Dirtier Air May Increase Risk

Of Heart Problems in Diabetics

People with diabetes may face a higher risk of cardiovascular problems when air pollution levels rise, according to a study in this month's issue of the journal Circulation.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, found that blood vessels in diabetics did not dilate as easily on days when there were higher levels of airborne particles from traffic and coal-burning power plants. This reduction in blood-flow control, known as "impaired vascular reactivity," has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and other heart problems.

"We hope our study will remind people that reducing air pollution is important for everyone's health, but especially for vulnerable members of our population, including the elderly and people with chronic health problems such as diabetes," said the study's leader, Marie O'Neill, an epidemiologist with the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at the University of Michigan.

Discovery of Short-Necked Dinosaur

Defies Theory on Size of One Group

The discovery of a short-necked dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period has upset accepted theory that long-necks ruled, scientists said.

The skeleton of the dinosaur, discovered in Patagonia, is less than 10 yards long, compared with the increased body size and neck length that typified sauropods.

"The long neck is a particular hallmark of sauropod dinosaurs and is usually regarded as a key feeding adaptation," scientists from the Bavarian State Collection for Paleontology and Geology in Munich wrote in the journal Nature.

They said the discovery of the adult short-necked specimen in a group of dinosaurs known as dicraeosaurids demonstrated a clear counter-trend and "indicates that the ecology of dicraeosaurids might have differed considerably from that of other sauropods."

Newer Drug Found to Cut Chance

Of Death in Breast Cancer Patients

Breast cancer patients who take the drug docetaxel instead of the older medicine fluorouracil cut their risk of death by 30 percent, researchers said.

"There's no group of patients that didn't benefit, so you can't pick out someone who's not a winner from the new treatment," said the study's author, John Mackey of the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved 1,491 women whose tumors had spread to at least one lymph node. Each drug was used in combination with two other commonly used anti-cancer medicines, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide.

Docetaxel also reduced the recurrence of cancer. Of the patients put on docetaxel, breast tumors reappeared in 25 percent after five years, compared with 32 percent of those using fluorouracil.

-- Compiled from reports by

staff writer Juliet Eilperin and Reuters