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Health & Wellness

Studies link legal marijuana with fewer opioid prescriptions

:NEW YORK — Can legalizing marijuana fight the problem of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses? Two new studies in the debate suggest it may.

Pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, so advocates for liberalizing marijuana laws have proposed it as a lower-risk alternative to opioids. But some research suggests marijuana may encourage opioid use, and so might make the epidemic worse.

Science Says: What we know about cancer risk and coffee

Trouble is brewing for coffee lovers in California, where a judge ruled that sellers must post scary warnings about cancer risks. But how frightened should we be of a daily cup of joe? Not very, some scientists and available evidence seem to suggest.

Scientific concerns about coffee have eased in recent years, and many studies even suggest it can help health.

Poverty related to lower breastfeeding rates: study

TORONTO — A new study suggests mothers who can’t afford enough food are more likely to stop breastfeeding before other moms, even though nearly all begin at a similar rate.

University of Toronto researchers don’t delve into the reasons why, but conclude that financially vulnerable women struggle significantly more to breastfeed and need more government support.

Superagers’ brains offer clues for sharp memory in old age

WASHINGTON — It’s pretty extraordinary for people in their 80s and 90s to keep the same sharp memory as someone several decades younger, and now scientists are peeking into the brains of these “superagers” to uncover their secret.

The work is the flip side of the disappointing hunt for new drugs to fight or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Report details harm to Cuba diplomats but offers no cause

WASHINGTON — Doctors are releasing the first detailed medical reports about the hearing, vision, balance and brain symptoms suffered in what the State Department has called “health attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba. Still missing: A clear diagnosis of just what happened to trigger their mysterious health problems.

Flu season still getting worse; now as bad as 2009 swine flu

NEW YORK — The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago.

A government report out Friday shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That ties the highest level seen in the U.S. during swine flu in 2009.