Your Health

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GOT CIPRO? In the wake of the anthrax attacks that killed five last year, public-health officials protectively prescribed antibiotics to 9,300 Americans. But only 44% completed the full 60-day course. Of those who took their medicine, 57% reported side effects, 16% sought medical attention and 9% were told to stop. The study found that the main reason people didn't finish their pills was that they felt their exposure risk was low.

BLUES BUSTER They were an early and powerful class of antidepressants, but monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOAs) fell out of favor because they could trigger nasty reactions. There may be new life in the old drugs, however. A study now finds that when the medicine is delivered via a transdermal patch, effectiveness remains high while side effects are low.

GRIM REAPERS Fifty six million people die each year and, according to the World Health Organization, 10 risk factors account for 40% of the deaths. WHO's Top 10 list begins with hunger and ends with obesity. The others: unsafe sex, high blood pressure, tobacco, alcohol, bad water and poor sanitation, high cholesterol, indoor air pollution and iron deficiency. Eliminate these, says WHO, and you could add 16 years to healthy life spans in Africa and up to five years in developed countries such as the U.S. and Japan.

Sources: Emerging Infectious Diseases; American Journal of Psychiatry; FDA