. Instead, it prevents the gastrointestinal system from absorbing about 25 percent of the fat a person consumes. If you eat more than the recommended 15 grams of fat at a meal, you may experience cramps and the uncontrollable escape of those extra fat grams. For New Jersey native Paula Miguel, 35, however, that...
  • Up Close & Edible: Apples

    To peel or not to peel? For apple lovers, that is the question. An apple's peel contains many important nutrients that, according to new research, can help fight cancer. But the apple has also gotten flack for its heavy pesticide content, which can be reduced by tossing the peel in the trash. What is an apple eater to do?In general, apples are a pretty healthy—and popular—snacking decision. The average American ate just under 17 pounds of fresh apples in 2005 alone, according to the U.S. Apple Association. Nutritionally, they're making a wise choice: the apple is low in calories, high in fiber and a good source for potassium and vitamin C."In terms of getting fiber, it's a great choice," says Marisa Moore, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "It's also good for potassium, which most people don't get enough of."And there's good news about apple peels: a number of studies at Cornell University have found that that eating apples may help reduce the risk of cancer. The...
  • Does Your Child Need a Personal Trainer?

    Like many 13-year-olds, Adam Hillen likes sports. As a seventh grader in Mason, Ohio, he plays on his junior high school's football and wrestling teams. But his father became concerned when Adam began working out with his friends. "He would go to the weight room with a bunch of kids, and I just thought that invited injury," says Doug Hillen.So he took Adam to meet Doug Gibson, a personal trainer and president of Sensible Fitness in nearby Blue Ash. "I wanted Adam to learn the right way to lift weights," says Hillen. "I thought a personal trainer was the way to go."Gibson started Adam on basic strengthening moves, using lunges and leg presses to build up his leg muscles and glutes, and then eventually worked him into speed training, sprinting and lateral running drills, useful for his position as fullback on the football team. The sessions also helped him with his workouts outside the gym. "Doug teaches me a lot that I can do at my house," says Adam. More than eight weeks after Adam...
  • Kids and Injuries: Don't Go Overboard

    Kids need exercise, but how much is too much? Karen Springen asked Dr. Joel S. Brenner, a runner and pediatric sports-medicine specialist in Norfolk, Va., and lead author of "Overuse Injuries, Overtraining and Burnout in Child and Adolescent Athletes" in this month's Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. ...
  • Design: Serious Fun

    Taking your children to the playground is a good way to fool them into getting exercise. But all playgrounds were not created equal. TIP SHEET found five that go well beyond the obligatory slide, seesaw and swing set. ...
  • ‘Sexsomnia’: Rare Form of Sleep Walking

    When Jan Luedecke of Toronto was arrested and tried for sexual assault, he had an unusual defense—he did it in his sleep. Really. It may sound farfetched, but Luedecke, who was 33 at his 2005 trial, had a history of sleepwalking. On the night in question, he'd been drinking at a party and found himself sacked out on the couch with a woman he'd met there. Hours later, she jolted him awake and demanded to know what he was doing. Luedecke claimed he was unaware he was having sex with her. "Under the law, if there's no intent to commit a crime, you haven't committed a crime," says Dr. Colin Shapiro, director of the Youthdale Child and Adolescent Sleep Center in Toronto, who testified for the defense. Luedecke was acquitted (to the outrage of women's organizations in Canada), and the case is now on appeal.Add sex to the roster of unlikely sleep behaviors known as parasomnias, which range from sleep driving to sleep eating. Last week psychiatrist Carlos Schenck and neurologist Mark...
  • TB Scare: The Public-Health Slip-Ups

    Public-health and homeland-security officials admitted to slip-ups in their handling of the Andrew Speaker TB case. Will the government be ready next time?
  • Ban Ki-moon: Why the World Has Changed in the U.N.'s Favor

    My experience, each morning, may not be unlike yours. We pick up our newspapers or turn on the TV—in New York, Lagos or Jakarta—and peruse a daily digest of human suffering. Lebanon. Darfur. Somalia. Of course, as Secretary General of the United Nations, I at least am in a position to try to do something about these tragedies. And I do, every day.When I took on this post, nearly five months ago, it was without illusions. A distinguished predecessor famously remarked that it was "the most impossible job in the world." I myself have joked that I am more secretary than general, for after all the Secretary General is no more powerful than his Security Council is united. In the past, as today, that unity has often been elusive. And yet, I remain as optimistic as the day I first entered this office.That might be hard to understand, given the dimension and intractability of many of the problems we face—nowhere more so, perhaps, than in the Middle East. With demands growing on every front,...
  • New Research into Pain Treatment

    Millions of aging boomers and the latest generation of wounded soldiers hope the secrets of our most enduring medical foe can finally be unlocked
  • TB Man Tells His Side of the Story

    Andrew Speaker says he's being unfairly attacked for his decision to fly to Europe and get married after being diagnosed with a rare form of tuberculosis
  • Fads: A Look at America's Wackiest Dieting Plans

    In her quest to shed pounds, Amy Jamieson-Petonic tried the cabbage-soup diet, a hot-dog and peanut-butter diet, and just about everything in between. Then, after an "aha" moment as she tried on a size 22 coat, she said, "No more." She started eating smaller portions and healthier foods, and took up running. Lo and behold, she slowly lost 100 pounds. Fifteen years later, Jamieson-Petonic, now a 38-year-old registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, has kept off all the weight. "Real people can do this," she says.Easier said than done. A remarkable 41 percent of U.S. adults are trying to lose weight—and their average goal is 37 pounds, according to a Consumer Reports survey published this month. (Two thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.) Small wonder they're tempted to try such, um, unusual regimens as Beyoncé's maple-syrup, lemon-juice and cayenne-pepper diet. Or the grapefruit diet. Or the blood-type diet. But experts say they should try...