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ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS LINKED TO BREAST CANCER

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Researchers at the University of North Carolina have raised the possibility that women who are exposed to strong electromagnetic fields are more susceptible to breast cancer.

Led by Dr. Dana Loomis, an epidemiologist at UNC's School of Public Health in Chapel Hill, investigators have determined that women who are electrical engineers, telephone installers, power line workers and electricians are 40 percent more likely to contract fatal breast cancers than women who aren't exposed to strong electromagnetic fields.No excessive risk was found among women who are telephone operators, electronic data keyboarders, computer operators and programmers, air traffic controllers and communications equipment operators.

The possible link between electromagnetic fields and breast cancer risk was determined by a statistical analysis, Loomis reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. That's a long way from being conclusive evidence, he added.

"Women working in electrical jobs shouldn't quit those jobs," he said. "At the same time, our results should get researchers' attention and should be investigated further."

- Pediatricians are using a drug to prevent brain hemorrhages that cause mental retardation, seizures and cerebral palsy in very tiny newborn babies.

Physicians at three New England hospitals have reduced brain damage by giving the drug indomethacin to very small babies six to 12 hours after birth.

Physicians don't know why the drug works as well as it does but have found it lowers blood flow, prevents sudden blood surges to the brain and reduces the production of fatty acids that dilate blood vessels.