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Study: Sweeteners Boost Diabetes Risk

Promoted as an aid to good health, artificial sweeteners may in fact be boosting diabetes risk, said a study Wednesday that urged a rethink of their widespread use and endorsement.

Also called non-calorific artificial sweeteners, or NAS, the additives are found in diet sodas, cereals and desserts -- a huge market for people worried about weight gain and sugar intake.

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Ultrasounds, CT Scans Equal at Finding Kidney Stones

Ultrasounds are just as effective as CT scans at finding kidney stones and should be used as a first step to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure, U.S. researchers said Wednesday.

The study in the New England Journal of Medicine randomized nearly 3,000 people who went to emergency rooms for suspected kidney stones.

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Asia's Rising Tobacco Epidemic

Smoke-filled bars and packed cancer wards reflect decades of neglect of no-smoking policies in Asia, where both high- and low-income countries are belatedly waking up to a growing tobacco-related health epidemic.

Researchers say inadequate public awareness of smoking risks, coupled with aggressive tobacco marketing, has left Asian nations with some of the highest smoking rates in the world at a time when sustained anti-smoking campaigns have lowered rates in the U.S. and parts of Europe.

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Lather Against Ebola', an 'Ice Bucket' Challenge against the Virus

Bringing a soapy twist to the "Ice Bucket Challenge" that has swept the world in recent weeks, Ivorians are raising awareness about the deadly disease outbreak in west Africa with a new "Lather Against Ebola" campaign.

People in Ivory Coast do use ice in their variation, but have added a good head of lather to alert others to the need for hygiene to ward off the Ebola epidemic raging in neighbouring countries.

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Mystery Illness Plagues Girls in Colombia

First their hands and feet feel cold. Then they go pale and cannot move. Some convulse and fall to the floor.

A mystery illness is plaguing girls in this town in northern Colombia, and locals say a vaccine against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV, is to blame.

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Abou Faour Says Lebanon Free of Ebola, to Send Aid to Expats in Africa

Minister of Public Health Wael Abou Faour confirmed Wednesday that “Lebanon is free of any Ebola case till now,” denying media reports that a Lebanese young man has been killed by the disease.

“The media reports on the death of a Lebanese young man because of this virus are not true,” Abou Faour said.

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Severe Respiratory Illness Confirmed in 12 States

Health officials say 12 states now have respiratory illnesses caused by an uncommon virus — enterovirus 68.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania together have 130 lab-confirmed cases. All are children.

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Obama: Ebola Crisis 'Spiraling Out of Control'

President Barack Obama issued a global call to action to fight West Africa's Ebola epidemic on Tuesday, warning the deadly outbreak was unprecedented and "spiraling out of control," threatening hundreds of thousands of people.

Speaking as he unveiled a major new U.S. initiative which will see 3,000 U.S. military personnel deployed to West Africa to combat the growing health crisis, Obama said the outbreak was spreading "exponentially."

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Ministry: First Domestic Case of Chikungunya in Brazil

Brazil’s authorities on Tuesday reported the first domestically contracted cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, prompting the government to announce it was stepping up attempts to control the disease.

The joint disease, which causes high fever and painful arthritis, is endemic to Africa and south Asia but has been moving north as well as west.

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U.N. Security Council to take action on Ebola

Describing the Ebola outbreak as a threat to world peace, the U.N. Security Council is set to adopt a resolution urging countries to provide field hospitals and other urgent aid to West Africa.

A draft of the resolution obtained by AFP on Tuesday also calls on nations to lift travel and border restrictions, and asks airlines and shipping companies to maintain their links with affected countries.

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