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Ohio postpones all 2015 executions as it secures new drugs

By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio will postpone all six executions scheduled for 2015 because it needs more time to prepare for a new execution procedure and to secure a new supply of execution drugs, the state's prison department said on Friday. Earlier this month, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction halted use of the two-drug lethal injection combination of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone after the protracted death of an inmate last year. The state prison system wants to add a drug, thiopental sodium, previously used for lethal injections from 1999 to 2011, and pentobarbital as the two drugs permitted for lethal injections in the future. Ohio and other states with the death penalty are seeking new execution drug formulations after some pharmaceutical companies stopped supplying products because they no longer wanted to be associated with capital punishment.

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Pivotal time for trans people as rigid notion of gender challenged

By Maria Caspani NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - For Kate Bornstein, the American author and pioneer gender activist, this is a pivotal time in history for transgender people as the rigid concept of two sexes is challenged by a growing number of individuals who don't conform to either. "That's very different from their parents or even their older siblings," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview. "In the early 1990s, there might be one 'trans' student in six or seven colleges and now the audience is filled with female to male...or really cool gender queer (people)," Bornstein, who does not identify as male or female, says in a new film about her life. In the United States and beyond, a growing movement views gender as a complex, mainly psychological phenomenon in which a person's external anatomy is no longer the defining factor.

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Second California patient tests negative for Ebola hours after first

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - A second hospital patient in Sacramento, California, tested negative for the Ebola virus on Friday, the hospital reported, hours after the first was found to be free of the deadly disease at a nearby medical center. Both individuals were said to have been at low-risk of contracting Ebola before their test results came back. Public health officials have not said whether the two cases were linked in any way. The Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center said its patient, admitted on Wednesday, would now be discharged. ...

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Chimerix to stop participation in clinical studies of Ebola drug

(Reuters) - Drug developer Chimerix Inc said it would stop participation in clinical studies of its Ebola drug, brincidofovir, citing a significant decrease in the number new cases for the virus in Liberia. The decision was announced after the company's discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Brincidofovir was given to the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, who later succumbed to the infection.

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U.S. congressman from Mississippi has inoperable brain tumor: spokesman

(Reuters) - U.S. Representative Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, has been told by doctors he has a new tumor and it is inoperable, a spokesman for the Republican congressman said on Friday. Nunnelee, who was elected to his third term in November, suffered a stroke while in surgery to remove a tumor in June. "After seven months of bravely fighting brain cancer and a stroke, Congressman Alan Nunnelee was informed last Friday that a new tumor has developed and no further medical treatment is possible," Morgan Baldwin, a longtime Nunnelee consultant, said in a statement.

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Ex-Super Bowl champ Leonard Marshall to teach about concussions

A football helmet's health warning sticker is pictured between a U.S. flag and the number 55, in memory of former student and NFL player Junior Seau, as the Oceanside Pirates high school football team prepares for their Friday night game in OceansideTwo-time Super Bowl champion Leonard Marshall is teaming up with the lawyer who first sued the NFL over concussions to form an educational road show on how to avoid and treat head injuries in sports. The target audience for the Brain Unity Trust is players, coaches and organizations, said Marshall, who suffers from CTE-related illnesses, perhaps from concussions during his 12 seasons as a defensive lineman in the National Football League in the 1980s and '90s. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain often found in athletes who suffered repetitive brain trauma.


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Father of Psych Ward Stabbing Victim Says Mental Patients Treated Like 'Prisoners'

Father of Psych Ward Stabbing Victim Says Mental Patients Treated Like 'Prisoners'The father of man stabbed to death by his roommate in a southern California hospital psych ward won $3 million in punitive damages this week against the hospital where his son died. "Mentally challenged individuals have just as many rights as other people," Joseph Camacho, 79, told ABC News. His son, Dean Camacho, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was attacked at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, California, by his roommate, Jerry Romansky in 2011, according to court documents. Though rooms throughout the hospital were equipped with emergency buzzers, they had been disabled in the mental health wing, according to Joseph Camacho's lawyer, John Marcin.


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FDA approves Shire's Vyvanse for binge-eating disorder

By Toni Clarke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Shire Plc's stimulant Vyvanse to treat binge-eating disorder, the first product to be approved for the condition. Vyvanse, which is currently approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, generated sales of more than $1 billion in the first nine months of last year. Dr. Flemming Ornskov, the company's chief executive officer, said in an interview that Shire's goal is to generate overall sales of $10 billion by 2020.

