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This blog aims to be your news presence for health stories that break during the week and cannot be put into the print version of the Tribune.

So without further introduction, let’s get started.

Alcohol and breast cancer

Drinking while undergoing treatment for breast cancer may improve your chances of surviving the disease, a new study from the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed.

It should also be noted that drinking has been shown to be a risk factor in the development of breast cancer.

Researchers followed approximately 25,000 breast cancer patients for 11 years, according to the study, and found that, on average, those who drank three to six drinks per week before they developed cancer were 15 percent more likely to survive.

Those same women were also shown to have better cardiovascular health than those who did not.

Air pollution and birth defects

Increasing rates of pollution have been allegedly linked to an increase in birth defects in babies, a new study from the online version of the American Journal of Epidemiology found.

Two previous studies, one tracking birth defects since 1997 and the other recording concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and various particulate matters in various counties in San Joaquin Valley, Calif., since the 1970s.

The researchers found that prospective mothers living in areas where levels of carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxide concentration were in the top 25 percent were almost twice as likely to have a child diagnosed with neural tube defects than those living in areas with lower concentrations.

The researchers said that the research would have to be backed up with more data before they can affirmatively say whether pollution does cause an increase in birth defects.

Universities and charity

Research laboratories at American and Canadian universities were graded on their labs’ efforts to assess the world’s poor.

The report card was sponsored by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, a student group with various chapters around the world. The group released the grades in a report along with Doctors Without Borders.

The University of British Columbia received the top grade, while Case Western Reserve, John Hopkins, the University of California – Irvine, Harvard and Emory University all received B grades. All the other universities didn’t receive grades higher than a C+.

The grades were determined through three categories: how much research is devoted to neglected diseases in deprived countries, how much effort is made to ensure that discoveries are made available to the deprived countries and how available global health courses are.

A previous report card was released last year by Access to Medicine Index. It was originally ignored but has since been seen as a marketing tool by major companies.

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