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The Globe and Mail

86 deaths in 45 years from bad acupuncture

A patient lies on a bed as he undergoes acupuncture treatment at Beijing's Capital Medical University Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital April 6, 2010.

David Gray / Reuters/David Gray / Reuters

Deadly acupuncture

"Eighty-six people have been accidentally killed by badly trained acupuncturists over the past 45 years, according to Britain's leading expert on alternative medicine," The Guardian reports. "A review of patients who died soon after acupuncture found a history of punctured hearts and lungs, damaged arteries and livers, nerve problems, shock, infection and hemorrhage, largely caused by practitioners placing their needles incorrectly or failing to sterilize their equipment. Many of the 86 patients, aged between 26 and 82 years old, died after being treated by acupuncturists in China or Japan, but a handful of fatalities were recorded in the U.S., Germany and Australia. … The most common cause of death was a condition called pneumothorax, where air finds its way between the membranes that separate the lungs from the chest wall and causes the lungs to collapse."

The upside of down

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"Emerging scientific research suggests coping with adverse life events improves our ability to adapt and handle future events," reports. "… The new national multi-year longitudinal study of the effects of adverse life events on mental health discovered that the experiences appear to foster adaptability and resilience. As such, an individual is able to handle future mental-health issues and possess a strong sense of well-being." The study will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Not sure? Shout

"Two years ago, faith in free-market capitalism was badly shaken when the international banking system nearly collapsed," reports. "To many, a sober re-evaluation of the government's regulatory role seemed an inevitable response. Instead, today's political discourse is largely driven by the Tea Party movement, which is impassioned and vocal in its defence of unfettered free-market capitalism.… Newly published research confirms and expands upon an insight first revealed in the 1950s: If confidence in one's core tenets becomes shaky, a common response is to proselytize all the more vigorously. The apparent reason, according to Northwestern University researchers David Gal and Derek Rucker, is that advocacy on behalf of one's beliefs helps banish any uncomfortable lack of certainty."

College expands scope

"Zach Neff is all high-fives as he walks through his college campus in western Missouri," Associated Press reports. "The 27-year-old with Down syndrome hugs most everybody, repeatedly. He tells teachers he loves them. 'I told Zach we are putting him on a hug diet - one to say hello and one to say goodbye,' said Joyce Downing, who helped start a new program at the University of Central Missouri that serves students with disabilities. The hope is that polishing up on social skills, like cutting back on the hugs, living in residence halls and going to classes with non-disabled classmates, will help students like Neff be more independent and get better jobs."

Now serving

- "Something new is on the menu at a renovated Starbucks in Seattle: beer and wine," Associated Press reports. "The store that reopened Monday is the first under the Starbucks brand to offer alcohol. Craft beer and local wines go on sale after 4 p.m. The idea is to offer drinks and a wider variety of savoury food that will attract customers after the morning espresso rush."

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- "A traffic police officer in Russia had to dive for cover - when a pack of wild wolves started chasing after him on a motorway," reports. "The shocked officer had pulled over a motorist who had a headlight out on the M23 highway, near Rostov-on-Don. Suddenly, he spotted the pack of marauding wolves behind him and jumped into the back of the car he had just stopped. … The animals, thought to be grey wolves, appear to have overcome any fear of humans in their search for food."

Extreme Bumblebee: 63.356 seconds

"A violinist has broken the record for the fastest performance of the Flight of the Bumblebee," BBC News reports. "Oliver Lewis managed to play the piece in one minute and 3.356 seconds. He performed the feat live on the BBC children's program Blue Peter."

Thought du jour

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."

John Cage (1912-92), American composer

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