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U.S. charges Burkina Faso man with fraud over bogus malaria nets

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Burkina Faso man has been criminally charged by U.S. prosecutors in New York over an alleged $12.2 million fraud in which he put millions of people in his home country at risk for malaria by distributing bogus mosquito nets. Malamine Ouedraogo, 33, was accused on Friday by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of defrauding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Geneva, Switzerland, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which both provide financing to promote global health. According to an unsealed indictment, Ouedraogo had promised in 2010 to use funds from those entities to buy more than 2 million nets treated with a long-term insecticide, and made by a Thailand company recommended by the World Health Organization. Instead, nearly all the nets that Ouedraogo bought and sent to Burkina Faso were made by an unnamed Chinese company and contained little or no insecticide, according to the indictment. These nets cost as little as 50 cents each, while the nets that the defendant promised to buy cost more than $5 each, the indictment added. […]
By |October 31st, 2015|blogs|0 Comments

5 Ways the Holidays Are Hard on Those With a Chronic Disease (and 10 Ways to Cope)

Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a chronic, mostly invisible, autoimmune disease. I utilize an insulin pump, a glucose meter and a continuous glucose monitor to help me control my blood sugar and its effects on me. My blood sugar regulation thrives on predictability and routine, something that is the exact opposite of the holiday season. Though I love Christmas and Thanksgiving as much as many, my disease can make the holidays less enjoyable and more anxiety-ridden. In honor of National Diabetes Month (November), here are five ways in which those of us with a chronic disease might struggle during the holidays: 1: Food: Food is at the heart of nearly all holiday celebrations, and usually steaming mounds of not-so-healthy foods like sugary sweet potatoes. Desserts and sweet drinks are in abundance. For a person with a chronic disease, the variety of foods may be tempting or forbidden, or may just strike terror in our hearts or feelings of being othered. If you’re staying in a hotel, you might be relegated to eating the in-house free breakfast that doesn’t accommodate your diet. 2: Traveling: Sitting in a car or on a plane for long periods of time can be the breeding ground for physical pain or, at minimum, provide ample time to worry about one’s disease. Traveling also means a change of routine […]
By |October 31st, 2015|blogs|0 Comments

Novartis, Juno face production hurdles for new blood cancer drugs

By Ransdell Pierson NEW YORK (Reuters) – As drugmakers including Novartis, Juno Therapeutics and Kite Pharma race to launch what may be the most effective treatments ever seen for leukemia and other blood cancers, they are grappling with how to make them widely available in a reliable and cost-efficient way. The new therapies, known as CAR T cells, are made by extracting immune system T cells from an individual patient, altering their DNA to sharpen their ability to spot and kill cancer cells, and infusing them back into the same patient. In some early-stage clinical trials, the treatments eliminated all trace of leukemia and lymphoma in 40 percent to 90 percent of patients who had run out of other options. Industry analysts expect CAR T cell therapies will begin to reach the market in 2017 and command prices of up to $450,000 if such remarkable results are replicated in larger trials. The cost is for a one-time application after which, if it works, signs of the cancer are eliminated and the patient needs no more treatment. “CAR T cell treatments are one of great advances in cancer therapy in the […]
By |October 30th, 2015|blogs|0 Comments

WHO says cancer report not a call for people to give up meat

Geneva (AFP) – The World Health Organization stressed Thursday that an explosive report this week linking the consumption of processed meat to cancer was not calling for people to stop eating meat altogether. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) caused shockwaves Monday when it released a report analysing 800 studies from around the world, concluding that processed meats such as sausages, ham, and hot dogs cause bowel cancer, and red meat “probably” does too. Meat producers slammed the report, with Australia’s agriculture minister calling it “a farce”, and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) saying IARC “tortured the data to ensure a specific outcome”. The United Nations agency cited research attributing about 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide to diets high in processed meat. The agency acknowledged this was dwarfed by the estimated one million cancer deaths attributed to tobacco smoking, 600,000 to alcohol use, and more than 200,000 to air pollution every year. It warned its data did “not permit” the determination of a safe meat quota. The WHO however stressed Thursday that IARC’s review merely confirmed the UN health agency’s 2002 diet and nutrition recommendations, urging people “to moderate consumption of preserved meat to reduce the risk of cancer.” “The latest IARC review does not ask people to stop eating processed meats, but indicates that reducing consumption of these products can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer,” WHO said in a statement. It pointed out that it has a standing group of experts who regularly evaluate the links between diet and disease. “Early next […]
By |October 30th, 2015|blogs|0 Comments

Glowing terms often used for new cancer drugs in health news

By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) – Health news stories often use overly optimistic terms to describe new cancer drugs, according to a new study. “Each year it seems, you read about a new drug that’s labeled as a ‘game changer’ or another grandiose word,” said senior author Dr. Vinay Prasad, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. “These are words that have a lot of meaning to people,” he said. Searching through Google News, the researchers found 94 stories published over five days that used superlatives like “cure” or “breakthrough” to describe a cancer drug. The stories sometimes praised drugs before they were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or had been tested on humans, the study team writes in JAMA Oncology. Prasad and his co-author Matthew Abola, of CaseWestern Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, say news articles can be important sources of information, but using the wrong terms may lead […]
By |October 30th, 2015|blogs|0 Comments