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Lawyer investigating lead at Indiana housing complex

Shantel Allen, right, a resident of the West Calumet Housing Complex, speaks during a news conference with her husband, Charles, on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, in Munster, Ind. The Environmental Protection Agency has detected high levels of lead in samples of dust and dirt tracked inside homes where soil is tainted with industrial contaminants. The contamination has resulted in the city calling for the demolition of the low-income complex and relocating its 1,000 residents. (AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim)EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — An attorney for families in an Indiana public housing complex slated to be demolished because of lead contamination says he's investigating whether public officials knew about the problem and allowed children to be "poisoned."

Hospital, hepatitis C outbreak victims reach settlement
 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Trinity Health and its hospital in Minot have agreed in principal on a legal settlement with 21 victims of the largest hepatitis C outbreak in recent U.S. history, though Trinity's legal fight with a nursing home where most people were sickened will continue.

Study finds flaws in criticism of St. Jude cyber security

The ticker and trading information for St. Jude Medical is displayed where the stock is traded on the floor of the NYSEUniversity of Michigan researchers on Tuesday said their own experiments undermine recent allegations of security flaws in St. Jude Medical Inc's pacemakers and other implantable medical devices. Shares of St. Jude fell 5 percent on Thursday after short-selling firm Muddy Waters and its business partner, cyber security company MedSec Holdings Inc, alleged finding significant security bugs in the company's Merlin@home device for monitoring implanted heart devices. The university said its researchers came "to strikingly different conclusions" after generating the conditions reported by Muddy Waters.

U.N. defends aid work in Syria after accusations of being too close to government

Men unload boxes of U.N. humanitarian aid at a besieged area of HomsBy Ellen Wulfhorst NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United Nations defended its aid funding in Syria on Tuesday after an investigation revealed lucrative contracts were awarded to people close to the nation's President Bashar al-Assad. The U.N.'s Syrian contracts came under fire in British newspaper The Guardian which said aid money has gone to a charity set up by Assad's wife and to groups and businesses under U.S. and European Union sanctions. More than 250,000 people have died and 11 million from a population of 23 million have been forced from their homes in Syria's five-year war which started as an uprising against Assad's rule.

Three new cases of local Zika transmission in Florida: officials

A woman looks at a Center for Disease Control (CDC) health advisory sign about the dangers of the Zika virus as she lines up for a security screening at Miami International Airport in MiamiThe new infections bring the state's total of non-travel-related cases to 46, according to the Florida Department of Health. Only one of Tuesday's three new cases was linked to Miami Beach, which is known to be an active area for local Zika transmission. The department said it believes ongoing transmission is only taking place in parts of Miami Beach and the trendy Miami neighborhood of Wynwood, the site of the first local Zika transmission in the United States.

Express Scripts diabetes program aims to cap costs for customers
 Express Scripts Holding, the largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager, said on Wednesday it will implement a program next year that guarantees per-patient spending caps on diabetes drug costs in an effort to limit soaring increases for its customers. U.S. diabetes prescription drug spending increased 14 percent in 2015 and is forecast to rise at an even faster rate this year and next, according to an Express Scripts report. For example, if an employer is expected to incur a 20 percent increase in diabetes drug spending in 2017, Express might set a per person/per year cap of no more than a 10 percent increase for its employees.

Feds distribute $53 million to fight opioid problem
 WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it will distribute $53 million to 44 states in an effort to curb opioid abuse.

Singapore urges tests for pregnant women with Zika signs

Singapore urges tests for pregnant women with Zika signsSingapore urged all pregnant women showing symptoms of fever or rashes to have themselves tested for the Zika virus Wednesday after the number of cases in the city-state soared to 82. The United States and Britain joined Australia and Taiwan in advising pregnant women to avoid non-essential travel to the city-state. Environment agency workers stepped up efforts to eradicate mosquitoes that spread the disease, expanding a fumigation campaign centred on the "ground zero" of the outbreak, the eastern suburb of Aljunied.

