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8 health stories to watch today: Smoking ‘poses bigger risk to women’

A woman smokes a cigarette outside of an office in central London May 6, 2009.


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

Neonatal intensive care treatments linked to intellectual disabilities

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Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) interventions for babies born very small and early have drastically reduced infant deaths in the United States, but in doing so they've contributed to more intellectual disabilities, according to a new study reported by Reuters.

Ireland proposes limited access to abortion amid heated debate

Irish government ministers agreed to draft legislation on Tuesday to allow for limited access to abortion where a woman's life is in danger, including the threat of suicide, a proposal that has already divided the country's ruling coalition, reports Reuters.

Attention-Deficit Drugs face new campus rules in U.S.

Although few experts dispute that stimulant medications can be safe and successful treatments for many people with a proper ADHD diagnosis, the growing concern about overuse has led some U.S. universities, as one student health director put it, "to get out of the ADHD business." Some universities are requiring students to sign contracts promising not to misuse pills or share them with classmates. And some schools, citing the rigour required to make a proper ADHD diagnosis, forbid their clinicians to make one or prescribe stimulants, and instead refer students to off-campus providers, reports The New York Times.

Peterborough hospital spotted chemo drug error on first day

A pharmacy assistant at a Peterborough, Ont., hospital discovered by accident that cancer drugs administered to 1,200 patients in two provinces were diluted. Hospital officials say a red flag was raised when the assistant checked the labels on bags of the drug mixture provided by Marchese Hospital Solutions, reports The Canadian Press.

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Alberta streamlines cancer services under one agency

The Alberta government is realigning all cancer care under one umbrella agency to improve research and front-line help for patients, reports The Canadian Press. "This will be the first time in our province's history that we've had a completely co-ordinated cancer strategy that is long-term, and that looks at everything from prevention right through to how we support survivors," Health Minister Fred Horne told a news conference Tuesday.

Babies born weighing more than 9 lb, 14 oz or under 5 lb, 5oz have a higher of developing autism

Babies born either very small or very large have a higher risk of developing autism, according to the largest ever study into the issue. It is the first time that a clear link has been made between babies who grow to above-average size at birth and risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder . The research, led by the University of Manchester, also confirms earlier research which reported that premature and poorly grown, low-weight babies appear more susceptible to the condition, reports the Daily Mail.

Smoking 'poses bigger risk to women'

Smoking may pose a bigger health threat to women than men, reports BBC News. Women who smoke have a higher risk of cancer than men, Norwegian investigators found. They looked at the medical records of 600,000 patients and discovered the bowel-cancer risk linked to smoking was twice as high in women than men.

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Assisted suicide 'supported' by religious Britons

The majority of British people who follow a religious faith support the law being changed to allow assisted suicide, research suggests. Overall 70 per cent of those questioned said they backed a change in the law, with 16 per cent opposing it, reports BBC News.

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