EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Feb 27, 2014

Britain sets out plans for first ‘three-parent’ IVF babies

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain published draft regulations on Thursday that would make it the first country in the world to offer “three-parent” fertility treatments to families who want to avoid passing on incurable diseases to their children.

In a move praised by doctors and but feared by critics who say the technique will lead to eugenic “designer babies”, the government said the new rules were aimed at preventing transmission of a serious disease from mother to child and would be subject to public scrutiny and parliament’s approval.

Feb 26, 2014

UK troops mentally resilient despite Iraq, Afghan conflicts

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Intervention strategies have
helped mitigate the psychological impact on British soldiers of
more than 10 years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, a new
study suggests, leaving them mentally healthier than their U.S.
peers.

But the study, by the King’s Centre for Military Health
Research at King’s College London, found some British soldiers -
particularly reservists and soldiers deployed in combat – do
seem more vulnerable to mental illness when they come home.

Feb 17, 2014

First biomarker could help boys at risk of major depression

LONDON (Reuters) – British brain scientists have identified the first biomarker, or biological signpost, for clinical depression and say it could help find boys in particular who are at risk of developing the debilitating mental illness.

In a study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) journal, the team found that teenage boys who have a combination of depressive symptoms and raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol are up to 14 times more likely to develop major depression than those who show neither trait.

Feb 17, 2014

Trader stress hormones “may exacerbate financial market crises”

LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Financial markets may be more
vulnerable to traders’ stress levels than previously thought,
according to a scientific study which found that high levels of
the stress hormone cortisol can induce risk aversion.

The findings, which turns on its head the assumption that
traders appetite for risk-taking remains constant throughout
market up and downs, suggests stress could in fact make them
more cautious, exacerbating financial crises just at a time when
risk-taking is needed to support crashing markets.

Feb 11, 2014

Scientists to map genome of medieval English king Richard III

LONDON (Reuters) – A year after they revealed a twisted skeleton found under a car park as the mortal remains of King Richard III, scientists in Britain plan to grind samples of his ancient bones and use them to map his genome.

The project, which may alter perceptions of the last king of England to die in battle more than 500 years ago, aims to learn about Richard’s ancestry and health, and provide a genetic archive for historians, researchers and the public.

Feb 11, 2014

Scientists find gene linking brain’s grey matter to intelligence

LONDON (Reuters) – Researchers have found a gene linking intelligence to the thickness of so-called “grey matter” in the brain, and say their discovery could help scientists understand how and why some people have learning difficulties.

An international team of scientists analyzed DNA samples and brain scans from more than 1,500 healthy 14-year-olds and gave them a series of tests to establish their verbal and non-verbal intelligence.

Feb 10, 2014

EU rules “mean children can’t get life-saving cancer drugs”

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Children with cancer are being
denied access to potentially life-saving medicines because
European Union rules allow drug firms to waive the need to test
some drugs in paediatric trials, researchers said on Monday.

Calling for a loophole in EU legislation to be closed,
scientists and specialists in childhood oncology led by
Britain’s Institute for Cancer Research (ICR) said changing the
rules could extend or save many young lives.

Feb 10, 2014

Minimum alcohol price would save UK lives, cut healthcare costs

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Setting a minimum alcohol price
of 45 pence ($0.73) a unit in Britain would cut deaths and
hospital time among heavy drinkers yet have virtually no adverse
impact on the pockets of moderate drinkers, researchers said on
Monday.

In a study which calls into question a government decision
last year to drop plans to set a minimum price for alcohol,
researchers found it would have the greatest effect on the 5
percent of people who drink at rates classified as “harmful”.

Feb 5, 2014

New China bird flu a reminder of mutant virus risk

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – The death of a woman in China from
a strain of bird flu previously unknown in humans is a reminder
of the ever-present potential pandemic threat from mutating
animal viruses, scientists said on Wednesday.

The new strain, called H10N8, has so far infected only two
people – a fatal case in a 73-year-old and another in a woman
who is critically ill in hospital. But the fact it has jumped
from birds to humans is an important warning, they said.

Feb 4, 2014

Citizens seek cancer cure with ‘Genes in Space’ smartphone game

LONDON (Reuters) – Gaming enthusiasts across the world can from Tuesday join the search for cancer cures with a citizen science project using a smartphone game to help researchers analyze vast volumes of genetic data from tumor samples.

Called “Play to Cure: Genes in Space”, the spaceship game is designed for smartphones and was launched by the charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK), which hopes it will speed up the decoding of data to reveal patterns of the genetic faults that cause cancers to grow and spread.

    • 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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