Health Highlights: April 3, 2014

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

EPA Study Volunteers Not Warned About Cancer and Death Risks

Eighty-one volunteers who inhaled diesel exhaust and other pollutants during five studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency were not warned about long-term cancer risks and a slight chance of death, an internal investigation says.

At least some of the people in the studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 would have liked to have known that there was a risk of death, no matter how small, according to the inspector general, the Associated Press reported.

The investigation concluded that the EPA did not violate any law or regulation, but the agency agreed to disclose all risks on future consent forms.

Diesel fumes contain 19 potentially cancer-causing substances, but an EPA manager said cancer risk in these studies was irrelevant because the volunteers were exposed for two-hour periods, and cancer typically develops over years of exposure, the AP reported.

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New Brain Maps Released

Newly-released brain maps could improve understanding of both healthy and impaired brains, researchers say.

One paper offers the most complete map so far of how the parts of a mouse brain are connected, while the other shows which genes create different types of brain cells in humans and how brain circuits are formed, CNN reported.

The studies were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The papers provide different but complementary approaches to understanding the brain, and the lead investigators of both studies compared their brain maps to "Google Maps," CNN reported.

Posted: April 2014


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