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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Panel Advises Dropping PSA Test

A government task force made the controversial recommendation last week that the PSA test should be abandoned as a prostate cancer screening tool. The panel came to that conclusion after determining that the side effects from needless biopsies and treatments hurt many more men than are potentially helped by early detection of cancers.

In other biomedical news, a new study suggests that long-acting birth control devices are nearly 22 times as reliable as contraceptive pills or other short-acting approaches that need close monitoring.

Nearly one in four American adolescents may be on the verge of developing Type 2 diabetes or could already be diabetic, representing a sharp increase in the disease's prevalence among children ages 12 to 19 since a decade ago.

And, finally, the government proposed that all baby boomers get tested for hepatitis C. Anyone born from 1945 to 1965 should get a one-time blood test to see if they have the liver-destroying virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in draft recommendations issued last week.


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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

CREAM Inflating

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

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