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US-HEALTH Summary

Oct 3, 2011, 2:55 a.m.

Three share medicine Nobel prize for immune system work

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman won the 2011 Nobel prize for medicine or physiology for increasing understanding of the immune system, the prize-awarding institute said on Monday. "This year's Nobel Laureates have revolutionized our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its facilitation," Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a statement.

Parents delaying, skipping recommended vaccines

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - More than one in ten parents uses an "alternative" vaccination schedule for their young children, including refusing vaccines altogether, according to a U.S. survey. Based on the findings, researchers worry that more parents may be refusing vaccines in the future -- raising the risk that diseases like measles and whooping cough will spread in schools and communities.

Saw palmetto doesn't ease prostate symptoms: study

(Reuters) - Saw palmetto, a plant extract sold as a natural boost to urinary health, doesn't improve the symptoms of enlarged prostate in middle-aged men, a U.S. study said. Even at high dosages, men taking saw palmetto daily didn't report any more improvement in symptoms, such as needing to urinate frequently or urgently, than those taking a drug-free placebo pill, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Daily aspirin tied to risk of vision loss:study

(Reuters) - Seniors who take aspirin daily are twice as likely to have late stage macular degeneration, an age-related loss of vision, than people who never take the pain reliever, according to a European study. The data do not show that aspirin causes vision loss. But the findings, published in Opthalmology, are of concern if aspirin somehow exacerbates the eye disorder, given how many seniors take it daily for heart disease.

Calif. insurer won't pay for breast cancer drug

(Reuters) - Health insurer Blue Shield of California has decided not to pay for Roche Holding's drug Avastin to treat breast cancer after health advisers said it was not safe or clinically beneficial. Blue Shield of California, an insure with around $3.3 million members, said in a notice posted on its web site that the drug would no longer be covered as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer beginning October 17. It said exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Study finds early potential in GSK leukaemia drug

LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists conducting early-stage research have found that a potential new drug from GlaxoSmithKline could treat mixed-lineage leukemia(MLL) -- the most common form of leukemia in babies. In a study published in the journal Nature, scientists from the British drugmaker collaborating with the charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Cellzome AG found that the experimental drug, called I-BET151, mimics a chemical tag which is key to preventing the process of activating the leukemia genes.

California prevents ban on male circumcision

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown announced on Sunday that he signed a bill preventing local authorities from banning the practice of male circumcision. The bill, which takes effect immediately, comes in the wake of an effort by a San Francisco group opposed to male circumcision to enforce a city-wide ban of the practice in a November ballot measure.

California lettuce recalled over listeria concerns

By Alina Selyukh California-based True Leaf Farms is recalling 90 cartons of chopped romaine lettuce as it may be contaminated with listeria, though no related illnesses have been reported.

Firm recalls beef for possible E. coli taint

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - California-based Manning Beef is recalling 80,000 pounds of beef products over possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. "The establishment is recalling a variety of beef primal and subprimal cuts ... and manufacturing trimmings due, in part, to insanitary conditions as reflected by an unusually high number of confirmed positive E. coli" test results, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said on Friday.

Governor scraps medical marijuana plan for Rhode Island

CONWAY, Mass (Reuters) - State-run medical marijuana dispensaries will not be coming to Rhode Island after Governor Lincoln Chafee scrapped the plan for fear it was illegal under federal law. Chafee, who had earlier vowed support for the measure, said he decided the state's planned dispensaries could violate superseding federal law and become a target of federal law enforcement efforts.

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