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France detects possible bird flu outbreak on northern farm
French authorities reported a possible outbreak of bird flu on a poultry farm in the far north of the country on Wednesday, which could mark a spreading of the disease beyond the southwest foie gras producing region where millions of birds have been culled. The type of bird flu was not indicated. The farm saw some 10,000 chickens out of a flock of 27,000 die last month but initial testing did not detect bird flu.
Stress Can Make the Pounds Accumulate
There is some evidence that stress prompts people to turn to sweet, high-calorie comfort foods. Now scientists have confirmed a link between long-term stress and obesity. This study was able to measure general stress levels over two months to get a picture of the long-term effect. The researchers acknowledge that they were unable to determine whether chronically high cortisol levels are a cause or a consequence of obesity. Even just being aware that stress might make you eat more may help.
How to Be Mindful if Your Flight Is Delayed
You may miss your meeting, your connecting flight, or your plans. The first thing is to recognize that stressing about flight delays won't help you get back on schedule. - Melissa Eisler, a meditation teacher in San Diego and the author of MindfulMinutes.com.
Israel court rejects appeal to overturn Haifa ammonia tank closure
An Israeli court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by Haifa Chemicals to reverse an order to shut the country's largest ammonia tank that residents and environmental groups have said is a major health hazard. The Haifa District Court said the tank must be emptied by April 1. Under these circumstances, there is only one possible solution and that is to dismiss the appeal. The Haifa court stepped in and on Feb 12 ruled the tank be shut down and emptied within 10 days.
Facebook turns to artificial intelligence to tackle suicides
Facebook plans to use artificial intelligence and update its tools and services to help prevent suicides among its users. The world's largest social media network said it plans to integrate its existing suicide prevention tools for Facebook posts into its live-streaming feature, Facebook Live, and its Messenger service. Artificial intelligence will be used to help spot users with suicidal tendencies, the company said in a blogpost on Wednesday. Facebook is already using artificial intelligence to monitor offensive material in live video streams.
WHO says bird flu outbreaks raise alarm, but human risks still low
There is a low risk of sustained human-to-human transmission of bird flu in China, where an outbreak of the H7N9 strain is infecting and killing people, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, although avian viruses need constant monitoring. Constant change is the nature of all influenza viruses - this makes influenza a persistent and significant threat to public health, Wenqing Zhang, head of the WHO's global influenza program, told reporters on a telephone briefing.
Frequent, Brisk Walks May Aid Those With Early Alzheimer's
Most of this research has examined whether exercise might prevent Alzheimer's disease. Little has been known about whether it might change the trajectory of the disease in people who already have the condition. In earlier experiments, the Kansas scientists had found that this routine significantly improved aerobic endurance and memory performance among older people without Alzheimer's. What surprised the scientists was how few of the walkers with Alzheimer's had actually gained endurance.
Novartis cancer division races to catch up with rivals
Novartis is making progress in its bid to catch rivals developing drugs that harness the immune system to fight cancer, one of its top research scientists and latest recruit from Harvard University told Reuters in an interview. The drugmaker has been slow to move into treatments that fight cancer by boosting the immune system - immunotherapies - over the past decade. Compounding the pain, Novartis' main cancer drug Glivec, whose annual sales once topped $4.6 billion, lost patent protection last year.
Trump gives nod to Republican tax-credit proposal on Obamacare
We should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts, Trump said. Democrats are ardently opposed to tampering with Obamacare, which provided coverage to millions of previously uninsured people. The president's comments were also a nod to health insurers - whom Trump met with on Monday - who say tax credits are necessary to keep people in the market.
Health Tip: Encouraging Picky Eaters
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Healthier Cereals Snare a Spot on New York School Menus
The Kellogg product is made of five ingredients, including the preservative butylated hydroxytoluene and gelatin, and has eight added vitamins. In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the first significant overhaul of school meal programs in about 15 years. It's not anywhere near perfect, she said, but this is a journey toward providing healthier meals that kids will like. That was the challenge for Back to the Roots, which started to woo New York school officials about a year ago.