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Suspected Ebola patient in California tests negative for virus

Hours after a suspected Ebola patient in Sacramento was found to be free of the virus, a second person hospitalized in California's capital was reported by public health officials on Friday to be undergoing evaluation and testing for the disease. The second patient was admitted to Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center on Wednesday, a day before the earlier patient came to light, and like the previous case is considered to be at low risk of having contracted the deadly virus, the hospital said in a statement. There was no immediate word on whether the two cases were linked or whether the second patient had traveled recently in West Africa, the epicenter of the worst Ebola epidemic on record, as had the first. The previous patient was transferred to the University of California-Davis Medical Center from another hospital in Sacramento on Thursday after exhibiting unspecified Ebola-like symptoms, health officials said.

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Three U.S. House Republicans to seek Obamacare replacement

Ryan arrives to hold a committee hearing on the topic of U.S. economic growth at the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonThree top U.S. Republican lawmakers, including Representative Paul Ryan, will lead an effort to craft new health reforms that could replace Obamacare, party officials said on Friday. House leadership said Ryan, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, would join Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Education and the Workforce Committee John Kline as part of a new healthcare working group. The Republican-controlled House, which has voted numerous times to overturn the healthcare law, is expected to do so again next week. Republicans have failed in the past to reach consensus on legislation to replace Obamacare and analysts say that stubborn differences within the party persist.


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Heavy kids can have celiac disease, too

By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) – Overweight children are just as likely as thin children to have celiac disease, a new study confirms. It's a common misconception - even among many doctors - that celiac disease is limited to people who are underweight. “Being overweight certainly does not exclude the diagnosis, as this paper shows,” said Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, who was not involved in the new study. Between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of people living in the developed world are thought to have celiac disease, in which gluten in food triggers a damaging immune response in the small intestines.

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Obama hails 'boundless' promise of precision medicine

US President Barack Obama speaks on investments in "precision medicine" on January 30, 2015 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DCPresident Barack Obama on Friday unveiled plans to plow $215 million into "precision medicine" research, a field he said provided "boundless" promise for the treatment of diseases like cancer and diabetes. The bulk of the money, $200 million, would go to the National Institutes of Health and its affiliate the National Cancer Institute.


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Second patient hospitalized in California undergoes Ebola testing

Hours after a suspected Ebola patient in Sacramento, California, was found to be free of the virus, a second person hospitalized in the city was reported by public health officials on Friday to be undergoing testing for the deadly disease. The second patient was admitted to Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center on Wednesday and, like the previous case, is considered to be at low risk of having contracted the virus, the hospital said in a statement.

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Modern Medicine, Mired at the Line of Scrimmage

Modern Medicine, Mired at the Line of ScrimmageModern medicine has some things in common with football -- or maybe I just have the Super Bowl on the brain. Both, it seems to me, tend to foster our occasionally-overinflated hopes, leaving us at times to contend with a relatively, well, deflated reality.Both are team sports, advancing courtesy of collective effort. And by and large, progress...


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White House urges parents to heed advice urging childhood vaccines

By Susan Heavey WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With U.S. measles cases on the rise, the White House on Friday urged parents to heed the advice of public health officials and scientists in getting their children vaccinated. "People should evaluate this for themselves with a bias toward good science and toward the advice of our public health professionals," President Barack Obama's spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. Asked whether people should be getting vaccinated, Earnest said: "That's what the science indicates." "The science on this is really clear," Earnest added. The measles outbreak has renewed a debate over the so-called anti-vaccination movement in which fears about potential side effects of vaccines, fueled by now-debunked research suggesting a link to autism, have led a small minority of parents to refuse to allow their children to be inoculated.

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Flu Hospitalizations of Elderly Hit Record High, CDC Says

Elderly flu patients hit hardest in 9 years.

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White House: Science indicates parents should vaccinate kids

Pediatrician Charles Goodman vaccinates 1 year- old Cameron Fierro with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR vaccine at his practice in Northridge, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Some doctors are adamant about not accepting patients who don't believe in vaccinations, with some saying they don't want to be responsible for someone's death from an illness that was preventable. Others warn that refusing treatment to such people will just send them into the arms of quacks. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid the measles outbreak stemming from California, the White House is telling parents that science indicates they should vaccinate their children.


