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Say 'Aaah' | Vitals

Curing Disease

January 18, 1999

In a recent survey of Americans conducted for Shell Oil Co., most expressed optimism that cures would be found for major diseases such as cancer and diabetes in the next 30 years.

The Shell Poll of 1,264 randomly selected adults, 18 and older, was conducted Nov. 5-8 by Peter D. Hart Research Associates.

It found that Americans were "very optimistic" about cures for:

* Spinal cord injuries, 67%.

* Hepatitis, 63%.

* Cancer, 59%.

* Herpes, 54%.

* Alzheimer's disease, 51%.

* Diabetes, 65%.

* Food-borne diseases, 61%.

* AIDS, 54%.

* Multiple sclerosis, 52%.

Less than a majority said cures would be found for stroke / heart disease (45%), obesity (40%) and the common cold (38%).

Other findings:

* Almost half of the women younger than 40 selected effective birth control over weight-control medication and cosmetic-related advances.

--Just 7% of respondents chose advances for hair-loss prevention.

--Only 4% chose new drugs to improve sexual potency.

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