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Sanofi, Medivation dig in for big biotech takeover battle

French multinational pharmaceutical company SANOFI logo is seen at the headquarters in ParisBy Matthias Blamont PARIS (Reuters) - Sanofi and its takeover target Medivation dug in for trench warfare on Friday, with the French drugmaker confident of winning over investors and the U.S. cancer firm insisting it was better off staying independent. Sanofi, which has a track record of winning hostile fights in the biotech sector, said it was ready to speak directly to Medivation shareholders about its spurned $9.3 billion offer. "While to date Medivation has chosen not to enter into discussions regarding this value-creating transaction, Sanofi remains committed to the combination," it said.

Fatness and Sickness -- It's Your Fault When...

Fatness and Sickness -- It's Your Fault When...Peruse my writing, and you'll quickly notice I'm not one to point the finger at obese individuals for their excess body fat. As clearly, we're not living in a world with a bunch of lazy, undisciplined, sloths.Most people are making a conscious effort to stay fit, by exercising regularly and eating healthy, but it's the fake health food and...

Kids with more daily stress have more nightly asthma awakenings
 By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) – - A stressful day may make a child more prone to an asthma attack that night - with worse than usual asthma symptoms the next day as well, a small U.S. study suggests. “Nocturnal asthma is an area that patients often talk about but there’s not a lot of research in child nocturnal asthma,” said lead author Dr. Caroline C. Horner of the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri. For about 12 weeks, 46 children with diagnosed asthma and their caregivers filled out daily diary cards with 42 items addressing nighttime awakening for asthma or other reasons, and measures of parental and child stress.

Muslim leader in India under fire from activists for supporting FGM
 By Rina Chandran MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The leader of the only South Asian Muslim community known to practice female genital mutilation (FGM) came under criticism on Friday by campaigners who accused him of urging followers to continue the centuries-old custom. Little is known about FGM in India, where it is carried out in great secrecy by the close-knit Dawoodi Bohra community, a Shi'ite Muslim sect thought to number over 1 million that considers the practice to be a religious obligation. An audio clip of Syedna Muffadal Saifuddin's speech at a mosque in Mumbai, has been authenticated by several members of the community.

Norovirus sickens scores on Fred. Olsen cruise ship -U.S. agency
 The norovirus outbreak took place aboard the Britain-based line's Balmoral during a transatlantic cruise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement. The CDC said 153 passengers and six crew members had fallen ill from norovirus, whose symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC said that the cruise line and the ship's crew had increased cleaning and disinfection and collected stool specimens.

Valeant annual report reveals new issues, company overhauls board

File photo of the headquarters of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc in LavalValeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc on Friday issued a 2015 financial report that met an important deadline for creditors, revealing new details on a range of financial and legal issues, and it also announced changes to its board. Shares in Valeant fell 4.0 percent to $33.81 in midday trading in New York on Friday and are well down from their all time high of $263.70 in August. Valeant's relationship with Philidor RX Services, which has been distributing its drugs, was terminated last year, hurting Valeant sales.

French drug giant Sanofi vows hostile bid for US prey

Sanofi, the 11th largest pharmaceutical company in the world by stock market valuation, made an unsolicited all-cash $9.3 billion takeover offer for US drug firm MedivationFrench pharmaceutical giant Sanofi vowed to open a hostile takeover battle Friday after its $9.3 billion (8.2 million-euro) offer for US cancer drug maker Medivation was dismissed for being too cheap. Sanofi, warning that has a strong record in takeovers, said it will not give up its pursuit of the reluctant American prey, manufacturer of the high-priced, blockbuster prostate cancer medication Xtandi. Medivation said its board had unanimously rejected Sanofi's unsolicited, non-binding cash offer of $52.50 a share, declaring that it "substantially" undervalued the company and was not in the interests of shareholders.

