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U.S., Liberia kick off trial of Ebola drug ZMapp

A health worker disinfects a road in the Paynesville neighborhood of MonroviaBy Reuters Staff CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. and Liberian researchers have started a clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc's Ebola drug ZMapp, an experimental treatment that has already been tried in a handful of Ebola patients, including two U.S. missionaries. The trial, a joint effort by the Liberian government and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), will be conducted in Liberia and the United States among adults and children infected with Ebola, NIAID said on Friday.


Doctors should take lead in push to curb climate change: experts

A man walks over a bridge as smoke rises from chimneys of a thermal power plant in ShanghaiBy Kyle Plantz LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Doctors should take the lead in supporting political efforts to cut the pace of climate change and encouraging more people to see the problem as a crucial issue for public health, experts say. With the 68th World Health Assembly coming up in May in Geneva, countries are poised to adopt the world's first resolution on air pollution and health, in an effort to reduce premature deaths linked to air pollution. Studies have found that air pollution can worsen a variety of health problems, from heart disease to strokes, said Carlos Dora, coordinator of public health and the environment at the World Health Organization (WHO).


U.S. judge denies Ranbaxy bid to reinstate approvals for Valcyte, Nexium copies

A Ranbaxy office building is pictured in the northern Indian city of MohaliA U.S. federal judge has denied Indian generic drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd's bid to reinstate approvals granted to it to launch the first copies of the heartburn drug Nexium and the antiviral Valcyte, a court document showed. Judge Beryl Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Colombia on Friday also blocked Ranbaxy's plea for a preliminary injunction to halt Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Endo International Plc and Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd from launching copies of the two drugs. The court decision came after Ranbaxy sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November for pulling approvals that would have allowed the Indian firm to launch the first copies of Roche's Valcyte and AstraZeneca Plc's Nexium. FDA had said its earlier decision granting the approvals was "in error" as Ranbaxy's plants at the time were not compliant with the U.S. regulator's manufacturing quality standards.


U.S. border officials seize record 15 tons of pot at California border
U.S. customs officers at a California border crossing seized more than 15 tons of marijuana hidden inside a tractor-trailer shipment designated as a cargo of mattresses, the biggest narcotics bust ever at that port of entry, officials said on Friday.

Reaction to death of 'Star Trek' actor Leonard Nimoy
(Reuters) - Leonard Nimoy, best known for his portrayal of logic-bound Mr. Spock in the "Star Trek" science fiction television series and movies, died on Friday at age 83 after a battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The following are reactions to Nimoy's death: "Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future. I loved Spock," President Barack Obama, whose unemotional approach to problems has been likened to the character Nimoy portrayed on "Star Trek." "I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent and his capacity to love," William Shatner, who co-starred on "Star Trek" as Captain Kirk, said in a statement.

Blood biomarkers found for chronic fatigue syndrome

Blood biomarkers found for chronic fatigue syndromeChronic fatigue syndrome is a disease with distinct stages that can be identified through biomarkers in the blood, researchers said Friday, offering hope that earlier diagnosis may improve treatment. With no known cause or cure, chronic fatigue syndrome -- known formally as encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) -- has long puzzled the medical community. "We now have evidence confirming what millions of people with this disease already know, that ME/CFS isn't psychological," said lead author Mady Hornig, associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School.


New Leprosy Cases Hit Florida
Three people in Volusia county were diagnosed with the rare illness, which is also known as Hansen's Disease.

Canada tells vets without limbs to prove it - every three years
Canadian veterans who are missing limbs will have to prove it every three years to qualify for assistance, instead of every year, the government said on Friday. Canada announced the changes during Question Period in the House of Commons on Friday, and said the Veterans Independence Program, which helps disabled veterans, will move to a three-year renewal cycle from one year. Veterans Affairs came under fire in Parliament recently after it was learned that Master Corporal Paul Franklin, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, had to prove every year that he remained disabled. Pierre Lemieux, the parliamentary secretary to Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole, said O'Toole had been in contact with Franklin and determined the policy needed changing.