Philippines' Duterte to workers returning from Saudi: Don't do drugs

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks before Filipino workers who were repatriated by the Philippine government from Saudi Arabia, upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in ManilaBy Neil Jerome Morales MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, heavily criticized for a brutal anti-narcotics drive in which hundreds have been killed, on Wednesday welcomed home more than 100 Filipinos abandoned in desert camps in Saudi Arabia with a warning - don't do drugs. Duterte railed against the United Nations this month after it called for an end to the killings. "Avoid drugs at all cost because it could cost your life too," Duterte told the workers after an almost 10-hour flight from Dammam.

Novartis bid to sell new biosimilar crimped by U.S. court battles

The logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is seen on its headquarters building in BaselBy John Miller ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis has won U.S. approval for a copy of Amgen's blockbuster arthritis drug Enbrel, but the Swiss drugmaker's bid to muscle in on the medicine's $4.7 billion in annual U.S. revenue remains blocked by court battles. Novartis's Sandoz unit said on Tuesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Erelzi, its biosimilar copy of Enbrel, for rheumatoid arthritis, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and other diseases.

Few people of color in 'artificial pancreas' tests
 By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - For years, doctors and patients have been waiting for the arrival of an “artificial pancreas” to take the guesswork out of life with diabetes by measuring blood sugar levels and automatically delivering the amount of insulin needed to keep the disease in check. This oversight is leading to “a minority digital diabetes divide,” said senior study author Dr. David Kerr of the William Sansun Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara, California. “Minorities already have worse control and more complications of diabetes in general,” Kerr said by email.

Ebola virus lasts in semen for up to 565 days -study

A member of the French Red Cross disinfects the area around a motionless person suspected of carrying the Ebola virus as a crowd gathers in ForecariahBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The largest analysis yet has found Ebola virus particles present in semen as long as 565 days after recovery from an infection, highlighting the potential role of sex in sparking another outbreak, researchers reported on Tuesday. The study, published in the Lancet Global Health, involved 429 men seen between July 2015 and May 2016 who were part of the Liberian government's Men's Health Screening Program (MHSP), the first national semen testing program for Ebola virus. Within this group, 24 men, or nearly two thirds, had semen samples that tested positive for Ebola fragments a year after recovering from disease.

Allergan, Adamas settle patent lawsuit with Amneal

Traders work at the post where Allergan stock is traded on the floor of the NYSEAllergan said its Forest Labs unit and Adamas had filed a lawsuit against privately owned Amneal, which was seeking regulatory approval for generic versions of Namzaric. The drug, which has been licensed to Forest by Adamas, had U.S. sales of $12.8 million for the quarter ended June 30. Under the settlement terms, Forest and Adamas will grant Amneal a license to market generic versions of Namzaric from January 1, 2025.

Swedish hospital behind Nobel prize criticized over medical scandal

File photo of the Karolinska hospital in StockholmThe reputation of the Karolinska Institute, one of Sweden's top hospitals that awards the Nobel prize for medicine, has been badly damaged by allegations patients died as a result of a surgeon performing experimental operations without clearance, an official report said. Criticism of the Karolinska Institute, which had employed Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, led to the resignation of the secretary of the Nobel Committee at the Institute in February and to calls for the award to be scrapped this year and next. Bjorn Hurtig, a Swedish lawyer who represents Macchiarini, could not immediately be reached for comment on the report.

Pregnant woman in Singapore diagnosed with Zika infection: media
 SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A pregnant woman was among those diagnosed with Zika infections in Singapore, local media reported on Wednesday, citing the health ministry. Singapore confirmed 24 new Zika cases on Wednesday, taking the tally to 115, local media reported. The Zika virus was detected in Brazil last year and has since spread across the Americas. It poses a risk to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Theranos voluntarily pulls request for fast clearance of Zika test

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes speaks on stage at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards where she receives an award, in the Manhattan borough of New York(Reuters) - Blood-testing firm Theranos Inc said it voluntarily withdrew a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency clearance of its Zika-virus blood test. Theranos made the decision after the FDA said the company did not include proper patient safeguards in a study, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. "We hope that our decision to withdraw the Zika submission voluntarily is further evidence of our commitment to engage positively with the agency," Dave Wurtz, Theranos' vice president of regulatory, quality and clinical affairs said in a statement.

