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Deadline to clear up health law eligibility near
13 Aug 2014 at 12:15am
WASHINGTON (AP) ? The clock is ticking for hundreds of thousands of people who have unresolved issues affecting their coverage under the new health care law.
Ebola: Questions, answers about an unproven drug
12 Aug 2014 at 12:41am
WASHINGTON (AP) ? An experimental Ebola drug has been used to treat two American aid workers and a Spanish missionary priest. Could Liberian doctors be next?
Texas abortion law could send women across borders
12 Aug 2014 at 1:40pm
EL PASO, Texas (AP) ? Crossing borders is a part of life in El Paso in far West Texas, where people may walk into Mexico to visit family or commute to New Mexico for work. But getting an abortion doesn't require leaving town.
Leprosy: Myanmar struggles with ancient scourge
20 Aug 2014 at 8:51pm
High in the hills of Myanmar's war-torn borderlands, a clutch of new leprosy cases among communities virtually cut off from medical help is a sign that the country's battle with the ancient disease is far from over. It took six days by plane, boat, motorcycle, bus -- and an arduous mountain trek -- for a group of medical workers to treat two leprosy patients in a remote corner of the country, where conflict and neglect are the legacy of decades of military rule and even access to basic medicines is a distant dream. They soon found three more leprosy sufferers, including one man who had such a severe case he required hospital care. "I promised him that I would come back for him or I would send someone to pick him up," said Doctor Saw Hsar Mu Lar, after the May expedition, as he returned to his hospital in Mawlamyaing, Mon state -- one of only two specialising in leprosy in Myanmar.
Amid Afghanistan's escalating war, a battle to beat polio
20 Aug 2014 at 8:49pm
By Krista Mahr and Mirwais Harooni KABUL (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of volunteers fanned out across Afghanistan this week, braving deteriorating security and distrusting parents to administer two chilled drops of the oral polio vaccine each to millions of children. Keeping the highly infectious polio disease in check in any country is a daunting task. Afghanistan is one of only three nations where the polio virus is still endemic, along with Pakistan and Nigeria. Only eight new cases have been confirmed so far this year, compared to 108 in Pakistan.
California bill would let birth certificates reflect same-sex parents
20 Aug 2014 at 7:07pm
Birth certificates in California would be changed to more accurately reflect families in which parents are of the same gender under a bill passed by the legislature on Wednesday. The bill, which now goes to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, would allow parents to identify themselves as father, mother or parent when a child is born, a nuanced change from the current birth certificate that backers say is more reflective of growing rights and acceptance for same-sex couples. "This bill seems subtle but I think it?s going to make a profound impact on how people view each other," said the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles. In March, a baby in Tennessee became the first child in that state to have two women listed on her birth certificate, although one was in the spot marked "father." In Florida last year, a judge approved an adoption of a baby girl that listed three people as parents on her birth certificate: a lesbian couple and a gay man, who was the sperm donor for the baby but sought a bigger role in his daughter?s life.
West Africa must confront political weaknesses to curb drugs trade: Obasanjo
20 Aug 2014 at 5:35pm
West Africa must openly confront its political and governance weaknesses to curb the growing drug trade in the region, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Wednesday. "West Africa is no longer only a transit zone of drugs but an attractive destination where pushers take advantage of the weak political system to perpetuate their trade," Obasanjo, who chairs the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD), said while presenting his report to Ghana's President John Mahama. "We believe that we should confront openly the political and governance weaknesses which the traffickers exploit," Obasanjo said. Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan set up the commission last year to explore ways to stem the increasing trafficking of drugs and its use in the region.
Liberia police fire on protesters as West Africa's Ebola toll hits 1,350
20 Aug 2014 at 4:59pm
By Clair MacDougall and James Harding Giahyue MONROVIA (Reuters) - Police in the Liberian capital fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd trying to break an Ebola quarantine imposed on their neighbourhood, as the death toll from the epidemic in West Africa hit 1,350. In the sprawling oceanfront West Point neighbourhood of Monrovia, at least four people were injured in clashes with security forces, witnesses said. It was unclear whether anyone was wounded by the gunfire, though a Reuters photographer saw a young boy with his leg largely severed just above the ankle. Liberian authorities introduced a nationwide curfew on Tuesday and put the West Point neighbourhood under quarantine to curb the spread of the disease.
