EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Sep 22, 2015

Europe has ‘alarming’ rates of smoking, drinking and obesity: WHO

LONDON, (Reuters) – Europe has the world’s highest rates of drinking and smoking, and more than half its people are too fat, putting them at high risk of heart disease, cancer and other deadly illnesses, health officials warned on Wednesday.

In a report on health in its European Region, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that while many countries had reduced risk factors for premature death, rates of obesity, tobacco use and alcohol consumption “remain alarmingly high”.

Sep 22, 2015

Barring ‘suicide hotspots’ cuts number who take their own life

LONDON (Reuters) – Installing barriers, safety nets and other restrictions at notorious suicide hotspots like bridges, cliffs and railways could cut the number of suicides at these sites by more than 90 percent, according to research published on Wednesday.

In a large study covering known hotspots around the world, researchers found that other measures such as putting up signs and crisis telephones to encourage people to seek help also appear to significantly reduce the number of deaths.

Sep 18, 2015

UK scientists seek permission to edit the genes of human embryos

LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – British scientists have applied
for permission to edit the genes of human embryos in a series of
experiments aimed at finding out more about the earliest stages
of human development.

Just months after Chinese scientists caused an international
furore by saying they had genetically modified human embryos
, Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist from
London’s Francis Crick Institute, has asked the British
government’s fertility regulator for a licence to carry out
similar experiments.

Sep 17, 2015

Malaria “tamed” as death rate drops, saving millions – WHO

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Death rates from malaria have
plunged by 60 percent in the past 15 years, meaning more than 6
million lives have been saved – the vast majority of them
African children, United Nations agencies said on Thursday.

The progress marked the “taming of an ancient disease that
over the centuries has killed untold millions of people,” World
Health Organization (WHO) director general Margaret Chan told an
audience at Britain’s parliament.

Sep 16, 2015

Analysis of GSK’s Seroxat antidepressant finds key data was held back

LONDON (Reuters) – A medical journal criticized British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline on Thursday for delaying access to key data from a trial of its antidepressant Seroxat that would have shown earlier that it is neither safe or effective in adolescents.

The¬†widely used medicine, known generically as paroxetine, is linked to an increased risk of suicide in young people and has carried a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “black box warning” advising against its use in adolescents since 2004.

Sep 16, 2015

Millions of children’s lives saved as malaria deaths plunge: U.N.

LONDON, (Reuters) – Rates of death from malaria have plunged by 60 percent in the past 15 years, meaning more than 6 million lives have been saved – the vast majority of them African children, United Nations agencies said on Thursday.

In a joint World Health Organisation (WHO)-UNICEF report, experts also said that a crucial Millennium Development Goal to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015 has been met “convincingly”, with new cases of the parasitic mosquito-borne disease down by 37 percent since 2000.

Sep 15, 2015

Study finds young people on antidepressants more prone to violence

LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Young people taking
antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat are significantly
more likely to commit violent crimes when they are on the
medication, but taking higher doses of the drugs appears to
reduce that risk, scientists said on Tuesday.

In research published in the PLoS Medicine journal, the
scientists said that while their finding of a link does not
prove that such drugs cause people to be more violent, further
studies should be conducted and extra warnings may be needed in
future when they are prescribed to people aged 15 to 24.

Sep 10, 2015

Genetically modified embryos “essential” for science, experts say

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Scientists should be allowed to
genetically modify human embryos because such experiments are
essential to deepen understanding of basic biology, an
international group of science and ethics experts said on

A report by the Hinxton Group, a global network of stem cell
researchers, bioethicists and science policy and publishing
experts, said being able to edit the genetic code of human
embryos was of tremendous value to research.

Sep 9, 2015

Study finds seeds of Alzheimer’s may have spread in medical procedure

LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – British scientists have found
evidence that the biological seeds of Alzheimer’s disease could
be passed on through medical procedures – though specialists
said the risk of transmission was largely theoretical.

Research published on Wednesday found evidence that
suggested one of the hallmark proteins of Alzheimer’s – that
could go on to develop into the brain disease – spread to a
group of patients via a now banned form of hormone treatment.

Sep 6, 2015

Pfizer’s quit-smoking drug not linked to depression or heart risks

LONDON (Reuters) – Pfizer’s stop-smoking drug Chantix does not raise risks of heart attack or depression, contrary to previous reports, and should be recommended to more smokers wanting to quit, scientists said on Monday.

In a study tracking 150,000 smokers in England for 6 months, researchers found that patients who took Chantix, known generically as varenicline and marketed as Champix in Europe, were no more likely to suffer a heart attack than those using nicotine replacement therapy or another quit-smoking drug.

    • 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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