December 24th, 2013
02:32 AM ET

Pharmacy agrees to $100M settlement

A compounding pharmacy at the center of a fungal meningitis outbreak last year has agreed to a preliminary settlement that would create a $100 million fund for victims.

The fund will also be used to pay off creditors of the bankrupt New England Compounding Center, attorneys in the case said. A judge will have to approve the plan before it goes into effect.

The nationwide meningitis outbreak was linked to steroid injections distributed by the Massachusetts-based pharmacy.

More than 700 illnesses and 64 deaths in 20 states were blamed on the injections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. But the CDC noted the deaths are from "all causes among persons who meet the case definition and may not be directly attributed to a fungal infection."

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Filed under: Health • U.S.
August 29th, 2013
04:14 PM ET

NFL and ex-players reach deal in concussion lawsuit

The National Football League has reached a "historic" settlement with thousands of retired players who accused the league of deliberately concealing the dangers of head trauma, the case's mediator said Thursday.

The deal calls for the NFL to pay $765 million to fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation, medical research for retired NFL players and their families and litigation expenses, according to a court document filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

The agreement still needs to be approved by the judge assigned to the case, which involved more than 4,500 former players.

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Filed under: Health • Pro football
A-Rod: it's my big contract
August 3rd, 2013
09:39 AM ET

A-Rod: it's my big contract

Alex Rodriguez says his record contract makes him an attractive target for a baseball ban or suspension, and may play a major role in his current woes.

The slugger with a stellar batting average faces allegations involving the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). ESPN reported he is in negotiations with Major League Baseball over a possible suspension of his contract, the largest in the history of American sports.

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Filed under: Baseball • Health • New York • Sports • U.S. • World Update
Castro's victims resilient after torment
August 2nd, 2013
05:08 AM ET

Castro's victims resilient after torment

They were living in hell, and Ariel Castro did all he could to make sure they'd never escape.

He tied and chained them up, removed handles from doors and replaced them with padlocks. He rigged entrances to the house with makeshift alarms, threatened them with a gun and fed them only once a day.

He covered windows to keep them out of view and sunlight out of their rooms.

But Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus focused on the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.

They nurtured the faith that they would one day be free. They clung to each other. They persevered and emerged from years of hell to find new life.

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Filed under: Cleveland • Content Partner • Courts • Crime • Health • Hostages • Justice • Ohio • Religion • TV-Anderson Cooper 360 • U.S. • Uncategorized • World Update
Newly discovered virus spreads
The virus is "a threat to the entire world," the World Health Organization's general director said.
May 29th, 2013
04:10 PM ET

Newly discovered virus spreads

A new SARS-like virus recently found in humans continues to spread - with the worldwide total now at 49, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Of the 49 known infections with the MERS-CoV virus, 27 have resulted in death, the organization said.

The latest deaths were reported in Saudi Arabia.

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Filed under: Health
May 1st, 2013
09:54 PM ET

Justice Department appeals morning-after pill ruling

The U.S. Justice Department filed a notice of appeal Wednesday over a federal judge's ruling that directed the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after birth control pill available to females of all ages without a prescription.

The government also filed a motion for a temporary stay of the FDA's approval on Tuesday of the availability of the Plan B One-Step emergency contraception pill without a prescription for ages 15 and older.

In April, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ordered the FDA to make emergency contraception, namely the morning-after pill, available to females of any age, without a prescription. This week's FDA announcement, which pertains to an application from Teva Women's Health, Inc., is not related to that, the FDA said.

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Filed under: Health
April 24th, 2013
06:39 AM ET

WHO: H7N9 virus 'one of the most lethal so far'

As the death toll from China's bird flu outbreak rose to 22 with news of another victim in eastern Zhejiang Province, the World Health Organization warned the H7N9 virus was one of the most lethal that doctors and medical investigators had faced in recent years.

"This is an unusually dangerous virus for humans," Keiji Fukuda, WHO's assistant director-general for health, security and the environment told a news conference in Beijing Wednesday.

