- Scientists Use Wisdom Teeth to Create Stem Cells
- Positive Outlook May Protect Against Breast Cancer
- FDA Sanctions Irradiation of Lettuce, Spinach
- Anti-Addiction Drug Helps Rats Lose Weight
- Trauma During Pregnancy Boosts Risk of Schizophrenia in Kids
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Scientists Use Wisdom Teeth to Create Stem Cells
Japanese scientists have created stem cells from the wisdom teeth of a 10-year-old girl, an achievement that offers another method of supplying stem cells for research while avoiding the controversial use of embryos to create stem cells.
"This is significant in two ways. One is that we can avoid the ethical issues of (embryo-derived) stem cells because wisdom teeth are destined to be thrown away anyway," team leader Hajime Ogushdi told Agence France Presse. "Also, we used teeth that had been extracted three years ago and had been preserved in a freezer. That means that it's easy for us to stock this source of stem cells."
The researchers at the Japanese government-backed National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science extracted cells from the wisdom teeth and found that they turned into stem cells after being allowed to develop for 35 days.
However, it will take many years of research before wisdom teeth-derived stem cells may be available for clinical use, said Ogushdi, AFP reported.
Last year, American and Japanese scientists announced they could produce stem cells from skin.
Positive Outlook May Protect Against Breast Cancer
Having a positive outlook may help prevent breast cancer, while getting divorced or losing a loved one may increase the risk, suggests an Israeli study that compared the mental outlook and life events of 255 breast cancer patients and 367 healthy women.
The researchers found that a generally positive outlook was associated with a 25 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, while experiencing one or more traumatic life events -- such as the loss of a parent or spouse -- was associated with a more than 60 percent increased risk, BBC News reported.
Women who've been exposed to a number of negative life events should be considered an "at-risk" group for breast cancer, said lead researcher Dr. Ronit Peled, of Ben-Gurion University.
"We can carefully say that experiencing more than one severe and/or moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women. On the other hand, a general feeling of happiness and optimism can play a protective role," said Peled, BBC News reported.
The study was published in the journal BMC Cancer.
FDA Sanctions Irradiation of Lettuce, Spinach
Food producers will be allowed to irradiate fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce to kill E. coli and other dangerous germs to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. The new regulation takes effect Friday.
Irradiation of meat and spices has been permitted for years but there were concerns that exposing leafy greens to radiation would affect the quality of the produce, the Associated Press reported.
But the FDA concluded that modern irradiation techniques can kill dangerous germs without compromising the safety or nutrient value of raw lettuce and spinach.
"What this does is give producers and processors one more tool in the toolbox to make these commodities safer and protect public health," said Dr. Laura Tarantino, director of the FDA's Office of Food Additive Safety, the AP reported.
The FDA also is assessing the possible use of irradiation on other types of produce.
Anti-Addiction Drug Helps Rats Lose Weight
A drug being tested as a treatment for cocaine and methamphetamine addiction helps rats lose weight, U.S. researchers say. The findings suggest the drug could help treat severely obese people.
Following short-term treatment with the drug vigabatrin, rats genetically modified to be obese lost up to 19 percent of their total weight, and normal-weight rats shed 12 percent to 20 percent of their weight, Agence France-Presse reported.