Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

China media train fire on U.S. food giants over chicken scare

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Just weeks after Chinese authorities cleared Yum Brands Inc <YUM.N> and McDonald's Corp <MCD.N> of charges they had served chicken laced with excessive chemicals, local media are again attacking the iconic American firms, while barely reporting on the chances of Chinese restaurants selling similar meat. The official Shanghai Daily, citing a report from the central government's news portal, said on Thursday one of China's largest suppliers to McDonald's and Yum's KFC and had bought sick chicken from farms and sold them to the food outlets - a claim a local government in the central province of Henan said was untrue after a preliminary investigation.

EU agency confirms suspension of Merck cholesterol drug

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe's drug regulator has confirmed it is suspending marketing authorizations for Merck & Co's <MRK.N> cholesterol drug Tredaptive in Europe after its failure in a major study raised safety concerns. Merck began recalling the drug, which is also sold under the brand names Pelzont and Trevaclyn, on January 11 and recommended that doctors stop prescribing it.

Whole body vibration may help elderly get up and go

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - When the elderly can't exercise, stints on a vibrating platform may help older adults become slightly stronger, faster and more agile, according to a small short-term study. Exercise is the best option for good health in older age, lead author Alba Gómez Cabello told Reuters Health in an email. But for those unable to perform aerobic exercise, this vibration technique "could be an easy and quick treatment to improve physical fitness."

Segregation tied to more lung cancer deaths: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Black lung cancer patients seem more likely to die of the disease than white cancer patients in the U.S., especially those living in segregated counties, according to a new study. Researchers, who published their findings in JAMA Surgery on Wednesday, found blacks patients living in segregated counties had a lung cancer mortality rate about 10 percentage points higher than those living in diverse neighborhoods during the mid-2000s.

U.S. faces drug shortages in treating multidrug-resistant TB

ATLANTA (Reuters) - More than 80 percent of health departments in the United States that treat tuberculosis resistant to standard treatment have trouble obtaining the drugs they need to cure the disease, according to a national survey released on Thursday. Difficulties obtaining the drugs could be attributed to nationwide shortages, shipping delays and a complicated process for procuring new drugs that are still being tested, according to a National Tuberculosis Controllers Association survey of health departments.

Measles deaths fall but vaccine gaps threaten progress: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) - Fatal cases of measles have fallen by nearly 75 percent globally since 2000, but big outbreaks in Asian and African states with low vaccination rates jeopardize progress towards eradication, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The highly-contagious disease is a leading cause of death among young children around the world, especially the poor, malnourished and unvaccinated, it said.

Wait to remove kids' infected adenoids: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Removing the adenoids of kids who frequently get colds, sinus infections and laryngitis is more expensive and doesn't lead to better health or fewer symptoms than a "watchful waiting" approach, according to new research. In other words, "waiting has no bad consequences," Chantal Boonacker, who led the new research at University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, told Reuters Health by email.

All-metal hip implants can damage soft tissue: FDA

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IPO could value Pfizer's Zoetis at up to $12.5 billion

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Black, poor kids are heavy sugary drink consumers

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Black children and teens in the U.S. are almost twice as likely as their white peers to consume more than 500 calories a day of low-nutrient fruit drinks, according to a new study. The results, which found a three-fold surge in the overall number of teens drinking sugar-spiked sports energy drinks, should inform policy, the authors said.