EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Aug 6, 2014

Study finds a gene mutation increases breast cancer risk to 1 in 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Women with mutations in a gene called PALB2 have a one in three chance of developing breast cancer by age 70, according to research that suggests PALB2 is almost as important a risk factor as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are widely known as breast cancer risk genes. Women with a mutation in one or both often decide to have their breasts removed so they do not develop the disease.

Aug 6, 2014

WHO consults ethics experts on wider use of experimental Ebola drugs

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The use of an experimental drug on two U.S. charity workers with the deadly Ebola virus has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider the implications of making such treatments more widely available, it said on Wednesday.

The Geneva-based agency, which is hosting a two-day Emergency Committee of experts to decide on the international response to the disease that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa, said it would convene a meeting of medical ethics experts early next week.

Aug 5, 2014

Scientific review finds aspirin significantly cuts cancer rates

LONDON (Reuters) – Taking a small daily dose of aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of developing – or dying from – bowel, stomach and oesophageal cancer, according to a large review of scientific studies.

Researchers who analyzed all available evidence from studies and clinical trials assessing benefits and harm found that taking aspirin for 10 years could cut bowel cancer cases by around 35 percent and deaths from the disease by 40 percent.

Aug 5, 2014

WHO urged to allow experimental drugs in ‘dire’ Ebola outbreak

LONDON, (Reuters) – Three of the world’s leading Ebola specialists called on Tuesday for experimental drugs and vaccines to be offered to people in West Africa, where a vast outbreak of the deadly disease is raging in three countries.

Noting that American aid workers who contracted the disease in Liberia were given an unapproved medicine before being evacuated back to the United States, the specialists – including Peter Piot, who co-discovered Ebola in 1976 – said Africans affected by the same outbreak should get the same chance.

Aug 5, 2014

Ebola mortality rate expected to rise as outbreak runs its deadly course

LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – The death rate so far in the
world’s worst outbreak of Ebola is not as extreme as recorded in
the past, but experts expect it to prove no less virulent in the
end, once more victims succumb and the grim data is tallied up.

Latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO)
record 1,603 cases of Ebola in the West African outbreak and 887
deaths – giving a death rate of just over 55 percent.

Jul 31, 2014

Taxis, planes and viruses: How deadly Ebola can spread

LONDON, (Reuters) – For scientists tracking the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, it’s not about complex virology and genotyping, but about how contagious microbes – like humans – use planes, bikes and taxis to spread.

So far, authorities have taken no action to limit international travel in the region. The airlines association IATA said on Thursday that the World Health Organisation is not recommending any such restrictions or frontier closures.

Jul 30, 2014

Drug-resistant malaria reaches Southeast Asia borders, could spread to Africa

LONDON (Reuters) – Drug-resistant malaria parasites have spread to border regions of Southeast Asia, seriously threatening global efforts to control and eliminate the mosquito-borne disease, researchers said on Wednesday.

The scientists, who analyzed blood samples from 1,241 malaria patients in 10 countries across Asia and Africa, found resistance to the world’s most effective antimalarial drug, artemisinin, is now widespread in Southeast Asia.

Jul 24, 2014

GSK seeks approval for world’s first malaria vaccine

LONDON (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday it is applying for regulatory approval for the world’s first vaccine against malaria, designed for use in children in Africa.

The British drugmaker said the shot, called RTS,S, is intended exclusively for use outside the European Union but will be evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Jul 23, 2014

Paracetamol no better than placebo for low back pain, study finds

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – Paracetamol, a painkiller
universally recommended to treat people with acute low back
pain, does not speed recovery or reduce pain from the condition,
according to the results of a large trial published on Thursday.

A study published in The Lancet medical journal found that
the popular pain medicine was no better than placebo, or dummy
pills, for hastening recovery from acute bouts of low back pain
or easing pain levels, function, sleep or quality of life.

Jul 22, 2014

Celgene drug can drive HIV out of hiding -study

LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) – An anti-cancer drug made by the
U.S. biotech firm Celgene can re-activate hidden HIV in
patients so that it can be detected, bringing researchers closer
to being able to treat it, Danish scientists said on Tuesday.

In a small study presented at an international AIDS
conference in Australia, the researchers said the finding was a
“step in the right direction” towards finding a cure for the
viral disease but that many years of research are still needed.

    • 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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