Doctors with bad news seen as less compassionate
Until recently, doctors and researchers believed that doctors who delivered bad news in an empathetic tone would be seen as sincere, said Dr. Eduardo Bruera, the study’s lead author from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The researchers showed 100 cancer patients two videos.

China imposes trade restrictions on Canadian beef
OTTAWA (Reuters) - China has imposed temporary trade restrictions on Canadian beef and beef products in the wake of Canada's discovery of mad cow disease earlier this month, Canada said on Friday. China joins the list of countries that have imposed trade restrictions since Canada confirmed the case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) on Feb. 11, which includes Taiwan, Peru and Belarus. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency made Friday's announcement in an update on its website. (Reporting by Randall Palmer, editing by G Crosse)

Oracle sues Oregon officials in healthcare website dispute

File photograph of Oracle Corp headquarters Redwood CityBy Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Oracle America Inc, the software giant in charge of developing Oregon's failed health exchange website, has filed suit against five former staff and campaign advisers to the state's former governor, saying they worked behind the scenes to kill the site for political reasons, court documents showed. The company also gave notice to state administrators on Thursday, the same day it filed suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court, that it might file similar claims against former Governor John Kitzhaber and his former chief of staff, Mike Bonetto. The lawsuit says Kitzhaber's staffers and advisers, who did not work for Cover Oregon, "improperly influenced" the decision to shutter the site and then blamed Oracle to defuse the political consequences.     Named in the lawsuit are Kitzhaber's former campaign manager Patricia McCaig, consultants Kevin Looper and Mark Wiener, former business policy director Scott Nelson and former spokesman Tim Raphael.


Younger men more bothered after prostate cancer treatment
By Shereen Lehman After treatment for localized prostate cancer, changes in quality of life will vary by age, as will men’s reactions to those changes, according to a new study. “While older and younger men start with different baseline quality of life function, older men may be less bothered by certain declines that may affect younger patients more,” Dr. Lindsay Hampson told Reuters Health in an email. Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy in men of all ages in the U.S. Almost 60 percent of new cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65, and the average age is 66. Older men are often diagnosed with more aggressive disease and are less likely to get treatment, in part because they worry about the impact on their sexual and urinary function, Hampson and her colleagues write in European Urology.

1.1 Billion Young People at Risk of Losing Their Hearing, WHO Says
Find out how long and how loud you should listen through your headphones.

Colorado sold 17 tons of retail marijuana in first legal year

Customers shop for "Green Friday" deals at the Grass Station marijuana shop on Black Friday in DenverBy Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) - Consumers in Colorado bought more than 17 tons of recreational marijuana buds during the first year of the state's new retail market, but sales of medicinal pot still outstripped that at almost 50 tons, officials said on Friday. In a national first, voters in Colorado and Washington state opted to legalize recreational marijuana use by adults in landmark twin ballots in 2012. States such as Oregon and Alaska that have now also voted to legalize recreational pot, and others where lawmakers face proposals to do so, are watching the Colorado results closely. State tax officials say sales hit nearly $700 million last year, with medical marijuana accounting for $386 million and recreational pot bringing in $313 million.


Mexico captures most wanted drug kingpin, former teacher 'La Tuta'

Mexican drug lord Servando "La Tuta" Gomez speaks as he tapes messages in MichoacanBy Anahi Rama and Lizbeth Diaz MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico captured its most wanted drug lord on Friday, former primary school teacher Servando "La Tuta" Gomez, and delivered a boost to a government battered by gang violence. The 49-year-old gang boss was the prime target of President Enrique Peña Nieto's effort to regain control of Michoacan, a western state wracked by clashes between Gomez's Knights Templar cartel and armed vigilantes trying to oust them. The arrest comes as Peña Nieto seeks to quell public outrage in Mexico after the late September abduction and apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers by corrupt police in league with gang members.