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Computer tracks eye movements to detect concussions

By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) – A new piece of technology that tracks eye movements after a head injury might be able to detect concussions and determine their severity, researchers say. The new technology is essentially like a doctor moving a finger in front of a person’s eyes after a hit to the head - except now it's automated, said Dr. Uzma Samadani of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

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Athletes' biological clocks affect their performance

By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) – A week before the Super Bowl, a new study suggests that players' performances may depend at least in part on how the game's timing aligns with their body clocks. “The reason why we did this study is that all the existing literature talking about circadian rhythm in sports performance came to the same conclusion: that athletes give their best performance in the evening,” said Roland Brandstaetter, the study’s senior author from the University of Birmingham in the UK. As reported in the journal Current Biology, Brandstaetter and colleagues studied the performance of 121 athletes who competed in competitions. When the researchers separated the athletes into three groups based on their internal clocks, they found that those who naturally get up early reached peak performance in the early afternoon.

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Thanks to Community Outreach, Obamacare Is Working for Diverse Groups

We are well into the second open enrollment period, and the numbers are telling: nearly 7.3 million people have enrolled in coverage in the federal health insurance marketplace. Ten million people have gained coverage since the first open enrollment period, including hundreds of thousands of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific...

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Woman convicted of endangering children in her decrepit NYC home

A woman who was raising three children in a decrepit New York City house that lacked some exterior walls and a part of the roof was convicted on Friday on charges of endangering the children's welfare, the local prosecutor's office said. Katherine Vartholomeou, 48, had no running water in her home in the borough of Queens, and powered lights and other devices by running extension cords from a neighboring house, according to the Queens district attorney's account. The police had entered with a search warrant while investigating Dimitrios Vlahakis, Vartholomeou's 24-year-old son, for a string of burglaries. The home's structure had previously been damaged in a fire, and police feared another fire might be imminent as they found extension cords, lights and refuse in combustible proximity.

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Michael Jackson's family denied new trial in negligence case

Brian Panish, attorney for the Michael Jackson family delivers his closing argument to jurors in packed courtroom in Los AngelesA California state appeals court on Friday denied Michael Jackson's family its latest attempt to reverse a jury's decision that cleared concert promoter AEG Live of negligence in the singer's death. The three-judge panel ruled that Jackson's mother and children did not have standing for a new trial after their attorneys argued last week that AEG Live was liable for Jackson's treatment, and that jury instructions were confusing and not wide enough in scope. A Los Angeles jury in 2013 cleared privately held AEG Live, the organizer of Jackson's ill-fated 50 "This Is It" comeback concerts in London, of negligently hiring cardiologist Conrad Murray as Jackson's personal physician. The child star turned King of Pop, who set the world dancing but whose musical genius was overshadowed by a bizarre lifestyle and sex scandals, died in 2009 at age 50 in Los Angeles from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic.


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Measles Outbreak has Spread to 14 States, 84 Cases this Month

Arizona health officials??? concerned virus could spread during Super Bowl.

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POM Wonderful loses bid to tout health benefits in drink ads

Pomegranate juice maker POM Wonderful cannot advertise that its pomegranate drinks treat or prevent heart disease or other ailments unless it has proof, a U.S. appeals court said Friday, upholding an order by the Federal Trade Commission. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit largely upheld a 2010 order by the Federal Trade Commission, which found that POM Wonderful's advertising was misleading in claiming its products would treat or reduce the risk of diseases ranging from heart disease to prostate cancer to erectile dysfunction. "Many of those ads mischaracterized the scientific evidence concerning the health benefits of POM's products with regard to those diseases. The FTC Act proscribes — and the First Amendment does not protect — deceptive and misleading advertisements," the court said in its ruling.

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Gates Foundation awards $50 million to Stanford vaccine discovery

Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gestures next to his wife Melinda French Gates during the session 'Sustainable Development: A Vision for the Future' in the Swiss mountain resort of DavosThe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Friday it had awarded Stanford University a $50 million grant to accelerate vaccine development efforts for the world's most deadly diseases, including AIDS and malaria. The $50 million grant over 10 years will go toward establishing the Stanford Human Systems Immunology Center on the school's California campus, the foundation and university said in a statement. The center will focus research on how the immune system can be harnessed to develop vaccines for the world's most deadly infectious diseases, the university said. Stanford said cost and the amount of time needed for research have been obstacles in developing new vaccinations.


