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Health briefs: Swine flu vaccine reaches 20 percent of Americans

20 percent of americans get swine flu shot

About one in five Americans — roughly 61 million people — has been vaccinated against swine flu, according to the federal government's first detailed survey of vaccination rates.

The estimate is based on two telephone surveys done in December and early January.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the numbers are good, considering it's a preliminary report about a hurried campaign against a novel flu virus, using a vaccine that did not become available to the public until early October — and then, only in limited supplies.

Study: Cats don't look like owners

It has long been known that overweight people tend to have overweight dogs. But a study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition investigated the situation further and determined that there's no such link when it comes to cats. The Dutch authors conclude that this difference may be due to the fact that dog owners either walk their dogs — or don't. The same relationship does not hold for cats, which tend not to be walked.

Imagine meat raised in the lab

Call it pork in a petri dish. Dutch scientists say a technique to turn pig stem cells into strips of meat could one day offer a green alternative to raising livestock, and help alleviate world hunger.

The scientists have been growing pork in the lab since 2006, and while they admit they haven't gotten the texture quite right or even tasted the engineered meat, they say the technology promises to have widespread implications.

"If we took the stem cells from one pig and multiplied it by a factor of a million, we would need 1 million fewer pigs to get the same amount of meat," said Mark Post, a biologist at Maastricht University involved in the In-vitro Meat Consortium, a network of publicly funded Dutch research institutions carrying out the experiments.

Post describes the texture of the meat as sort of like scallop, firm but a little squishy and moist. That's because the lab meat has less protein than conventional meat.

Weekends are great, here's proof

People are happier and feel better on the weekends, according to new research. That may be obvious to you, but on closer examination, the study reveals some interesting observations about leisure time.

For example, everyone is happier on the weekend — even people who love their jobs — no matter what type of profession or the pay they earn.

The study found that people love the freedom associated with weekends and even feel better physically. Perhaps most surprising is that people say they feel more competent during the weekend than on the job.

Researchers based their findings on responses from 74 volunteers ages 18 to 62.

"Far from frivolous, the relatively unfettered time on weekends provides critical opportunities for bonding with others, exploring interests and relaxing — basic psychological needs that people should be careful not to crowd out with overwork," the lead author of the study, Richard Ryan, from the University of Rochester, said in a news release. The study was published in the January issue of Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Times wires

Health briefs: Swine flu vaccine reaches 20 percent of Americans 01/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 6:42pm]
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