SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Public health officials have begun examining blood samples and questionnaire results from dozens of Yosemite National Park workers who volunteered for a study designed to shed light on an unprecedented outbreak of deadly hantavirus. This week's screening, which involved 96 workers, is the latest effort by officials to uncover clues about the rare, mouse-borne lung disease that has infected at least nine park visitors and killed three since June. ...
U.S. FDA approves relaxed aflatoxin handling rules for Indiana Thu,27 Sep 2012 03:15 PM PDT Reuters - CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a request from Indiana to let grain handlers in the No. 5 corn state blend corn contaminated with aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxic substance, with other grain to make animal feed. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture announced the approval on Thursday, saying the move would give farmers more flexibility in feeding livestock at a time of limited feed supplies. Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska, the top three U.S. corn states, have already received similar authority from the FDA to blend off corn with aflatoxin. ... Full Story
Soccer players often recover fully from ACL surgery Thu,27 Sep 2012 01:51 PM PDT Reuters - NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Most soccer players are able to return to the field after surgery to repair torn knee ligaments, a new study suggests. But out of 100 athletes who had reconstructive surgery on their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, researchers found female and older players were less likely than younger men and boys to get back in the game. And by seven years out, 12 of the athletes had undergone a second ACL surgery on the same or opposite knee. "The good news is, you can get back to a sport like soccer after an ACL reconstruction," said Dr. ... Full Story
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A conservative fundraising group on Thursday endorsed Todd Akin in a key Senate race in Missouri and pledged over $290,000 to his campaign in a sign more Republicans are coming to his aid despite his inflammatory comments about rape. The backing from the Senate Conservatives Fund follows a loss of support from other Republican groups after Akin last month said women have biological defenses to prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape", making legal abortion unnecessary. ...
Americans urged to get vaccinated as flu season nears Thu,27 Sep 2012 12:16 PM PDT Reuters - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health officials urged more Americans on Thursday to get vaccinated against influenza for the upcoming flu season, adding there was plenty of vaccine on hand. So far more than 85 million doses of the vaccine had been distributed as of September 14 and a total of about 135 million doses will be available, the non-profit National Foundation for Infectious Diseases said. The flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ... Full Story
Diagnosis of rare brain disorder may take months Thu,27 Sep 2012 12:01 PM PDT Reuters - NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Doctors often initially misdiagnose people with Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease, a rare brain disorder caused by misfolded, infectious prion proteins, according to new research. Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease, or CJD, is marked by rapid brain wasting and dementia and typically kills patients within a year after symptoms appear. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are about 200 cases each year in the United States. ... Full Story
U.S. poor HIV patients live longer with care extending past drugs Thu,27 Sep 2012 11:56 AM PDT Reuters - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Patients stepping into Johns Hopkins University's HIV clinic in east Baltimore don't just see a doctor or get prescriptions for their antiretroviral drugs; many also get help finding a place to live or bus fare to make it to their next appointment. Such care that goes beyond the examination table and into patients' often challenging lives has been key to helping poorer HIV patients - particularly blacks and women - live longer, healthier lives, according to a 15-year study published on Thursday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. ... Full Story
Bayer wins early U.S. approval for colon cancer drug Thu,27 Sep 2012 11:56 AM PDT Reuters - (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved a new drug for advanced colon cancer developed by Bayer AG, a month ahead of the agency's expected action date for a decision. The drug, to be sold under the brand name Stivarga, was approved to treat colon cancer that has progressed after prior treatment or that has spread to other parts of the body, the agency said. "Someone has clearly lit a fire under the FDA," Sanford Bernstein analyst Geoffrey Porges said of the speedy approval. ... Full Story
Feeling stressed out tied to heart disease risk Thu,27 Sep 2012 11:27 AM PDT Reuters - NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who report feeling high levels of stress in their daily lives are more likely to develop heart disease than those who don't experience as much stress, according to a new review of earlier studies. While the finding isn't surprising, the review gives a clearer picture of the relevant research to date. "Everybody knows that stress is bad for your heart... but the evidence has been scattered out over the years," said Donald Edmundson, a professor at Columbia University Medical Center and one of the authors of the study. ... Full Story
LONDON/PESHAWAR (Reuters) - When Bill Gates hears about children like Fahad Usman, a two-year-old Pakistani boy crippled by polio before he learned to walk, the billionaire philanthropist sounds frustrated and fired up. Fear and suspicion have prevented thousands of children like Fahad from being protected against the infectious and incurable disease. Now more than ever, it's time that stopped, Gates says. ...
Spike in heart failures follows Japan's 2011 quake Thu,27 Sep 2012 09:46 AM PDT Reuters - NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Following the massive earthquake and tsunami of March, 2011, which devastated parts of eastern Japan, the number of heart failure cases spiked in Miyagi Prefecture and remained elevated for six weeks, according to a new study. The number of people diagnosed with cardiac arrest and other heart problems also jumped immediately following the earthquake, but tapered back to earlier levels within three weeks. Dr. ... Full Story
GENEVA (Reuters) - Up to 700,000 Syrian refugees may flee abroad by the end of the year, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday, almost four times its previous forecast for the exodus from the deepening crisis. About 294,000 refugees fleeing 18 months of conflict in Syria have already crossed into four neighboring countries - Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey - or await registration there, it said. "This is a significant outflow taking place, 100,000 people in August, 60,000 in September and at the moment 2,000 or 3,000 per day or night," Panos Moumtzis, regional refugee coordinator for the ...
Factbox: New virus can cause fever, cough, breathing problems Thu,27 Sep 2012 05:40 AM PDT Reuters - LONDON (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a global alert about the emergence of a new virus that was previously unknown in humans and can cause a potentially fatal acute respiratory infection. Here is an at-a-glance guide to the virus: The virus belongs to a family called coronaviruses and has so far been confirmed in only two cases globally. Both occurred between July and September 2012. The first case was in a 60-year-old man in Saudi Arabia and proved fatal. The second is in a 49-year-old Qatari man who recently visited Saudi Arabia. ... Full Story
Achillion hepatitis C drug shows promise in early trial Thu,27 Sep 2012 05:39 AM PDT Reuters - (Reuters) - Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc said an early-stage trial of its experimental hepatitis C treatment showed that a single dose of the drug significantly reduced the severity of the infection. The early-stage trial tested the drug in doses ranging from 25 mg to 1,000 mg in patients with genotype 1a. The drug, called ACH-3102, was well tolerated at all doses in which it was tested. Based on the trial data, Achillion initiated a pilot mid-stage trial evaluating the drug in combination with ribavirin - a standard-of-care - for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C patients with genotype ... Full Story
India panel recommends price control for 348 essential drugs: minister Thu,27 Sep 2012 05:18 AM PDT Reuters - NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An Indian panel of ministers has recommended price regulation for 348 "essential drugs", up from 74 earlier, a federal minister said, a move that is likely to hit prices of costly brands sold by domestic as well as multi-national drugmakers. The panel has finalised the proposal and it will be forwarded to the cabinet within a week, telecommunications minister Kapil Sibal told reporters on Thursday. According to the initial draft, medicines worth 290 billion rupees ($5.42 billion), excluding the retailers' cut, would come under price control. ... Full Story