Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Davos divided on tackling the scourge of obesity
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Obesity, a major factor in diabetes and heart disease, imposes costs on both public and private sectors and is a drag on economic growth, but business leaders meeting in Davos can't agree on what they can or should do to address it. The World Economic Forum has some notable past achievements in healthcare, such as galvanizing support for the fight against AIDS and the vaccination of children in poor countries, but tackling the rise in obesity promises to be a much more complicated task.
Bird flu studies, halted over terrorism fear, to resume
LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists around the world declared an end on Wednesday to a moratorium on researching mutant forms of the deadly H5N1 bird flu that had raised international biosecurity concerns. Announcing their decision to resume what they say are risky but essential studies of the avian flu strain, the scientists said the work would only be carried out in the most secure sites in countries that agree it can go ahead.
Burger King drops firm which supplied horse meat
LONDON (Reuters) - Burger King, one of the most popular fast-food chains in Britain, said on Thursday it had stopped using one of the firms caught up in the scandal of supplying grocers with beef that contained horse meat. The British food industry has been rocked by the revelation last week that retailers including market leader Tesco <TSCO.L> and smaller chains Aldi <ALDIEI.UL>, Lidl <LIDUK.UL> and Iceland <ICFDG.UL> had sold beef products that contained horse meat.
Vanda sleep drug effective in second late-stage trial 2013-01-23T124913Z_1_BRE90M0NQ_RTROPTC_0_US-VANDA-TRIAL-SLEEPDR UG.XML () -
Regular aspirin use tied to age-related vision loss
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Taking at least one aspirin every week is linked to the development of age-related vision loss, according to a new study. The Australian researchers, however, caution that there's still not enough evidence to say taking the popular pain reliever leads to age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in older people.
Clearer food labels might help with healthy food choice: study
2013-01-24T003702Z_2_BRE90M1GC_RTROPTC_0_US-FOOD-LABELS.XML () -
FDA approves new use for Roche's Avastin in colon cancer treatment 2013-01-23T232909Z_1_BRE90M1MP_RTROPTC_0_US-ROCHE-AVASTIN-FDA.X ML () -
Ob-gyns sound alarm on "contraceptive sabotage"
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Doctors should ask teen girls and women whether their partners are trying to force them to get pregnant or otherwise "reproductively coercing" them, according to a group of ob-gyns. That could include pressuring women to have sex - possibly without a condom or other birth control, forcing them to continue (or end) a pregnancy or intentionally exposing them to sexually transmitted infections, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Merck CEO says jury out on raising good cholesterol
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The jury is still out on the benefits of increasing "good" HDL cholesterol, but the strategy remains worth pursuing, despite recent setbacks, the chief executive of Merck & Co <MRK.N> said on Thursday. Confidence in the HDL thesis suffered a fresh blow last month when a major clinical trial of Merck's Tredaptive medicine failed. That followed earlier failures with two other HDL-boosting drugs from Pfizer <PFE.N> and Roche <ROG.VX>.
U.S. foes of legal pot focus on risks to the brain 2013-01-23T194758Z_1_BRE90M1CI_RTROPTC_0_US-USA-MARIJUANA-SCIEN CE.XML () -