Psoriasis may carry clogged-arteries risk similar to that with diabetes
 By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - People with psoriasis may be at increased risk of calcium buildup in the arteries – an indicator of heart disease risk – comparable to that of people with diabetes, according to a new study. Comparing people in their 50s with psoriasis, diabetes or neither disease, researchers found that moderate to severe calcium buildup, or atherosclerosis, was about five times as common in people with diabetes or psoriasis as it was in the others. “We know that psoriasis accelerates vascular disease, but we’re not sure how or why,” said senior author Dr. Nehal N. Mehta of the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

What do patients know about generic biotech drugs?
 By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Many patients haven’t heard of “biosimilars,” generic versions of complex biotech drugs, and even some who say they’re familiar with these medicines may still be confused about them, a small European survey suggests. Biotech drugs known as biologics are injected medicines, typically containing proteins like antibodies made from living cells, and often carry price tags north of $100,000 a year. Copies of these biotech drugs are called biosimilars because they can have the same ingredients and recipe without being exact copies of the original brand-name therapy.

Uzbek leader, in hospital, misses key national day date
 By Olzhas Auyezov ALMATY (Reuters) - Uzbekistan's veteran president, Islam Karimov, who suffered a brain hemorrhage at the weekend according to his daughter, failed to deliver his traditional Independence Day address for the first time in 25 years on Wednesday. Karimov, 78, has run the Central Asian state with authoritarian style since before independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and has no apparent immediate successor. With him now apparently in intensive care and with a power vacuum possibly looming, authorities hastily redrew plans for marking national day on September 1 and a state television presenter stepped in on Wednesday night to read a brief Independence Day text on Karimov's behalf.

Stem-cell doctor did surgeries with 'inadequate' proof

FILE - In this Friday, July 30, 2010 file photo, Dr. Paolo Macchiarini talks to journalists during a press conference, in Florence, Italy. An independent commission investigating Italian stem cell scientist Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, whose work was once considered revolutionary, says that there were numerous problems in how he treated patients and that the scientific basis for his work was “inadequate, " it was reported on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Macchiarini was part of the team that conducted the world’s first transplant using a windpipe partly made from a patient’s own stem cells. (AP Photo/Lorenzo Galassi, File)LONDON (AP) — An independent commission investigating Italian stem-cell scientist Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, whose work was once considered revolutionary, says there were numerous problems in how he treated patients and that the scientific basis for his work was "inadequate."

Oldest fossils found in Greenland, from time Earth was like Mars

Nutman of the University of Woollongong and Bennet of the Australian National University hold a specimen of 3.7 billion-year-old fossils found in Greenland in CanberraBy Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - The earliest fossil evidence of life on Earth has been found in rocks 3.7 billion years old in Greenland, raising chances of life on Mars aeons ago when both planets were similarly desolate, scientists said on Wednesday. The experts found tiny humps, between one and 4 cm (0.4 and 1.6 inches) tall, in rocks at Isua in south-west Greenland that they said were fossilized groups of microbes similar to ones now found in seas from Bermuda to Australia.

Pregnant woman in Singapore infected with Zika as cases soar

Fumigation work is underway at a construction site near the Aljunied housing estate in Singapore on August 31, 2016The number of confirmed Zika cases in Singapore surged past 100 late Wednesday, including the first pregnant woman to be infected by the disease which can cause deformities in babies. The United States and Britain joined Australia and Taiwan in advising pregnant women to avoid non-essential travel to the city-state, while a local health expert warned the infection rate would rise. The Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency said in a joint statement late Wednesday they had identified 24 new infections plus nine more detected as a result of testing previous cases, bringing the total to 115.

