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Aetna nears deal to buy Humana for about $34 billion: sources
2 Jul 2015 at 6:58pm
U.S health insurer Aetna Inc is nearing an agreement to buy rival Humana Inc for about $34 billion in a cash and stock deal, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. One of the people said Aetna's offer would value Humana at about $230 per share and could be announced as early as Friday. The offer, if it goes through, would make it the largest deal in the insurance industry since Anthem Inc bought WellPoint in 2004 for $16.6 billion.
California cancer patient with amnesia identified by family
2 Jul 2015 at 6:56pm
A Southern California cancer patient unable to recall her identity or family since she was found dazed on a street four months ago has finally reconnected with relatives after a nephew spotted her on the evening news, media reported on Thursday. The woman, whose Facebook image has circulated widely on the Internet and was previously known only as Sam, was identified on Wednesday night as Pennsylvania native Ashley Manetta, 53, according to San Diego's NBC television affiliate. The TV station, which originally broke the story about a California cancer patient with amnesia, said the two siblings then spoke by telephone.
New Embassies Open Door to Cuba's Health Care Triumphs
2 Jul 2015 at 4:35pm
As President Obama proclaimed diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba for the first time in 50 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) was simultaneously celebrating Cuba Wednesday as the first country ever to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions of HIV/AIDS and congenital syphilis. Dr. Roberto Morales, minister of public health and the first Cuban minister to come to the United States since 1952, visited Washington, D.C., to discuss the historic success. While the monumental public health achievement was the intended focus of his news conference, Obama?s news was critical to the process.
Possible Link Between Eye Color and Alcoholism Risk Revealed in New Study
2 Jul 2015 at 4:35pm
There's a new potential clue in the ongoing effort to understand the genetic links to alcoholism: eye color. People with lighter eye colors appear to be more likely to develop alcoholism, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics. The study, published this week, examined genetic samples from 1,263 people with alcohol dependency and found that those with lighter eyes, especially blue eyes, appeared to develop alcoholism at a higher rate.
For first time, gene therapy shows promise in cystic fibrosis
2 Jul 2015 at 4:03pm
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists conducting a major trial of a therapy that replaces the faulty gene responsible for cystic fibrosis say the treatment has showed significant benefit for the first time in patients' lung function. The technique, developed with the technology commercialization firm Imperial Innovations, replaces the defective gene behind the inherited lung disease by using inhaled molecules of DNA to deliver a normal working copy of the gene to lung cells. "Patients who received the gene therapy showed a significant, if modest, benefit in tests of lung function compared with the placebo group," said Eric Alton, a professor at Imperial College London who led the trial.
Washington state reports first U.S. measles death in 12 years
2 Jul 2015 at 3:56pm
By Eric M. Johnson SEATTLE (Reuters) - A previously undetected measles infection was found by an autopsy to be the underlying cause of a Washington state woman's death this spring, marking the first known U.S. fatality from the disease in 12 years, public health officials said on Thursday. The woman from Clallam County, in northwestern Washington, was most likely exposed to measles at a medical facility during a recent outbreak in the area, the state Health Department said in a statement on its website. The cause of her death was ruled by medical examiners as pneumonia due to measles, according to the agency.
John Smoltz the 1st HOFer following Tommy John surgery
2 Jul 2015 at 3:26pm
When John Smoltz is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in three weeks he'll be the first player enshrined following Tommy John surgery.
Thousands evacuated after freight train derails, catches fire, in Tennessee
2 Jul 2015 at 3:01pm
A freight train carrying flammable and toxic gas derailed in eastern Tennessee, igniting a fire in one car and spreading noxious fumes that forced the evacuation of more than 5,000 people and the hospitalization of 25, officials said. Homes and businesses were evacuated following the derailment around midnight Wednesday of the CSX Corp train in Blount County, near Maryville, the officials they said. Local officials said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was monitoring air quality in the area.
Washington woman's measles death is first in US since 2003
2 Jul 2015 at 2:52pm
SEATTLE (AP) ? Measles killed a Washington woman in the spring ? the first such death in the U.S. in 12 years and the first in the state in 25, health officials said Thursday.
Bail set for Florida doctor tied to Senator Menendez corruption case
2 Jul 2015 at 2:44pm
A judge set bail on Thursday at $18 million in a Medicare fraud case for a doctor who has also been accused of bribery and political corruption for giving lavish gifts to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, his attorney said. Salomon Melgen, 60, has pleaded not guilty to 76 counts of Medicare fraud and falsifying medical records in federal court in southern Florida. Melgen is accused of ordering unnecessary tests and falsifying records at his Florida practice.
Colorado movie gunman not faking psychosis, defense witness says
2 Jul 2015 at 2:18pm
A neuropsychologist who ran tests on Colorado movie massacre gunman James Holmes over three days after the 2012 attack told jurors at his murder trial on Thursday there were no signs the shooter was faking mental illness. Prosecutors say Holmes, 27, is a cold-blooded mass killer who aimed to murder all 400 people watching a midnight premiere of a Batman film at a Denver area cinema, and say he has only pleaded insanity to escape execution. Robert Hanlon, a Chicago-based clinical neuropsychologist, described for the court the tests he performed on Holmes on behalf of the defense team over more than 13 hours of jail house sessions in April 2013.
White House directs GMO regulators to update, improve oversight
2 Jul 2015 at 2:17pm
The White House on Thursday directed the three U.S. agencies that oversee biotech crop products to improve and modernize their regulatory "framework" to boost public confidence in a system that critics call a failure. The order, announced in a statement by President Barack Obama's Office of Science and Technology Policy, followed demands by consumers, food-related organizations and businesses for tighter U.S. regulation of genetically modified (GMO) crops, amid a nationwide debate over whether they should be labeled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed a rule in 2008 after being cited in a government audit for oversight lapses, and after high-profile GMO contaminations that led to food recalls and disrupted trade.
Treat 'whole person' by bringing behavioral health into primary care: docs
2 Jul 2015 at 2:03pm
By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - In a new position paper, the American College of Physicians (ACP) lays out six strategies for bringing mental health and substance abuse care into primary care to better treat each patient as ?a whole person.? Mental and behavioral health issues like inappropriate eating behaviors, sedentary lifestyle, and patterns of social isolation, are common, and have been linked to increased physical illness, higher mortality rates, poorer treatment outcomes and higher healthcare costs, the ACP committee writes in the Annals of Internal Medicine. ?The literature shows that most people with behavioral health needs access the health care system through their primary care physician or other health care professional,? said lead author of the statement Ryan A. Crowley, senior health policy analyst for the ACP.
FDA clears drug for leading form of cystic fibrosis
2 Jul 2015 at 1:50pm
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Federal health officials have approved a new combination drug for the most common form of cystic fibrosis, the debilitating inherited disease that causes internal mucus buildup, lung infections and early death. But it will come at a steep price ? more than $250,000 for a year's treatment.
Liberia investigating animal link after Ebola re-emerges
2 Jul 2015 at 1:31pm
By Alphonso Toweh and James Harding Giahyue MONROVIA (Reuters) - Liberia confirmed a third Ebola case on Thursday, nearly two months after it was declared Ebola free, and officials said they were investigating whether the disease had spread through animals before resurfacing. Dr Moses Massaquoi, case management team leader for Liberia's Ebola task force, said the three villagers who had tested positive for the disease "have a history of having had dog meat together." Dog meat is commonly eaten in Liberia. The first new Liberian sufferer, 17-year-old Abraham Memaigar, died on Sunday in the village of Nedowein, about 50 km (30 miles) from the capital Monrovia.