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Japan confirms more dengue infections: officials
31 Aug 2014 at 9:18pm
An outbreak of dengue fever in Japan -- the first since World War II -- could have affected up to 20 people, media reported Monday, as officials confirmed three more cases. The new cases, who are in their teens or 20s, are all believed to have visited Tokyo's Yoyogi Park, one of the major green lungs of the metropolis, which is popular with residents and tourists alike. The park, one of the largest open spaces in central Tokyo, is believed to be the source of the mosquito-borne disease. None of those found to have contracted dengue is in a life-threatening condition, officials have said.
Judge temporarily blocks law that could close all Louisiana abortion clinics
31 Aug 2014 at 8:48pm
The measure, signed into law by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in June and due to take effect Sept. 1, would require doctors who perform abortions to have patient admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice. "Plaintiffs will be allowed to operate lawfully while continuing their efforts to obtain privileges," Federal Judge John deGravelles wrote in the decision. Abortion rights activists applauded the decision, the latest in a string of rulings against similar measures, saying it would give doctors more time to seek hospital privileges. "Today?s ruling ensures Louisiana women are safe from an underhanded law that seeks to strip them of their health and rights," said Nancy Northup, president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which sued to block the law on behalf of three of the state's five clinics.
Dozens arrested at Made in America music festival in Los Angeles
31 Aug 2014 at 8:31pm
(Reuters) - Seven people were arrested on Sunday at the Made in America music festival in downtown Los Angeles, following an opening day that left more than two dozen people in handcuffs, police said. During Sunday's show at Grand Park there were four felony arrests, including one for battery and the rest for possession of narcotics, besides three misdemeanor arrests, including one charge of public drunkenness, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Another 23 people were given alcohol citations, an LAPD police spokeswoman said. So far about 27,000 tickets have been scanned for Sunday's full day of events, including top-billed stars John Mayer and Kanye West later in the evening.
Health workers death toll mounts in W.Africa as Ebola spreads
31 Aug 2014 at 8:09pm
Nigeria's health minister will hold an emergency meeting of state health commissioners on Monday as West Africa struggles to halt the deadly Ebola virus, amid growing concern at the toll among healthcare workers. Nigeria on Sunday confirmed a fresh case of Ebola in a doctor whose husband died from the virus, adding to a growing list of those providing healthcare in West Africa to be hit by the epidemic. The woman's husband was also a doctor who died in the city of Port Harcourt on August 22 after treating a patient who had contact with the Liberian man who brought the virus to Nigeria in late July. She was in a stable condition at an isolation unit in the financial capital, Lagos, said Sampson Parker, the health commissioner of Rivers State, of which Port Harcourt is the capital.
New test fast-tracks diagnosis for malaria
31 Aug 2014 at 6:28pm
A new invention can cheaply and accurately diagnose malaria infection in just a few minutes using only a droplet of blood, researchers have reported in the journal Nature Medicine. The tool could replace the laborious, error-prone method by which a lab technician looks for malaria parasites in blood through a microscope, they said. While that method is considered the gold standard in malaria diagnostics today, it depends on the technician's skill in interpreting the image, the quality of the microscope and lab chemicals and even on the thickness of the blood smear on the slide itself. The touted replacement is an "inexpensive" desk-top mini-lab that, according to its inventors, can detect fewer than 10 malaria parasites per microlitre of blood, using a sample of less than 10 microlitres -- equivalent to a small drop from a finger prick.
Swedish hospital investigating possible case of Ebola: media
31 Aug 2014 at 3:32pm
A hospital in the Swedish capital is investigating a possible case of Ebola, Swedish media reported on Sunday. A man who recently traveled to a "risk area" for the virus was taken to Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm suffering from a fever and is being treated in an isolation unit, the reports said. More than 1,500 people have died in an Ebola outbreak in West Africa since March. "The virus isn't airborne and can only be spread between people through direct contact with blood and other body fluids," daily Svenska Dagbladet wrote, quoting a statement by the Stockholm County Council.
Four members of suburban Chicago family found shot to death
31 Aug 2014 at 2:49pm
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Four members of a suburban Chicago family were found shot dead in their home, with one death ruled a suicide and the rest homicides, police and coroner officials said on Sunday. Local media said the victims were an elderly couple and their two severely disabled adult children. Police said they were investigating the incident in Elmhurst, about 18 miles west of Chicago, but there was no threat or danger to others. The four bodies were discovered Saturday evening after Elmhurst police went to the home for a "well being check," police said.
