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Super Bowl Parties Hike Calorie Counts
 The average American eats 2400 calories at a game day party.

Georgia to execute man despite claims he is mentally disabled
 Warren Lee Hill, 54, is scheduled to be executed by injection at 7 p.m. His attorneys are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday refused to stop the execution, as did the state Supreme Court last week. Hill was condemned for beating prisoner Joseph Handspike to death in August 1990. Hill's supporters include former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the European Union and the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, according to his attorneys.

How to Move On When You Can't Ask 'Why Did This Happen?'

How to Move On When You Can't Ask 'Why Did This Happen?'As many journalists and bloggers have already noted, a Johns Hopkin's Medicine research study recently concluded that many causes of cancer are unknown, unpredictable genetic mutations, a circumstance they are also calling 'bad luck'. Unfortunately for the patients, not knowing the cancer's cause can make the emotional recovery process of a...

Rio 2016 says clean up target for sail bay still holds

Handout shows the unnamed mascots of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games during their first appearance in Rio de JaneiroBy Stephen Eisenhammer RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A pledge to clean Rio de Janeiro's bay where sailing will be held in 2016 still stands despite the state's top environment official suggesting the target was unattainable, said the Olympic organizing committee. The cleaning of Guanabara Bay was a key part of Rio's bid and has long been a goal of various local governments. "The position of the committee and the target of the State government to treat 80 percent of the raw sewage remains in place," the organizing committee's head of communications Mario Andrada told reporters on Tuesday. "There is a fundamental difference between cleaning 80 percent of the bay and treating 80 percent of sewage that runs into the bay," Andrada said, specifying the latter was the metric the organizing committee was working with and which was still attainable.

Gates, UK take lead in $7.5 billion pledge for children's vaccines

Billionaire philanthropist Gates addresses the audience of the GAVI conference in BerlinBy Stephen Brown BERLIN (Reuters) - International donors pledged $7.5 billion on Tuesday to immunize 300 million children in poor countries against deadly diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia. At a Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) conference in Berlin, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the British government topped the donations list at $1.55 billion and $1.5 billion respectively. German development minister Gerd Mueller said the total reached $7.54 billion, surpassing GAVI's target of $7.5 billion, despite a stronger dollar complicating funding efforts. China, a recipient of GAVI assistance early last decade, has now become a donor.

In response to Ukraine crisis, Berlin to launch new think tank
 By Andreas Rinke BERLIN (Reuters) - In a recognition that Germany needs to rethink its relations with Russia as a result of the crisis in Ukraine, the foreign ministry plans to invest millions of euros in a new institute devoted to the study of post-Soviet states. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the driving force behind the think tank, which is to receive 2.5 million euros a year in government money, and focus on themes -- Russian society, the economy, and its regions -- that are not covered in depth by existing institutes. "Strengthening our understanding of eastern Europe has been a top priority of the foreign minister," said one official close to Steinmeier, whose party, the Social Democrats (SPD), rules in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. "This is all the more important given the paradigm shift in our relations with Russia since the annexation of Crimea." The SPD's attitudes towards Russia were shaped by former chancellor Willy Brandt's "Ostpolitik" engagement policy in the 1970s and the crumbling Soviet Union's support for German reunification.

Obama to seek more funds for antibiotic-resistant bacteria fight

At least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths a year are thought to becaused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United StatesPresident Barack Obama will request a doubling of funds for fighting and preventing antibiotic-resistant bacteria in his 2016 budget, the White House said Tuesday. The budget blueprint to be unveiled in February will request $1.2 billion, twice the amount granted by Congress in 2015. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that each year at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States. Of this amount, more than $650 million would go to the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Iowa Governor Branstad released from Des Moines hospital

Iowa Governor Branstad speaks following victory at the Republican election night rally for the U.S. midterm elections in West Des Moines, Iowa(Reuters) - Six-term Iowa Governor Terry Branstad was released from a Des Moines hospital on Tuesday morning in good condition after being treated for mild flu with dehydration, the governor's office said. Branstad, 68, became ill on Monday during a visit to a research facility in Johnston, Iowa, a Des Moines suburb. Both Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, who has been battling a cold, have canceled public events for the rest of the week to allow time to rest and recuperate, the governor's office said. "We have ruled out other contributing factors, including cardiac issues and stroke," said Kevin J. Cunningham, Branstad's personal physician, in a statement.

