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6 health stories to watch today: Is this the key to eternal youth?

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Here's what's making news this morning in the world of health and medicine.

Mental health issues for soldiers, police up 47 per cent since 2008

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The number of soldiers and RCMP officers suffering from mental health injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder has skyrocketed over the last six years, driven in part by the gruelling decade-long combat mission in Afghanistan, according to data provided to CBC News Network's Power & Politics from Veterans Affairs Canada.

U.S. Justice Department appeals morning-after pill ruling

The U.S. Justice Department filed a notice of appeal Wednesday over a federal judge's ruling that directed the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after birth-control pill available to females of all ages without a prescription. The government also filed a motion for a temporary stay of the FDA's approval on Tuesday of the availability of the Plan B One-Step emergency contraception pill without a prescription for ages 15 and older, reports CNN.

Study raises concerns about use of an antibiotic in people with heart problems

An antibiotic commonly prescribed for bronchitis and sinus infections may increase the risk of death from heart problems, but only for people with certain risk factors, a new study suggests. The study involved more than a million cases of antibiotic treatment for young and middle-age adults living in Denmark. Use of the antibiotic azithromycin was linked with nearly a threefold increase in the risk of dying from heart problems over the five-day treatment, compared with not taking antibiotics. Azithromycin is sold under the brand name Zithromax, and a treatment course is commonly referred to as a "Z pack," reports Fox News

Food, skin allergies increasing in U.S. children

Parents are reporting more skin and food allergies in their children, a large U.S. government survey found. Experts aren't sure what's behind the increase. Could it be that children are growing up in households so clean that it leaves them more sensitive to things that can trigger allergies? Or are mom and dad paying closer attention to rashes and reactions, and more likely to call it an allergy? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey suggests that about 1 in 20 U.S. children have food allergies. That's a 50-per-cent increase from the late 1990s. For eczema and other skin allergies, it's 1 in 8 children, an increase of 69 per cent. It found no increase, however, in hay fever or other respiratory allergies, reports Fox News.

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Is this the key to eternal youth?

New research has found that a single region of the brain may control the aging process. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the United States believe that the hypothalamus – the area of the brain which controls hunger, thirst, body temperature and fatigue – may be the "fountain of aging," controlling how the body declines over time. They say they have discovered a specific age-related signalling pathway which opens up new strategies for combatting diseases of old age and extending lifespan, reports the Daily Mail.

Saudi Arabia Sars-like virus 'kills five'

Five people in Saudi Arabia have died from a SARS-like virus and two more are seriously ill, officials say. The novel coronavirus (NCoV) causes pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure. It is from the same family of viruses as the one that caused an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that emerged in Asia in 2003. A statement from the Saudi health ministry said it was taking "all precautionary measures for persons who have been in contact with the infected people … and has taken samples from them to examine if they are infected." However, the ministry gave no details on how many people had been tested for the disease, reports BBC News.

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