Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Bioengineer developing needle-free "nanopatch" vaccines

LONDON (Reuters) - When it comes to protecting millions of people from deadly infectious diseases, Mark Kendall thinks a fingertip-sized patch covered in thousands of vaccine-coated microscopic spikes is the future. A biomedical engineer with a fascination for problem solving, he has developed the so-called "nanopatch" to try to transform delivery of life-saving vaccines against potential killers like flu and the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer.

Drugmakers report U.S. shortages of flu vaccine, Tamiflu

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Screen time not linked to kids' physical activity

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cutting back kids' time watching TV and playing video games may not encourage them to spend more of the day running around outside, a new study suggests. Just four in 10 U.S. kids met dual national guidelines for getting enough physical activity and for limiting "screen time," researchers found - but the likelihood of kids exercising regularly didn't depend on whether they kept away from screens.

Paralyzed woman loses first Irish right-to-die case

DUBLIN (Reuters) - An Irish woman terminally ill with multiple sclerosis lost her battle for the lawful right to die in the first case of its kind to be brought in Ireland, Dublin's High Court said on Thursday. Marie Fleming, a 59-year-old former university lecturer who is completely Paralyzed, made an impassioned plea last month to establish the right of her partner of 18 years to help her die, an act that could currently see him jailed in mainly Roman Catholic Ireland.

U.S. could save $2 trillion on health costs - study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States could save $2 trillion in healthcare spending over the next decade, if the U.S. government used its influence in the public and private sectors to nudge soaring costs into line with economic growth, a study released on Thursday said. Compiled by the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund, the study recommends holding the $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare system to an annual spending target by having Medicare, Medicaid, other government programs and private insurers encourage providers to accelerate adoption of more cost-effective care.

Insulin "handshake" may do away with injections-study

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian scientists have discovered how insulin is taken up by cells, potentially opening the way for new drugs for diabetes patients that can be administered without injection. The team, whose findings appeared in Nature, solved the puzzle of how the hormone insulin binds to its receptor in cells - a process necessary for cells to take up sugar from the blood and essential for treating diabetes.

Obesity, lack of insurance cited in U.S. health gap

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Overeating, lack of health insurance access and comparatively high poverty are among the many reasons why Americans are less healthy and die younger than people in other wealthy countries, a report requested by the U.S. government showed on Wednesday. The United States spends more per person on healthcare than any other nation but lags on many important health measures amid higher rates of obesity and heart disease and worse infant mortality rates than other rich countries.

DNA pioneer James Watson takes aim at "cancer establishments"

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A day after an exhaustive national report on cancer found the United States is making only slow progress against the disease, one of the country's most iconic - and iconoclastic - scientists weighed in on "the war against cancer." And he does not like what he sees. James Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, lit into targets large and small. On government officials who oversee cancer research, he wrote in a paper published on Tuesday in the journal Open Biology, "We now have no general of influence, much less power ... leading our country's War on Cancer."

Fluid from Pap test used to detect ovarian, endometrial cancers

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Using cervical fluid collected from routine Pap smears, U.S. researchers were able to spot genetic changes caused by both ovarian and endometrial cancers, offering promise for a new kind of screening test for these deadly cancers. Experts say that although the test has tremendous potential, it is still years from widespread use. But if proven effective with more testing, it would fill a significant void.