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May 13, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY SAFE FOR SOME COLON CANCER

Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery is safer and more effective than standard surgery for most colon cancers, Mayo Clinic researchers say. Laparoscopic surgery should not be used for patients whose cancer has affected other organs, and it should be done only by surgeons experienced in the procedure, said colorectal surgeon Dr. Heidi Nelson of Mayo Clinic. Nelson led a team of 66 U.S. and Canadian colorectal surgeons in a seven-year international study of 872 patients to compare the techniques. Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery requires three, 1/2-inch incisions through which a video camera is used to temporarily bring the colon out of the abdomen and cut away the cancerous portion. Standard surgery requires an abdominal incision of 6 to 8 inches or longer. The survival rate and return of cancer for the two surgeries was almost identical, despite concerns from the 1990s about safety and efficacy of the laparoscopic procedure.


Britain is the first country to allow cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to be sold over the counter with an on-the-spot blood test. Simvastatin at 10 milligrams daily will be the first drug sold without a prescription in a shift approved by the country's Committee on Safety of Medicines. The drug is mainly targeted at men age 50 years and over and women 55 and over with one or more risk factors including: obesity, smoking, insufficient exercise, unhealthy diet, hypertension, diabetes or family history of heart disease. While statins are under-prescribed and are important in preventing heart disease, they are not a substitute for lifestyle changes such as healthier eating, increased exercise and smoking cessation, said the European Society of Cardiology in a statement.


Showing at-risk children and teens graphic images of gunshot wounds can significantly change their views on aggression, a study shows. Johns Hopkins researchers say their study of 97 East Baltimore boys and girls, ages 7 to 17, looked at attitudes on interpersonal conflict, including their likelihood to act violently. The children then were shown explicit photos of actual trauma patients treated for gunshot wounds. In a follow-up survey completed by 48 youths, beliefs supporting aggression were significantly reduced. There also was some evidence that the youths would be less likely to resort to violence to settle conflicts. The study suggests that television's romanticized version of violence can be countered by more frank and open discussions and displays of what violence really does to the body, said co-author David C. Chang, a graduate fellow in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has created a registry for women who wish to participate in clinical trials. The goal is to close a gap between men and women who volunteer in health research. The Los Angeles center plans to enroll more than 10,000 participants over the next five years. Until the 1990s, most studies tested mostly men because it was assumed treatments worked just as well in women. Gender-based research has shown, however, that drugs and diseases affect men and women differently, said Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz, director of the Women's Health Research Registry. For information or to enroll, call (310) 423-9224.

(EDITORS: For more information about LAPAROSCOPIC, contact Mary Lawson at (507) 284-5005 or For STATINS, Camilla Dormer at 33-49-294-8627 or For GUNSHOT, Trent Stockton at (410) 955-8665 or For REGISTRY, Sandra Van at (800) 880-2397 or

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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