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Sun Pharmaceutical wins U.S. approval to buy Ranbaxy

A logo of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd at its research and development center in MumbaiIndia's Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd has won U.S. approval to buy Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd on condition that it sell its interest in a generic antibacterial medicine, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Friday. Sun Pharmaceutical said in April that it had agreed to buy the Indian generic drugmaker from its current owner, Japan's Daiichi Sankyo Co, for $3.2 billion. Ranbaxy has been involved in a wrangle with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has barred a range of its medicines from the United States after finding that some of the company's plants did not meet U.S. standards. The FTC, whose job is to ensure that anti-monopoly laws are enforced, did not weigh in on the safety issue but said it would allow the transaction if Ranbaxy sold its interests in generic minocycline tablets and capsules to generic maker Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which is also based in India.


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Canada says husband of woman diagnosed with avian flu also infected

The husband of a woman who tested positive for the H7N9 avian flu virus earlier this week was also infected, likely from a common source during their visit to China, Canadian federal and provincial governments confirmed on Friday. The couple, residents of British Columbia, exhibited symptoms one day apart and likely did not infect each other, Canada's chief public health officer and British Columbia's deputy provincial health officer said in a joint statement. The H7N9 virus has not been detected in birds in Canada. The virus first infected three people in China in March 2013.

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All Your Measles Questions Answered

ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser dispels the myths and gives the facts about the resurging measles virus.

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Two Different Paths to Obesity and What They Have in Common

Two Different Paths to Obesity and What They Have in CommonThe naturally thin often have a hard time understanding the struggles of the very many who battle with overweight and obesity. Why is losing weight -- and especially keeping it off -- so very hard? What is it that drives us to obesity, and what can we do about it? And why has obesity spread like an epidemic in the last few decades?A new article...


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Everything You Want to Know About the Measles

Measles was eliminated by vaccines years ago but is making a comeback.

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U.S. proposes effort to analyze DNA from 1 million people

A DNA double helix in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research Institute to ReutersBy Toni Clarke and Sharon Begley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers as part of a new initiative to understand human disease and develop medicines targeted to an individual's genetic make-up. At the heart of the "precision medicine" initiative, announced on Friday by President Barack Obama, is the creation of a pool of people - healthy and ill, men and women, old and young - who would be studied to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. "Precision medicine gives us one of the greatest opportunities for new medical breakthroughs we've ever seen," Obama said, promising that it would "lay a foundation for a new era of life-saving discoveries." The near-term goal is to create more and better treatments for cancer, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.


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Singer Shakira gives birth to second child in Barcelona

Singer Shakira passes their son Milan to Barcelona's Pique before the Spanish first division soccer match between Barcelona and Eibar at Camp Nou stadium in BarcelonaColombian pop star Shakira has given birth in Barcelona to her second child, a boy, she said on Friday. A statement posted on Shakira's website said her son, Sasha, was born on Thursday night. "The hospital confirmed that both mother and child are in excellent health," the statement said. The singer and her boyfriend, Spanish football player Gerard Pique, had their first child, a son named Milan, in 2013.


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Africa looks to extend new disaster insurance to Ebola-like epidemics

By Daniel Flynn DAKAR (Reuters) - African countries want to extend a new catastrophe insurance fund, which made its first payout of $25 million this month, to include protection against epidemics in the wake of the devastating Ebola outbreak. The African Risk Capacity (ARC) agency, a specialized body of the African Union, launched a scheme last year to insure against natural disasters. It is an effort to break Africa's reliance on foreign aid and address the impact of climate change by using innovative financial techniques. The ARC paid $25 million in its first year of operations to Senegal, Mauritania and Niger to mitigate the effects of a severe drought in the arid Sahel region south of the Sahara -- well above the $8 million in premiums paid by those countries.

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Cancer organization partners with NFL on prostate treatment

NFL: Super Bowl XLIX-Head Coach Press ConferenceA U.S. cancer organization has partnered with the NFL alumni association ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl XLIX to raise awareness about screening, diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer, a disease that kills tens of thousands of U.S. men a year.  The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), a private, for-profit operator of cancer treatment hospitals and outpatient clinics, will treat NFL Alumni who are fighting prostate cancer, which afflicts almost one in seven U.S. men, at its five hospitals in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tulsa. "CTCA is proud to partner with NFLA and we look forward to making a difference in the lives of those alums who are or will be diagnosed with prostate cancer," Gerard van Grinsven, chief executive and president of CTCA, said in a statement Thursday. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men in the United States, second only to non-melanoma skin cancer.