Singapore raises Zika tally; first pregnant woman diagnosed

A woman suspected of Zika infection leaves in an ambulance from a clinic, at an area where locally transmitted Zika cases were discovered in SingaporeBy Aradhana Aravindan SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A pregnant woman was among those diagnosed with Zika infections in Singapore, as the number of confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the city-state rose to 115. The Zika virus, which has spread through the Americas and the Caribbean since late last year, is generally a mild disease but is a particular risk to pregnant women as it can cause microcephaly - a severe birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains. The pregnant woman who tested positive lives in the Aljunied area in Singapore's southeast, where most previous cases have been detected.

Trial drug shows 'impressive' Alzheimer's action: study

The drug, aducanumab, was tested for a year, raising hopes that a treatment may finally be within reach for Alzheimer's diseaseAn experimental drug cleared protein buildup in the brains of people with mild Alzheimer's disease and slowed their mental decline, the results of a preliminary trial showed Wednesday. "Although potentially this is an exciting story, it is important to temper any excitement with considerable caution," said Robert Howard, a professor of old age psychiatry at University College London. Researchers in the United States and Switzerland tested aducanumab, developed by biotech firm Biogen, on 165 people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease for a period of one year.

Therapy Dog Shows What Canine Care Looks Like in GoPro Vid
 Seattle Children's Hospital reveals a day in the life of therapy dog.

Maine governor says will not resign amid racism flap

Maine Governor Paul LePage speaks at the 23rd Annual Energy Trade and Technology Conference in BostonBy Scott Malone (Reuters) - (Editor's note: This story contains language in the second paragraph that may offend readers adds quotes from state Senate president, paragraph 8-9) Maine Governor Paul LePage said on Wednesday he will not resign and is seeking spiritual advice after unleashing an obscenity-laden voicemail message on a political rival, as state lawmakers mulled whether to vote to censure the Republican. The famously combative two-term governor apologized for the second day in a row to the people of Maine and to state Representative Drew Gattine after calling the Democrat a "little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker" in a voicemail message that has been widely circulated. "I will not resign," LePage told reporters in his office in the state capital Augusta, a day after he openly discussed the possibility in a radio appearance.

Novartis to disband cell & gene therapy unit, 120 jobs to go

The logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is seen on its headquarters building in BaselNovartis is folding activities of its Cell and Gene Therapy unit into other business and research locations, eliminating 120 positions, the Swiss drugmaker said on Wednesday. The move intensifies a corporate makeover begun this year as it focuses on high-growth areas including cancer immunotherapy. Basel-based Novartis said the move will not derail its intentions to file CTL019, a chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CART) therapy, for treatment of young people with relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia with U.S. and European regulators in 2017.

U.S. FDA strengthens warning over opioid/sedative combination
 The agency is requiring that black box warnings, the strongest available, be added to nearly 400 products, alerting doctors and patients that combining opioids and benzodiazepines can cause extreme sleepiness, slowed breathing, coma and death. The agency said the move is part of a broad action plan to reduce the number of deaths from opioid painkiller abuse. "It is nothing short of a public health crisis when you see a substantial increase of avoidable overdose and death related to two widely used drug classes being taken together," said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf.

FDA warns of fatal risks from mixing opioids and sedatives

FDA warns of fatal risks from mixing opioids and sedativesHealth officials are strengthening warnings about the potentially fatal consequences of mixing prescription painkillers and sedatives like Xanax, saying the combination can lead to breathing problems, ...

Alere lawsuit accuses Abbott of 'buyer's remorse' in proposed merger

Traders gather at the booth that trades Abbott Laboratories on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeAlere claims in its complaint that Abbott has avoided responding to a second request by the Federal Trade Commission in a bout of "buyer's remorse" spurred by a desire to free up capital for Abbott's other major planned deal - a $24 billion acquisition of rival St. Jude Medical . Abbott denied the allegations, arguing that Alere's financial problems and related delays in filing its financial statements had slowed the deal's progress. Abbott also said it had been approached by a whistleblower who alleges that Alere is deliberately hiding information about its Indian operations.

