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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Is driving OK with certain age-related blind spots?
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Elderly people with a certain type of blind spot were less likely to see pedestrians in time to avoid hitting them in a driving simulator, according to a new study. "In the UK and parts of Europe, in order to have a license, you need to be tested for central blind spots, but in the U.S. you don't have to," lead author Matthew Bronstad told Reuters Health.
Newborn screening misses some deaf kids: study
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New research provides further evidence that some babies who pass their newborn hearing tests are found to be deaf or hard of hearing as young kids. Some of those newborns may receive passing grades incorrectly, researchers said, but others can be born with good hearing but develop progressive hearing loss as babies and toddlers.
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.
Flu in U.S. still widespread, but starting to ease, CDC says
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Flu remains widespread in the United States and 29 children have died of complications from it, but there are signs the epidemic is easing, U.S. health officials said on Friday. For the week ended January 12, 48 states reported widespread influenza, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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J&J negotiating possible $2 billion implant settlement: Bloomberg
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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 china.com.cn, 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.
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.