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11 percent of women say they've used the morning-after pill: CDC

NorLevo is an emergency contraceptive pill that's available overseas.
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Emergency contraception use is on the rise, federal health officials reported on Thursday, with nearly 6 million U.S. women reporting they'd used it at least once in their lives.

That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which said in a data brief that, between 2006 and 2010, 11 percent of women said they'd used emergency contraceptive pills – up from 4.2 percent in 2002 and less than 1 percent in 1995.

There are at least four brands of emergency contraceptive pills, said the CDC, with Plan B being one of the most recognized names. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines emergency contraceptive pills as a method "that can be used to prevent pregnancy in the first few days after intercourse" – one that's "intended for emergency use following unprotected intercourse, contraceptive failure or misuse (such as forgotten pills or torn condoms), rape or coerced sex."


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Synthetic pot linked to possible kidney damage in CDC report

Federal researchers have linked marijuana's synthetic counterpart to serious kidney damage.
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In its relatively short time in the public eye, synthetic pot has gained a fair amount of notoriety – and not really the good kind.

For one, there was the case of 17-year-old Emily Bauer, who ended up in the intensive care unit after allegedly buying and smoking a form of the stuff she and some friends bought at a gas station in early December.

Then there was the report that showed that synthetic pot was a factor in more than 11,400 emergency room visits in 2010.

And now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say smoking synthetic marijuana may be linked to serious kidney damage.

What is synthetic pot?

Simply put, the synthetic form of weed is "one isolated part of the chemical structure of the cannabis plant."

That's according to Allan St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, which advocates for the repeal of laws that prohibit marijuana. He told KPCC last March that synthetic pot tends to be "much more potent," and in the case of human consumption, has a "largely unknown effect."


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Beer Institute president: Parents, not ads, influence underage drinking

Beer advertising and marketing, said the president of the Beer Institute, doesn't play nearly as big a role in young people's decision to drink underage as their parents do.
Michael Fajardo/Flickr Creative Commons

As we detailed in a post on Tuesday, Bud Light is the alcohol of choice for underage drinkers, according to a recent survey that gauged the taste of people who legally shouldn't be drinking.

The study, appearing in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, listed the top 25 preferred brands among imbibers younger than 21, and beer was more than popular: Besides Bud Light's No. 1 spot, there were also appearances by the following:

  • Budweiser (No. 3)
  • Coors Light (No. 5)
  • Corona Extra (No. 7)
  • Heineken (No. 11)
  • Blue Moon (No. 13)
  • Miller Lite (No. 16)
  • Keystone Light (No. 20)
  • Corona Extra Light (No. 24)

Underage drinkers, in other words, like beer.

The study wanted to figure out which brands they liked so they could start to figure out how advertising affects consumption, noting that the "most important function of alcohol advertising" is "developing brand capital – that is, the meaning and emotion associated with a brand."


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Heart disease among minority women and when clinicians rely on a hunch: In health news today

Clinicians who guess whether their patients have an alcohol problem, as opposed to asking a set of screening questions, may be missing up to 75 percent of potential cases, said a new study.
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Minority women are 66 percent less likely than their white counterparts to be aware of the risks and symptoms of heart disease, says a new study, and even when they are aware, they're less likely to try to do anything about it. ABCNews.com says minority women tend to have high rates of "almost" risk factors: blood pressure that isn't quite high; blood sugar that isn't quite diabetic – but both of those things can still hurt the heart.

Experts say the morning-after pill helps prevent pregnancy after sex by hindering ovulation or making it more difficult for sperm to move to an egg. According to the New York Times, use of the morning-after pill is on the rise: In 2002, 7 percent of women used the pill, compared to the period between 2006 and 2010, when 11 percent of women reported using it. The increase in popularity is driven largely by women in their early twenties.


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Makers of Four Loko ordered to label malt beverage with 'alcohol facts'

Four Loko will now begin labeling their containers with "Alcohol Facts" under order from the Federal Trade Commission.
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Four Loko drinkers will now know exactly how much malt liquor they're consuming, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered the makers of the beverage to begin labeling containers with "Alcohol Facts."

These facts will include the container size, percentage alcohol by volume, number of servings in the container and serving size in fluid ounces.

This decision comes after Phusion Projects, LLC, -- the makers of the controverisal Four Loko -- was accused of falsely claiming that a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko contains the same amount of alochol as one or two beers, and that an individual could safely consume one in a single sitting.

In reality, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, one 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko is really more like four to five beers, so part of the FTC order is that Phusion must redesign cans containing more than 2.5 servings of alcohol so that the drink can be resealed -- and, doesn't have to be consumed in one sitting.


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