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PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2008, 12:00am

Cancer epidemic in next decade

Developing countries face a growing cancer epidemic and are likely to account for 70 per cent of all new cases in the next decade, says the World Health Organisation. About two-thirds of cases can be either caught before they become a health risk or successfully treated, AFP reports. But the WHO says it will cost about US$1 billion to provide adequate therapy and treatment in developing countries during the next 10 years.

Protection factor in contraceptive pill

The birth-control pill protects women from ovarian cancer for decades even after they stop taking it, say Oxford University researchers, based on an analysis of 45 studies worldwide of more than 23,000 sufferers and their own studies of 87,000 women. About 12 non-pill users per 1,000 are likely to develop ovarian cancer before age 75, AP reports. For those who have taken the pill for years, the risk is about eight per 1,000. 'It's a nice bonus,' says team leader Valerie Beral.

Cannabis more harmful than tobacco

Smoking cannabis significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer - even more so than tobacco, say New Zealand researchers, who warn of a coming epidemic, based on a study of fewer than 80 patients. The Medical Research Institute of New Zealand team says one joint is equivalent to about 20 cigarettes in terms of the cancer risk, and that cannabis smoke contains twice the level of carcinogens, Reuters reports. Cannabis already may be responsible for one in 20 cases of lung cancer in New Zealand, says team leader Richard Beasley.

Mini vacuum cleaner combats strokes

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a tiny vacuum cleaner that can help save stroke victims by sucking clots out of arteries before permanent brain damage occurs. However, one of the key difficulties will be when to use the device, because removing clots isn't always the best option: blood rushing into oxygen-deprived brain tissue can trigger a haemorrhage. The device has been tested on 125 severe stroke victims, AP reports. Its big advantage is that it can be used up to eight hours after the patient had a stroke.

Cranberry juice treats UTIs

A folk remedy for urinary tract infections (UTI) appears to work reasonably well for women who suffer recurrent bouts, according to a review of 10 studies involving more than 1,000 women. It's not clear why drinking cranberry juice would help combat UTIs, says Ruth Jepson of the University of Stirling in Scotland, although the fruit apparently hinders bacteria from sticking to the bladder lining, Reuters reports.

A little misery boosts prosperity

Don't worry, be happy ... but not too happy. Moderately happy people are wealthier - and may be healthier and live longer - than extremely happy people, say University of Illinois researchers who reviewed six studies of happiness, including one that involved almost 120,000 people from 96 countries. 'Our findings suggest that extremely high levels of happiness might not be a desirable goal,' team leader Ed Diener told Reuters. 'Maybe we're not built to be ecstatic all the time.'