Remembering a City Where the Smog Could Kill
In 1964, Albert Butzel moved to New York City, which then had the worst air pollution among big cities in the United States. It's worth reflecting that New York City before the EPA and the movement it represented would be almost unrecognizable in 2017. The study found 32 garbage incinerators that were operated by the city, and 17,000 others in apartment houses. Many power plants in the city were fueled with coal and heavy grades of oil, which led to noxious emissions.
Obamacare plans' drug spending rose faster than other plans in 2016: Express Scripts
Prescription medications for chronic, costly conditions drove drug benefit usage with high-cost specialty medications - including drugs for HIV and inflammatory conditions - accounting for nearly half of total drug spending for exchange plans, the company said. Drug pricing has become a lightning rod for criticism with several drugmakers under federal investigations for sharp price increases. They have also been criticized by pharmaceutical companies, which say they add to their product costs.
As H.I.V. Soars in Philippines, Conservatives Kill School Condom Plan
Between 2010 and 2015 aggressive awareness and prevention campaigns have led to a global decline in HIV infection rates. The plan would have trained teachers to counsel students on how to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, and to offer voluntary HIV testing. About 80 percent of Filipinos are members of the Catholic Church, which advocates abstinence as the way to reduce HIV infections. Dr Jose Gerard Belimac, HIV and AIDS coordinator for the Department of Health, called the reversal a lost opportunity.
For nursing home residents, activities associated with thriving
The key issue to support resident thriving seems to be that residents have a selection and variety in activities, and that the activities are meaningful to the residents, said study author Sabine Bjork of the University of Umea. For the study, Bjork and colleagues surveyed staff from 172 Swedish nursing homes with a total of 4,831 residents. They asked caregivers to assess individual residents' cognitive and functional abilities, engagement in activities and what's known as thriving - or quality of life and wellbeing.
FDA approves Lexicon Pharma's carcinoid syndrome diarrhea drug
The US Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it had approved Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc's oral drug to treat carcinoid syndrome diarrhea, a condition that develops in patients with gastrointestinal tumors. The drug, Xermelo or telotristat ethyl, was tested on patients unable to tolerate somatostatin analog therapy (SSA) - the standard-of-care treatment for carcinoid syndrome diarrhea from companies such as Novartis AG and Ipsen SA. The drug is now available by prescription and will be in select specialty pharmacies beginning March 6, 2017.
After Scare, Air Hoses at C.D.C. Germ Lab Are Found to Be Safe
Two weeks after concerns arose about air safety at a government lab that handles deadly pathogens, officials said tests had found no risk. The concerns involved 180 nylon hoses that pump air into the protective suits that scientists wear while working with dangerous germs like the Ebola virus. On Feb 13, the CDC learned that the air hoses, which had been in use since 2005, had not been designed or tested for breathing safety.
FDA warns Pfizer over contaminated drugs at Kansas plant
The US Food and Drug Administration said Pfizer Inc's process for manufacturing sterile injectable drugs at a plant in McPherson, Kansas was out of control and put patients at risk, according to a warning letter made public on Tuesday. In the Feb 14 letter, the FDA said that several products were contaminated with multiple foreign particulates and that the injectable antibiotic vancomycin had been compromised by cardboard pieces.
Breast cancer costs low-income women more jobs
Poor women undergoing breast cancer treatment are four times more likely to lose their jobs than their high-income peers, a new study suggests. Dr Victoria Blinder, a breast cancer oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, led a team of researchers who analyzed the job status of 267 racially and ethnically diverse women treated for invasive breast cancer between 2010 and 2016.
Few people know about overlapping surgery
Researchers focused on what's known as overlapping surgery, when a senior surgeon performs critical components of one operation at the same that a trainee surgeon or physician assistant handles a non-critical portion of another procedure. Only about 4 percent of the 1,454 people surveyed for the study had heard of overlapping surgery, the study found. Generally, people understand the pros and cons of the practice once they know what it is, Kent added by email.

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