EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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May 19, 2015

Is nicotine all bad?

LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) – Since he ditched Marlboro Lights five years ago, Daniel’s fix is fruit-flavored nicotine gum that comes in neat, pop-out strips. He gets through 12 to 15 pieces a day and says he has “packets of the stuff” stashed all over. But he doesn’t see himself as a nicotine addict.

Like many people, Daniel believes nicotine gum is far less harmful for him than smoking. Doctors worldwide agree. By giving up cigarettes, they say, Daniel has removed at least 90 percent of the health risks of his habit.

May 19, 2015

Insight – Is nicotine all bad?

LONDON, (Reuters) – Since he ditched Marlboro Lights five years ago, Daniel’s fix is fruit-flavoured nicotine gum that comes in neat, pop-out strips. He gets through 12 to 15 pieces a day and says he has “packets of the stuff” stashed all over. But he doesn’t see himself as a nicotine addict.

Like many people, Daniel believes nicotine gum is far less harmful for him than smoking. Doctors worldwide agree. By giving up cigarettes, they say, Daniel has removed at least 90 percent of the health risks of his habit.

May 13, 2015

Review suggests $3.5 billion prizes for antibiotic drugmakers

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Companies that develop new
antibiotics should be awarded prize money of up to $3.5 billion
for each new drug, instead of selling the medication at a
profit, a review backed by Britain’s government said on
Thursday.

The review, lead by former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim
O’Neill, said the lump sum payments could add up to $16-$37
billion over 10 years, but should only be made when companies
have fully developed a successful bug-killing drug.

May 11, 2015

Drug-resistant ‘superbug’ strain of typhoid spreads worldwide

LONDON (Reuters) – An antibiotic-resistant “superbug” strain of typhoid fever has spread globally, driven by a single family of the bacteria, called H58, according to the findings of a large international study.

The research, involving some 74 scientists in almost two dozen countries, is one of the most comprehensive sets of genetic data on a human infectious agent and paints a worrying scene of an “ever-increasing public health threat”, they said.

Apr 30, 2015

Polio eradicators hail historic progress, aim to “finish the job”

LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) – The world is closer than ever
to being able to wipe out polio, international experts said on
Thursday, with zero cases of the crippling disease recorded
across all of Africa this year and fewer than 25 globally.

Polio eradication specialists are wary of claiming premature
success and warn complacency could prove the project’s downfall,
but with only two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, reporting
polio cases in 2015, they see an end in sight.

Apr 29, 2015

Most countries woefully unprepared to fight resistant superbugs: WHO

LONDON (Reuters) – Only 34 countries have national plans to fight the global threat of antibiotic resistance, meaning few are prepared to tackle “superbug” infections which put even basic healthcare at risk, the WHO said on Wednesday.

In a survey of government plans to tackle the issue, the World Health Organization said only a quarter of the 133 countries that responded were addressing the problem.

Apr 28, 2015

U.S.-African diet swap has dramatic impact on colon cancer risk

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – Black Americans who switched to
a high-fibre African diet for just two weeks saw a dramatic drop
in risk factors for colon cancer, a study published on Tuesday
found.

A group of Africans who went the other way and started
eating American food rich in animal proteins and fats saw their
risks rise over the same short period, according to the paper in
the journal Nature Communications.

Apr 23, 2015

World’s first malaria vaccine moves closer to use in Africa

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) – The world’s first malaria
vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, could be approved by
international regulators for use in Africa from October after
final trial data showed it offered partial protection for up to
four years.

The shot, called RTS,S and designed for children in Africa,
would be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic
disease and could help prevent millions of cases of malaria,
which currently kills more than 600,000 people a year.

Apr 21, 2015

Scientists to share real-time genetic data on deadly MERS, Ebola

LONDON, April 21 (Reuters) – Genetic sequence data on two of the deadliest yet most poorly understood viruses are to be made available to researchers worldwide in real time as scientists seek to speed up understanding of Ebola and MERS infections.

The project, led by British scientists with West African and Saudi Arabian collaboration, hopes to encourage laboratories around the world to use the live data — updated as new cases emerge — to find new ways to diagnose and treat the killer diseases, and ideally, ultimately, prevent them.

Apr 21, 2015

First infant MRI study finds babies feel pain ‘like adults’

LONDON (Reuters) – The brains of babies “light up” in a similar way to adults when exposed to the same painful stimulus, suggesting they feel pain much like adults do, researchers said on Tuesday.

In the first of its kind study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scientists from Britain’s Oxford University found that 18 of the 20 brain regions active in adults experiencing pain were also active in babies.

    • 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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