Me vs. Fibromyalgia: Part 3 -- Doc Appointments, You Are Your Own Best Advocate

Me vs. Fibromyalgia: Part 3 -- Doc Appointments, You Are Your Own Best Advocate"Me vs. Fibromyalgia" is a biweekly, one-of-a-kind series designed to give readers and warriors affected by Fibromyalgia a comprehensive look into the facts of the disease and the story of a driven, high-achieving business woman who wouldn't take no for an answer. I've chronicled eight years of experience with Fibro including chronic pain and...

New York governor: Give Medicaid to inmates before release
 ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's governor is seeking federal approval to extend Medicaid coverage to inmates who face serious health challenges immediately before they're released from prison.

Biden takes 'Moonshot' cancer campaign to Vatican

This picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis (L) shaking hands with US Vice President Joe Biden on April 29, 2016 at the VaticanUS Vice President Joe Biden won Pope Francis's backing Friday for advances in cancer treatment to be made available to everyone, as he brought his "Moonshot" campaign to the Vatican. Biden, whose 46-year old son Beau Biden died from brain cancer last year, made an emotional speech at a stem cell summit thanking Francis for counselling his family during the pontiff's visit to the United States. Francis told the summit, which is being hosted by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture and US-based Stem for Life Foundation, it was unacceptable that patients suffering rarer types of cancer or childhood diseases were sidelined "because investing in them is not expected to produce substantial economic returns".

Aim True Like Kathryn Budig: 3 Ways to Find Balance

Aim True Like Kathryn Budig: 3 Ways to Find BalanceDoes life seem like an impossible juggling act? Does finding balance seem out of reach? If this sounds like you hear what Kathryn Budig, an internationally celebrated yoga teacher and author has to say. She is known for her accessibility, humor, and ability to empower her students through her message, "aim true." She is a warrior for...

More evidence that smoking worsens semen quality
 By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - A new review confirms that smoking has bad effects on a man’s semen. Using the most up-to-date definition of abnormal sperm from the World Health Organization, the researchers found that smokers have lower sperm counts, poorer sperm movement, and more irregularly shaped sperm than nonsmokers. Ashok Agarwal of the American Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and colleagues reviewed 20 studies including almost 6,000 participants.

Buenos Aires nightclubs ordered closed by judge after drug deaths
 Buenos Aires' nightclubs were ordered closed by a judge on Friday in response to the drug-related deaths of five people at a music festival in the city this month but nightclub owners vowed to ignore the order. The capital's iconic tango milongas and dance get-togethers held at cultural centers are exempt from the ruling by municipal judge Roberto Andrés Gallardo, which otherwise calls for an end to "all commercial activity involving dancing with live or recorded music." Nightclub owners said they would not follow the ruling, pointing out that the deaths took place at an electronic music festival at an events complex, not a typical nightclub. "How do you obey a totally unconstitutional order like this one?" Jorge Becco, head of the Buenos Aires chamber of discotheque owners, told local television.

FDA reconsiders training requirements for painkillers

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. The Food and Drug Administration is reconsidering whether doctors who prescribe painkillers like OxyContin should be required to take safety training courses, according to federal documents released Friday, April 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is reconsidering whether doctors who prescribe painkillers like OxyContin should be required to take safety training courses, according to federal documents.

First widely available Zika test OK'd for emergency use

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, file photo, a medical researcher uses a monitor that shows the results of blood tests for various diseases, including Zika, at the Gorgas Memorial laboratory in Panama City. On Thursday, April 28, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Quest Diagnostics to offer the first commercial test for the Zika virus in the United States. Previously, Zika tests were only available through a handful of government-designated laboratories. Quest said the commercial test could be available as early as the first week of May. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The first commercial test for the Zika virus has been cleared for emergency use in the U.S. and could be available by next week.

Oklahoma lawmakers approve bill to revoke licenses of abortion doctors

File photo of Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin making remarks before the opening of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in WashingtonAn Oklahoma bill that could revoke the license of any doctor who performs an abortion may soon head to the governor, with opponents saying the measure in unconstitutional and promising a legal battle against the cash-strapped state if it is approved. In the Republican-dominated legislature, the state's House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a Senate bill late on Thursday. Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, has not yet indicated whether she will sign it.