Silicon Valley startup accelerators on the hunt for health-tech talent
20 Aug 2014 at 4:24pm
These technology firms all received mentorship and money from Silicon Valley's so-called startup machine, Y Combinator. Now, for the first time in its nine-year history, the accelerator program is actively recruiting health-technology startups. To attract top talent in healthcare and biotech, Y Combinator recently tapped medical executive Elizabeth Iorns as a part-time partner. Sam Altman, Y Combinator's president, told Reuters he expects to see a growing number of venture capitalists investing in early-stage biotech and digital health companies.
UK and Wellcome offer $10 million for emergency Ebola research
20 Aug 2014 at 4:05pm
An emergency research call has been launched to help fight the world's worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa, with the British government and the Wellcome Trust medical charity pledging a combined 6.5 million pounds ($10.8 million). "The gravity of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa demands an urgent response, and we believe rapid research into humanitarian interventions and therapeutics can have an impact on treatment and containment during the present outbreak," Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome's director, said in a statement. There are no proven treatments or vaccines for Ebola but the World Health Organisation has backed the use of untested products and is hoping for improved supplies of experimental drugs by the end of the year.
Former Tennessee Titans player Tim Shaw says he has ALS
20 Aug 2014 at 3:47pm
By Tim Ghianni NASHVILLE Tenn. (Reuters) - Former Tennessee Titans linebacker Tim Shaw revealed he has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in a video that shows him dumping a bucket full of ice water over his head as part of an ALS fundraiser. "I?m here today to stand up and fight with all of you against this disease,? he said in the video posted on Tuesday, before dousing himself as part of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to fight ALS - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. After taking the challenge, Shaw, 30, called on the Titans organization, Penn State head coach James Franklin, the school's football team and his Clarenceville, Michigan, community to do the same. Shaw was drafted by the Carolina Panthers from Penn State and also played for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears.
'Suicide tourism' to Switzerland doubled
20 Aug 2014 at 3:44pm
A total of 172 "suicide tourists" travelled to Switzerland in 2012, double the 2009 number, to die with medical assistance -- a practice prohibited in many countries, a study said Thursday. German and UK citizens were the bulk of visitors, and the reasons most often cited were neurological conditions like paralysis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. There are four right-to-die organisations in Switzerland that allow nationals from other countries to use their services, according to a study published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics. It is a phenomenon unique to Switzerland.
Liberia's Ebola clampdown turns violent as Asia fears new cases
20 Aug 2014 at 3:39pm
Violence erupted in an Ebola quarantine zone in Liberia's capital Wednesday as authorities struggled to contain the epidemic, with new suspected cases in Asia sparking fears of it spreading beyond Africa. Four residents were injured in Monrovia's West Point slum when soldiers opened fire and used tear gas on crowds as they tried to evacuate a state official and her family from the quarantined quarter. The crackdown in Liberia comes as authorities around the world are scrambling to stem the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola, with the latest official toll jumping 106 in two days to 1,350 dead. Liberia, with 576 deaths from 972 diagnosed cases, is the worst hit of the four affected west African countries, with the numbers of deaths and infections rising dramatically.
Foreign assisted suicide cases in Switzerland double in four years
20 Aug 2014 at 3:33pm
The number of foreigners traveling to Switzerland to commit assisted suicide doubled over a four-year period, a study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics said on Thursday. In 2012, 172 foreigners took their lives in Switzerland, which has liberal euthanasia rules, up from 86 in 2009, with citizens from Germany and Britain making up almost two-thirds of the total, the study found. Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s, if performed by someone with no direct interest in the death.
Pryor's 'Obamacare' ad highlights his cancer fight
20 Aug 2014 at 3:28pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) ? U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor reached into his own medical history Tuesday to explain his vote on the nation's new health care law, telling Arkansans his battle with a rare cancer 18 years ago influenced him.