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Science takes a step towards diabetes pill

A species of healthy gut bacteria -- tweaked in the science lab -- could be a key player in curing diabetes, according to a new study.A probiotic pill developed at Cornell University sent glucose levels plummeting by as much as 30 percent in diabetic rats, according to the researchers who took part in the study. The science-born probiotic was administered orally to the rats for 90 days, resulting in favorable dips in high blood glucose levels. Epithelial cells -- capable of secretion and selective absorption -- in the upper intestine converted themselves into cells that acted like glucose-monitoring, insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells. It was tested on healthy rats, and no change in blood glucose levels resulted.


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U.S. government releases draft plan for electronic health data

President Obama Speaks At The Nat'l Institute Of Health On Fight Against EbolaThe Obama administration on Friday proposed a plan to move most doctors, hospitals and their patients to national standards for handling electronic clinical data by the end of 2017. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as part of an effort to propel the $2.9 trillion U.S. healthcare system away from a costly fee-for-service system, released a report draft aimed at establishing an inter operable health information technology system that can be accessed by patients and their healthcare providers. Policy experts say that national health IT standards would lead to transparency in medical data, prices and provider performance, while helping support hospitals and medical practices in pursuing care-delivery models that emphasize care quality and savings over quantity. Earlier this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the goal of moving 50 percent of fee-for-service Medicare payments to quality-care focused providers by the end of 2018.


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Study suggests limiting alcohol intake in middle age

If you're between 50 and 60, drinking more than two glasses of wine per day increases your risk of having a stroke, according to a new study.Drinking more than two alcoholic beverages per day in middle age could increase the risk of stroke more than the well-known culprits of having high blood pressure or diabetes, according to a new study. "We now have a clearer picture about these risk factors, how they change with age and how the influence of drinking alcohol shifts as we get older," says Pavla Kadlecová, M.Sc., a statistician at St. Anne's University Hospital's International Clinical Research Center in the Czech Republic. In the study, 11,644 middle-aged Swedish twins were followed for 43 years and the research team set out to compare if a person's level of drinking made a difference concerning stroke risk. Having more than two drinks per day was considered "heavy drinking" by the researchers while drinking less than half a drink daily was considered "light drinking," and middle age was considered to be the 50s and 60s.


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Super Bowl 2015: Officials on Alert for Measles During Big Game

At least 84 people have been infected with the measles in the current outbreak.

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Liberia delays school reopening by two weeks as Ebola cases fall

Health workers take temperature of boy who came in contact with woman who died of Ebola virus in Paynesville neighborhood of MonroviaLiberia said on Friday it would delay reopening schools for two weeks in order to better prepare safety measures against the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 3,650 people in the country but now appears to be receding. A ministry statement said it wanted to "raise awareness about safety protocols, logistics and training requirements", adding: "Actual teaching will begin on Monday, Feb. 16, 2015." Some Liberian opposition parties and members of parliament had called for the reopening date to be moved to March 2, concerned that the Ebola epidemic is not yet fully under control. Liberia and its neighbors Sierra Leone and Guinea have been hardest hit in the worst outbreak of the viral hemorrhagic fever on record. The number of Ebola infections and deaths has fallen sharply in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past few weeks, with just 20 deaths recorded in Liberia in the 21 days to Jan. 25, according to the World Health Organization, raising hopes that the disease is gradually being brought under control.


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Ebola likely to persist in 2015 as communities resist aid: Red Cross

EbolaBy Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - West Africa will be lucky to wipe out Ebola this year, as the local population remains suspicious of aid workers, especially in Guinea, the Red Cross said on Friday. The virus is "flaring up" in new areas in the region and not all infections are being reported, said Birte Hald, who leads the Ebola coordination and support unit of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. "We are also seeing that in places like Sierra Leone and especially in Guinea that it is flaring up in new districts all the time, with small new chains of transmission, which means that it's not under control and it could flare up big-time again," Hald told a news briefing in Geneva. More than 6,000 Red Cross volunteers are deployed in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, tracing contacts of those infected, isolating suspect cases and ensuring safe burials, she said.






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