China confirms one more human death from H7N9 bird flu

A man in China’s central Henan province has become the latest person reported to have died this winter from H7N9 bird flu, the state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday citing local health authorities. The 36-year-old roast duck salesman developed a fever and a cough around Dec. 25 in coastal Zhejiang province, near Shanghai, and returned to Henan in early January, Xinhua said. Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring.
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Taiwan confirms a new bird flu case, fourth this year

Taiwan confirmed a new bird flu case on Thursday, the fourth this year, according to a statement posted on the website of the island’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Bureau. The H5N2 avian flu virus was confirmed at a Yunlin county chicken farm, where 16,800 birds were culled to reduce the risk of further spreading, the statement said. Taiwan has reported four bird flu cases this year, all in Yunlin county on the island’s western coast.
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Seniors with memory problems may struggle with driving

By Madeline Kennedy (Reuters Health) – Seniors with memory problems and related attention and decision-making issues may struggle with driving tasks, according to a Canadian study. Not all patients with mild cognitive impairment, the early stage of memory loss, have issues with driving, the researchers write in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. “Driving is a highly complex task that requires the integration of multiple cognitive functions, such as attention, memory, and visuospatial ability, all of which can be affected by mild cognitive impairment,” said senior author Tom Schweizer, director of the neuroscience research program at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
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Hundreds of cats quarantined in New York City bird flu outbreak

Hundreds of domestic cats have been quarantined in New York City after contracting a strain of highly contagious avian flu at shelters operated by a major animal rescue organization, and the virus also infected at least one veterinarian, officials said. It is the first time the H7N2 strain of the virus, commonly found in birds, has infected domestic cats, according to the New York City Health Department. The virus was first detected last month in 45 cats housed at a Manhattan shelter run by Animal Care Center of NYC, and later turned up in cats at shelters in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.
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Stronger malpractice laws may not prevent surgical complications

By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) – More aggressive malpractice climates don’t necessarily protect patients from surgical complications, a new study suggests Supporters of medical malpractice laws that make it easier for patients to sue doctors say these protections are necessary to improve care. “It doesn’t really work – malpractice environment doesn’t influence doctors to provide better care,” Bilimoria said by email. “Rather, it may lead to defensive medicine practices where more tests and treatments are ordered unnecessarily just to try to minimize malpractice risk.” Bilimoria and colleagues examined state-specific data on medical malpractice insurance premiums, average award size and the number of claims for every 100 physicians in each state as of 2010.
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U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear dispute over biologic drug sales

A Novartis logo is pictured on its headquarters building in MumbaiBy Andrew Chung NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a dispute over whether companies that make copycat versions of biologic drugs must wait six months after winning federal approval to begin selling them. The justices will take up an appeal by Novartis AG of a 2015 federal appeals court decision that prevented the Swiss pharmaceutical company from selling its biosimilar version of California-based Amgen Inc's $1-billion-a-year Neupogen until six months after the Food and Drug Administration approved it. Unlike traditional drugs, biologic drugs cannot be copied exactly to make generic versions.

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Cognitive therapy improves behavior issues in kids with night terrors

By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) – Young children who receive cognitive behavior therapy to help them cope with night terrors may have fewer behavior problems tied to poor sleep than kids who receive therapy that doesn’t include advice on how to manage symptoms, a recent study suggests. The study focused on 90 children, ages 4 to 6, with severe and persistent fears that interfere with normal functioning and cause considerable stress for kids and their families. Researchers randomly assigned the children into two groups.
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In early step to void health law, Congress nears budget OK

FILE - In this June 21,2016 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., accompanied by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, listen to a question during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congressional Republicans are taking the first steps toward dismantling President Barack Obama’s health care law, facing pressure from President-elect Donald Trump to move quickly on a replacement. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Signaling their determination to plunge into a defining and risky battle, congressional Republicans neared approval Friday of a budget taking an early but crucial step toward scrapping President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and putting the onus on themselves and Donald Trump to replace it.

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