EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Jan 14, 2015

Scientists find key gene mutations behind inherited heart disease

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have identified the crucial genetic mutations that cause a common heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), paving the way for more accurate diagnosis and screening of high-risk patients.

In a study of more than 5,000 people, researchers sequenced the gene encoding the muscle protein “titin”, known to be linked to this leading cause of inherited heart failure, to try to find which variations in it caused problems.

Jan 14, 2015

Cooling brain protein could aid search for Alzheimer’s treatment

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have found a mechanism that kicks in when the body is cooled and prevents the loss of brain cells, and say their find could one day lead to treatments for brain-wasting diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Studying mice, the researchers were able to simulate the effects of body cooling and pick apart the workings of a so-called “cold-shock” protein in the brain, RBM3, which has previously been linked with preventing brain cell death.

Jan 14, 2015

Helping chronic fatigue patients over fears eases symptoms

LONDON (Reuters) – Helping patients with chronic fatigue syndrome to overcome their fears that exercise or activity will make their symptoms worse is one of the most important factors behind therapies that can make them better, scientists said on Wednesday.

Presenting an analysis on a trial showing how cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) help reduce fatigue and improve physical function in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the researchers said misguided but understandable fears about being active were key.

Jan 12, 2015

“Extreme measures” needed to see Ebola shot development through

LONDON, (Reuters) – Developing and bringing to market effective Ebola vaccines requires extreme measures and unprecedented international cooperation, global health experts said on Monday.

In an interim report on a roadmap for vaccines against the current and any future outbreaks of the deadly virus, infectious disease specialists Jeremy Farrar and Mike Osterholm said the scope of effort was “too complex for any single government, organization or company”. They called for sustained public-private sector partnership and commitment.

Jan 9, 2015

Tailor-made vaccine set to banish Africa’s meningitis epidemics

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – The website of a global
partnership formed to wipe out deadly meningitis epidemics in
sub-Saharan Africa is closing down with a simple message: “Thank
you and goodbye!”.

Barely five years after the team began rolling out a
tailor-made vaccine in Africa’s “meningitis belt”, the disease
has all but disappeared there and the Meningitis Vaccine Project
(MVP) is closing down after pioneering what may be a model for
tackling infectious diseases in developing countries.

Jan 7, 2015

Scientists find antibiotic that kills bugs without resistance

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Scientists have discovered a new
antibiotic, teixobactin, that can kill serious infections in
mice without encountering any detectable resistance, offering a
potential new way to get ahead of dangerous evolving superbugs.

Researchers said the antibiotic, which has yet to be
trialled in humans, could one day be used to treat
drug-resistant infections caused by the superbug MSRA, as well
as tuberculosis, which normally requires a combination of drugs
that can have adverse side effects.

Jan 7, 2015

Limiting global warming means forgoing vast fuel reserves – study

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) – A third of the world’s oil
reserves, half of gas reserves and 80 percent of current coal
reserves should not be used in the coming decades if global
warming is to stay below an agreed 2 degree Celsius target,
scientists said on Wednesday.

In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers said
the vast majority of coal reserves in China, Russia and the
United States should stay in the ground, as well as more than
260,000 million barrels of oil reserves in the Middle East,
equivalent to all of Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves.

Dec 18, 2014

Global population living six years longer than in 1990: study

LONDON (Reuters) – Global life expectancy has risen by more than six years since 1990 thanks to falling death rates from cancer and heart disease in rich countries and better survival in poor countries from diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria.

In an analysis from the 2013 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, health researchers said, however, that while life expectancy is rising almost everywhere in the world, one notable exception is southern sub-Saharan Africa, where deaths from HIV/AIDS have erased some five years of life expectancy since 1990.

Dec 11, 2014

One shot or two? Many questions unresolved in Ebola vaccine race

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists racing to develop vaccines against Ebola are trying to determine whether they can best fight the disease with a single injection or with two, a calculation that could determine how quickly and effectively a program can be rolled out.

Administering two vaccines, one after the other, would almost certainly give far greater protection than a single shot against a deadly virus that has killed more than 6,000 people in West Africa this year.

Dec 11, 2014

Unchecked superbugs could kill 10 million a year, cost $100 trillion

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Drug-resistant superbugs could kill an extra 10 million people a year and cost up to $100 trillion by 2050 if their rampant global spread is not halted, according to a British government-commissioned review.

Such infections already kill hundreds of thousands of people a year and the trend is growing, the review said, adding: “The importance of effective antimicrobial drugs cannot be overplayed.”

    • 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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