THE GOOD NEWS
-- Despite low incomes and poor access to medical care, Hispanics appear to have mortality rates from major chronic illnesses like respiratory disease, cancer and heart disease that are between 25% and 33% lower than the rates for other white Americans. Researchers speculate that one reason for the discrepancy is the stronger family ties among Hispanics.
-- The Food and Drug Administration will probably approve a long-awaited vaccine for chickenpox by spring. Each year 4 million Americans, mostly youngsters, catch chickenpox; about 9,000 develop serious complications ranging from blood infections to brain damage, and about 90 die.