Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Doctors move away from using live animals for trauma surgery training
An initiative to replace the use of live animals with a human simulator for trauma surgery practice got training programs in more than 20 countries to make the switch, saving them money in the process, researchers say. The simulators are anatomically realistic and allow trainees to practice surgical skills and invasive procedures such as chest tube insertion, airway punctures, and draining fluids from the body, the study authors write in the Journal of Surgical Education.
Jury clears J&J of liability in New Jersey talc cancer case
A New Jersey jury on Thursday cleared Johnson & Johnson of liability in a case involving a woman who alleged that the company's talc-based products, including its baby powder, contain asbestos and caused her cancer. After less than a day of deliberations, the jury in New Brunswick, New Jersey rejected claims by Rosalind Henry and her husband, who had alleged that Henry's mesothelioma, cancer associated with asbestos exposure, was caused by the company's talc products.
Public seems to know value of clinical trials, but not how they work
Patients, their families and friends may see clinical trial research as important, yet they don't know much about the research process and see trial participation as burdensome, a new study suggests. About 85 per cent of respondents in the new study said clinical research is important to developing new drugs, and 90 per cent thought participating in a trial is generally safe. But only 18 per cent had actually done so, researchers report in JAMA Network Open.
Third African swine fever case in China's Liaoning province this week
A new outbreak of African swine fever has been detected in China's northeastern Liaoning province, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday, the province's third case this week. The latest outbreak was found on a farm with 1,353 pigs in the city of Dalian. The fever killed 11 pigs and infected 20 others, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on its website.
Asthma during pregnancy tied to postpartum depression risk
Women who have asthma during their pregnancies are more likely to experience postpartum depression after delivery, a large Canadian study suggests. Physicians should watch for signs of depression in their pregnant patients with asthma so treatment and coping strategies can start early, the authors write in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
U.S. FDA panel backs Celltrion copycat of Roche blood cancer drug
Celltrion Pharm Inc's biosimilar of Roche Holding AG's blockbuster cancer drug, Rituxan, on Wednesday, won unanimous backing from an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The tussles in the biosimilars market are a growing focus for investors, with soaring valuations for some pioneers in the field, including Celltrion, and worries about the long-term sales threat to makers of the original drugs such as Roche and AbbVie.
Bristol-Myers to invest in Compugen, collaborate in clinical trials
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Israel's Compugen said on Thursday they will collaborate in clinical trials for patients with advanced solid tumors. The trials will evaluate the safety and tolerability of Compugen's COM701, an investigational antibody, in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb's immune checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo.
WHO sees Congo's Ebola outbreak lasting 3-4 months at least
Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak is expected to last several months and could spread to Uganda or Rwanda, which are well prepared but have not approved the use of a vaccine, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The most concerning area is the city of Beni in Congo's North Kivu province where dozens of people who may have been exposed to the deadly disease are hiding from health workers, emergency response chief Peter Salama said.
Medtronic disables pacemaker programmer updates over hack concern
Medical device maker Medtronic Plc has disabled internet updates for some 34,000 CareLink programming devices that healthcare providers around the world use to access implanted pacemakers, saying the system was vulnerable to cyber attacks. The company said it knows of no cases where the vulnerability had been exploited by hackers in a letter sent to physicians this week, which was labelled "urgent medical device correction."
Child refugees in Nauru camp struggle to eat, drink, talk: MSF
The mental health of refugees detained by Australia on the Pacific island of Nauru has deteriorated so badly that some children are in a "semi-comatose state", unable to eat, drink or talk, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Thursday. Nauru is one of two Pacific nations where Australia detains hundreds of asylum seekers intercepted while trying to reach the country by boat, a policy widely criticized by the United Nations and rights groups.
(With inputs from agencies.)