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Honduras detects 8 cases of babies with Zika-related defect
26 Jul 2016 at 11:49am
Health officials in the Central American nation of Honduras on Tuesday reported eight cases of newborns with microcephaly born to women who were infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy. Honduran Health Minister Yolani Batres told reporters six of the cases of microcephaly were in the south of Honduras, one near the border with El Salvador and two more in the capital. Two other cases had been previously reported in Honduras.
FDA enhances warnings on group of strong antibiotics
26 Jul 2016 at 11:13am
(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has enhanced warnings of side effects of a group of strong antibiotics used to treat a variety of respiratory and urinary tract infections and limited their use to patients with no alternatives. The antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones include Johnson & Johnson's Levaquin, Bayer's Cipro extended-release tablets and Merck Inc's Avelox.
With reference pricing, patients spend less on diagnostic testing
26 Jul 2016 at 10:50am
Patients have an incentive to choose medications or services as close to the reference price as possible to reduce their own spending. ?There?s no reason to believe the quality of the tests varies across labs,? said lead author James C. Robinson of the University of California, Berkeley. Some insurers and employers in the U.S. already use reference pricing for surgical and diagnostic procedures.
Charges dropped against anti-abortion activists for Texas video
26 Jul 2016 at 10:21am
Houston-area prosecutors dropped charges on Tuesday against two anti-abortion activists indicted for using illegal government identifications to secretly film a Texas Planned Parenthood facility, saying they could not adequately investigate the case. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were indicted by a grand jury in January and faced up to 20 years in prison after being charged with tampering with a governmental record. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement her office was limited in what it can investigate under Texas law due to procedural matters with the grand jury process.
Georgia's conservative Olympic outfit scorned by women's rights activists
26 Jul 2016 at 10:19am
By Umberto Bacchi LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women's rights activists in Georgia have urged the country's Olympic Committee to pick a more liberal design for its female athletes, criticizing the official outfits for next month's opening ceremony at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games as archaic. Inspired by the national costume, the outfit has been a major talking point in the former Soviet republic over the past few days, with many taking to social media to complain it projected the wrong image of the nation abroad. "It's very archaic and conservative," said Baia Pataraia from the Georgian Women Movement.
Lilly sales beat estimates, helped by newer drugs
26 Jul 2016 at 9:36am
Eli Lilly and Co on Tuesday reported better-than-expected quarterly sales, fueled by newer drugs, and predicted average annual revenue growth of at least 5 percent through the end of the decade due to its growing roster of medicines. The Indianapolis drugmaker, whose earnings growth resumed last year after three years of tumbling sales caused by competition from generic drugs, said investors can count on annual dividend increases in 2016 and beyond. Revenue rose 9 percent to $5.4 billion in the second quarter, topping Wall Street estimates of $5.15 billion.
Americans worry about 'super-human' technologies: poll
26 Jul 2016 at 9:15am
Futuristic technologies that promise to improve people's strength and smarts by editing genes, implanting brain chips or super-charging blood have raised more concern than enthusiasm among Americans, a poll showed on Tuesday. The survey by the Pew Research Center included more than 4,700 US adults, and is considered a nationally representative sample. The prospect of brain implants that could increase intelligence and focus also raised concern for 69 percent of people, as did the potential of synthetic blood that could improve speed, strength and stamina (63 percent).
Land used for palm oil could double without damaging forests: researchers
26 Jul 2016 at 9:10am
By Chris Arsenault RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The area covered by palm oil plantations worldwide could double without damaging protected areas or sensitive forests, Austrian researchers said on Tuesday. Researchers from the Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) studied satellite maps from Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America to determine where the crop used to make vegetable oils and other consumer products could be expanded sustainably. The findings follow criticism from campaign groups who say the expansion of palm oil plantations has destroyed rainforests and displaced local people from their ancestral lands.
