Reuters Health News Summary

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.

Vaccine timetable for children is safe, experts say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The current guideline for immunizing children against polio, whooping cough, measles and other infectious diseases is safe, but should still be monitored, federal health advisers said on Wednesday. In what they called the most comprehensive review to date, scientists at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) said there is no evidence that giving children vaccines according to the recommended timetable causes other problems such as autism or asthma.

Dengue is fastest-spreading tropical disease, WHO says

GENEVA (Reuters) - Dengue is the world's fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a "pandemic threat", infecting an estimated 50 million people across all continents, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. Transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes, the disease is occurring more widely due to increased movement of people and goods - including carrier objects such as bamboo plants and used tires - as well as floods linked to climate change, the United Nations agency said.

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.

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U.S. states need to do more to reduce smoking: study

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Biogen, Elan seek okay for first-line Tysabri use in MS

LONDON (Reuters) - Biogen Idec <BIIB.O> and Elan <ELN.I> have filed for approval to sell their drug Tysabri as a first-line treatment for multiple sclerosis, a move that could boost sales of the drug. Demand for Tysabri has been curtailed due to concerns over its association with a potentially fatal infection known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, which is caused by the JC virus.

Cheesecake Factory pasta on list of caloric "food porn" 2013-01-16T172230Z_3_BRE90F0IV_RTROPTC_0_US-RESTAURANTS-OBESITY .XML () -

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.