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Nov. 14, 2008 at 6:23 PM
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Red meat can spur cancer progression

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers suggest inflammation from a molecule introduced through consumption of red meat and dairy products could promote tumor growth.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, led by Dr. Ajit Varki, studied a non-human cellular molecule called N-glycolylneuraminic acid -- Neu5Gc. Neu5Gc is a type of glycan, or sugar molecule, that humans don't naturally produce, but that can be incorporated into human tissues as a result of eating red meat, Varki said.

The body then develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies -- an immune response that could potentially lead to chronic inflammation.

"We've shown that tumor tissues contain much more Neu5Gc than is usually found in normal human tissues," Varki said in a statement. "We therefore surmised that Neu5Gc must somehow benefit tumors."

Using specially bred mouse models that lacked the Neu5Gc molecule -- mimicking humans before the molecule is absorbed into the body through ingesting red meat -- the researchers induced tumors containing Neu5Gc, and then administered anti-Neu5Gc antibodies to half of the mice.

In mice that were given antibodies, inflammation was induced and the tumors grew faster. In mice that were not treated with antibodies, the tumors were less aggressive, Varki said.

The study is published online in advance of print publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Judge says Britain must rethink pesticides

LONDON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Britain's High Court has ruled the government needs to provide better protection to people in rural areas who are exposed to crop sprays.

The ruling is a victory for Georgina Downs of West Sussex, who launched her independent U.K. Pesticides Campaign in 2001, the Daily Telegraph said Friday. Downs has campaigned against unrestricted use of pesticides, saying the government wrongly based its decisions on the assumption that rural exposure to pesticides was "occasional and short-term."

Justice Collins, the High Court judge, said the government must "carefully reconsider" whether the existing conditions for pesticide use are adequate and inform residents of imminent spraying and of the composition of pesticides to be used.

"Voluntary action is not achieving this," he said.


Violent video games alter heart rate

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Violent video games can cause irregular heart rates in children, a Swedish study found.

Researchers from Stockholm University, Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institute tested 19 boys ages 12 to 15 while the subjects played one violent and one non-violent video game.

Lead researcher Frank Lindblad of Stockholm University said the study found the boys had irregular heart rates after they were finished playing the violent game, The Local newspaper reported Friday.

"What we saw was irregular rhythms with variations in the distances between beats," Lindblad told the newspaper.

He said the findings suggest violent video games have a marked influence on the nervous system of young gamers and raises concerns about the effect on their central physiological systems.


Judge grants injunction on Tamiami Trail

MIAMI, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro has granted a preliminary injunction sought by the Miccosukee Tribe to stop the overhaul of the Tamiami Trail in Florida.

The order, signed Thursday, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not do required analysis before approving plans to build a one-mile bridge to restore the natural flow of the Everglade's River of Grass, the Miami Herald reported Friday.

The newspaper said supporters of the bridge see the project as a "key step to Everglades restoration."

The Miccosukee Tribe, however, said the bridge is being pushed for political reasons.

''In response to criticism, they just want to pour concrete,'' attorney Dexter Lehtinen said, "because you can go out and photograph a concrete structure.''

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