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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Analysis: Drug industry bets on new blockbusters in 2013
LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Drugmakers are betting that a new wave of medicines for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and hepatitis will shape up as tomorrow's blockbusters in the coming 12 months. With the industry regaining some of its swagger after winning 39 new drug approvals last year - a record only beaten in 1996 - there are signs the improving trend could continue through 2013.
No exercise, more than couch, tied to fat in kids
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For kids, time spent inactive seems less of a factor in higher body fat than does a lack of exercise, according to a new study. Researchers found that the more minutes kids spent exercising at the pace of a fast walk each day, the lower their body fat percentage was. But the time they spent as couch potatoes made no difference, according to results published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
AstraZeneca's new CEO removes R&D, commercial heads
LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca's <AZN.L> new chief executive stamped his authority on the struggling drugmaker on Tuesday by removing the heads of research and commercial operations in a management revamp designed to speed decision-making. Pascal Soriot, who took the helm at Britain's second-biggest pharmaceutical company in October, said the roles held by Martin Mackay and Tony Zook respectively had been eliminated and both men would leave the company at the end of January.
Caffeine linked to leaky bladder in men
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The amount of caffeine that's typically found in two cups of coffee may contribute to a man's incontinence, according to a new study. "It's something to consider... People who are having problems with urinary incontinence should modify their caffeine intake and I think that's part of clinical practice," said Dr. Alayne Markland, the study's senior author, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Are e-visits as good as office appointments?
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study suggests that "e-visits" for sinus infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs) may be cheaper than in-person office visits and similarly effective. For e-visits, patients fill out online forms about their symptoms and a doctor or nurse gets back to them within a few hours with treatment advice.
Drug overdoses top AIDS as main cause of homeless deaths
BOSTON (Reuters) - Overdoses of drugs, particularly prescription pain-killers and heroin, have overtaken AIDS to become the leading cause of death of homeless adults, according to a study of homeless residents of Boston released on Monday. The finding came from a five-year study of homeless adults who received treatment from the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. But its broad conclusions apply to homeless populations in many urban parts of the United States, the study's author and homeless advocates said.
Coca-Cola to air U.S. commercials addressing obesity 2013-01-14T220959Z_2_BRE90D13I_RTROPTC_0_US-COCACOLA-COMMERCIAL .XML () -
GSK files for U.S. approval of new diabetes drug
LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline <GSK.L> said on Monday it had filed for U.S. approval of its new once-weekly diabetes drug albiglutide and would make a similar submission shortly in Europe as it vies for a share of a crowded market. Albiglutide belongs to the same class of injectable GLP-1 medicines as Victoza, from Novo Nordisk <NOVOb.CO>, and Byetta and Bydureon, from Bristol-Myers Squibb <BMY.N> and AstraZeneca's <AZN.L> Amylin unit.
Roche hires U.S. academic to revitalize research unit
ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche <ROG.VX> has hired a leading American academic in a bid to revive part of its research operations which have struggled to shake off a string of high-profile and costly failures. The Basel-based drugmaker said on Tuesday John C. Reed, 54, chief executive at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in California, would take over as head of Roche's Pharma Research and Early Development - known as pRED - on April 2.
UK cost agency backs drugs for preventing breast cancer
LONDON (Reuters) - British women with a family history of breast cancer could be offered two drugs to try to prevent the disease under draft guidelines published by the country's healthcare cost watchdog. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are already approved in the United States and other countries for preventing breast cancer in high-risk patients, but they have not so far been made available as preventative therapies in Britain.