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By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - Researchers in Oregon say they have identified 27 genes that may cause autism, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature. The research at Oregon Health and Science University has the potential to create a screening tool for parents of autistic children, by helping them to determine if future offspring are likely also to develop the disorder, said co-author Brian O'Roak, assistant professor of molecular and medical genetics at OHSU's medical school. ... . . more
By Allison Lampert MONTREAL (Reuters) - The Canadian man who killed and dismembered a Chinese student in 2012 was raised by a domineering mother who would get drunk on vodka and was obsessed with germs, the man's father testified on Friday, while describing himself as an alcoholic schizophrenic. Luka Magnotta, 32, has admitted killing and dismembering engineering student Jun Lin, 33, and to videotaping the acts and mailing parts of the body to several addresses. He is pleading not guilty due to mental illness. ... . . more
By Louis Charbonneau and Bill Berkrot NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Friday defended federal guidelines for monitoring health workers returning from three Ebola-stricken West African countries while urging greater coordination to contain the outbreak in Guinea. There is a growing controversy in the United States over some states ordering 21-day quarantines for nurses and doctors returning after treating Ebola patients, an idea that medical experts have criticized. ... . . more
By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Texas Republicans, including Tea Party-backed U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, sought to ratchet up the pressure on the Obama administration's Ebola response on Friday, by questioning its use of federal tax dollars for emergency preparedness. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the lawmakers said they were concerned about missteps in the Dallas Ebola case of Thomas Eric Duncan, which they said occurred after large sums of federal money were spent to help U.S. cities prepare for infectious diseases. ... . . more
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will stop issuing visas to people from the three West African nations where the Ebola is widespread, the government said on Friday. The federal citizenship ministry, explaining the move, said in an official document that "the introduction or spread of the disease would pose an imminent and severe risk to public health". About 5,000 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone this year in the worst Ebola outbreak on record. Fears rose that the disease could spread beyond the region after a few cases were diagnosed in Spain and the United States. ... . . more
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:09:16 -0400
FORT KENT, Maine (AP) A Maine judge gave nurse Kaci Hickox the OK to go wherever she pleases, handing state officials a defeat Friday in their bid to restrict her movements as a precaution against Ebola. . . more
By Kathryn Doyle NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A brief new report claims that using a breathing technique based on Tibetan Buddhist tradition, 26 inexperienced mountain climbers made it up Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa in 48 hours while avoiding acute mountain sickness. They were trained to take quick deep breaths constantly while climbing, said coauthor Dr. Geert A. Buijze of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Compare it to the deep breathing when performing strenuous exercises, Buijze told Reuters Health by email. ... . . more
By Joel Page FORT KENT Maine (Reuters) - Declaring Ebola fears in the United States "not entirely rational," a judge rejected Maine's bid for a quarantine on a nurse who treated victims of the disease in West Africa but tested negative for it, and instead imposed limited restrictions. Nurse Kaci Hickox's challenge of the Maine quarantine became a key battleground for the dispute between officials in some U.S. states who have imposed strict quarantines on health workers returning from three Ebola-ravaged West African countries and the federal government, which opposes such measures. ... . . more
LONDON (Reuters) - (The story was corrected in the first and fourth paragraphs of Oct. 28 story to show Aon is based in Britain, and not the United States) British insurance broker Aon has launched Ebola liability cover for hospitals and other health care institutions, the company said on Tuesday. The Ebola virus has killed nearly 5,000 people worldwide, mainly in West Africa. Fear of Ebola infections spreading to developed economies has prompted insurance companies to add exclusion clauses to their standard policies or to develop new products. ... . . more
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:57:30 -0400
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks," you might joke. Or think to yourself, "I'm too old to do that." Stop it, we beg you. A new study shows perceptions of age are as good as reality when it comes to physical functioning.Researchers from Yale University and University of California, Berkeley set out to find out just how powerful negative --... . . more
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:40:13 -0400
(Reuters) - Since commercialization of the world's first genetically engineered crops in 1995-1996, there has been an ongoing debate globally about the safety and effectiveness of the crops. China has recently slowed its process for allowing imports of certain types of GMO corn and rejected millions of dollars worth of U.S. * GMO crop developers and other backers say many scientific studies show the crops are safe, and the USDA promotes the crops as a means to enhancing global food security. The last import approval for a GMO grain was granted in June 2013, said Matthew O'Mara, director of international affairs at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, an industry group. . . more
By Ros Krasny WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China will lift its suspension on the import of red and golden delicious apples from Washington State, reopening a market once valued at about $6.5 million a year, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Friday. The restrictions were placed in August 2012 by Chinese quarantine authorities due to the repeated interception of three apple pests: speck rot, bull's-eye rot, and Sphaeropsis rot. Since then, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked with the U.S. ... . . more
Dallas Nurse Nina Pham hasn't seen her dog, Bentley, 21 days. . . more
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Former Adobe Chief Medical Officer Melissa Dyrdahl hopes to bring a spa-like feel to the experience of breast cancer screenings. Her start-up, Ella Health, has opened seven mammogram centers across the United States, in places ranging from Toms River, New Jersey to San Francisco. Ella's pitch: to improve the often nerve-wracking process so women will not skip their annual mammogram. "We want women to feel like they're in a spa, not a cold and clinical hospital," Dyrdahl, who is chief executive of the company, said in an interview. ... . . more
After weeks of Ebola panic, false alarms and quibbles over quarantine in the United States, health authorities are bracing for a new battle: flu season. The end of October marks the start of influenza season, bringing with it the predictable sniffles, sneezes, fever and aches that can extend well into the spring months. First is the Ebola epidemic in West Africa that spilled into the United States when a Liberian man traveled to Texas in September and infected two nurses who helped care for him. The prospect of facing all three illnesses in a single season has led the CDC to start a public education campaign to help people understand the risks, and to remind people to get their annual flu vaccine. . . more
(Reuters) - The American nurse who had defied the state of Maine's quarantine order after her return from Sierra Leone treating Ebola patients said a judge's rejection of the order on Friday was a good compromise. Maine Governor Paul LePage wanted the nurse, Kaci Hickox, to be quarantined in her house until the middle of next month even though she has tested negative for the virus and says she is healthy. (Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Grant McCool) . . more
GENEVA (Reuters) - The Ebola epidemic has killed 4,951 people out of 13,567 infected in eight countries, the World Health Organization said on Friday, slightly revising downwards its figures for cases mainly due to "suspected cases in Guinea being discarded". The toll reflects a rise of 31 deaths since the United Nations agency reported its previous figures on Wednesday, while the number of overall cases fell by 136. ... . . more


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