FDA advisory panel split over Sanofi-Lexicon diabetes drug

(Reuters) – Independent experts on an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were divided over whether to recommend approval of a treatment for type 1 diabetes developed by Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc and France’s Sanofi SA. The panel on Thursday voted 8-8 when asked to assess the once-daily oral medicine, sotagliflozin, an add-on to insulin therapy for diabetic patients. Insulin has been used to treat diabetes for decades, but can cause side effects such as hypoglycemia, a condition in which blood sugar falls to dangerously low levels, and…

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Junk food ads disproportionately target black and Hispanic kids: report

(Reuters Health) – Television advertising in the U.S. for candy, fast food, sugary drinks and other unhealthy treats continues to target mostly black and Hispanic youth, according to a new report that suggests this contributes to health disparities. Overall spending on TV ads by restaurant, food and drink companies declined from $11.4 billion in 2013 to $10.9 billion in 2017, the report found. Even though TV viewing by children and teens also declined during this period, young people in the U.S. continued to view approximately 10 food-related TV ads per…

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Doctors explain misconceptions about penicillin allergy

(Reuters Health) – Most patients who report having a penicillin allergy are not really allergic to this highly effective antibiotic, and they may be missing out on the best treatment for their condition as a result, according to a new patient resource published in JAMA. Although 1 in 10 patients has a penicillin allergy noted in their medical record, many were misdiagnosed as children or are no longer allergic, the authors write. “The ‘penicillin allergy’ label affects the antibiotic options available to patients, resulting in the use of alternative and…

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Too little sleep tied to increased heart disease risk

(Reuters Health) – People who sleep less than six hours a night may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who sleep seven to eight hours, a Spanish study suggests. In the study, 3,974 bank workers wore activity trackers to measure sleep for one week and also had 3D heart ultrasounds and cardiac CT scans to look for heart disease. Researchers found that compared to people who got seven to eight hours of sleep, those who slept less than six hours a night were 27 percent more likely…

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Long-lasting menopause symptoms may be tied to slightly higher breast cancer risk

(Reuters Health) – Women who experience symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes or night sweats, for many years may be slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never had these symptoms, a U.S. study suggests. But while women with long-lasting menopausal symptoms may have a slightly higher risk for breast cancer, they are not more likely to die from the disease, the study found. Based on the results, such women should get regular mammograms, but they don’t need to take different precautions than what’s currently recommended for…

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Invest in health for global security and growth, Gates urges donors

LONDON (Reuters) – Donating billions of dollars to global funds that fight poverty and disease is one of the best investments governments can make to boost security and economic growth, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates said on Thursday. Ending epidemics of infectious diseases such as malaria, polio, HIV and malaria is proving tough, they said, but dramatic progress made by global aid mechanisms recent decades means the world’s people are now healthier and more productive. “The data has been really striking,” Melinda Gates told reporters on a teleconference. She cited…

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U.S. shutdown taking toll on FDA, USDA inspection roles: experts

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The partial government shutdown is taking a toll on key safety inspection duties performed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture, food safety experts said on Wednesday. Workers in public health laboratories are reporting disruptions in the analysis of DNA from food samples involved in foodborne outbreaks, and have raised concerns about a USDA program that tests agricultural commodities for unsafe levels of pesticides, they said. The shutdown is “putting our nation’s food supply at risk,” Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, said…

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Scientists reveal 'ideal diet' for peoples' and planet's health

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Scientists have unveiled what they say is an ideal diet for the health of the planet and its people – including a doubling of consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes, and a halving of meat and sugar intake. If the world followed the “Planetary Health” diet, the researchers said, more than 11 million premature deaths could be prevented each year, while greenhouse gas emissions would be cut and more land, water and biodiversity would be preserved. “The food we eat and how we produce…

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Slim but sedentary might face same heart risks as overweight

(Reuters Health) – Adults with a healthy weight but a sedentary lifestyle may have the same risk for heart attacks or strokes as people who are overweight, a recent study suggests. Researchers found that normal-weight people who spent much of the day sitting but still hit minimum recommended weekly exercise targets of 150 minutes of moderate activity had about a 58 percent lower risk of a heart attack or stroke than overweight people. But when individuals with a normal weight sat around most of the time and got very little…

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Australia's aged care sector braces for powerful inquiry

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A public inquiry into mistreatment of the elderly in Australia’s A$20 billion ($14 billion) aged-care industry begins hearings on Friday, with investors expecting damaging testimony to be followed by tighter regulation and a possible sector shakeout. The powerful Royal Commission, called after a slew of reports of assaults on patients, predatory pricing and poor care, will be similar to the inquiry that exposed widespread wrongdoing in Australia’s financial sector last year. Shares in the four largest listed operators, Aveo Group, Estia Health Ltd, Japara Healthcare Ltd and…

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