EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Jan 17, 2014

Increasing toll of H7N9 bird flu demands constant vigilance

LONDON (Reuters) – A big wave of H7N9 bird flu cases and deaths in China since the start of 2014 is a reminder that emerging flu strains need constant surveillance if the world is not to be caught off guard by a deadly pandemic.

At least 24 H7N9 flu infections and three deaths have been confirmed in the past week by the World Health Organisation (WHO), a dramatic increase on the two cases and one death reported for the four-month summer period of June to September.

Jan 17, 2014

South Africa risks spreading totally drug-resistant TB – study

LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Patients with contagious and
highly drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) are being routinely
discharged from hospitals across South Africa, exposing others
in their communities to potentially deadly infections,
researchers said on Friday.

In a study in the medical journal The Lancet, they said the
patients, with strains of TB known as extensively-drug resistant
(XDR) and totally drug resistant (TDR) TB, have exhausted all
available treatment options and are sent home.

Jan 16, 2014

Comedians have psychotic personality traits, study finds

LONDON (Reuters) – Having an unusual personality structure could be the secret to making other people laugh, scientists said on Thursday after research showed that comedians have high levels of psychotic personality traits.

In a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers analysed comedians from Australia, Britain and the United States and found they scored significantly higher on four types of psychotic characteristics compared to a control group of people who had non-creative jobs.

Jan 16, 2014

Experimental gene therapy improves sight in patients going blind

LONDON (Reuters) – Toby Stroh was in his 20s when his doctor told him he would go blind in his 50s, and his years of playing tennis and being able to drive or work could be gone long before that.

Now aged 56, two years after his retina was deliberately infected with a virus carrying a gene to correct a protein deficiency that was destroying its cells, he is a regular on the tennis court and has a successful career in law.

Jan 15, 2014

Brain injuries like Schumacher’s can destroy lives: study

LONDON (Reuters) – People with severe head injuries like the one that left Michael Schumacher in critical condition have permanently altered brains that make the victims more likely to become mentally ill and die prematurely, scientists said on Wednesday.

Brain experts said most health services fail to make the link between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and long-term mental consequences, meaning patients can fall through the net into depression, behavioral problems and crime.

Jan 13, 2014

Charities urge Britons: Share medical records for better health

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Britons who refuse to share their
medical records with scientists and drug companies may be
putting lives at risk by making it difficult for researchers to
spot emerging potential health problems, medical charities said
on Monday.

In an appeal to more than 50 million people using the
National Health Service (NHS) in England who are being asked if
they’d like to opt out of sharing data, researchers said the
valuable information could be used to track causes of disease,
detect infectious outbreaks and monitor the safety of drugs.

Jan 10, 2014

Fad diets can work, but experts find no magic slimming bullet

LONDON (Reuters) – Resolutions to lose weight are often made in January yet almost as frequently abandoned as heavy hopefuls find diets that demand fasting, virtually no carbs or liquid food shakes notoriously hard to stick to.

But even “fad” diets can lead to a slimmer, lighter New Year for those whose resolve remains robust, according to doctors and nutritionists analysing them.

Jan 9, 2014

Bone marrow stem cells could defeat drug-resistant tuberculosis

LONDON (Reuters) – Patients with potentially fatal “superbug” forms of tuberculosis (TB) could in future be treated using stem cells taken from their own bone marrow, according to the results of an early-stage trial of the technique.

The finding, made by British and Swedish scientists, could pave the way for the development of a new treatment for the estimated 450,000 people worldwide who have multi drug-resistant (MDR) or extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB.

Jan 3, 2014

MPs criticise govt’s stockpiling of Roche drug Tamiflu

LONDON (Reuters) – MPs on Friday criticised government spending of 424 million pounds ($702 million) to stockpile Roche’s medicine Tamiflu, saying doubts about the drug’s effectiveness suggest it may not be money well spent.

Parliament’s influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it was “surprised and concerned” to discover that information on methods and results of clinical trials of such prescribed drugs “is routinely withheld”, and said there was a “lack of consensus over how well Tamiflu … actually works”.

Jan 3, 2014

UK lawmakers criticize govt’s stockpiling of Roche drug Tamiflu

LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers on Friday criticized government spending of 424 million pounds ($702 million) to stockpile Roche’s medicine Tamiflu, saying doubts about the drug’s effectiveness suggest it may not be money well spent.

Parliament’s influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it was “surprised and concerned” to discover that information on methods and results of clinical trials of such prescribed drugs “is routinely withheld”, and said there was a “lack of consensus over how well Tamiflu … actually works”.

    • 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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