Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Antibiotic resistance a "catastrophic threat": UK medical chief

LONDON (Reuters) - Antibiotic resistance poses a catastrophic threat to medicine and could mean patients having minor surgery risk dying from infections that can no longer be treated, Britain's top health official said on Monday. Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, said global action is needed to fight antibiotic, or antimicrobial, resistance and fill a drug "discovery void" by researching and developing new medicines to treat emerging, mutating infections.

Mummies from different times, places shared key heart risk

CHICAGO (Reuters) - CT scans of 137 mummies spanning four geographies and 4,000 years of history show that hardening of the arteries was commonplace, especially in older individuals, suggesting this key sign of heart disease may be a part of aging rather than the byproduct of eating too many Big Macs. The findings, presented on Sunday at the American College of Cardiology meeting in San Francisco and published in the Lancet medical journal, challenge the commonly held belief that atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries - the disease that causes heart attacks and strokes - is a modern plague brought on by smoking, obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

Pet frogs linked to salmonella outbreak in kids: CDC

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Small water frogs marketed and sold as pets are linked to an outbreak of Salmonella infections from 2008 to 2011, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report published in Pediatrics on Monday found the infection sickened 376 people in 44 U.S. states and sent 29 percent of those infected to the hospital - mostly children.

Whooping cough vaccine protection wanes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Protection against whooping cough starts to weaken a few years after preschool children get their final diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) shot, a new study confirms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a booster shot at age 11 or 12. But researchers found that slightly younger kids may be at risk of developing whooping cough before then, as their original immunity declines.

Experimental Roche drug shows promise in reducing heart damage

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A single dose of an experimental Roche <ROG.VX> biotech drug that blocks inflammation reduced damage to the heart during artery clearing angioplasty procedures, according to data from a midstage trial presented on Sunday. The drug, inclacumab, was significantly better than a placebo in decreasing levels of molecular markers, or enzymes, that are used to diagnose heart attacks and heart damage in patients also taking standard drugs, such as cholesterol lowering statins, researchers said.

Even for sperm, there is a season

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Heart stent with new polymer matches Abbott top seller in study 2013-03-10T195023Z_1_BRE9290FK_RTROPTC_0_US-HEART-STENT-TERUMO. XML () -

Gilead drug reduces chest pain episodes in diabetics: study

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc's <GILD.O> angina drug Ranexa reduced incidents of chest pain in patients with diabetes, and the effect appeared to be more pronounced in those with poor blood sugar control, according to data from a clinical trial. Ranexa, known chemically as ranolazine, is already approved to treat angina - a type of chest pain associated with heart disease. This was the first trial to test it specifically in diabetics, who tend to have more complications and can be more difficult to treat that other heart patients.

Redesigned Edwards heart valve shows improvement in study

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A smaller, redesigned version of Edwards Lifesciences' <EW.N> non-invasive heart valve replacement system called Sapien XT performed well and led to fewer complications than the original Sapien, according to data from a clinical trial presented on Sunday. Both versions, known as transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR), allow surgeons to replace diseased heart valves by threading the new valve into place through an artery via a catheter, sparing patients chest cracking, open heart surgery.

Medicines Co's Cangrelor clearly tops Plavix in pivotal trial

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Medicines Co's <MDCO.O> experimental intravenous blood clot preventer Cangrelor, which is intended for use during angioplasty procedures, solidly outperformed commonly used Plavix in a pivotal late stage study, likely resurrecting the drug's prospects. The aptly named Champion-Phoenix trial, with 11,000 patients undergoing an angioplasty and stenting procedure, was meant to save the potentially important new medicine from the ashes of a pair of prior Phase III studies in which it failed to achieve the primary goal.