EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Oct 2, 2013

Exercise “as good as medicines” in treating heart disease

LONDON (Reuters) – Exercise may be just as good as medication to treat heart disease and should be included as a comparison when new drugs are being developed and tested, scientists said on Wednesday.

In a large review published in the British Medical Journal, researchers from Britain’s London School of Economics and Harvard and Stanford universities in the United States found no statistically detectable differences between exercise and drugs for patients with coronary heart disease or prediabetes, when a person shows symptoms that may develop into full-blown diabetes.

Oct 1, 2013

Predicting violence in psychopaths is “no more than chance”

LONDON (Reuters) – Assessment tools used to predict how likely a psychopathic prisoner is to re-offend if freed from jail are “utterly useless” and parole boards might just as well flip a coin when deciding such risks, psychiatrists said on Tuesday.

Publishing a study that found risk score tools are only around 46 percent accurate on how likely psychopathic convicts are to kill, rape or assault again, they said probation officers and judges should set little or no store by such tests.

Sep 30, 2013

Oncologists call for industry-led global fund to fight cancer

AMSTERDAM, Sept 30 (Reuters) – The world faces a rapidly
growing burden of cancer which will overwhelm governments unless
the medical and pharma industry takes the lead on a
multi-billion dollar private-public fund, oncologists said on

In a report on how rates of cancer diagnosis and death are
rising across the world while access to diagnosis and treatment
is extremely patchy, experts described the economics of the
problem as daunting and current financing models as broken.

Sep 29, 2013

Roche immunotherapy drug may be ‘game changer’ in lung cancer

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – An experimental Roche drug that seems to work particularly well against lung cancer in smokers may be a “game changer” for these normally difficult-to-treat patients, researchers said on Sunday.

Presenting detailed data from an early-stage trial of the drug, called MPDL3280A, in patients with a form of the disease called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), investigators said what they had found was “great news for lung cancer patients”.

Sep 28, 2013

Europe should shift focus to bowel cancer screening to save lives: scientists

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – European governments should divert funds to routine bowel cancer tests from less effective breast and prostate screening programs, scientists said on Saturday, presenting what they called “irrefutable” evidence that bowel screening saves lives.

Many governments devote significant funds to breast cancer screening, but studies in recent years have found that routine breast mammograms can also lead to so-called “over-diagnosis” when tests pick up tumors that would not have caused a problem.

Sep 27, 2013

Immune drugs hold hope of “clinical cure” for deadly skin cancer

AMSTERDAM, Sept 27 (Reuters) – A new generation of drugs
designed to trigger the immune system to fight cancer is
offering the prospect of a “clinical cure” for some melanoma
skin cancer patients who until a few years ago were more likely
to be facing a swift death.

Cancer specialists gathering for a European conference at
the weekend said the so-called immunotherapy drugs, a class led
by Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy, or ipilimumab, have
transformed an area of oncology in which until recently doctors
barely had time to get to know their patients.

Sep 23, 2013

United Nations reports ‘dramatic’ progress in fight against AIDS

LONDON (Reuters) – The global rate of HIV infection and the number of AIDS-related deaths have been dramatically reduced, thanks to expanding access to treatment, the United Nations said in a report issued on Monday.

In its annual update on HIV, which it said now infects around 35.3 million people worldwide, UNAIDS said deaths from AIDS and HIV infection rates were falling, while the number of people getting treatment is going up.

Sep 23, 2013

“Disgustologist” digs deep into science of revulsion

LONDON (Reuters) – Valerie Curtis is fascinated by faeces. And by vomit, pus, urine, maggots and putrid flesh. It is not the oozing, reeking substances themselves that play on her mind, but our response to them and what it can teach us.

The doctor of anthropology and expert on hygiene and behaviour says disgust governs our lives – dictating what we eat, wear, buy, and even how we vote and who we desire.

Sep 19, 2013

Gene sequences of deadly Saudi virus show complex transmission

LONDON (Reuters) – Genetic analysis of samples of the deadly MERS virus that has killed 58 people in the Middle East and Europe shows the disease has jumped from animals to humans several times, scientists said on Friday.

At least 132 people have been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus since it emerged about a year ago, and it has killed 58 of them, according to the World Health Organisation.

Sep 18, 2013

Gene discovery could lead to new types of HIV treatments

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have identified a gene which they say may have the ability to prevent HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from spreading after it enters the body.

In an early-stage study in the journal Nature, researchers said the gene, called MX2, appears to play a key role in how HIV is controlled in human cells, so using it could lead to the development of new, less toxic treatments that harness the body’s natural defenses and mobilize them against the virus.

    • 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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