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New Novartis heart failure drug cuts risk by a fifth
30 Aug 2014 at 4:07am
By Ben Hirschler BARCELONA (Reuters) - A new heart failure drug from Novartis cut the risk of both cardiovascular death and hospitalization by a fifth in a keenly awaited study, boosting hopes for a product that is seen as a multibillion-dollar seller. There has been little progress for more than a decade in treating chronic heart failure, in which the heart fails to pump enough blood around the body, so there is excitement about the new medicine among both doctors and investors. ESC officials flagged the PARADIGM-HF trial as one of the highlights of the five-day event in Barcelona, reflecting the pressing need to find better treatments than the current line-up of old generic medicines. ?Everything has been pretty stalled in heart failure,? said Keith Fox, a cardiologist at the University of Edinburgh who also chairs the ESC's congress program committee.
Liberia reopens slum barricaded to fight Ebola
30 Aug 2014 at 2:53am
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) ? Crowds celebrated in the streets of Liberia's capital on Saturday after authorities reopened a slum where tens of thousands of people had been barricaded for more than a week to contain the country's Ebola outbreak.
Experimental Ebola drug ZMapp cures 100 percent of lab monkeys
30 Aug 2014 at 1:42am
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - The experimental Ebola drug ZMapp cured all 18 of the lab monkeys infected with the deadly virus, including those suffering the fever and hemorrhaging characteristic of the disease and just hours from death, scientists reported on Friday. No other experimental Ebola therapy has ever shown success in primates when given that long after infection; ZMapp, produced by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical, has never been scientifically tested in people, and the current study was the first in primates. The success is therefore a "monumental achievement," virologist Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Branch wrote in a commentary on the paper, published online in Nature.
Ebola hits fifth W. African state as Senegal confirms first case
30 Aug 2014 at 1:40am
The Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people across West Africa spread to a fifth country in the region on Friday with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal. The case marks the first time a new country has been hit by the outbreak since July and comes a day after the World Health Organization warned the number of infections was increasing rapidly. On Friday, scientists writing in the journal Nature said 18 lab monkeys given high doses of the Ebola virus fully recovered after being given the prototype drug ZMapp, which reversed bleeding in the animals. ZMapp has been given to a handful of frontline health workers who have contracted Ebola, two of whom have recovered, and two of whom have died.
Sierra Leone dismisses health minister over handling of Ebola
30 Aug 2014 at 1:01am
FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma dismissed his Health Minister Miatta Kargbo on Friday over her handling of the Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 400 people in the West African country. A presidency statement said that Kargbo was removed "to create a conducive environment for efficient and effective handling of the Ebola outbreak". She will be replaced by her deputy Dr Abubakarr Fofanah, the statement said.
Ebola outbreak reaches Senegal, riots break out in Guinea
30 Aug 2014 at 12:46am
By Diadie Ba and Saliou Samb DAKAR/CONAKRY (Reuters) - The West African state of Senegal became the fifth country to be hit by the world's worst Ebola outbreak on Friday, while riots broke out in neighbouring Guinea's remote southeast where infection rates are rising fast. In the latest sign that the outbreak of the virus, which has already killed at least 1,550 people, is spinning out of control, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that Ebola cases rose last week at the fastest pace since the epidemic began in West Africa in March. The epidemic has defied efforts by governments to control it, prompting the leading charity fighting the outbreak, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), to call for the U.N. Security Council to take charge of efforts to stop it. Including the fatalities, more than 3,000 have been infected since the virus was detected in the remote jungles of southeastern Guinea in March and quickly spread across the border to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Ghana to serve as UN base for supplies bound for Ebola countries
30 Aug 2014 at 12:43am
The United Nations will use Ghana as a base for supplies bound for countries stricken by an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 1,550 people in West Africa, the Ghanaian presidency said in a statement on Friday. UN chief Ban Ki-moon had a telephone conversation on Friday evening with Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, who agreed to let international agencies use Ghana's capital Accra as a base for air lifting supplies and personnel to affected countries, the statement said. The statement said the UN and local authorities would work closely to put in place appropriate screening and prevention measures to avoid any adverse effects on Ghana as a result of the international operations.
