EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Nov 20, 2013

Health spending growth slows as economies struggle-OECD

LONDON (Reuters) – Total health spending fell in one of three OECD nations between 2009 and 2011, with poor people in countries hardest hit by the financial crisis at risk of longer-term problems due to reduced access to medicines and check-ups, the OECD said on Thursday.

The drop is a sharp reversal of strong growth in health spending in the years prior to the financial crisis, the Paris-based organization said, and makes it all the more important that governments work to make healthcare systems more productive, efficient and affordable.

Nov 13, 2013

New Taiwan bird flu shows animal virus risk to humans

NEW DELHI, Nov 14 (Reuters) – A woman in Taiwan has become
the first person in the world with a confirmed case of a new
strain of bird flu, adding to a growing body of evidence of the
potential threat from animal viruses that mutate to be able to
infect people.

Scientists from Taiwan said the infection – with a bird flu
strain called H6N1 – appeared to be one isolated human case and
probably posed little threat for the moment. But it showed how
this virus, like others in the past, had been able to acquire
genetic changes allowing it to jump across species.

Nov 8, 2013

Syria, neighbors to vaccinate 20 million children against polio

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – More than 20 million children are to be vaccinated in Syria and neighboring countries against polio to try to stop the spread of the crippling infectious disease following its re-emergence there after 14 years, United Nations agencies said on Friday.

The mass vaccination against polio, which can spread rapidly among children, is already under way in the Middle East a week after the region declared a polio emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN children fund UNICEF said.

Nov 7, 2013

Syria polio outbreak “may threaten Europe”, experts warn

LONDON (Reuters) – Vaccinating only Syrian refugees against polio may not be enough to prevent the crippling viral disease from re-infecting Europe where it has not been seen for decades, German scientists warned on Friday.

Writing in The Lancet medical journal, they said the risk to Europe from a re-emergence of polio in Syria was partly due to the type of vaccine generally used in regions that have not had the disease for many years.

Nov 7, 2013

Concussed rugby players being put at risk, say experts

LONDON (Reuters) – Rugby players with brain damage are regularly being sent back onto the field of play because the sport’s governing bodies are not taking concussion seriously enough, medical experts said on Thursday.

The long-term risks of this could be higher rates of dementia, major depression and other neurodegenerative conditions later in life, the experts said, with evidence of such problems already being found among American football players who suffer similar rates of knocks to the head.

Nov 5, 2013

Wider ADHD definition risks unnecessary medication, say experts

LONDON (Reuters) – A wider definition of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is causing inappropriate diagnosis and unnecessary and possibly harmful medical treatment costing up to $500 million in the United States alone, scientists said on Wednesday.

Less restrictive diagnostic criteria have contributed to a steep rise in diagnoses for the behavioral brain condition -particularly among children – the researchers said, and in the use of stimulant drugs to manage it.

Nov 5, 2013

Brain damage concussion fears seep into rugby and football

LONDON (Reuters) – Rugby and football players who suffer multiple knocks to the head during their careers are at added risk of brain damage that could lead to dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, brain scientists are warning.

Just as some American football players and boxers have been found to have long-term cognitive deficits after suffering repeated head blows or concussions during play, so football and rugby players must be made aware of the same dangers.

Nov 5, 2013

Brain damage concussion fears seep into rugby and soccer

LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Rugby and soccer players who suffer multiple knocks to the head during their careers are at added risk of brain damage that could lead to dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, brain scientists are warning.

Just as some American football players and boxers have been found to have long-term cognitive deficits after suffering repeated head blows or concussions during play, so soccer and rugby players must be made aware of the same dangers.

Nov 4, 2013

Could concentrated HIV epidemics make AIDS unbeatable?

LONDON (Reuters) – HIV epidemics are becoming more concentrated in marginalized groups such as sex workers, drug users and gay men, and could defy global attempts to combat AIDS without a change in attitudes, according to a U.N. special envoy.

Michel Sidibe, formerly head of UNAIDS and now tackling HIV and AIDS in Eastern Europe, says he would like to be able to celebrate without reservation vast global progress made in the past decade, but stubborn infection rates and alarming growth of outbreaks in hard-to-reach populations make that difficult.

Oct 31, 2013

Shale gas fracking a low risk to public health -UK review

LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – The risks to public health from
emissions caused by fracking for shale oil and gas are low as
long as operations are properly run and regulated, the British
government’s health agency said on Thursday.

Public Health England (PHE) said in a review that any health
impacts were likely to be minimal from hydraulic fracturing, or
fracking, which involves the pumping of water and chemicals into
dense shale formations deep underground.

    • 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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