"We think this virus is more easily transmitted from poultry to humans than H5N1," he added, referring to the bird flu outbreak between 2004 and 2007 that claimed 332 lives.

"This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we have seen so far."

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Filed under: China • Health
April 8th, 2013
04:16 AM ET

Inquest opens in Ireland abortion row death

An inquest into the death of an Indian dentist in Ireland after she was reportedly denied an abortion for her miscarrying fetus is due to open Monday in Galway.

The death of Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway on October 28, 2012, prompted anger in Ireland and elsewhere, and sparked demands for Ireland to introduce new abortion laws.

The Halappanavar family says Savita died of blood poisoning after doctors declined to abort her miscarrying fetus because of Ireland's strict laws. Her husband says she was advised her unborn baby would likely die.

Praveen Halappanavar says his wife, who was in extreme pain, asked for the abortion, but was told that Ireland is a Catholic country and an abortion could not be done while the fetus was alive.

More details may emerge at Monday's hearing into the events leading to the 31-year-old's death.

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April 5th, 2013
07:40 AM ET

Report: 20K birds killed in China flu probe

[Updated at 7:40 a.m. ET] Chinese authorities have killed more than 20,000 birds from a live-poultry trading zone in Shanghai after an unusual strain of bird flu that has so far killed six people in the country was found in pigeons on sale in the city, state-run media Xinhua reported Friday.

Details of the slaughter of chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons come as the city prepares to temporarily close all its live poultry markets. It wasn't clear how long the market closures announced Friday on the Shanghai Municipal Government's microblog account would last.

[Posted at 1:27 a.m. ET] A sixth person in eastern China has died from an unusual strain of bird flu, Chinese health authorities said Friday.

A 64-year-old man died Thursday night in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, the provincial health bureau said Friday. He died hours after doctors had confirmed he had been infected with the H7N9 virus, it said.

The H7N9 strain of bird flu had not been detected in humans before the recent Chinese cases, which authorities began reporting on Sunday.

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Filed under: China • Health
Obama to announce $100M for brain research
April 2nd, 2013
08:21 AM ET

Obama to announce $100M for brain research

President Obama on Tuesday will unveil a $100 million initiative to research the human brain, in hopes of unlocking further understanding of brain disorders.

The initiative, dubbed Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or BRAIN, "aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury," the White House said.

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Filed under: Health
NYC appeals ruling on big-soda ban
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to limit sugary drinks to 16 ounces.
March 29th, 2013
07:02 PM ET

NYC appeals ruling on big-soda ban

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed would happen, the New York City Law Department has filed an appeal after a New York judge scrapped the city's controversial ban on big containers of soda.

"Consistent with our desire to get a quick appellate review, the city filed its brief with the appeals court this week," said Fay Ng, senior counsel for the department's appeals division, in a written statement. "The sugary drinks proposal is an important part of the mayor's health initiative."

The Board of Health regulation would limit the size of drinking cups for sugary beverages to a maximum of 16 ounces at food service establishments in the city.

The regulation was adopted in September to help lower obesity rates, but a state Supreme Court judge overturned it as "arbitrary and capricious."

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Filed under: Health • New York • Nutrition • U.S.
March 27th, 2013
12:36 AM ET

Michigan wants a meningitis probe

Michigan's attorney general has requested a criminal investigation into the conduct of an embattled Massachusetts company linked to a recent deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.

Michigan had at least 259 infections and 14 deaths, leading the nation in people affected by the outbreak last year, said Bill Schuette, the state's attorney general.

The outbreak, linked to tainted steroid injections from New England Compounding Center, killed 51 people and infected 730 people in 20 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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Filed under: Health • Michigan
March 15th, 2013
10:50 AM ET

CDC: Man died of rabies from transplant

A Maryland man recently died of rabies that he contracted from a tainted organ he received in a transplant operation more than a year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Health care teams are now giving anti-rabies shots to three other patients who received organs from the same donor as the Maryland man, the CDC said.

