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Stigma hinders efforts to combat leprosy in India
9 Mar 2014 at 11:13am
TAHIRPUR, India (AP) ? At first, Ashok Yadav ignored the patches of pink skin on his arm. But when pale sores erupted on his body and he lost sensation in his fingertips, a doctor issued the devastating diagnosis: Yadav had leprosy.
Doctors hope for cure in a 2nd baby born with HIV
5 Mar 2014 at 3:34pm
A second baby born with the AIDS virus may have had her infection put into remission and possibly cured by very early treatment ? in this instance, four hours after birth.
Court won't hear dispute over 'boobies' bracelets
10 Mar 2014 at 7:02am
WASHINGTON (AP) ? The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Pennsylvania school district that wants to prevent students from wearing "I (heart) Boobies!" bracelets to promote breast cancer awareness among young people.
Exclusive: Germany permits sale of Northwest Bio brain cancer drug
10 Mar 2014 at 7:52am
German health regulators have granted Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc special permission to sell its experimental brain cancer drug, DCVax-L, in the country, even though the small U.S. biotechnology company has not yet completed its late-stage trial of the immunotherapy. The special "hospital exemption" in Germany would allow Northwest to sell DCVax-L for five years, and to seek renewed approval afterward, Northwest Biotherapeutics Chief Executive Officer Linda Powers said in an interview. The company has not yet requested or received formal marketing approval for its product. The exemption allows Northwest to sell DCVax-L through hospitals and their outpatient clinics to patients with all severities of cancer that begin in the brain, even though it is only being tested in patients newly diagnosed with the most severe form of the disease, called Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
Hearing-aid apps pump up the volume, double as headphones
10 Mar 2014 at 7:08am
By Natasha Baker TORONTO (Reuters) - New smartphone apps that link to hearing aids are helping people with impaired hearing to pump up the volume on their devices or to use them as headphones to stream phone calls, YouTube videos and music. About 36 million American adults have some hearing loss, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. But only a fifth of people who could benefit from a hearing aid wear one. "People will always need really good hearing aids, but moving forward, what will differentiate competitors will be connectivity (to smartphones), and it will need apps," Lars Viksmoen, chief executive of GN ReSound, a maker of hearing aids based in Denmark, said in a telephone interview.
Health innovations win SXSW Accelerator awards
10 Mar 2014 at 7:00am
The Accelerator Awards at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas presented prizes to several innovative startups this weekend, including two from the health field: an app designed to strengthen mental health and one for monitoring your sleeping baby. A key component of a healthy lifestyle is a healthy mind! ThriveOn is a mobile and web app offering personalized health programs created by mental health experts. Users answer an assessment that covers the "five dimensions of mental health," or mood, stress and anxiety, social life, sleep and activity, and eating and drinking. Once the assessment is complete, ThriveOn's mental health professionals, or "coaches," devise personalized daily sessions, with each session combining reading, mood and behavior tracking, interactive exercises and weekly feedback from the user's ThriveOn coach.
Supreme court declines to hear 'I (heart sign) boobies' case
10 Mar 2014 at 6:49am
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a school district's appeal over an attempt by officials to ban breast cancer awareness bracelets bearing the message "I (heart sign) boobies," handing victory to two students who challenged the decision on free speech grounds. The court's decision not to take up the case means that an August 2013 ruling by the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of students Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez is left intact. ...
Japanese researcher backtracks on 'breakthrough' STAP cell research
10 Mar 2014 at 6:42am
The research, described as game-changing by experts at the time, was covered breathlessly in Japan after it was published in the journal Nature, with co-researcher Haruko Obokata becoming an instant celebrity. "It is no longer clear what is right," Teruhiko Wakayama told public broadcaster NHK of the research, published in January, which appeared to show a simple way to reprogram mature animal cells back into an embryonic-like state that would allow them to generate many types of tissue.
