EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Apr 15, 2013

Analysis: Gene swapping makes new China bird flu a moving target

LONDON (Reuters) – A new bird flu virus that has killed 13 people in China is still evolving, making it hard for scientists to predict how dangerous it might become.

Influenza experts say the H7N9 strain is probably still swapping genes with other strains, seeking to select ones that might make it fitter.

Apr 15, 2013

Gene swapping makes new China bird flu a moving target

LONDON (Reuters) – A new bird flu virus that has killed 13 people in China is still evolving, making it hard for scientists to predict how dangerous it might become.

Influenza experts say the H7N9 strain is probably still swapping genes with other strains, seeking to select ones that might make it fitter.

Apr 11, 2013

Big brain projects highlight drug research gaps

LONDON (Reuters) – Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are placing big new bets on the future of brain science, just as much of the pharmaceutical industry retreats from the field.

Brain disorders ranging from depression to Alzheimer’s are extracting an ever greater social and economic cost across the globe. But while the United States and European Union are funding ambitious efforts in neuroscience, the private sector is often skeptical about the prospect of rapid breakthrough cures.

Apr 11, 2013

Analysis – Big brain projects highlight drug research gaps

LONDON (Reuters) – Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are placing big new bets on the future of brain science, just as much of the pharmaceutical industry retreats from the field.

Brain disorders ranging from depression to Alzheimer’s are extracting an ever greater social and economic cost across the globe. But while the United States and European Union are funding ambitious efforts in neuroscience, the private sector is often sceptical about the prospect of rapid breakthrough cures.

Apr 10, 2013

British “test tube baby” pioneer Robert Edwards dies

LONDON (Reuters) – Robert Edwards, a British Nobel prize-winning scientist known as the father of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for pioneering the development of “test tube babies”, died on Wednesday aged 87 after a long illness, his university said.

Edwards, who won the Nobel prize for medicine in 2010, started work on fertilization in the 1950s, and the first so-called test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978 as a result of his research.

Apr 9, 2013

Public doubt on bird flu a ghost of China’s past

BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) – China has earned praise from international scientists for its handling of an outbreak of a deadly new bird flu in humans, but a history of public health cover-ups means the Chinese public is harder to win over.

Even as global authorities have said the new H7N9 bird flu strain that has killed eight and infected 28 is no cause for panic, memories of past health scandals continue to undermine the government’s credibility at home in dealing with outbreaks.

Apr 9, 2013

Analysis: Public doubt on bird flu a ghost of China’s past

BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) – China has earned praise from international scientists for its handling of an outbreak of a deadly new bird flu in humans, but a history of public health cover-ups means the Chinese public is harder to win over.

Even as global authorities have said the new H7N9 bird flu strain that has killed eight and infected 28 is no cause for panic, memories of past health scandals continue to undermine the government’s credibility at home in dealing with outbreaks.

Apr 8, 2013

“Legal high” Benzo Fury may harbor addiction risk

LONDON (Reuters) – A party drug available over the Internet and often taken by young people in Britain and the United States may harbor unknown risks because it has both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects, scientists said on Tuesday.

Researchers who analyzed the effect of the drug called “Benzo Fury” on the brains of rats found it had similar effects to some illegal drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine, which can cause hallucinations and are also addictive.

Apr 6, 2013

First magic mushroom depression trial hits stumbling block

LONDON, April 7 (Reuters) – The world’s first clinical trial
designed to explore using a hallucinogen from magic mushrooms to
treat people with depression has stalled because of British and
European rules on the use of illegal drugs in research.

David Nutt, president of the British Neuroscience
Association and professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial
College London, said he had been granted an ethical green light
and funding for the trial, but regulations were blocking it.

Apr 4, 2013

World experts debate case for new bird flu vaccine

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) – Experts from around the world
are in daily talks about the threat posed by a deadly new strain
of bird flu in China, including discussions on if and when to
start making a vaccine.

Any decision to mass-produce vaccines against H7N9 flu will
not be taken lightly, since it will mean sacrificing production
of seasonal shots. And scientists warn it will take months to
get any finished bird flu vaccine to the market.

    • 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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