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March 13th, 2013
02:15 AM ET

Death toll from SARS-like virus rises to 9

There has been another confirmed case of a mysterious new SARS-like virus.

The Saudi health ministry informed the World Health Organization that a 39-year-old man was hospitalized with the novel coronavirus on February 28 and died two days later.

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Filed under: Health • Saudi Arabia • Science
Hugo Chavez fights for his life
March 2nd, 2013
12:01 AM ET

Hugo Chavez fights for his life

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is "fighting for his life," the country's vice president said late Friday.
Chavez began chemotherapy after his fourth cancer surgery in Cuba in December, Vice President Nicolas Maduro revealed for the first time, and is continuing the "intense" treatment at a military hospital in Caracas.

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Filed under: Health • Hugo Chavez • Human rights • Uncategorized • Venezuela • World • World Update
February 28th, 2013
04:58 AM ET

Report: Fukushima's health impact limited

The lifetime risk of contracting certain types of cancer rose only slightly for a small group of people, due to exposure to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Otherwise, any increase in human disease in the wake of the partial meltdown triggered by the March 2011 tsunami is "likely to remain below detectable levels," according to the report.

People exposed in childhood in towns close to the Daiichi power plant are slightly more likely to contract leukemia, breast or thyroid cancer in the course of their lives than the general population, the WHO said.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Health • Japan
Searching for a cure for Rafi
February 23rd, 2013
08:50 AM ET

A child's struggle inspires drive for cure

Rafi Kopelan is a typical 5-year-old. She's mastered Candyland. She's learning to read. Given a choice, she'd spend hours on the swings at the playground.

But unlike her classmates, Rafi's body is covered in blisters from her scalp to her feet. Her corneas are scratched. Her toes are fused together. And her esophagus is lined with so much scar tissue that she can barely swallow.

That's because Rafi was born with a rare connective tissue disorder called epidermolysis bullosa (EB). The genetic disease causes her skin to break down in response to the slightest friction. Even minor contact - the scratch of a fingernail, the tag on the back of her shirt - causes her skin to tear or to erupt in blisters, leaving 75% of her body covered in painful, open lesions.

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Filed under: Health Care
Flu activity decreasing, CDC says
January 25th, 2013
01:15 PM ET

Flu activity decreasing, CDC says

Flu activity is still high, but is decreasing in many parts of the country, according to a report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention examining data from the week of January 13 to 19.

A total of 47 states reported "widespread" geographic influenza activity, down from 48 last week. "Widespread" means that more than 50% of geographic regions in a state - counties, for example - are reporting flu activity. This is a measure of the spread of the flu, not its severity.

High levels of influenza-like illness were seen in 26 states, representing a decrease from the 30 reported last week. Cases in the Southwest and Northwest were rising, but levels seem seem to be declining in the South, Southeast, New England and the Midwest.

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Filed under: Health
January 18th, 2013
10:25 AM ET

Flu getting worse across U.S., government reports

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released its weekly update on influenza in the U.S. and an early look at the data shows the problem is spreading.

Thirty states now report high levels of influenza-like illness, the CDC says. That's six more than reported high levels last week. California joins the list of states reporting widespread flu activity, meaning 48 states now report widespread flu.

Hospitalizations of elderly people are rising, according to the report.

We'll bring you more details from the report as soon as we get them.

Your top 10 flu questions answered

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Filed under: Health
January 11th, 2013
12:22 PM ET

CDC: Flu still 'elevated' in U.S., but may be decreasing

The number of states reporting high levels of influenza activity has dropped, but flu activity still remains "elevated" in most of the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Twenty-four states and New York City are reporting high levels of influenza activity as of the week ending January 5 down from 29 states the previous week, the CDC's Dr. Thomas Frieden said.

"It may be decreasing in some areas, but that's hard to predict ... influenza activity ebbs and flows," Frieden said.

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