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Foodborne illness refers to any sickness that results from consuming a solid food, milk, water or other beverage, generally because it has been contaminated. The Centers for Disease Control estimated in 1999 that there are 76 million cases of foodborne illness annually in the United States, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. This is the most recent estimate available as of March 2010. The total impact of foodborne illness, however, is likely underestimated because many cases are not reported.

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The therapeutic use of cannabis (marijuana) is a hot topic in some parts of the United States. The National Institutes of Health do not recommend its use for treatment of any illness, though some physicians prescribe it for pain, glaucoma, nausea and anorexia associated with chemotherapy, and, less commonly, for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, migraine, and asthma. Laws on medical usage vary by state, with 13 states, as of July 2009, permitting medical usage under certain conditions. The majority of Web sites on medical marijuana have a bias one way or another.

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William Fenical is a professor of oceanography at UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and director of the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at Scripps. His research involves the isolation and identification of active chemical materials from marine plants and animals that may have potential pharmaceutical or agricultural uses. His research involves marine organic chemistry with a focus on chemical defense mechanisms in marine organisms and the chemistry of marine microorganisms.

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Dr. Marjorie Kagawa-Singer is a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health and Department of Asian American Studies. Her clinical work and research have been in oncology, focusing upon the disparities in physical and mental health care outcomes of ethnic minority populations with cancer -- primarily with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.

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Dr. Igor Grant is a professor and executive vice chairman of the psychiatry department at the UCSD School of Medicine. He also serves as director of two important research programs at UCSD: the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center (HNRC), a clinical research center designated and funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health; and the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), headquartered at UCSD and a collaborative effort of UCSD and UCLA to rigorously study the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis to treat certain diseases.

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In 2002, health care costs, particularly for cancer treatments, were soaring for seniors in some Medicare HMOs. After negative publicity about one HMO's drastic increase in chemotherapy copayments, the HMO agreed to reduce the cost to make it more affordable for patients.

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