Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Insight: U.S. government investment gives flu vaccines a shot in the arm

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fighting the flu may soon get easier. As early as next year, more modern and more effective vaccines will hit the market, thanks to investments by the U.S. government and pharmaceutical companies. And even bigger scientific advances are expected in the next decade, including a "universal" flu vaccine given every five to 10 years that would fight many strains of a virus, making annual shots all but obsolete.

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.

Snowboarding linked to injury-rate rise on slopes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Introducing snowboarders to the mix at one ski resort in New Mexico led to a small increase in the overall number of injuries on the mountain, according to a new study. Compared to the two years before snowboarders were allowed at the resort, injuries rose by 13 percent in the two years after snowboarding was permitted, researchers report in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

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Japan tsunami stress may have brought on seizures

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In a devastated fishing community in northeastern Japan, the number of seizure patients spiked during the weeks following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, according to a small new study that concludes disasters may put at least some people at heightened risk. "Stress itself is not a universal risk factor for seizures," said lead author Dr. Ichiyo Shibahara, a staff neurosurgeon at Sendai Medical Center in Japan. "Most of the seizure patients had some sort of neurological disease before the earthquake."

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. Forty-eight states reported widespread influenza infections last week, 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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