6 Ways Millennials Can Prepare for the Unthinkable: Cancer
 This year, about 70,000 young adults will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States; it's the leading cause of disease-related death of those 15 to 39. That's the bad news. Many of them will become survivors. That's good news. Most of those survivors will risk ending up on economic margins. That's bad news. Especially to a generation widely...

Iran moderates eye more gains in run-off parliamentary election

Iranian woman holds a girl as she casts her vote during a second round of parliamentary elections, in ShirazBy Parisa Hafezi ANKARA (Reuters) - Iranians voted in a second round of parliamentary elections on Friday, with allies of reformist President Hassan Rouhani seeking to wrest more seats from hardliners. Rouhani's moderate and centrist allies made big gains in elections on Feb. 26 for parliament and a clerical body that will elect the next Supreme Leader, but they failed to win a majority of the 290-member assembly. Some unconfirmed reports on Iranian news websites said Rouhani's rivals won more seats in some constituencies where vote counting had finished.

What Do Nurses Do?

What Do Nurses Do?In the United States alone, there are more than 3 million registered nurses. To put this number in perspective, there are only about 900,000 doctors. That means that nurses outnumber doctors more than 3 to 1. There are only a few of us who cannot connect a nurse to some aspect of our lives -- be it a friend, relative, or acquaintance. Let's be...

Factbox: Why the Zika virus is causing alarm
 (Reuters) - Global health officials are racing to better understand the Zika virus behind a major outbreak that began in Brazil last year and has spread to many countries in the Americas. Zika is transmitted to people through the bite of infected female mosquitoes, primarily the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same type that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Aedes mosquitoes are found in all countries in the Americas except Canada and continental Chile, and the virus will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.

Zika's origin and global spread
 (Reuters) - The following timeline charts the origin and spread of the Zika virus from its discovery nearly 70 years ago: 1947: Scientists researching yellow fever in Uganda's Zika Forest identify the virus in a rhesus monkey 1948: Virus recovered from Aedes africanus mosquito in Zika Forest 1952: First human cases detected in Uganda and Tanzania 1954: Virus found in Nigeria 1960s-80s: Zika detected in mosquitoes and monkeys across equatorial Africa 1969–83: Zika found in equatorial Asia, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan 2007: Zika spreads from Africa and Asia, first large ...

First US Zika-related death in Puerto Rico

US authorities have issued travel notices due to mosquito-borne Zika virus for 43 countries and territories, mainly in the Caribbean, central and south AmericaThe first Zika-related death on US soil was reported Friday in Puerto Rico, raising new concerns about the dangers of the mosquito-borne virus. "The patient died of complications related to severe thrombocytopenia," a poor clotting condition related to a low number of platelets in the blood, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. "Although Zika virus–associated deaths are rare, the first identified death in Puerto Rico highlights the possibility of severe cases, as well as the need for continued outreach to raise health care providers' awareness of complications that might lead to severe disease or death," the CDC said.

The Double Vision of Blind Faith

The Double Vision of Blind FaithFaith is blind when we believe in something unseen without any or sufficient evidence. Underlying many of our actions is our belief that it will lead to the desired goal.Many people act as if they don't believe (or accept) that exercise and a balanced diet lead to better health and a sense of well-being (although evidence exists). It is as if...

No need to fast before cholesterol check
 By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) - Most people don't need to fast overnight before getting their blood drawn for a cholesterol test, according to a group of experts. Cholesterol test results obtained one to six hours after a meal were not significantly different from results obtained after a fast, researchers found. "It could be implemented tomorrow with no problems at all," said lead author Dr. Borge Nordestgaard, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Mindfulness therapy works for recurrent depression
 By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) - For people with recurring depression, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be more helpful than other treatments, according to a new analysis. Cognitive therapy focuses on substituting constructive patterns of thinking for maladaptive thought processes. Combining mindfulness techniques with cognitive therapy should be an option for patients, according to study leader Willem Kuyken of the University of Oxford in the UK.

