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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Today's Globe: cough medicine warning, abortion pill, China pig virus, prairie dog ban, Alzheimer's device

Hoping to prevent a growing number of injuries to infants and toddlers, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory yesterday warning parents never to give cough and cold medicines to children under the age of 2 unless instructed to do so by a doctor.

Women who use abortion pills rather than the more common surgical method seem to face no greater risk of tubal pregnancy or miscarriage in later pregnancies, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

china piglet100.bmpA highly infectious swine virus is sweeping China's pig population, driving up pork prices and spawning fears of a global pandemic among domesticated pigs. And animal virus specialists say Chinese authorities are downplaying the gravity and spread of the disease and refusing to cooperate with international scientists.

Anyone who captures, transports, sells, or barters prairie dogs now must receive written permission from the Food and Drug Administration. But people seeking prairie dogs as pets need not apply: The FDA won't consider it.

There are robots that follow those with Alzheimer's disease around, issuing reminders; pill boxes that speak; wristwatches holding entire medical histories; and alarms in patients' sneakers to alert authorities that they are wandering the streets in confusion. Now students from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham have come up with MindScout, a device to allow more independence to people with Alzheimer's, that incorporates some of the best features of devices that might not be affordable.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:59 AM
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