Reuters Health News Summary
Following is a summary of current health news briefs. Lack of insurance may explain much of disparity in breast cancer detection
Lack of insurance may be a major cause of delayed breast cancer detection in racial and ethnic minority women in the U.S., a new study suggests. In an analysis of data from nearly 200,000 women, researchers found that racial and ethnic minority women are more often diagnosed at a later stage of the disease than white women, and that lack of insurance was a major contributing factor, according to the study published in JAMA Oncology. Feces-smeared fakes: Scientists use rubber hands in OCD therapy
A new type of therapy using feces and fake rubber hands may be able to help patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) overcome their fears of touching contaminated surfaces, according to new research. "OCD can be an extremely debilitating condition for many people, but the treatments are not always straightforward," said Baland Jalal, a Cambridge University neuroscientist who was part of a team assessing if rubber hands could be a potential new type of exposure therapy. Blackstone raises three-quarters of targeted $4.6 billion life sciences fund
U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc has secured $3.4 billion from investors for its first fund dedicated to investments in the life sciences sector, targeting $4.6 billion in total, a regulatory filing showed on Thursday. At its target fundraising amount, the fund would be one of the biggest in the sector. The raise underscores investors' strong appetite for the lucrative returns associated with the development of high-impact drugs, as well as their tolerance for risk, given that a therapy's success is far from certain. FDA approves Blueprint's stomach cancer therapy priced at $32,000 per month
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Blueprint Medicines Corp's oral therapy to treat a rare form of cancer that affects the stomach and small intestine, the agency said on Thursday. The FDA's decision makes the therapy, Ayvakit, the first treatment for a small subset of patients with a mutation of the cancer called gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). African swine fever spreads near the German border: OIE
Poland recorded 55 outbreaks of African swine fever in wild boar near the German border last month, the world animal health body said on Thursday, in a sign the deadly virus is spreading near one of the European Union's biggest pork exporters. A report posted on the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) website showed that the disease, which has devastated herds in the world's top pork producer China, had now been found in a village less than 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) from Germany. WHO says new virus may have caused China pneumonia outbreak
A cluster of more than 50 pneumonia cases in China's central city of Wuhan may be due to a newly emerging member of the family of viruses that caused the deadly SARS and MERS outbreaks, World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. While the United Nations health agency said it needed more comprehensive information to confirm precisely the type of pathogen causing the infections, it said a new coronavirus was a possibility. Prenatal air pollution exposure tied to childhood blood sugar
Kids who are exposed to air pollution in the womb may have higher blood sugar levels during childhood than kids without this exposure, according to a study that suggests particle pollution could be an environmental risk factor for diabetes. Researchers focused on so-called PM 2.5, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that can include dust, dirt, soot and smoke. This type of air pollution, also known as fine particulate matter, has been previously been linked to lung damage as well as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 57, cases of illness to 2,602
U.S. health officials on Thursday reported 2 more deaths from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping, taking the total death toll to 57. As of Jan. 7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 41 new cases from the illness associated with use of e-cigarettes, or vaping products. The number of people hospitalized now stands at 2,602. Bristol-Myers confident of approvals linked to higher Celgene investor payout: Bristol executive
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co is confident it will receive U.S. approvals for all three experimental drugs tied to a potentially higher payout for Celgene shareholders under terms of its acquisition of the U.S. biotech company, Bristol's chief medical officer said. New York-based Bristol-Myers bought Celgene for more than $74 billion in a deal announced last January. As part of that agreement, Celgene shareholders received a so-called CVR, or contingent value right, worth $9 per share if three high-profile drugs in Celgene's pipeline receive U.S. approvals by March 2021. 'Gold rush': Race is on for health data in East Europe's frontier market
Eastern Europe is a new frontier for private medical care, and insurers and tech startups are racing to steal a march on their rivals by harnessing the region's health data. Growing numbers of people in Eastern European states, from Hungary and Poland to Romania, are turning to private health. The shift is being driven by rising wages, coupled with low public health spending which has often led to staff shortages and long waiting times for tests and surgery.
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