'West Wing' actress gives White House press briefing

Earnest and actress Janney stand together at the lectern before the daily press briefing at the White House in WashingtonBy Susan Heavey WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For a few moments at the White House on Friday, "The West Wing" TV series came back to life as actress Allison Janney who played fictional White House spokeswoman CJ Cregg took the podium at the daily press briefing. Janney's appearance was a stunt meant to highlight Saturday's White House Correspondents Dinner, a glitz-filled annual event which draws celebrities and powerbrokers alike. Janney, whose character served as press secretary to fictional president Jed Bartlett in the televised drama, peppered her remarks with inside jokes from the show as she beat White House press secretary Josh Earnest to the briefing.

U.S. approves first drug for psychosis linked to Parkinson's
 Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc's drug for psychosis linked to Parkinson's disease was approved in the United States on Friday, becoming the first treatment for the condition to get a nod in the country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, asked Acadia to include a black-box warning, its strictest warning, on the drug's label for an increased risk of death associated with its use in older people. The drug, Nuplazid, is expected to be priced at $13,500 per patient for a year and reach more that $1 billion in sales in 2021, according to Leerink analyst Paul Matteis.

U.S. Dept. of Justice investigating Dole after deadly Listeria outbreak
 Dole Food Company Inc [DFCI.UL] on Friday said the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to packaged salad products from its processing plant in Springfield, Ohio. "Dole has recently been contacted by the Department of Justice in connection with its own investigation, and we will be similarly cooperating with the DOJ to answer questions and address any concerns," Dole said in a statement.

Worsening depression may be dementia cue: study

Doctors have previously noted a high correlation between depression and dementia in patients, though the nature of the relationship is not knownPeople over 54 who suffer from steadily-worsening depression may run a higher risk of developing dementia, according to new research published Saturday that suggested it may be an early symptom. Other types of depression, such as one-off or recurring episodes, did not appear to pose a similar threat. "Only the group whose symptoms of depression increased over time was at an increased risk of dementia," said a statement by The Lancet Psychiatry, which published the results.

Puerto Rico Zika cases now include 65 pregnant women, 1 death -CDC
 (Recasts, adds interview with CDC doctor) By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO, April 29 (Reuters) - Health officials on Friday confirmed the first U.S. death of a patient infected with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico. Dr. Tyler Sharp of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dengue Branch in San Juan told Reuters the patient had Zika virus disease, which included symptoms of fever, rash and body pain. Sharp said the ITP case followed the same pattern as patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a paralyzing neurological disorder linked to Zika infections in which the immune system attacks nerves.

Puerto Rico Zika cases now include 65 pregnant women, one death: CDC

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San JuanBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Health officials on Friday confirmed the first U.S. death of a patient infected with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico. Dr. Tyler Sharp of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dengue Branch in San Juan told Reuters the patient had Zika virus disease, which included symptoms of fever, rash and body pain. Sharp said the ITP case followed the same pattern as patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a paralyzing neurological disorder linked to Zika infections in which the immune system attacks nerves.

Sting like a bee: alternative therapy in Gaza

The Wider Image: Bee-sting therapySamour inherited the skill of bee-sting therapy from his father, who used to raise bees. Then in 2003, the agricultural engineer started to dedicate all his time to studying and developing the alternative medicine treatment of apitherapy, which uses all bee-related products, including honey, propolis - or bee glue used to build hives - and venom. "I am treating serious and chronic diseases which have no cure in regular medicine, I have achieved excellent results," said Samour, an Egyptian-educated specialist in entomology and bees in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave.

Return visits to the ER more likely for patients with limited English
 In a study in one New York hospital, about 4 percent of English speakers made an unplanned return to the ER within three days, compared to 5 percent of people with limited English. Low use of professional translators may partly explain the disparity in care, the researchers report in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. The study team, led by Dr. Ka Ming Ngai of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, analyzed 2012 data from the Mount Sinai emergency department.

