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Nation briefs 1/10/06

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Shortness of breath sends Cheney to hospital

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney landed in the hospital for several hours early Monday morning with shortness of breath, an ominous symptom in a four-time heart-attack survivor. Doctors immediately had to rule out the worst possibilities, such as a blood clot in the lungs or heart failure. The diagnosis turned out to be a side effect of painkillers Cheney was taking for a foot ailment: The anti-inflammatory drug caused his body to retain fluid, leading to swelling around the lungs. Given a diuretic to flush out the fluid, Cheney headed home and by afternoon was back at work.

Newer methods tested to fight breast cancer

WASHINGTON -- Radiation may get a little easier for thousands of breast cancer patients: Doctors now can target cancer-killing beams just at the tumor site instead of the whole breast, cutting the usual six-week treatment down to five days. A major study is underway to prove whether the easier therapy is as effective as the old-fashioned kind -- and if so, who's a good candidate and which of three five-day methods works best. Even before those results are in, Canadian scientists are working to speed treatment still further. They've developed a one-day method, permanently implanting radiation seeds inside the breast to kill stray cancer cells while women go about their normal routines -- just like men's prostate cancer can be treated today.

Court denies DeLay's request to drop charges

AUSTIN, Texas -- The state's highest criminal court on Monday denied Rep. Tom DeLay's request that the money laundering charges against him be dismissed or sent back to a lower court for an immediate trial. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the requests with no written order two days after he announced he was stepping down as House majority leader. DeLay had been forced to temporarily relinquish the Republican leadership post after he was indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges in September. DeLay, who denies wrongdoing, had been trying to rush to trial in Texas in hopes of clearing his name and regaining the position.

Cow's escapade-filled escape may spare its life

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- A spirited cow that jumped a slaughterhouse gate and evaded capture for six hours has drawn clemency pleas and may not be doomed after all. Appeals to spare the life of the 1,200-pound heifer came from across the nation after she fled Mickey's Packing Plant on Thursday, and had several near-death experiences before walking into a makeshift pen and then a stock trailer. Road and rail traffic nearly hit her, she almost drowned while crossing the Missouri River and she refused to be stilled by three tranquilizer darts. The manager of Mickey's Packing Plant said the animal he dubbed Molly B. probably will be spared from the killing floor. Employees at Mickey's voted 10-1 to keep her alive.

Bird flu might be more common, but milder

CHICAGO -- As bird flu cases rise at a disturbing pace in Turkey, new research offers a bit of hope -- it's likely that many people who get it don't become seriously ill and quickly recover. Although not definitive, the new study suggests the virus is more widespread than thought. But it also probably doesn't kill half its victims, a fear based solely on flu cases that have been officially confirmed. The H5N1 strain has ravaged flocks in at least 16 mostly Asian countries since late 2003 and is starting to spread to birds in Eastern Europe.

-- From wire reports


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