EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Oct 23, 2014

WHO concerned but ‘reasonably confident’ on international Ebola spread

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was “reasonably confident” that the Ebola virus plaguing three West African countries had not spread into neighboring states.

Asked whether countries such as Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast might have cases of the disease crossing their borders without knowing about or reporting them, WHO assistant director general Keiji Fukuda said he considered that unlikely.

Oct 23, 2014

Fixing ‘Ebolanomics’ in pursuit of vaccines and drugs

LONDON (Reuters) – As researchers from Africa to China to America race to develop vaccines and treatments to fight Ebola, health experts are grappling with the economics of a disease that until this year had been off the drug industry’s radar.

Whether or not effective drugs come in time to turn around the world’s worst epidemic of the virus ravaging three West African countries, the world will want stockpiles to protect against inevitable future outbreaks, experts say.

Oct 22, 2014

Drug-resistant tuberculosis at crisis levels, warns WHO

LONDON (Reuters) – Multi drug-resistant tuberculosis remains at crisis levels, with about 480,000 new cases this year, and various forms of the lung disease killed about 1.5 million people in 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

In recent years, the emergence of multi drug-resistant TB — a manmade problem caused by regular TB patients being given the wrong medicines, the wrong doses, or failing to complete their treatment — has posed an increasing global health threat.

Oct 20, 2014

Study shows exit screening vital to halting global Ebola spread

LONDON (Reuters) – Three Ebola-infected travelers a month would be expected to get on international flights from the West African countries suffering epidemics of the deadly virus if there were no effective exit screening, scientists said on Tuesday.

The three countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, do all check departing air passengers for fever, although the test cannot spot sufferers in the period before they show symptoms, which can be up to 21 days.

Oct 20, 2014

Cell transplant helps paralysed man walk with frame

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – A Bulgarian man who was paralysed
from the chest down in a knife attack can now walk with the aid
of a frame after receiving pioneering transplant treatment using
cells from his nose.

The technique, described as a breakthrough by a study in the
journal Cell Transplantation, involved transplanting what are
known as olfactory ensheathing cells into the patient’s spinal
cord and constructing a “nerve bridge” between two stumps of the
damaged spinal column.

Oct 19, 2014

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for joy of sex

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored fishes, called placoderms, about 385 million years ago in Scotland.

In an important discovery in the evolutionary history of sexual reproduction, the scientists found that male fossils of the Microbrachius dicki, which belong to a placoderm group, developed bony L-shaped genital limbs called claspers to transfer sperm to females.

Oct 15, 2014

Exercising three times a week significantly cuts depression risk

LONDON (Reuters) – Exercising three times a week reduces the odds of developing depression by around 16 percent, scientists said on Wednesday — and for every extra weekly activity session, the risk drops further.

In a study conducted as part of a public health research consortium, the UK-based scientists said the relationship they found between depression and exercise points to ways to simultaneously improve both mental and physical health.

Oct 14, 2014

WHO says Ebola epidemic still spreading in West Africa

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The Ebola epidemic is still spreading in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and the number of cases in West Africa will exceed 9,000 this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

The death toll so far in the outbreak, first reported in Guinea in March, has reached 4,447 from a total of 8,914 cases, WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward said.

Oct 14, 2014

European code against cancer calls for smoke-free, active lives

LONDON (Reuters) – Cancer experts issued a 12-point code on Tuesday aimed at preventing up to half of all new cases of the disease in Europe by guiding people towards smoke-free, active lives free from cancer-causing infections and substances.

Publishing the new European code against cancer, experts at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research agency said the dozen simple steps would help people reduce their risk of developing and dying from the disease.

Oct 13, 2014

Experts question ethics of placebo drug trials in case of Ebola

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – A group of influential health
experts has argued the standard practice of using placebos in
drug trials would be unethical in the case of experimental
medicines for Ebola, given that the world is in the middle of a
deadly epidemic.

Faced with a disease with a death rate of between 40 and 90
percent, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) — where patients
are assigned to get either the drug or a dummy pill — would be
unfair and ethically unacceptable, according to the disease
specialists from Europe, Africa and the United States.

    • About Kate

      "I cover health and science news for the region of Europe, Middle East and Africa -- from flu pandemics to the newest planetary discovery to the latest drug and research developments. I joined Reuters in 1993 and worked in London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt before moving to BBC television to work on European politics for Newsnight for 2 years. Since returning to Reuters, I have also worked as a parliamentary correspondent in Westminster and on the main news desk of the London bureau."
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