Dole under U.S. probe after deadly Listeria outbreak
 By Lisa Baertlein LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dole Food Co Inc [DFCI.UL] said on Friday the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to packaged salad products from its processing plant in Springfield, Ohio. Dole, the world's largest fruit and vegetable producer, said in a statement the agency recently contacted the company and "we will be ... cooperating with the DOJ to answer questions and address any concerns." Listeria, a common bacterium that can be either harmless or pathogenic, can enter a processing facility via raw produce or other materials, and form colonies. Dole said on Jan. 22 it had temporarily suspended operations at the Springfield plant.

Actor Woody Harrelson's application to open pot business in Hawaii fails

Cast member Harrelson poses at the premiere of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" in Los Angeles(Reuters) - Oscar-nominated actor Woody Harrelson's bid to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Hawaii was rejected on Friday, as the state approved eight of more than 60 applicants, officials said. Harrelson, who is best known for his roles in the film "White Men Can't Jump" and 1980s sitcom "Cheers," had applied for a license on behalf of his company Simple Organic Living LLC. The actor, who for more than a decade has spoken in favor of pot and is on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, made national headlines earlier this year when his application became public. The Hawaii Department of Health on Friday released a list of approved applicants, with three in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, two on the Big Island, two on Maui and one on Kauai.

Canadian-run Syrian clinic was evacuated before strike on hospital: operator
 A Canadian-run health care center in Aleppo, Syria that was hit by an air strike on Friday had been evacuated in the wake of another bombing at a hospital earlier this week, a spokesman for the non-profit group that operated it said. "After the hospital bombing three days ago, they've evacuated all the medical centers," said Avi D'Souza, media co-ordinator for UOSSM-Canada, which operates the Al Marjeh Primary Health Care Centre. "There wasn't anybody there at the time - thank God." Global Affairs Canada, the country's foreign department, condemned the attacks in a statement.

U.S. jury finds Immunosyn ex-CEO Ferrone guilty of fraud
 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011 had charged California-based Immunosyn with misleading investors about the regulatory status of the company's sole product, a drug derived from goat blood called SF-1019, that was intended to treat a variety of ailments. “We are pleased with the jury’s finding that Stephen Ferrone defrauded Immunosyn’s investors with misleading statements in the company’s filings and press releases and his own speeches and interviews," Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC'S Division of Enforcement said in a statement.

Colombia's illegal mining linked to malaria outbreak

Critics point to stagnant water buildups at Colombia's clandestine mining sites and poor sanitary conditions at the workers' camps for an increase in mosquitos spreadingColombia's widespread illegal mining is blamed for causing environmental damage and holding workers in slave-like conditions -- and now is also being blamed for a malaria outbreak. Critics point to stagnant water buildups at the clandestine sites and poor sanitary conditions at the workers' camps for an increase in mosquitos spreading the disease, which has quadrupled in jungle regions of the hard-hit and impoverished western department of Choco. "The country had more or less controlled its malaria problem... the death rate had dropped significantly," Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria said this week.

Study of Liberia Ebola flare-up shows need for longer vigilance

Men walk by a mural in MonroviaA study of a cluster of Ebola cases that appeared in Liberia last year, months after the country was declared Ebola-free, has found that the virus re-emerged after lying dormant in a female survivor. The results suggest Liberia and the other African countries at the centre of the outbreak should maintain high levels of vigilance for longer than thought to contain any future flare-ups of the deadly haemorrhagic fever. World Health Organization data show West Africa's Ebola epidemic killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 as it swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2013 in the world's worst outbreak of the disease.

People with albinism risk "extinction" in Malawi, says UN official
 By Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - People with albinism in Malawi are at risk of "systemic extinction" due to relentless attacks fueled by superstitions, the United Nations' top expert on albinism said on Friday on her first official visit in her new role. At least 65 cases of violence against people with albinism including killings and dismemberment have been recorded by police in Malawi since late 2014, said Ikponwosa Ero, the U.N.'s independent expert on human rights and albinism. People with albinism live in danger in regions of the world where their body parts are valued in witchcraft and can fetch a high price.

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