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Health briefs: HIV can be passed on in pre-chewed food
Associated Press
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Published: 2/11/2008 12:01 AM

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HIV can be passed on in pre-chewed food

The AIDS virus can be passed from an infected mother to her baby if she pre-chews the child's food as sometimes occurs in developing countries, U.S. government scientists said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had identified three cases -- two in Miami and one in Memphis, Tenn., -- in which a child was infected in this way between 1993 and 2004. The mother was involved in two of the cases and a relative who acted as a caregiver was involved in the third.

Tattoos may be future vaccines

The tattoo of the future may be good for your health rather than just your image.

German scientists said that work on mice showed that tattooing was a more effective way to deliver a new generation of experimental DNA vaccines than standard injections into muscle.

Technique detects deadly new virus

A previously unknown virus killed three women who got organ transplants from an Australian donor, and researchers say the technique they used to identify it could lead them to many more new infectious agents.

The as-yet-unnamed virus appears to be related to a bug called lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which usually causes only a minor flu-like illness.

Merck approves huge settlement

Merck and Co. has agreed to pay $671 million to settle claims that it overcharged Medicaid programs for four drugs, including Vioxx and Zocor, and to resolve allegations of improper marketing to doctors, U.S. prosecutors and company officials have announced.

In a case in Philadelphia, Merck agreed to pay $399 million plus interest for improper calculation of Medicaid rebates and its marketing practices. In a Louisiana case, it agreed to pay $250 million plus interest for its rebate practices.

The interest payments boost the total payout to $671 million, Merck said.

Merck said the settlements do not constitute an admission of any liability or wrongdoing.

Anti-smoking efforts fall short

Global anti-tobacco efforts aimed at avoiding tens of millions of preventable deaths have been slow to take hold, and no country has fully adopted the World Health Organization's recommendations, WHO reported.

In its first comprehensive analysis of global tobacco use and control efforts, the health organization of the United Nations found that only 5 percent of the world's population live in countries that protect their people through any of the smoking reduction measures it has outlined.

In addition, the WHO analysis found that 40 percent of countries still allow smoking in hospitals and schools, while just 5 percent of the world's population lives in countries with comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising and promotion.

WHO outlined six anti-tobacco strategies: monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; protect people from tobacco smoke; offer help to quit tobacco use; warn about the dangers of tobacco; enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raise taxes on tobacco.

Domestic violence threatens women

About a quarter of U.S. women suffer domestic violence, U.S. health officials reported, with ongoing health problems that one activist likened to the effects of living in a war zone.

Some men also experience domestic violence, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found.

Nature may top nurture in obesity

Diet and lifestyle play a far smaller role than genetic factors in determining whether a child becomes overweight, according to a British study of twins.

Researchers looking at more than 5,000 pairs of twins wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that genes account for about three-quarters of the differences in a child's waistline and weight.