Toenail Study: No Heart Risk From Mercury In Fish

In an unusual health study, researchers analyzing toxin levels in tens of thousands of toenail clippings determined that mercury from eating fish does not raise the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Health experts have long urged people to eat fish to lower heart risks, but some have worried that the mercury in certain types of fish like shark and swordfish might offset any benefits. Earlier studies on mercury and heart problems in adults have yielded contradictory results.

The latest government-funded work is the largest to look at this question. Instead of relying on what people said they ate, it measured mercury in their toenails – a good gauge of long-term exposure to the metal from fish consumption.

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Germany Set To Abandon Nuclear Power For Good

Germany is determined to show the world how abandoning nuclear energy can be done.

The world’s fourth-largest economy stands alone among leading industrialized nations in its decision to stop using nuclear energy because of its inherent risks. It is betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energy to meet power demands instead.

The transition was supposed to happen slowly over the next 25 years, but is now being accelerated in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant disaster, which Chancellor Angela Merkel has called a “catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions.”

Berlin’s decision to take seven of its 17 reactors offline for three months for new safety checks has provided a glimpse into how Germany might wean itself from getting nearly a quarter of its power from atomic energy to none.

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GSK Scraps Plans To Market Prostate-Cancer Drug

Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC says it will no longer pursue global regulatory approval to market its Avodart drug to treat prostate cancer following negative feedback from American and Swedish regulators.

Avodart is approved in more than 90 countries to treat an enlarged prostate.

In January, a U.S. federal health panel voted against GSK’s move to expand the drug’s application. The panel found that Avodart’s use could actually raise the risk of the most serious types of tumors.

GSK said Wednesday it had received similar feedback from Swedish health authorities and withdrawn its filing there for a regulatory review.

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Virginia Pushes Anew On US Health Care Review

Virginia’s attorney general says the state’s challenge of the nation’s health care law should go directly to the Supreme Court because delaying the state-federal dispute creates “crippling uncertainty.”

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli responded Monday to the Obama administration’s arguments that Virginia should not be allowed to leapfrog the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in its challenge of the health care law. Virginia released its reply brief to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The Washington Post

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Health Law At One Year: Future Still In Question

One year after President Barack Obama signed his historic health care overhaul, the law is taking root in the land. Whether it bears lasting fruit is still in question.

The legislation established health insurance as a right and a responsibility. Thousands of families, businesses and seniors have benefited from its early provisions.

But worries about affordability and complexity point to problems ahead. And that’s assuming it withstands a make-or-break challenge to its constitutionality that the Supreme Court is expected to decide.

Public divisions over the law are still so sharp that Americans can’t even agree what to call it.

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