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MADRID (AP) The parents of a 5-year-old British boy with a severe brain tumor they took abroad against doctors' advice were at a Madrid courthouse awaiting the start of proceedings Monday on whether to extradite them to the U.K. . . more
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 05:46:42 -0400
Medical authorities in the Swedish capital said on Monday tests on a man brought into hospital over the weekend and suspected of potentially carrying Ebola showed no signs the deadly disease. The Swedish man, whose name was not disclosed, had recently traveled to a "risk area" for the virus and had been taken to the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm suffering from a fever, sparking suspicions of Ebola. Stockholm county council said in a statement the man would continue to be treated at the hospital to ascertain the cause of his symptoms. More than 1,500 people have died in an Ebola outbreak in West Africa since March. . . more
By Ben Hirschler BARCELONA (Reuters) - Sales forecasts for Novartis's new heart failure drug are being ramped up by analysts after strikingly good clinical trial results for a medicine doctors expect to transform treatment of the deadly disease. David Epstein, Novartis' head of pharmaceuticals, said the launch of the drug next year promised to be the company's most exciting ever and profit margins on the medicine would be good. The results of a keenly-awaited clinical trial on LCZ696 were released at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology on Saturday and published in the New England Journal of Medicine with a glowing editorial. 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 multi-billion dollar sales opportunity. . . more
The Japanese unit of Swiss pharma giant Novartis has admitted it did not report more than 2,500 cases of serious side effects in patients using its leukaemia and other cancer drugs, reportedly including some fatalities. The revelations, which marked the latest in a string of scandals at the company's Japanese subsidiary, come after local authorities slapped the firm on the wrist, saying it had to clean up its operations. On Friday, Novartis issued a statement saying it had failed to report to regulators at least 2,579 cases where patients had suffered serious potential side effects from its drugs. Japan's Jiji Press news agency said they included some fatal cases, without specifying a figure. . . more
By Ben Hirschler BARCELONA (Reuters) - A nerve stimulation device from Cyberonics improved cardiac function in heart failure patients in a small clinical trial, in contrast to an unsuccessful study backed by Boston Scientific. Both companies are trying to improve outcomes for patients with heart failure, in which the heart fails to pump blood efficiently, by stimulating the vagus nerve a superhighway connecting the brain to the rest of the body. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), which involves delivering mild electrical pulses to the nerve in the neck, is already used successfully to treat severe epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. . . more
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A hospital in the Swedish capital is investigating a possible case of Ebola, Swedish media reported on Sunday. A man who recently travelled 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. ... . . more
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 02:56:22 -0400
An outbreak of dengue fever in Japan -- the first since World War II -- has affected at least 22 people, the government said Monday, with all cases believed to be linked to a Tokyo park. The health ministry said 19 new infections have been confirmed since last week. All are believed to have visited Tokyo's Yoyogi Park or its environs, one of the major green lungs of the metropolis, 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. . . more
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. "Todays 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. . . more
(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. . . more
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. . . more
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 21:28:13 -0400
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. . . more
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. . . more
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. . . more
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". . . more
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:32:24 -0400
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. . . more
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. . . more
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. . . more


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