One billion young at risk of hearing loss from loud music: WHO

One billion young at risk of hearing loss from loud music: WHOThe WHO estimates that around half of those between the ages of 12 and 35 in middle- and high-income countries are at risk due to unsafe levels of sound on personal audio devices or smartphones. Another 40 percent are at risk from damaging audio levels at concert venues and night clubs. "More and more young people are exposed to unsafe levels of sounds. Young people should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won't come back," said Shelley Chadha, a WHO specialist on hearing impairment.


Three infected with measles at Las Vegas seafood restaurant

MeaslesThree new cases of measles have been confirmed in Las Vegas, in people believed infected by a contagious worker at an upscale MGM Grand Hotel and Casino seafood restaurant, Nevada public health officials said on Friday. The newly diagnosed patients, two staff members and a patron of Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand, bring to nine the total number of measles cases reported in Clark County, Southern Nevada Health District spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said. None of those cases are believed linked to an outbreak of measles that began at Disneyland in December, she said.


Actavis hormonal contraceptive device wins FDA approval
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a hormonal contraceptive device on Friday that gives American women another reversible contraceptive choice as effective as sterilization. The intrauterine device (IUD) device, Liletta, releases the hormone levonorgestrel to inhibit thickening of the womb lining, preventing pregnancy for up to three years. Typically smaller than an iPod Shuffle, the IUD is a t-shaped piece of plastic that must be inserted into the uterus to prevent fertilization. Dublin-based Actavis Plc holds the commercial license for the product, but the marketing application was submitted by non-profit pharmaceutical company Medicines360, which holds the U.S. public sector clinic rights.

Study on biology of chronic fatigue illness stirs debate
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - A team of scientists said on Friday they had found "robust evidence" that a condition called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a biological as opposed to a psychological disorder, but some experts questioned the findings. The team from Columbia University in the United States identified in their research distinct immune changes in patients with CFS -- markers they said pointed to distinct disease stages and would lead to better diagnosis and treatment. Many sufferers say they think their illness started after a viral infection. Recent research showing psychological treatments such as cognitive behavior therapy can help CFS sufferers become more active have also caused argument, with some patients complaining such results suggest they are just lazy or suffering from a condition that is all in the mind.

Women athletes have more concussions than men, new study shows
"They carried me off the rink and then I threw up," the 29-year-old Hughes, the 2002 Olympic champion said, her deep blues eyes widening. I was just 11." While men's contact sports like football and ice hockey are most associated with concussions, women actually have them much more often than men, said Dr. Robert Stevens, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who specializes in brain injury. He also said new studies suggest the concussion symptoms in women are also more acute than those suffered by men. "The incidence of concussions in sports is higher in women than in men, possibly two times higher," he said, adding that concussions in women tend to be "more severe" and it takes women longer to recover than men.

Seattle woman knocked unconscious in drive-by egg throwing incident
Seattle police searched on Friday for a vandal who hurled an egg at a woman standing outside a local bar, striking her in the head and knocking her unconscious in an apparently random drive-by attack, officials said. The woman had been standing with several friends when someone in a passing truck let loose a volley of eggs early Tuesday, Seattle police said in a news release. An employee of the bar was also struck by an egg but wasn't injured. Experts say injuries from a jolt or strike to the head from items used as projectiles, such as an egg or tennis ball, have been known to cause injuries ranging from mild concussions to severe brain injuries, as well as death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Watch out for nasty global flu surprises, WHO warns
By Kate and Kelland LONDON, Feb 27 - The world remains highly vulnerable to a possible severe flu pandemic and governments should increase surveillance, vigilance and preparedness, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. It said the world was fortunate that the last flu pandemic, caused by H1N1 swine flu in 2009/2010, was relatively mild, but added: "Such good fortune is no precedent". In a seven-page report on flu, WHO said that on many levels, the world is better prepared now than ever before for a flu pandemic. The level of alert is high, it said, and there is better surveillance of flu viruses in both animals and humans.

