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Posted - Apr. 13, 2004 at 7:20 a.m.



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Apr 13, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- LOWER ALCOHOL LIMIT FOR DRIVING URGED

Researchers say the alcohol limit for drunk driving should be lowered. In the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, South Africa and Sri Lanka, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. This is too high because there is evidence driving skills deteriorate and the risk of becoming involved in a crash increases with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02, says Ediriweera Desapriya, pediatric research associate in the Centre for Community Child Health Research in Vancouver, Canada. Because the legal blood alcohol concentration in most countries is so high, people often mistakenly think they may drive up to this limit, overlooking the fact driving is impaired at lower concentrations, he adds.

ANNUAL BREAST CANCER SCREENING MAY NOT BE ENOUGH

For women with genetic mutations, the annual screening for breast cancer may not be enough, doctors say. Their study shows women with mutations that raise the risk of breast cancer often develop advanced disease within six months of a normal annual screening mammogram. The results, published in the journal Cancer, suggest more frequent breast cancer screening with mammography and/or ultrasound is necessary for women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Women with these mutations have a 60 percent to 85 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. While annual screening has reduced deaths from breast cancer in women older than 50, its role and frequency for high-risk women is controversial. Most guidelines suggest annual screening five to 10 years prior to the age of the youngest affected relative. There is no consensus on the use of other radiological diagnostic tools, such as ultrasound, said study co-author Dr. Ian Komenaka of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

DRUG-RELATED NAUSEA UNDER-TREATED

Researchers say nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy is underestimated and under-treated. Their study, published in the journal Cancer, shows these side effects are underestimated in 25 percent of the cases. Since the 1980s, with the development of new antiemetics, these symptoms are increasingly but not yet totally controlled, the researchers say. In part, this is because the symptoms must first be recognized or reported. Part of the problem is these side effects can appear in the first 24 hours after treatment or even days later, when no doctor or nurse can observe them, said Dr. Steven Grunberg of the University of Vermont, who led the study team of international investigators. They found more than 75 percent of physicians and nurses underestimated the incidence of delayed nausea/vomiting.

BARRIER-FREE HOMES FOR THE AGING

With the number of elderly expected to double to 75 million over the next 30 years, designers are creating barrier-free homes for America's aging population. Moveable shelves and counter space will adjust to the home dweller's needs, the designers say. Homes will be flexible. Elevators and lifts will become commonplace, and kitchens and bathrooms will be modified for a customized fit. One of the trend-setters, Accessible Design and Consulting Inc., is using new technology and equipment to fit the home needs of seniors, disabled and homeowners of the future. The homes feature an accessible bathroom and kitchen, stair lift, elevator and bath lift, electronic doors, sinks and kitchen cabinets, accessible bedroom, living room and closet, lightweight scooters and transport chairs and other functional conveniences. Adam Fine, president of Accessible Design, says the public can visit the company's Ultimate Accessible Home Gallery and Showroom to see, touch and experience how their home can be made safer and handicap accessible.

(Editors: For more information about ALCOHOL, contact Emma Dickinson at +44 (0)20 7383 6529 or edickinson@bmj.com. For BREAST, David Greenberg at (201) 748-6484 or dgreenbe@wiley.com. For NAUSEA, David Greenberg at (201) 748-6484 or dgreenbe@wiley.com. For HOMES, Steve Allen (661) 255-8283)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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