China detains Uighur AIDS activist amid crackdown
10 Mar 2014 at 5:03am
By Michael Martina and Megha Rajagopalan BEIJING (Reuters) - China has arrested a Uighur AIDS activist for endangering national security, a health advocacy group said, in the latest sign of the government's crackdown in the troubled far western region of Xinjiang, home to the largely Muslim Uighur people. Akbar Imin was detained in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, on January 15, the same day that prominent Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti was held by police in Beijing, the Aizhixing Institute said in a statement seen by Reuters on Monday.
Syrian forces committing war crimes in Yarmouk siege: Amnesty
10 Mar 2014 at 4:40am
Amnesty International accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces on Monday of perpetrating war crimes as part of a siege in southern Damascus which has killed nearly 200 people, mostly by starvation. Yarmouk, once home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and Syrian nationals, is one of several districts on the edge of the Syrian capital which the army has surrounded to choke off rebel forces seeking Assad's overthrow. "The Syrian government has committed numerous war crimes as part of the siege of Yarmouk," Amnesty said in a report released on Monday.
Proteus picks UK for 'smart pill' production and testing
10 Mar 2014 at 4:36am
Privately held Proteus Digital Health, which is working with drugmakers including Novartis and Otsuka, said on Monday the new site would employ some 200 skilled staff and serve as a hub for the emerging digital medicine industry. The move was welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said it showed Britain's ability to attract high-tech companies. Proteus already has European and U.S. approval for its "smart pill" technology system, in which a tiny sensor is embedded in a tablet and linked to a patch worn on the patient's abdomen. Several teams within Britain's state-run National Health Service plan to test the benefits of using the sensor technology in various fields, including in treating hypertension, or high blood pressure.
The children of Japan's Fukushima battle an invisible enemy
10 Mar 2014 at 4:05am
By Toru Hanai and Elaine Lies KORIYAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Some of the smallest children in Koriyama, a short drive from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, barely know what it's like to play outside - fear of radiation has kept them indoors for much of their short lives. Though the strict safety limits for outdoor activity set after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in 2011 have now been eased, parental worries and ingrained habit mean many children still stay inside. And the impact, three years on, is now starting to show, with children experiencing falling strength, lack of coordination - some cannot even ride a bicycle - and emotional issues like shorter tempers, officials and educators say. "There are children who are very fearful.
Heroin overdoses pose 'urgent public health crisis': U.S. attorney general
10 Mar 2014 at 3:06am
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his agency was stepping up efforts to stem sharp increases in deadly heroin overdoses, trafficking in the drug and abuse of prescription narcotics at the root of what he called an "urgent public health crisis." As part of that campaign, Holder reiterated the Obama administration's call for more law enforcement agencies to train and equip personnel with an overdose-reversal medication called naloxone. The director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued a similar plea to police and fire departments last month. Holder said 17 states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, a blocking agent that can reverse the effects of an overdose and help restore breathing. Still, fatal heroin overdoses have increased 45 percent from 2006 to 2010, with 3,038 such deaths reported that year, and the numbers are believed to still be on the rise, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
FACTBOX-U.S. SEC suffers string of losses in the courtroom
9 Mar 2014 at 10:07pm
By Aruna Viswanatha and Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has suffered a string of recent losses in the courtroom, dragging down what had been a consistently high trial success rate. Since the start of the SEC's fiscal year on October 1, the agency's win rate has dropped to 58 percent, from about 80 percent in recent years. Below are 12 trials that have produced a verdict or ruling since October 1. 1. ...
California Democrats, eye on election, adopt activist agenda
9 Mar 2014 at 7:39pm
By Sharon Bernstein LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Democrats wrapped up their annual convention on Sunday with an appeal to their progressive base even as leaders vowed to stay on a centrist path that has won wide popularity for Governor Jerry Brown and firm control over the state legislature. Facing the 2014 election season flush with a formidable political advantage in the most populous U.S. state, Democrats used the two-day gathering in Los Angeles to showcase their successes in California and to draw a contrast with partisan gridlock in Washington. They cited California's improving economy and a newly exerted fiscal discipline that has allowed Brown to pay down the state's debt as proof of Democrats' ability to govern effectively. "We took a state that seemed to be a punch line for a national joke, and we made it a how-to guide for national governments," incoming state Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins told the crowd.