Dominican Republic moves to ease abortion ban, challenges remain: rights group
 By Anastasia Moloney BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A presidential decision to ease the Dominican Republic's ban on abortion is a landmark victory for women's rights, but ensuring women can access legal and potentially life-saving abortions remains a challenge, a rights group has said. President Danilo Medina recommended that lawmakers amend the criminal code to allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, a deformed fetus or when a woman's life is in danger. Lower chamber lawmakers accepted part of Medina's recommendation last month, allowing abortion in cases when a women's life was in danger. "It's definitely a victory and historic step that President Medina has spoken in a statement in favor of women's rights and said the old criminal code violates a woman's right to life, health and autonomy," said Monica Arango, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Centre for Reproductive Rights.

Indiana agrees to expand Medicaid under Obamacare

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act signup page on the website in New York in this photo illustrationIndiana on Tuesday became the 28th U.S. state to agree to expand the Medicaid program for the poor under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, a move that will extend health coverage to 350,000 low-income state residents, the administration said. The agreement was announced separately by the Obama administration and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a staunch Republican conservative, whose involvement could prompt other so-called red states to pursue versions of the Medicaid expansion that include market-based features favored by conservatives. The expansion, called Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, will begin offering coverage on Feb. 1 with conservative hallmarks including requirements that beneficiaries contribute to premiums and other costs through what state officials described as a health savings account. More than 10 million people have gained health coverage under Obama's Affordable Care Act, many through Medicaid and federally subsidized private insurance, according to independent researchers and government officials.

News Anchor Announces ALS Diagnosis on TV
 Larry Stogner, an anchor on ABC's North Carolina station WTVD, addressed viewers about his diagnosis.

Tears, chants as rebel child soldiers are freed in South Sudan
 By Katy Migiro GUMURUK, South Sudan (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The teenage rebel soldiers watched as their comrades handed over their assault rifles and stripped off their oversized khaki uniforms with the red, black and green South Sudan flag emblazoned on the right shoulder. Almost 150 boys, aged between 11 and 17, were demobilized in Gumuruk, eastern South Sudan, on Tuesday, as part of a peace deal signed in May between the government and militia leader David Yau Yau's South Sudan Democratic Army (SSDA) Cobra Faction in restive Jonglei State. "I want to congratulate all of you on reaching peace," United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) country representative Jonathan Veitch said at the demobilization ceremony. "The song that you have sung, that is an adult struggle," said John Towan, wiping tears from his face.

Longtime Anchor Announces ALS Diagnosis
 "We have to stop meeting this way," Larry Stogner told evening news viewers.

Delinquent kids have earlier sex
 By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - Kids with behavior problems became sexually active earlier than their peers, in a recent study. Having sex early - before age 16 - increases the risk of teen pregnancy, partner violence, sexually transmitted infections and other negative health outcomes, the researchers say. Other studies have found that behaviors like frequent opposition or rule breaking are associated with earlier age of first sexual intercourse or teenage pregnancy, said lead author S. Rachel Skinner of the University of Sydney in Australia, in email to Reuters Health. “We were able to disentangle this relationship from many other known risk factors, and demonstrate that (behavior problems are) an independent predictor of earlier age of first sexual intercourse,” Skinner said.

Donors pledge record $7.5B for global vaccines program

US businessman Bill Gates speaks during the Gavi Pledging Conference in Berlin, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. Gavi is the international organization for a global Vaccine Alliance bringing together public and private sectors with the goal of creating access to new vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. (AP Photo/dpa,Bernd von Jutrczenka)BERLIN (AP) — Governments and private donors, among them the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have pledged a record $7.5 billion to replenish a global vaccination program for the poor.

Uber says ride services reduce drunk driving

Transportation app Uber is seen on the iPhone of limousine driver Shuki Zanna in Beverly HillsUber, a ride service facing legal challenges around the world, on Tuesday released a survey showing that people are less likely to drive home after drinking alcohol after such businesses started operating in their cities. The results of the survey, done with advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, were based on a December poll of 807 adults in the largest U.S. cities where Uber operates. Uber customers who request rides over the upcoming Super Bowl weekend, a time that traditionally sees a spike in drunk driving, can opt to donate $1 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving by typing in the code THINKANDRIDE, it said. Other factors, such as intensified campaigns against drunk driving, may have contributed to the numbers, Uber executive Jonathan Hall said in a phone interview.

