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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the sale of a new wheelchair that enables users to operate on two wheels, allowing them to better negotiate obstacles like stairs and uneven pavement. Powered by a rechargeable battery that can operate up to a full day on a single charge, the wheelchair uses an integrated system of electronic, sensor and software components to automatically adjust itself according to the seat's movement and the user's center of gravity. These components are accompanied by a backup system to assure the safety of the user. It was invented by Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research and Development Corporation, best known for the two-wheeled Segway transporter.
In a 20-year follow-up study of mortality data on residents living within a five-mile radius of Three Mile Island (TMI), researchers at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) found no significant increase overall in deaths from cancer. "This survey of data, which covers the normal latency period for most cancers, confirms our earlier analysis that radioactivity released during the nuclear accident at TMI does not appear to have caused an overall increase in cancer deaths among residents of that area over the follow-up period, l979 to l998," said Evelyn Talbott, Dr.P.H., professor of epidemiology at GSPH and principal investigator on the study.