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Bill To Expand Insurance Coverage Of Contraception For Teens Fuels Debate In West Va.

The antiabortion-rights group Family Policy Council of West Virginia issued a statement Wednesday calling on state lawmakers to support abstinence-only sex education and oppose legislation that would expand insurance coverage of contraception for teens, the Charleston Gazette reports. Earlier in the week, several reproductive-rights groups -- led by WV FREE -- held a press conference advocating for passage of a House bill (HB 4272) that would require health insurers to cover contraceptives for teens who are insured through their parents' plans. At the event, organizers said they hoped the legislation would receive support from antiabortion-rights groups because expanding access to contraception could lower the rate of unintended teen pregnancies and reduce the need for abortion.

Latest Abstinence Study Does Little To Quell Sex Education Debate

A recent study showing that an experimental abstinence-only sex education program was effective in delaying sexual activity among teenagers is far from the last word in the debate over sex education, the Boston Globe reports. According to the Globe, the study's results come at a "pivotal point" in the debate, as the latest data show that the U.S. teen pregnancy rate rose in 2006 for the first time in since the early 1990s. The sex education study, conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, found that sixth- and seventh-graders in Philadelphia who were enrolled in an abstinence-only program that did not include a moralistic message were less likely to become sexually active than students who completed a comprehensive program that included information about contraception.

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Also In Global Health News: Boosting Banana Production; Measles Vaccines In Bangladesh; NTDs; Burkina Faso Maternal Care; Health Care, HIV In S.A.

Moderate Fertilizer Use Could Double Banana Production In East Africa, Improve Food Security A study of almost 200 farms in Uganda, funded by USAID and carried out by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), found that moderate use of mineral fertilizers could double banana production in East Africa and improve the lives of more than 70 million people dependent on the crop for food and income, the East African/allAfrica.com reports (Mande, 2/15). A majority of banana growers in the region make no use of fertilizers, the study found, afrol News writes (2/12). In related news, Pana/Afrique en ligne reports that new maize varieties, developed by IITA and partners, could boost food security in West and Central Africa.

Restrictions On Female Plasma May Not Be Warranted

Three years after the U.S. blood banking industry issued recommendations that discourage transfusing plasma from female donors because of a potential antibody reaction, Duke University Medical Center researchers discovered that female plasma actually may have advantages. The Duke team conducted a retrospective study of Red Cross donor and hospital data from a period when female plasma wasn't restricted. They examined heart surgery outcomes for lung problems, and prolonged length of hospital stay or death. Cardiac surgery patients use about one-fifth of all transfused blood products. They found that patients receiving female-donor plasma did significantly better than similar patients receiving male-donor plasma.

New Book Suggests Workplace Gendered Tradeoffs Lead To Economic Inequalities For Women

Despite big changes over recent decades, workplace gender inequalities endure in the United States and other industrialized nations around the world. These inequalities are created by facets of national social policy that either ease or concentrate the demands of care giving within households and shape expectations in the workplace, according to University of Washington sociologists. In a new book, "Gendered Tradeoffs: Family, Social Policy and Economic Inequality in Twenty-One Countries, " Becky Pettit and Jennifer Hook contend workplace equality for women boils down to not only whether women are included in the work force but on how they are included.

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Helix BioPharma Announces Positive Interim Results From Its Ongoing Phase II Pharmacokinetic Clinical Study Of Topical Interferon Alpha-2b

Helix BioPharma Corp. (TSX, FSE: HBP; Pink Sheets: HXBPF) announced that the first ten patients that have been enrolled in its Phase II pharmacokinetic study of Topical Interferon Alpha-2b in patients with low-grade cervical lesions have completed the pharmacokinetic primary endpoint analyses with positive findings. All ten of these patients, at all sampling time points, were found to have systemic interferon alpha-2b levels below the lower limit of detection (6.25 pg/mL) of the validated bioassay used in the study. These findings are consistent with the primary purpose of the study: to verify that Topical Interferon Alpha-2b causes no significant systemic interferon alpha-2b exposure in patients following cervical application.

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