New York Times:
C.D.C. May Warn Pregnant Women Against Travel to Countries With Zika Virus (Donald McNeil)
The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies in Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean nations.
*Similar article in: Forbes
Hemophilia Patient or Drug Seller? Dual Role Creates Ethical Quandary (Andrew Pollack)
When hemophiliacs make their living by selling lucrative hemophilia drugs, patient advocates say it creates a dangerous conflict of interest.
‘Moonshot’ to Cure Cancer, to Be Led by Biden, Relies on Outmoded View of Disease (Gina Kolata)
The idea that a concerted government push can lead to a “cure” for cancer is nearly a half century old, stretching back to President Nixon’s failed “War on Cancer.”
*Similar article in: CNN
With Health Care Switch, Kentucky Ventures Into the Unknown (Abby Goodnough)
Kentucky is the first state to abandon a homegrown insurance exchange that works well, and residents will need to use the federal HealthCare.gov exchange.
Wall Street Journal:
FDA Took 17 Months to Notify Doctors on Scopes’ ‘Superbug’ Risk (Thomas M. Burton)
The Food and Drug Administration took 17 months to notify doctors and the public of “superbug” infection dangers from certain scopes used in gastrointestinal procedures in hospitals.
Critics say ACA ‘risk’ strategies are having reverse Robin Hood effect (Amy Goldstein)
New and fast-growing health plans say they’re getting hurt by a part of the law meant to cushion insurers.
Due to this obscure loophole, so medical tests avoid oversight (Christina Farr)
The U.S. government is finally on its way to closing one of the health sector’s most controversial loopholes. Test kits that are sold to hospitals or directly to patients as medical devices are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but it does not oversee tests that are designed in a single laboratory with all the samples being sent there.
A Civilian Career for Military Medics (Michael Tomsic)
A new training program helps them find health-care jobs back home by filling in the gaps in their medical knowledge.
Low-Fiber Diets Cause Waves of Extinction in the Gut (Ed Yong)
Over generations, mice deprived of fiber permanently lost some species of gut microbes. What does this mean for human health? In the decades after World War II, a one-eyed Irish missionary-surgeon named Denis Burkitt moved to Uganda, where he noted that the villagers there ate far more fiber than Westerners did. This didn’t just bulk up their stools, Burkitt reasoned; it also explained their low rates of heart disease, colon cancer, and other chronic illnesses.
Long-Term Opioid Use Linked To Increased Risk of Depression (CJ Arlotta)
Long-term opioid use may increase the risk of depression, a study reveals. Published in the Annals of Family Medicine, the new report reviews the association between long-term opioid use and the increased risk of depression.
Shire’s Baxalta Acquisition: An Orphan Drug Market Dream?(Reenitia Das)
After a long list of mergers and acquisitions in healthcare, what does Shire’s acquisition of Baxalta mean for the industry? Research suggests approximately 95% of the estimated 6,000+ rare diseases are yet to have a single FDA-approved drug treatment.
Barton Health First To Offer New Digital Medicine Developed By Proteus Digital Health (Robert Glatter)
In a first, Nevada’s Barton Health System based in Lake Tahoe will implement a unique digital medicine for treating hypertension, one of the most common chronic medical conditions in the U.S.
Warning labels on sugary drinks could deter parents from choosing them (Carina Storrs)
Health warning labels on sugary drinks may steer parents away from buying these beverages for their children, according to a new study.
Flint learns of Legionnaires’ disease spike as water crisis continues (Ralph Ellis and Sara Ganim)
Residents of Flint, Michigan, already reeling because of lead contamination in their drinking water, got more disturbing news on Wednesday.
After CNN investigation, a push to halt child heart surgery at some hospitals (Elizabeth Cohen)
The surgeon starts to tear up as he describes taking the baby off life support.He’d lost patients before; that’s the reality when you operate on tiny, malfunctioning hearts. But this death was different, the surgeon says. This baby didn’t have to die.
Heart doctors outraged Florida dumps hospital standards after big gifts to GOP (Elizabeth Cohen)
The state of Florida is putting thousands of children with heart defects at risk, a group of cardiac doctors say, because of a change in policy that came after Tenet Healthcare contributed $200,000 to Florida Republicans.
Giving healthy gay men HIV drugs ‘could help reverse epidemic’ (James Gallagher)
Giving daily HIV drugs to healthy gay men has huge potential to help reverse the epidemic, say scientists. The medication prevents new infections by killing the virus before it has a chance to take hold in the body. Calculations, published in the Lancet, indicate giving the drugs to the most at-risk men could cut new infections by more than 40% in the UK.
Liberia declared Ebola-free, ending West African outbreak (N/A)
Liberia has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization (WHO), effectively putting an end to the world’s worst outbreak of the disease. The “end of active transmission” was declared, after 42 days without a new case in Liberia. It joins Guinea and Sierra Leone, which earned the status last year.
UK a long way from transgender equality, MPs say (N/A)
Transgender people in the UK face “high levels of transphobia” on a daily basis and they have “a long way to go” to achieve equality in the UK, MPs say. The Commons Women and Equalities Committee urged ministers to draw up a new strategy to tackle discrimination. The NHS and prison service need urgent reform, its MPs said, and there should be more training for police officers and teachers in handling trans issues.
Junior doctors’ dispute: Talks resuming in bid to stop strikes (N/A)
Talks aimed at avoiding further NHS strikes in England are due to resume later, amid warnings the government could impose its controversial new contract on junior doctors. The British Medical Association (BMA) and the government are to begin two days of talks at 10:00 GMT, the conciliation service Acas said. The dispute is over weekend pay, career progression, and fears of overworking.
The Daily Mail:
No one will die if we hold all-out strike, says doctors’ union leader: Tens of thousands plan to take part in the first full walk out in NHS history (Sophie Borland)
No one will die if junior doctors withdraw all clinical care in next month’s unprecedented total strike, their union leader has claimed. Tens of thousands of junior doctors are planning to take part in the first ever full-walk out in the history of the NHS on February 10. They caused major disruption by staging a 24-hour ‘emergency only’ strike – meaning they withdrew all but emergency care – on Tuesday.
Why Dry January may do you more harm than good: Expert claims those who take part may use it as an excuse to drink heavily for rest of the year (Ben Spencer)
Giving up alcohol for Dry January could do more harm than good, an expert claims. The campaign, run by charity Alcohol Concern, has been credited with encouraging two million people a year to stop drinking for a month. But Ian Hamilton, a lecturer on substance misuse at York University, says those who take part may use it as an excuse to drink heavily for the rest of the year.
The Financial Times:
Fat and sweets or processed meats — what is really safe to eat? (Clive Cookson)
Food health scares and dietary controversies continue to erupt in the news. Last year, for instance, the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency told us that processed meat is a cancer hazard; in the UK, Public Health England and the House of Commons health committee threw their weight behind a sugar tax on sweet drinks to curb the obesity epidemic; and New York City forced fast food joints to put a sinister symbol of a saltshaker inside a black triangle beside high-salt items on their menus.
WebMD in talks with potential buyers (James Fontanella-Khan)
WebMD, the US online health information publisher, is exploring the possible sale of all or part of its business, according to people familiar with the situation. The digital company, which provides data and educational information about illnesses, has been in talks with a number of potential buyers, said people close to the company. Walgreens and UnitedHealth are two potential bidders, according to people who closely follow the sector.