Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S.- wide salt reduction could prevent deaths : study
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The United States could prevent up to half a million deaths over the next decade if Americans cut their salt intake to within national guidelines, according to a new study. That finding - which comes the week New York City announced success toward its goals of cutting salt levels by one-quarter by 2014 - is based on computer simulations using data from various studies on the effects of extra sodium on blood pressure and heart risks.
Obama Medicare rebate plan could hurt drug companies 2013-02-13T233015Z_1_BRE91C1OE_RTROPTC_0_US-USA-HEALTHCARE-MEDI CARE.XML () -
Actelion sees Opsumit on U.S. market this year
ZURICH (Reuters) - Europe's biggest biotech expects it new heart and lung drug Opsumit to be on sale in the United States this year if it receives approval from regulators in October. "The assumption is that we will be on the market with macitentan (Opsumit) in the U.S. this year," Chief Financial Officer Andrew Oakley told Reuters in an interview.
"High-glycemic" foods tied to diabetes risk
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who eat a lot of low-fiber and processed foods that quickly spike blood sugars may, not surprisingly, have a significantly higher risk of the most common form of diabetes, according to a new study. "By raising blood sugar and demanding that the pancreas keep pumping more insulin, meal after meal, day after day, a high-glycemic diet can put people at risk over the edge," said Dr. David Ludwig, who studies obesity at Boston Children's Hospital but was not involved in the work.
Male circumcision tied to less sexual pleasure
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Men circumcised either as children or adults report less intense sexual pleasure and orgasm than their uncircumcised counterparts, according to a new study from Belgium. "We're not saying less sexual activity or satisfaction, but sensitivity," said the study's senior researcher Dr. Piet Hoebeke, from Ghent University Hospital.
U.S. official touts health insurance markets, lawmakers leery
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Thursday assured U.S. lawmakers that it is on track to enroll millions of people in new state health insurance markets, but it quickly came under fire from Republicans and Democrats about how costly the coverage may be. Gary Cohen, the Department of Health and Human Services official responsible for implementation of the markets known as health exchanges, told a Senate panel the online marketplaces would meet an October 1 enrollment deadline in all 50 states.
FDA approves first retinal implant for rare eye disease 2013-02-14T204351Z_3_BRE91D1AL_RTROPTC_0_US-SECONDSIGHT-FDA-EYE IMPLANT.XML () -
French firm suspected as culprit in horsemeat scandal
PARIS (Reuters) - An investigation has identified a French meat-processing firm as a likely culprit in the horsemeat scandal that has enraged consumers across Europe and implicated traders and abattoirs from Cyprus to Romania. Separately, British police investigating alleged mislabeling of beef products arrested three people on Thursday at facilities in Wales and Yorkshire which had handled horsemeat and were raided by police earlier, British media reported.
More U.S. women using the 'morning-after' pill -report
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More U.S. women are taking the "morning-after" pill, but generally just once, according to the government's first report on how the emergency contraception drug has been used since regulators eased access to it in 2006. About 11 percent of sexually active women, or 5.8 million, used the pill between 2006 and 2010, compared to about 4 percent in 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its report released on Thursday.
Cephalon wins US court appeal on cancer drug patents
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Thursday said two Cephalon Inc patents related to the cancer drug Fentora are valid, overturning part of a lower court order against the unit of Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd <TEVA.TA>. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit nonetheless concluded that Actavis Inc <ACT.N>, which had challenged the patents, did not infringe them by offering a generic version of the drug.