Nursing home patients more likely to be dehydrated
 By Shereen Lehman (Reuters Health) – People in nursing homes are more likely to be dehydrated than elderly people living in the community, new research suggests. The study, involving patients admitted to hospitals in the UK, found that dehydration was more common among those who came from nursing homes. In serious cases, dehydration can lead to high levels of sodium in the blood, a condition called hypernatremia that can increase the risk of dying in the hospital, the researchers say. “We believe that when a hospital finds that more than a few people are admitted with a high sodium from an individual (nursing) home it should raise a warning flag,” Dr. Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the study’s senior author, told Reuters Health in an email.

Pfizer's 2015 forecast disappoints, crimped by generics, dollar

The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in New York(Reuters) - Pfizer Inc reported stronger-than-expected quarterly sales due to cost cuts and demand for its vaccines and cancer drugs, but the company forecast 2015 earnings below Wall Street expectations, citing patent expirations and the stronger dollar.

Quest in broad deal with CDC for hepatitis analysis
 (Reuters) - Laboratory testing company Quest Diagnostics Inc said on Tuesday it had signed a $520,000 agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify trends in screening, diagnosis and treatment of four strains of viral hepatitis. Quest will provide the U.S. public health agency with analytics and access to Quest's national database of clinical testing hepatitis data, which includes information from more than 20 billion test results. The agreement expands on Quest's previous efforts with the CDC on hepatitis C testing data for Baby Boomers, or individuals born between 1945 and 1965, one of the groups most exposed to the virus. The government in 2012 recommended that Baby Boomers be screened for hepatitis C, which can cause death.

After Ebola, WHO to set up contingency fund, develop 'surge capacity'

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan addresses the media during a special meeting on Ebola at the WHO headquarters in Geneva(This version of the Jan. 25th story corrects name and title of U.S. speaker in 6th paragraph) By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday it will create a contingency fund and an emergency workforce to respond quickly to crises after strong criticism of the agency's delay in confronting the Ebola epidemic. Director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said at an emergency meeting called to discuss the agency's Ebola response that the outbreak showed the need to strengthen WHO's crisis management and to streamline procedures for recruiting frontline workers. "Member states truly understand that the world does need a collective defense mechanism for global health security." In the past year, 21,724 Ebola cases have been reported in nine countries and 8,641 people have died, according to the WHO, which says West Africa's outbreak is ebbing. "The WHO we have is not the WHO we need, not the WHO we needed to respond to health emergencies of the magnitude of Ebola," Jimmy Kolker, assistant secretary for global affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told the talks.

Surgeon general: 'Desperate need of clarity' on e-cigarettes
 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Public health officials are "in desperate need of clarity" on electronic cigarettes to help guide policies, the nation's newly appointed surgeon general said Tuesday.

U.S. says 9.5 million people enroll for 2015 Obamacare insurance

People sign up for health insurance at an enrollment event in Cudahy(Reuters) - More than 9.5 million people have signed up for 2015 individual health insurance on the new exchanges created under the national healthcare reform law, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, a number that surpasses its enrollment target for the year. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it had signed up or automatically enrolled more than 7.1 million people on its website through Jan. 16. "The vast majority are able to lower their costs even further by getting tax credits,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement.

Former NFLers appeal dismissal of lawsuit over painkillers
 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Lawyers representing 1,300 former NFL players filed notice Tuesday that they plan to appeal a federal judge's dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that teams damaged the players' health by routinely — and often illegally — dispensing painkillers.

Donors pledge $7.5 bn to extend child vaccine drive

Leaders of the international community during a two-day pledging conference of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation organisation in Berlin, on January 27, 2015Countries and private donors have pledged $7.5 billion (6.6 billion euros) to help immunise 300 million more children in developing countries over the next five years, a major vaccine alliance announced Tuesday. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) announced it had just slightly exceeded its "bold" request for funding for 2016 to 2020 at a two-day pledging conference in Berlin. The funding will help the alliance, created in 2000 as an international public-private partnership, support developing countries in vaccinating an additional 300 million children, saving up to six million lives, it said. "We have never had a replenishment this size before in GAVI's history.