WHO: Senegal Ebola case 'a top priority emergency'
31 Aug 2014 at 1:30pm
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) ? The effort to contain Ebola in Senegal is "a top priority emergency," the World Health Organization said Sunday, as the government continued tracing everyone who came in contact with a Guinean student who has tested positive for the deadly disease in the capital, Dakar.
Sweden discovers suspected case of Ebola: official
31 Aug 2014 at 1:10pm
A suspected case of the Ebola virus has been discovered in the Swedish capital Stockholm, a local official told AFP on Sunday. Aake Oertsqvist, a specialist in infection control responsible for the Stockholm area, was quoted as saying the risk of an Ebola outbreak in Sweden was "very low".
Gene clues to glaucoma risk
31 Aug 2014 at 12:32pm
Scientists on Sunday said they had identified six genetic variants linked to glaucoma, a discovery that should help earlier diagnosis and better treatment for this often-debilitating eye disease. The flaws came to light in a minute trawl through the genome of tens of thousands of people in more than half a dozen countries, comparing the DNA of those with glaucoma against those who were otherwise healthy. Glaucoma -- the leading cause of irreversible eye disease in the world -- is caused by damage to the optical nerve, usually by a buildup of fluid pressure in the eyeball. Further work on exactly how faulty genes cause glaucoma could also lead to better treatments, the scientists said.
Heart drug launch could be 'most exciting ever', says Novartis
31 Aug 2014 at 9:49am
The expected launch of Novartis's new heart failure drug next year promises to be the company's most exciting ever and profit margins on the medicine will be good, its head of pharmaceuticals said on Sunday. The Swiss drugmaker impressed doctors at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Barcelona at the weekend by unveiling strikingly good clinical trial results for the drug, known as LCZ696, in a keenly awaited clinical trial. Investigators working on the study and the company itself believe it has potential to replace drugs that have been central to treating heart failure for a quarter of century, opening up a multibillion-dollar sales opportunity. "It will be possibly the most exciting launch the company has ever had," David Epstein told an investor meeting.
Study raises concerns over Servier, Amgen heart drug
31 Aug 2014 at 7:33am
A major clinical study has raised concerns about a drug from private French company Servier that helps lower the heart rate and which was licensed to U.S. Ivabradine is not currently approved in the United States but it is sold in Europe for treating stable angina, or chest pain due to obstruction of heart arteries, and for heart failure, when the heart fails to pump blood effectively. The increase in the combined risk of cardiovascular death and heart attack in this patient group was small but statistically significant, with 7.6 percent of them suffering an adverse event against 6.5 percent of those on placebo. A commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, where the results were also published, said more research was needed to understand the finding and in the meantime doctors should "exercise caution" in using the drug in severe angina patients.
Parents of British boy in Spain face extradition
31 Aug 2014 at 6:39am
MADRID (AP) ? A critically-ill 5-year-old boy driven to Spain by his parents against doctors' advice is receiving medical treatment for a brain tumor in a Spanish hospital as his parents await extradition to Britain, police said Sunday.
Celebration in Liberia slum as Ebola quarantine lifted
31 Aug 2014 at 5:54am
By James Harding Giahyue and Saliou Samb MONROVIA/CONAKRY (Reuters) - Crowds sang and danced in the streets of a seaside neighbourhood in Liberia on Saturday as the government lifted quarantine measures designed to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. Faced with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, West African governments have struggled to find an effective response. More than 1,550 people have died from the hemorrhagic fever since it was first detected in the forests of Guinea in March. Residents of the impoverished seaside district of West Point in Monrovia were forcibly cut off from the rest of the capital in mid-August after a crowd attacked an Ebola centre there, allowing the sick to flee.
Tests promise 'blockbuster' new heart failure drug
31 Aug 2014 at 1:25am
An experimental drug from Swiss pharma giant Novartis reduced deaths from chronic heart failure by 20 percent compared with an existing treatment, according to the results of a vast new study. Cardiovascular failure, in which the heart does not pump blood effectively, kills at least 26 million people a year worldwide. Novartis unveiled the highly anticipated results on Saturday at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain and simultaneously in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study -- conducted with more than 8,400 patients in 47 countries over 27 months -- compared the safety and effectiveness of the drug on patients with heart failure to the current gold standard, Enalapril.