EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
Kate's Feed
Sep 1, 2013

Bigger and healthier: European men grow 11cm in a century

LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) – The average height of European
men grew by a surprising 11 centimetres from the early 1870s to
1980, reflecting significant improvements in health across the
region, according to new research published on Monday.

Contrary to expectations, the study also found that average
height accelerated in the period spanning the two World Wars and
the Great Depression, when poverty, food rationing and hardship
of war might have been expected to limit people’s growth.

Aug 29, 2013

Study finds poverty reduces brain power

LONDON (Reuters) – Poverty and the all-consuming fretting that comes with it require so much mental energy that the poor have little brain power left to devote to other areas of life, according to the findings of an international study published on Thursday.

The mental strain could be costing poor people up to 13 IQ (intelligence quotient) points and means they are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions that amplify and perpetuate their financial woes, researchers found.

Aug 28, 2013

Scientists grow “mini human brains” from stem cells

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have grown the first mini human brains in a laboratory and say their success could lead to new levels of understanding about the way brains develop and what goes wrong in disorders like schizophrenia and autism.

Researchers based in Austria started with human stem cells and created a culture in the lab that allowed them to grow into so-called “cerebral organoids” – or mini brains – that consisted of several distinct brain regions.

Aug 23, 2013

Long-term nerve damage feared after Syria chemical attack

LONDON (Reuters) – Even those who survived the suspected chemical weapons attack in Damascus – and many hundreds didn’t – may have life-long disabilities and health problems for which there are few effective treatments.

The death toll from the incident, the latest grisly episode in Syria’s two-and-a-half-year civil war, could well rise in coming days as doctors and other health workers who suffered secondary exposure via the direct victims start to succumb to the agent’s poison.

Aug 21, 2013

China bird flu analysis finds more virus threats lurking

LONDON (Reuters) – A deadly new bird flu virus in China evolved from migratory birds via waterfowl to poultry and into people, and there are other bird flu viruses circulating that could follow the same path, scientists have found.

The study – an analysis of the evolutionary history of the H7N9 bird flu that has so far killed 44 people – identified several other H7 flu viruses circulating in birds that the researchers said “may pose threats beyond the current outbreak”.

Aug 21, 2013

Study links schizophrenia symptoms to faulty “switch” in brain

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – The delusions and other psychotic
symptoms experienced by people with schizophrenia may be caused
by a faulty brain “switch” that blurs their ability to
distinguish inner thoughts from objective reality, scientists
said on Wednesday.

In a study published in the journal Neuron, researchers
found the severity of symptoms such as hearing voices and
delusions was due to a disconnection between two key regions of
the brain – the insula and the lateral frontal cortex.

Aug 20, 2013

British tuberculosis rates among highest in Western Europe

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Rates of tuberculosis (TB) in
Britain are among the highest in western Europe and London is
struggling to shed its status as the “TB capital” of the region,
according to data released on Wednesday.

If trends of infection continue, within two years Britain is
likely to have more new cases of TB each year than the United
States, according a report from the government’s health agency,
Public Health England (PHE).

Aug 15, 2013

Tuberculosis “time bomb” costs Europe billions of euros a year

LONDON, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Europe is facing a
multi-billion-euro time bomb of rising costs to control
tuberculosis (TB) as drug-resistant forms of the lung disease
spread, a pioneering study found.

Often thought of as a disease of the past or one restricted
to marginalised communities, TB is already inflicting annual
direct costs of more than 500 million euros on the region and
another 5.3 billion euros in productivity losses.

Aug 14, 2013

Brain “folds” may predict if drugs will help psychosis

LONDON (Reuters) – The extent of “folds” on the outer layer of the brain could give doctors a clue as to how well people suffering problems such as hallucinations or delusions will respond to antipsychotic drugs.

Researchers using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of people with psychosis identified patterns of folds in the brain that could act as markers of whether a patient’s symptoms will be eased by medication.

Aug 14, 2013

Gene study uncovers origins of many common cancers

LONDON (Reuters) – Researchers in Britain have set out the first comprehensive map of mutational processes behind the development of tumors – work that should in future lead to better ways to treat and prevent a wide range of cancers.

In a study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, researchers who analyzed more than 7,000 genomes, or genetic codes, of common forms of cancer uncovered 21 so-called “signatures” of processes that mutate DNA.

    • 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."
    • Follow Kate