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Breast Cancer Rate Rises With Hormones, British Study Finds

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A study of 1-million British women has found a higher death rate from breast cancer among those who took combination hormone therapy than those who did not use it or took estrogen alone.

The study is by far the largest to determine the effects of hormones on breast cancer. The findings, which are being published in London on Saturday in the journal the Lancet, build on compelling evidence from studies in the United States that the risks of invasive breast cancer from combination hormone therapy were greater than many doctors had predicted.

American experts not connected with the study said the new findings strengthened recent recommendations against using long-term combination hormone therapy to prevent chronic conditions like bone fractures from osteoporosis.

"This is a big study that generally supports everything we have said" about the risks of hormone therapy, said Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of the Research and Education Institute at Harbor-University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center in Torrance, Calif.

Dr. Valerie Beral of Oxford University led the new study, which involved about one-fourth of British women between the ages of 50 and 64. Women who took hormones at the time the study began in 1996 had a 66 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer and a 22 percent greater risk of dying from it by 2002. Experts fear measles might become endemic

WASHINGTON - Measles is posing a growing risk to children in Britain as parents decide against vaccinations for fear of side effects, and researchers warn the disease could become endemic, a constant threat to health.

British researchers report today in the journal Science the level of vaccinated children in Britain has dropped below 80 percent and the nation is experiencing more frequent and larger outbreaks of measles.

Dr. Mary Ramsay of the Health Protection Agency, a co-author of the study, said the level of vaccination in Britain was 92 percent in 1995, but it has been falling steadily since.

"That is why we are concerned that we will have measles re-established in the U.K.," she said.

Last year, there 308 cases of measles, a small number in a country the size of Britain, but Ramsay said that is about three times the number from 2001.

Ramsay said the decline in inoculation against measles can be traced to a series of papers that suggested a link between autism among children and the combination vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella. Ebola vaccine works quickly, researchers say

A single dose of an experimental Ebola vaccine protected lab monkeys from the deadly virus in less than a month, federal researchers have found, marking the first time immunity was reached so quickly.

If the same performance can be obtained in humans, the vaccine might one day allow public health officials to quickly contain Ebola outbreaks by vaccinating everyone around an infected group of people.

Ebola spreads easily from person to person, causes illness quickly and kills a significant number of those it infects. There is no known treatment for the disease, and the periodic human outbreaks caused by people hunting great apes in several African countries have been contained only by quarantine.

But Dr. Gary Nabel of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, director of the team that developed the new vaccine, described Thursday in the journal Nature, said the serum might give public health officials their first real medical tool in battling the epidemics.

"Ring vaccination might be used to stop the spread of the Ebola virus during acute outbreaks, just as this strategy has been used to contain smallpox in the past," Nabel said. Also . . .

LOU GEHRIG'S DISEASE: A new type of gene therapy doubled the life of mice with a laboratory form of Lou Gehrig's disease and researchers said they are planning to test the technique on human patients.

In a study published this week in the journal Science, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore report that injecting mice with a gene that makes a nerve cell stimulating protein delayed symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease and extended the life span in laboratory mice.

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: Doctors have come up with a quick screening test to help identify which injured kids - and their parents - might be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Researchers have estimated that after a traumatic event anywhere from 15 to 45 percent of injured children go on to suffer symptoms and reactions that persist for at least a month.

The new test, called the Screening Tool for Early Predictions of PTSD, or STEPP, includes four yes-no questions that doctors ask the young patient, four yes-no questions for a parent and four items retrieved from medical records.

"Until now, health-care providers did not have a simple way to tell, early on, who could be at risk of (post-traumatic stress disorder or, PTSD) after a child injury," said Dr. Flaura Winston, a researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is co-author of a report on the test published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We hope that acute-care physicians can use this screening tool to help determine who should be referred for psychological evaluation and intervention so that families can avoid PTSD." World and national headlines Breast cancer rate rises with hormones, British study finds Surge in West Nile cases prompts worries Web project finds six degrees of separation Ashcroft tracking which judges impose lighter sentences Bali terrorist is sentenced to firing squad Pace of arming pilots draws criticism Report: Terrorists crashed Flight 93 Actor holding off on specifics Doctors will remove baby girl's third leg Europe cools off a bit, but heat likely to linger Cuban ends exile to stir up opposition Report: Educate troops on sex slavery IraqRice: Iraq similar to civil rights struggle Badly hurt boy lands in London Nation in briefEpiscopals approve same-sex blessing World in briefPalestinian group publicly kills man

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