UN says limit use of personal audio players to 1 hour a day
BERLIN (AP) — People who use personal audio players should consider limiting their use to one hour a day and turn down the volume to prevent permanent hearing loss, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Experts blame anti-vaccine lobby for Bosnia measles outbreak
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Medical experts warned Friday the anti-vaccination lobby is growing in Bosnia, using scientifically discredited arguments to stoke parental fears in the worst-affected country in Europe's measles outbreak.

Are Black Americans the Most Religious -- and Virtuous -- of All?

Are Black Americans the Most Religious -- and Virtuous -- of All?In a nation where rising numbers of people are dropping out of organized religion, one dynamic religious movement continues to display remarkable strength.The black church.Several studies and surveys reveal black Americans retain remarkably strong levels of religious beliefs and practices. And that spiritual core is having an impact on...


Private equity 'walks on eggshells' as funds eye Brazil hospitals
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Paula Arend Laier SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian hospitals and health clinics are drawing strong interest from global buyout firms after the government recently decided to allow foreign ownership of those facilities, although the suitors may find only a few promising targets. Private equity tops a list of potential investors in a sector that represents 10 percent of Brazil's gross domestic product and shows promise of growth but is hobbled by aging infrastructure, a dearth of qualified staff and rising costs. Since 2007, the number of hospital beds fell by 9 percent while the base of insurance policyholders rose 35 percent, according to government data. Two of those sources said a proposal by Carlyle Group LP to pay as much as 2 billion reais ($694 million) for a 30 percent stake in Rede D'Or São Luiz SA, Brazil's largest hospital chain, is the only deal in an advanced stage.

Bayer crown prince vows independence for diversified drugmaker

Bayer CFO Baumann poses during a news conference in LeverkusenBy Ludwig Burger LEVERKUSEN, Germany (Reuters) - Werner Baumann, seen as heir apparent to Bayer Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers, says he will fight for the independence of Germany's largest drugmaker after the spin-off of its plastics unit. "We will always try anew every day to defend our independence through our performance and the decisions that we make," said the 52-year-old, who will head Bayer's main healthcare arm from April. In an interview with Reuters, Baumann said Bayer did not need a merger to make it more successful, even if there were few synergies between the healthcare, veterinary drugs and crop protection businesses.


Risk factors for heartburn: excess weight, smoking
Other factors linked to higher odds of new GERD symptoms included getting older, being a woman, having less education, and even quitting smoking – if it led to weight gain. GERD is defined as having “troublesome” symptoms of acid reflux - where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus - or complications of reflux at least once a week, the study team writes in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. They had no GERD symptoms in the first interview. By the second interview, 510 people had severe GERD symptoms and 14,406 still had no GERD complaints.

Sacked Sanofi boss joins PureTech board

Viehbacher gestures as he addresses a news conference in MumbaiChris Viehbacher, sacked as chief executive of French drugs firm Sanofi last year, is to join the board of PureTech, a privately owned healthcare science and technology R&D company. Boston-based PureTech's co-founder and senior partner Robert Langer said in a statement he had known the German-Canadian Viehbacher for many years "and I am very excited that we will be working together more closely now". Viehbacher, who moved to Boston last year while he was still running Sanofi, raised the French company's multinational profile during his six years in the job by completing over $30 billion of acquisitions including that of Boston-based Genzyme. PureTech is a portfolio company that aims to commercialize breakthrough technologies and solve healthcare problems.


Amsterdam warns tourists white heroin being sold as cocaine

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2014 file photo an electronic sign post warns tourists of extremely dangerous cocaine being sold to tourists on Rembrandtplein square in the center of Amsterdam. Authorities in Amsterdam announced Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 they are resuming a major public awareness campaign about potentially lethal white heroin that is being sold as cocaine after three Danish tourists became ill this week. Three people died and 17 became seriously ill late last year after inhaling heroin in Amsterdam. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)AMSTERDAM (AP) — Authorities in Amsterdam warned Friday that potentially lethal white heroin is being sold as cocaine in the city after three Danish tourists became ill this week.