Brazil agency to say Rio Olympics will bring no environmental gains: sources
26 Jul 2016 at 9:05am
By Lisandra Paraguassu and Leonardo Goy BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's top government finance and spending regulator is expected to report in the coming months that Rio de Janeiro will receive almost none of the environmental benefits promised by organizers of the 2016 Olympic Games, officials working on the report told Reuters. The report is being prepared by Brazil's Federal Audit Court (TCU), a body responsible for auditing federal government spending that reports to Brazil's Congress.
Blood clot deaths tied to hours of daily TV time
26 Jul 2016 at 9:04am
By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - People who watch television for five or more hours a day have more than twice the risk of those who watch half as much TV to die of a blood clot in the lung, a large Japanese study suggests. There are more than 200,000 cases of pulmonary embolism, which usually begins as a blood clot in the leg that travels to the lung, in the U.S. each year, according to the National Library of Medicine. Pulmonary embolism is less common in Japan than in Western countries, said study coauthor Dr. Hiroyasu Iso, professor of public health at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, but Japanese people are becoming increasingly sedentary.
Centene says it does not have network for Aetna's assets
26 Jul 2016 at 8:17am
Centene Corp's chief executive said the mid-cap health insurer did not have the network for the Medicare Advantage assets Aetna Inc or other large managed care companies are looking to sell as part of the industry-wide consolidation. Centene and WellCare Health Plans Inc were reported to have made competing offers for the insurance plans that Aetna may sell to seek clearance for its acquisition of Humana Inc. "If there's any one thing that Centene is recognized for is that it has not participated and will not participate in bidding and auctions.
Healthy clones: Dolly the sheep's heirs reach ripe old age
26 Jul 2016 at 8:14am
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - The heirs of Dolly the sheep are enjoying a healthy old age, proving cloned animals can live normal lives and offering reassurance to scientists hoping to use cloned cells in medicine. Dolly, cloning's poster child, was born in Scotland in 1996. Now researchers have allayed those fears by reporting that 13 cloned sheep, including four genomic copies of Dolly, are still in good shape at between seven and nine years of age, or the equivalent of 60 to 70 in human years.
Doctors not sure we all need routine skin cancer screening
26 Jul 2016 at 8:11am
By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - There isn?t enough evidence yet to say whether routine full-body skin cancer screenings are safe or effective, according to U.S. guidelines aimed at preventing deaths from these malignancies. The conclusion, issued today by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), adds to an ongoing debate in the medical community about how to strike the right balance between catching dangerous tumors as early as possible and avoiding unnecessary tests and treatments that may result from catching too many harmless abnormalities. ?At this time, the task force concluded that there is not enough evidence to know whether a full-body skin exam by a clinician reduces deaths from melanoma,? said Dr. Michael Pignone, a task force member and researcher at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.
Chicken scent offers hope for malaria prevention
26 Jul 2016 at 7:12am
Ethiopian scientists have discovered mosquitoes are repulsed by the smell of chicken, raising hopes for the development of a novel way to prevent a disease that kills hundreds of thousands every year. A team of insect experts led by Professor Habte Tekie at the University of Addis Ababa began their investigation after noticing that mosquitoes bite humans and other animals but stay away from chickens. "We went into the chemical basis involved in repelling malaria mosquitoes by odours emanating from the chickens... The results show that compounds from chicken have very good potential as repellent," Tekie told AFP.
Over one million people hit as floods worsen in India's tea region of Assam
26 Jul 2016 at 7:09am
By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than 1.2 million people in northeast India have been hit by floods which have submerged hundreds of villages, inundated large swathes of farmland and damaged roads, bridges and telecommunications services, local authorities said on Tuesday. Incessant monsoon rains in the tea and oil-rich state of Assam have forced the burgeoning Brahmaputra river and its tributaries to burst their banks -- affecting more than half of the region's 32 districts. The National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and Indian army are helping the district administration in evacuating affected people to safe places and distributing aid, it added.