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U.S. approves new drug for rare cystic fibrosis

WASHINGTON — US regulators on Tuesday approved Kalydeco, a new, gene-targeted drug treatment for people who have a rare kind of the incurable lung disease cystic fibrosis. Made by the Massachusetts-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Kalydeco (ivacaftor) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on a fast-track for drugs that…

Calories count, but not where they come from: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Sticking to diets with strict proportions of fat, carbs and protein may not be more effective for people who want to lose weight and fat mass than simply cutting back on calories, according to a new comparison of four diets. The results suggest that it…

FDA doctors, scientists claim illegal surveillance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Food and Drug Administration secretly monitored the private emails of staff doctors and scientists who alleged the agency was approving medical devices that posed a danger to patients, according to federal court documents. In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Washington, six…

Snakes blamed for ‘severe declines’ in Florida wildlife

WASHINGTON — Across southern Florida, rabbits, raccoons, bobcats and foxes have been disappearing at dramatic rates over the past decade, and invasive Burmese pythons are to blame, a US study said Monday. The big snakes which are native to southeast Asia have been devouring all kinds of wildlife leading to…

Scientists shift on brain speech center: study

WASHINGTON — The part of the brain used for speech processing is in a different location than originally believed, according to a US study Monday that researchers said will require a rewrite of medical texts. Wernicke’s area, named after the German neurologist who proposed it in the late 1800s, was…

C-sections don’t contribute to obese children: study

(Reuters) – Children born by Cesarean section are no more likely to become obese than if they are born vaginally, according to a Brazilian study. Past research from Brazil had found a link between excessive weight and C-sections, leading some scientists to suggest that not being exposed to bacteria from the birth canal could…

Ultrasound zaps could be male contraceptive

Zapping testicles with ultrasound can reduce sperm counts and might be used in the future as an inexpensive, reliable and reversible male contraceptive, according to US researchers. Scientists from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, who conducted experiments on male rats, issued their findings on Saturday in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.…

Japan studies flora and fauna near Fukushima plant

Japanese scientists are studying how radiation has affected plants and animals living near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, according to an official. Researchers are examining field mice, red pine trees, a certain type of shellfish and other wild flora and fauna in and around the 20 kilometre (12 mile) no-go zone surrounding the…

Study: Pneumonia bug gained drug resistance by swapping genes

PARIS, France — Bugs that cause childhood pneumonia and meningitis have evolved to evade vaccines by swapping bits of their genome with other bacteria, according to a study published Sunday. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, show how quickly these life-threatening pathogens can disguise themselves with borrowed genetic decoys, and…

Pandas removed from public view due to colic

LONDON — The two giant pandas living at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland were removed from public view this weekend after falling ill with colic, a zoo spokeswoman said on Sunday. Yang Guang, the male panda, began suffering from the condition earlier this month and now Tian Tian, the female, has…

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