California to shift mentally ill inmates out of solitary confinement
29 Aug 2014 at 8:17pm
California will move mentally ill prisoners from solitary confinement to special isolation units as part of a series of new policies outlined by corrections officials Friday to improve treatment for inmates with psychiatric illnesses. In 2013, about 28 percent of California's overcrowded prison population was diagnosed with some sort of mental illness, according to state and federal statistics. Complying with the federal order to amend how it deals with these inmates, the state earlier this month outlined changes to curb the use of force after video footage showed mentally ill prisoners screaming as guards doused them in pepper spray. Corrections officials are "focused on ensuring a strong collaborative environment between mental health and custody staff ... to ensure mental health input is fully considered in programming and housing decisions," Friday's filing said.
Idaho attorney for boys in polygamous sect says he fears for them
29 Aug 2014 at 7:57pm
By Laura Zuckerman SALMON Idaho (Reuters) - A court-appointed attorney for boys removed from the Idaho home of a follower of imprisoned polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs said on Friday he feared for the well-being of six of the children released to their parents' custody. Nathan Jessop, a follower of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was charged with misdemeanor child injury offenses after police raided the home on the outskirts of Pocatello last month and took away the eight teenagers. Their parents had agreed to the arrangement but, earlier this month after Jessop was charged, they traveled to Idaho from such states as Arizona and Kansas to reclaim custody of children they had not seen for years, authorities said. Bradley Willis, an attorney appointed by an Idaho court to represent the boys, was opposed to the state?s handoff of the six boys.
California bill would remove guns from potential offenders
29 Aug 2014 at 7:03pm
A bill allowing family members to ask a judge to order firearms removed from people likely to commit gun violence was sent to California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday for signing into law. The bill, one of several gun control measures up for votes in the last week of the state's legislative session, was introduced after police near Santa Barbara said they were unable to confiscate weapons from a man who later went on a rampage and killed six people, despite concern from his family that he was in poor mental health and might become violent. The bill passed the Assembly 47-25. If Brown, who has steered a centrist course on gun control legislation, signs the bill, California would be the first U.S.
U.S. judge halts major part of Texas law restricting abortions
29 Aug 2014 at 4:57pm
District Judge Lee Yeakel said the so-called "ambulatory surgical center requirement" was unjust because it placed an undue burden on women by reducing the number of clinics where they could seek abortions and the regulations had no compelling public health interests. "The court concludes, after examining the act and the context in which it operates, that the ambulatory-surgical center requirement was intended to close existing licensed abortion clinics," Yeakel wrote in the decision. The requirement was to have gone into effect on Sept. 1. Under it, clinics would have had to meet a set of building standards ranging from widening halls to having facilities for certain surgeries that abortion rights advocates said were unnecessary, especially when an abortion is medically induced.
Porn film moratorium lifted after HIV result proves false positive
29 Aug 2014 at 4:41pm
The moratorium marked at least the third consecutive summer that the porn industry has voluntarily shut down productions under its health-screening system because of performers who tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease. "We always err on the side of caution," said Diane Duke, chief executive of the Los Angeles-based Free Speech Coalition, the porn trade industry group. Because false positives are relatively rare with the type of screening the group conducts, its policy is to immediately halt shooting even before exposure to the AIDS virus is confirmed, she said.
Better education on breast reconstruction may be needed after cancer
29 Aug 2014 at 2:42pm
By Andrew M. Seaman NEW YORK (Reuters Health) ? When it comes to deciding to have breast reconstruction after surgery for breast cancer, most women are generally satisfied with the decision-making process, a new study suggests. ?Our findings generally were good news - women who wanted reconstruction got it, those who didn?t were generally satisfied with the decision process,? said Dr. Monica Morrow, the study?s lead author from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. For example, some women who didn?t undergo breast reconstruction said they worried that the implants would interfere with cancer screenings later on, or that they feared the implants. ?Our study points to specific topics doctors can address with patients - safety of implants, lack of interference with cancer detection by reconstruction that are of concern to patients,? Morrow wrote in an email.
Experimental Ebola drug heals all monkeys in study
29 Aug 2014 at 2:04pm
An experimental Ebola drug healed all 18 monkeys infected with the deadly virus in a study, boosting hopes that the treatment might help fight the outbreak raging through West Africa ? once more of it can be made.
Ebola Survivor 'Walked Through the Valley of Death'
29 Aug 2014 at 1:58pm
Dr. Philip Ireland Will Go Back to Treating Patients