Indiana wins federal OK for state-run Medicaid alternative

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announces that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services had approved the state's waiver request for the plan his administration calls HIP 2.0 during a speech in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana has received federal approval to expand health coverage to about 350,000 uninsured residents through a state-run program Gov. Mike Pence said Tuesday will help the state's working poor families.

U.S. multinationals hit hard by strong dollar, to bleed further into 2015

Photo illustration of U.S. dollar notes displayed in JohannesburgA slew of U.S. multinational companies, from DuPont to Procter & Gamble , showed that a strong U.S. dollar hurt their earnings, and several blue-chip exporters said the situation will get worse if the greenback holds its strength. All told, the resurgent U.S. currency could shave up to $12 billion off U.S. companies' fourth-quarter 2014 revenue alone, according to currency expert Wolfgang Koester, chief executive of FireApps, a data analytics company in Phoenix, Arizona, that examines quarterly reports for currency-related losses. The pain is hitting multiple sectors, including industrial companies such as 3M Co , technology companies like Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc , airlines such as American Airlines Group Inc , healthcare companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Pfizer Inc , and consumer firms like Procter & Gamble - which all garner a large portion of their sales from outside the United States.

19 Eggs and Counting: My First IVF Treatment

19 Eggs and Counting: My First IVF TreatmentMaking the decision to pump my body full of hormones in order to facilitate mass egg production in order to have a baby was not really in my five-year-plan, but it certainly took center stage a few weeks ago. My wife dutifully primed the needle both morning and night at (almost) exactly the same time 12 hours apart, and then inserted the needle...

School-wide prevention program lowers teen suicide risk
 (This version of the Jan. 23rd story corrects name of the University of South Florida in paragraph 16) By Madeline Kennedy (Reuters Health) – After a school-based prevention program, European teenagers were about half as likely to attempt suicide or to feel suicidal, a new study shows. Danuta Wasserman, a professor of psychiatry at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said the program was likely successful because students “felt that the power of mastering their feelings, coping with stress and choosing solutions was in their hands and not decided or forced by adults.” Suicide is the third leading cause of death between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Suicide attempts are even more common, with some research suggesting that 4 to 8 percent of high school students try to kill themselves each year, the CDC says.

Start worrying about cholesterol in your 30s, study suggests
 By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) – People with even moderately high cholesterol levels in their 30s and 40s are more likely to have heart disease later in life, according to a new study. “What we found is that people with prolonged exposure to high cholesterol levels are at a much higher risk of cardiovascular events than people without that exposure,” said Michael Pencina, the study’s senior author from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “Many of these people would not be candidates for treatment using the new guidelines,” he said. “They may fall through the cracks.” In 2013, the AHA and ACC issued new guidelines that said exercise and a healthy diet are the most important steps for preventing high cholesterol.

Trouble falling asleep may signal high blood pressure
 By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) – Trouble sleeping, especially trouble falling asleep, may be associated with high blood pressure, according to a new study from China. This is the first study to show that certain people with insomnia are at risk for high blood pressure, said coauthors Dr. Xiangdong Tang of Sichuan University in China and Dr. Alexandros N. Vgontzas of Penn State University College of Medicine, in a statement to Reuters Health. Insomnia with increased alertness during the day, or hyperarousal, is associated with increased chronic secretion of stress hormones like cortisol, which may lead to hypertension, they wrote. The authors studied about 300 adults, including more than 200 chronic insomniacs who’d had trouble sleeping for at least six months.

A Sense of Belonging
 There's nothing quite like traveling. Exploring new cities, towns, countries, sightseeing, observing how other people live and simply getting out of the daily routine to view what else the world has to offer. In 2008 I embarked upon my Taglit Birthright Israel trip with no major Jewish connection (I stopped going to Hebrew school after my bat...

