- Doctor Who Was Target in U.S. Anthrax Probe Wins Multimillion Dollar Settlement
- Working While Tired May Harm Heart
- DNA Repair Capacity Affects Lung Cancer Risk in Non-smokers
- Unsafe Water Causes Many Diseases, Deaths: WHO
- Low-Fat Milk May Benefit Kidney/Heart Health
- Maker of Anti-Flu Drug Seeks Corporate Stockpiling
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Doctor Who Was Target in U.S. Anthrax Probe, Wins Multimillion Dollar Settlement
The physician and bio-researcher who the U.S. Justice department identified as a "person of interest" in the bizarre series of anthrax incidents that killed 5 people beginning in 2001 has settled his lawsuit against the government.
The New York Times reports that Dr. Steven Hatfill will receive almost $3 million in cash and an additional $150,000 annually for the next 20 years to settle a lawsuit he filed in 2003, charging the FBI and U.S. Justice Department with leaking information to the news media in order to link him to the mailing of letters that contained anthrax spores.
Hatfill has consistently denied having anything to do with the anthrax incidents, in which five people died after inhaling the spore particles and another 17 were hospitalized, in 2001 and 2002.
U.S. Justice Department officials have never explained why Hatfill was such a prominent figure in the investigation, and a government statement said only that the government admitted no liability but decided settlement was "in the best interest of the United States," the newspaper reported.
Mark Grannis one of Hatfill's attorneys, told the Times that the settlement "means that Steven Hatfill is finally an ex-person of interest."
Working While Tired May Harm Heart
Doing mental or physical work while fatigued may lead to hypertension and heart disease, suggests a U.S. study.
It included 80 volunteers who were told they could win a prize by memorizing, in two minutes, a number of meaningless three-letter sequences. Their blood pressure and heart rate were monitored while they tried to memorize the information. Those with moderate fatigue showed stronger blood pressure increases than those with low fatigue, United Press International reported.
The study appears in the July issue of the International Journal of Psychophysiology.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers said their findings support a theory that a fatigued person's cardiovascular system has to work harder when trying to complete tasks, UPI reported.
"Individuals who experience chronically exaggerated cardiovascular responses are believed to be at greater health risk than individuals who do not. Thus, the implication is that chronic fatigue may pose a health risk under some performance conditions," said study leader Rex Wright.
DNA Repair Capacity Affects Lung Cancer Risk in Non-smokers
A lack of DNA repair capacity may be a cause of lung cancers that occur in non-smokers, say researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. About 15 percent of lung cancers occur in non-smokers.
The researchers found that non-smokers with less efficient DNA repair ability were almost twice as likely to develop lung cancer, compared to non-smokers with normal DNA repair capacity, United Press International reported.
Non-smokers with the lowest DNA repair capacity were more than three times more likely than average to develop lung cancer.
"Our findings demonstrate that suboptimal DNA repair capacity together with secondhand smoke exposure are strong lung cancer risk factors in lifetime never smokers," UPI quoted lead author Olga Gorlova as saying in a prepared statement.
The study appears in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Unsafe Water Causes Many Diseases, Deaths: WHO
More than 9 percent of diseases and 6 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by unsafe water, says a World Health Organization report released Thursday. Dengue fever and diarrhea are among the diseases that can be transmitted via water.