Online tools help people improve their health but need more study
 By Madeline Kennedy (Reuters Health) - Mobile apps and web-based programs do help people reach health goals like exercising more, losing weight and quitting smoking, but studies need to follow-up longer to see how sustainable these interventions are, according to a recent review of existing research. Lifestyle choices like poor diet and smoking are a major cause of death and disease worldwide, the researchers write in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and digital tools may be a low-cost and more accessible option for people looking to improve their health. “Our results suggest internet-based and mobile-based interventions can be effective tools for behavioral modification,” said lead author Dr. Ashkan Afshin, the Assistant Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle.

'Not out of the woods yet' in yellow fever outbreak in Angola, Congo: WHO

Congolese people queue to receive vaccination against yellow fever in Gombe district, of the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital KinshasaBy Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Some 6,000 people in Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo may be infected with yellow fever, six times the number of confirmed cases, but no new infections have been found since July 12, an "extremely positive" trend, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. Some 7.7 million people were vaccinated this month in a major campaign in the "high-risk" Congo capital of Kinshasa, along with 1.5 million in other parts of the country, the WHO said. In Angola, 2.4 million people have been vaccinated, making 11.6 million in all.

Study finds strong link between Zika and Guillain-Barre

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, BrazilBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - A comparison of rates of Guillain-Barre syndrome before and after Zika arrived in seven countries has found a strong association between the virus and the illness, researchers from the Pan American Health Organization said on Wednesday. The current Zika outbreak was first detected in Brazil last year and has since spread across the Americas and the Caribbean. Pregnant women are considered to be at greatest risk because the virus can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, which is marked by small head size and underdeveloped brains.

HUD proposes lowering acceptable lead level for children

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, left, listens to Providence, R.I. Mayor Jorge Elorza, right, at the start of a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, in Providence. Castro proposed new rules Wednesday to lower the level of lead detected in children's blood that triggers federal action to clean up the homes where they live. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The nation's top housing official is proposing lowering the level of lead that must be detected in children's blood before triggering federal action to clean up the homes where they live.

Many factors influence parental decisions about throat surgery
 By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - Better communication from doctors may help parents struggling with the decision to have their child undergo throat surgery for sleep disordered-breathing conditions, a small study suggests. About 20 percent of children have issues with breathing while asleep, such as snoring and sleep apnea, and surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids in an adenotonsillectomy is the primary treatment. “We don’t necessarily know that there is overuse, but there is variation we can’t explain based on clinical and demographic factors,” said lead author Dr. Emily F. Boss of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Study: Ohio's abortion pill law led to worse health outcomes
 COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's restrictions on the so-called abortion pill led to a higher rate of side effects, more doctor visits and additional medical treatment for patients, according to a new study.

Sunovion Pharma to buy Canada's Cynapsus for $624 million
 (Reuters) - Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc, a unit of Japan's Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co Ltd , said it would buy Canada's Cynapsus Therapeutics Inc for about $624 million. The announced purchase price of $40.50 per share in cash was a 120.5 percent premium over that closing price. Through the deal, Sunovion will acquire Cynapsus’ drug candidate, APL-130277, which is currently in its phase three clinical trial stage.

More Americans getting high: cannabis study

Critics of decriminalisation have argued it will cause more people to take up marijuana, which is partly what prompted the study"These changes in the prevalence of cannabis use occurred during a period when many US states legalised cannabis for medicinal use, but before four states went on to legalise recreational cannabis use," addiction experts Michael Lynskey and Wayne Hall wrote in a comment also carried by the journal. "It is probably too soon to draw conclusions about the effects of these legal changes on rates of cannabis use and cannabis-related harms, but it is likely that these policy changes will increase the prevalence and frequency of cannabis use," they said.

Survey: More US adults use marijuana, don't think it's risky

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 file photo, an employee arranges glass display containers of marijuana on shelves at a retail and medical cannabis dispensary in Boulder, Colo. According to survey data published online Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, in the scientific journal, The Lancet Psychiatry, marijuana use is becoming more accepted among adults as states have loosened pot laws. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)NEW YORK (AP) — New research shows more U.S. adults are using marijuana, using it more often and far fewer think it's risky.

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