UN plans decision in August on mass Ebola vaccine program
BERLIN (AP) — The World Health Organization says a decision will be made in August whether to recommend a program of mass vaccination against Ebola in affected countries.

White And Gold Or Black And Blue: Why People See the Dress Differently
Blame your brain, not your eyes, for the way you see the dress.

Roche says EU agency recommends Avastin for cervical cancer
ZURICH (Reuters) - Roche said on Friday that European regulators had recommended approval of its drug Avastin in combination with chemotherapy as a treatment for women with an advanced form of cancer of the cervix. Avastin, which is already approved in Europe to treat advanced stages of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, kidney cancer and ovarian cancer, was the Basel-based drugmaker's biggest seller last year with sales of 6.42 billion Swiss francs ($6.76 billion). (Reporting By Zurich Slot; Editing by David Goodman)

Inhaled drug may help with sociability in autism
By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - In an early study, inhaling the hormone oxytocin appeared to encourage men with autism to make more eye contact. For the new study, researchers from the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge in the UK and other European institutions compared 32 men with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger Syndrome and another 34 men without those disorders but of similar age and IQ. The video-chat software included eye tracking, which recorded how often the subject focused on the eyes, mouth or other face areas during the interviews. With placebo, men with autism focused on the interviewer's eyes less often and for less time than men without autism.

Novartis treatment for vision loss meets goals in study
Swiss drugmaker Novartis said on Friday its treatment for a leading cause of age-related blindness had met its primary goals in a study and could potentially pave the way for less frequent dosing compared to a drug already on the market. Developed by Novartis's eyecare unit Alcon, the RTH258 drug is intended to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which causes severe loss of vision in the over 50s and occurs when the center of the retina, or macula, deteriorates. Novartis said RTH258 demonstrated promising improvements in vision in the Phase II study that were as good as the popular treatment Eylea, produced by drugmakers Regeneron in the United States and Bayer elsewhere. Patients treated every three months with RTH258 experienced prolonged effects of the treatment, which could potentially reduce the treatment burden, Novartis said, adding Alcon had started a late-stage Phase III trial of the drug.

Family Outraged After Mix-Up Sends Deceased Son's Organs Abroad
A Rhode Island couple is considering suing the organ bank that failed to honor their son's request that his organs go to an American in need.

When a Cold Isn't Just a Cold

When a Cold Isn't Just a ColdThe cough started just below my throat, at the top of my chest, late in the day. It hurt. By night, my throat started to ache and swell. By the next morning, my throat was inflamed and very painful. The third day I knew I was sick. The thing is, I get this almost annually. The timing of this, however, clued me in that something was amiss. Sure,...


Champions For Change: Meet The Champions -- Part 2

Champions For Change: Meet The Champions -- Part 2Champions for Change (C4C) is pleased to continue our 'Meet the Champions' Series. This bi-monthly blog series highlights the work of 24 Nigerian leaders currently participating as C4C champions. C4C's Champions in Nigeria are working together to save the lives of mothers, children and young women through innovative advocacy and leadership...


You Know Everything About Nutrition. So Why Are You Still Overeating?

You Know Everything About Nutrition. So Why Are You Still Overeating?You know the nutritional value of almost everything at the supermarket. You could recite the calories in a slice of pizza, list the things you "should" buy at the grocery store, recount the types of grains for easy digestion, and write out all of the most nutrient dense super-foods. But despite the fact that you know everything about nutrition...


Isaac Newton's Nutrient Supplements

Isaac Newton's Nutrient SupplementsAn article just out in today's Atlantic is entitled, provocatively, "Vitamin B.S." This seems to share journalistic DNA with "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements" from the Annals of Internal Medicine, and "Skip the Supplements" from the New York Times.This new piece in The Atlantic is a Q&A format with...


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