Health Highlights: Nov. 1, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007; 12:00 AM

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors ofHealthDay:

Most U.S. Adults Support School-Provided Birth Control

Most U.S. adults (67 percent) favor allowing public schools to provide birth control to students and 62 percent said they believe providing contraception would reduce the number of teen pregnancies, according to anAssociated Press-Ipsospoll released Thursday.

Those in favor of schools providing contraceptives include 37 percent who think they should be given only to students who have parental consent, and 30 percent who believe contraceptives should be available to any student who asks for them.

The survey of 1,004 adults found that those who were younger and from cities or suburbs were more likely to support no restrictions, while minorities, older and lower-income people were more likely to favor parental consent, theAPreported.

Whites and high-income earners were most likely to be opposed to schools providing birth control to students.

Other survey findings included:

51 percent of respondents said sex education and birth control would be better for reducing teen pregnancies, while 46 percent said morality and abstinence were better methods. Nearly 70 percent of white evangelicals and about half of Catholics and Protestants preferred abstinence.49 percent of respondents said providing teens with birth control wouldn't encourage sexual intercourse, while 46 percent said it would.


New Laser Technique Kills Bacteria and Viruses

Targeted laser pulses can destroy harmful bacteria and viruses and may prove effective in treating infections, according to an Arizona State University study in theJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter.

The researchers developed a method -- called impulsive stimulated Raman scattering (ISRS) -- that uses laser pulses to destroy microorganisms without harming healthy human cells. The scientists said this technique may eventually offer a new way to control viruses and bacteria commonly found in hospitals,CBC Newsreported.

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