World Bank: world 'dangerously unprepared' for pandemics

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim delivers Georgetown University's inaugural Global Futures lecture on the Ebola virus in Washington, DC, January 27, 2015World Bank President Jim Yong Kim warned Tuesday that the world remains "dangerously unprepared" for deadly pandemics like the Ebola outbreak that has killed thousands in West Africa. "The Ebola outbreak has been devastating in terms of lives lost and the loss of economic growth in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone," Kim said in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington. "We need to make sure that we get to zero cases in this Ebola outbreak. "At the same time, we need to prepare for future pandemics that could become far more deadly and infectious than what we have seen so far with Ebola," he said, according to excerpts from his speech.

4 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Wellness

4 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental WellnessI previously wrote about the symptoms of depression and provided a guide to treat depression. However, many of the same behavioral activation techniques that are used in the treatment of depression can improve your mental wellness even if you do not suffer from depression. Changing your habits and daily routine to include activities that are...

University of California on-campus doctors stage rare strike
 By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Doctors for student health centers at 10 University of California campuses staged a rare one-day strike on Tuesday, upset that administrators have failed to give their union information the physicians said they needed to negotiate their first contract. The Union of American Physicians and Dentists, their collective bargaining organization, said it marked the first time in 25 years that licensed medical doctors had gone on strike in the United States. Physicians for the student health centers formed a union in November 2013 and have been in talks since then aimed at reaching their first contract. Dr. Charles McDaniel, a psychiatrist at the UCLA center and a spokesman for the group, said the UC administration has dragged its feet in furnishing basic information needed for the talks such as details on discretionary budgets of the university chancellors and a breakdown of how student fees are spent.

Abiomed raises revenue outlook, wins U.S. approval for heart pump
 (Reuters) - Medical device maker Abiomed Inc raised its full-year revenue forecast and said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its heart pump, sending its stock nearly 32 percent in extended trading. Abiomed's heart pump, Impella RP, helps blood circulation for up to 14 days in patients who develop acute right heart failure following implantation, myocardial infarction, heart transplant or open-heart surgery.

Probe links sugary drinks with earlier menstruation

Sodas and other sugary drinks are seen for sale at a supermarket in Monterey Park, California on June 18, 2014Girls who consume lots of sugary drinks start menstruating at a younger age, a study said Wednesday. The findings are important because early onset of menstruation is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in later life, the paper said, although other experts saw flaws in the probe. Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, researchers said they had monitored the health of more than 5,500 American girls between 1996 and 2001. During the five-year study, those who drank between one-and-a-half servings of sweetened drinks per day had their first period 2.7 months earlier than those who had two or fewer sweet drinks a week, the investigators found.

Vouchers and cyber-friends: new keys to good health?

Pregnant women promised vouchers were much likelier than non-rewarded peers to kick the smoking habit, a study in Scotland showedShopping vouchers and online social networks may be powerful, modern tools to help people quit smoking and lose weight, two unusual experiments suggested Wednesday. In the Scottish study, published in The BMJ, researchers offered 612 pregnant smokers in Glasgow free nicotine replacement therapy and professional quitting aid. Half the volunteers were also promised 400 pounds (534 euros or $607) in shopping vouchers. A first voucher of 50 pounds was earned for showing up for a meeting with a professional and setting a quit date, another 50 pounds for not smoking for four weeks, another 100 pounds for 12 weeks and 200 pounds at 34-38 weeks.

Abiomed raises revenue outlook, wins US approval for heart pump
 (Reuters) - Medical device maker Abiomed Inc raised its full-year revenue forecast and said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its heart pump, sending its stock up about 30 percent in extended trading. Abiomed's heart pump, Impella RP, helps blood circulation for up to 14 days in patients who develop acute right heart failure following implantation, myocardial infarction, heart transplant or open-heart surgery.

5-Year-Old Girl Dies After Catching the Flu
 Kiera Driscoll of Nevada died three days after developing the flu, despite getting a flu shot.

Georgia executes convict despite claims he was mentally disabled
 Warren Lee Hill, 54, was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 7:55 p.m. (0055 GMT Wednesday), after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to put his execution on hold, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said in a statement. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles refused on Tuesday to stop the execution, as did the state Supreme Court last week. Hill was condemned for beating fellow inmate Joseph Handspike to death in August 1990. Hill's supporters included former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the European Union and the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, according to his attorneys.

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