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Undercovered: Chagas, other tropical diseases afflict surprising number in U.S.

Assassin bug

NPR's Shots health blog today highlights a little-known fact: rare tropical diseases actually affect millions of (mostly immigrant or poor) Americans. Writes Jaclyn Schiff, a Kaiser Health News reporter:

Deep Impact: 2010 "May Revise" Budget Details Health, Social Program Cutbacks

So, California’s so-called “May revise” budget document is out, and as expected, the proposed cutbacks in health and social services programs are not pretty. California Healthline has a comprehensive round-up of the coverage here.

Blowing Smoke, Part 2: What's Happening with Tobacco Control Programs in Your State?

The release of a major new CDC report on states' tobacco control programs, the first since 2006, is a great news peg for taking a look at what's happening with stop-smoking efforts in your state and community. The CDC report gives state-by-state breakdowns of smoking rates by age and other demographics and provides a snapshot of current state regulations on smoking.

UPDATED: Now (NOT) at a drugstore near you: Your genome (partially) deciphered

UPDATE: CNN is reporting that Walgreens has backtracked on plans to sell genetic testing kits in its drugstores:

Walgreens has postponed its plans to sell personal genetic test kits after the Food and Drug Administration intervened.

Cancer Costs on the Rise, but Not From Costly Drugs

We love studies that contradict conventional wisdom. Today’s case in point: a new study in the journal Cancer that suggests the doubling of cancer treatment costs to $48 billion in 2005 results not from expensive drugs but a rising number of cancer cases.

Writes the AP’s Mike Stobbe:

Civil Commitment: Individual Rights vs. Public Good

If you live on the East Coast, maybe you’ve heard of the case of Nushawn Williams.

Williams served time in prison for knowingly infecting at least 13 women in western New York with the HIV virus more than a decade ago.

Now New York state officials are trying to keep Williams confined to a state psychiatric facility under a civil law as a sexual predator, according to the Buffalo News.

Eliminating Happy Meals: A Good Move or Government Regulation Gone Overboard?

You may not have heard the latest news out of California’s Silicon Valley.

No, it's not about the iPad. It’s about no more Happy Meals.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 this week to approve a new law prohibiting restaurants from offering toys to children as part of meals high in fat, sugar and sodium.

“This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes,” Supervisor Ken Yeager told The San Jose Mercury News.

KFC: Socially Responsible or Sending Mixed Messages?

You may have seen the TV ads promoting KFC's partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

In the ads, KFC pledges to donate money to the Komen foundation for local breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs. Fifty cents from every pink campaign bucket—instead of the typical KFC red buckets—purchased by storeowners will go to the effort, according to a statement of KFC's website.

Grieving Online

If you’ve ever lost a loved one, you know just how difficult that can be.

But maybe you’re also having difficulty finding someone who can empathize and relate with you, especially if your loved one committed suicide or was murdered.

Perhaps not surprisingly, more people are turning to Internet forums to share their grief and find solace from others who have struggled with loss.

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Why I Hope to Die at 75: A Health Matters Webinar with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel.  Sign up now for a December 12 Webinar featuring Dr. Zeke Emanuel discussing whether Americans are surrendering quality of life in their quest to live longer.

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