Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
California lawmaker makes push for health warning labels on soda
A California state senator is taking another stab at introducing a law that would require sugary drink manufacturers to put a warning label on their products, the latest effort in the “War on Sugar.” Officials and public health advocates have heightened their criticism of sugar as a key contributor to health epidemics like obesity and diabetes, and California has become a major battleground in the fight against what they say is excessive sugar consumption.
U.S. Representatives vote against D.C. assisted suicide law
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee voted on Monday to strike down a Washington, D.C. law that would allow physician-assisted suicide there. City leaders passed legislation in December that allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with a doctor’s help, but the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to overturn laws in the 68-square-mile (177-square-km) district.
Exercise during pregnancy may help obese women avoid dangerous complications
Exercise may be an efficient way for obese pregnant women to lower their risk of diabetes, dangerously high blood pressure and other complications, research suggests. “The study suggests that a prenatal exercise-based intervention leads to both decreased costs and improved outcomes in obese women,” said Leah Savitsky, a medical student at Oregon Healthand Science University in Portland who led the study.
Heavy snowfall tied to higher heart attack risk for men
Men may be at increased risk for a fatal heart attack after a major snowstorm hits, a Canadian study suggests. Compared with periods without any snow, men were 16 percent more likely to have a heart attack and 34 percent more likely to die from a heart attack after a storm dropped at least 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) of snow, the study found.
Gilead challenges GSK with strong HIV drug data
Gilead Sciences has thrown down a challenge to GlaxoSmithKline with good clinical trial results for an experimental HIV drug that works in the same way as the British group’s successful dolutegravir. Gilead’s bictegravir, another so-called integrase inhibitor drug, delivered 97 percent virus suppression, making it just as effective as GSK’s product, data presented at a medical meeting in Seattle late on Monday showed.
Yemen cancer patients struggle to survive war shortages
Thousands of cancer patients in Yemen are being forced to seek life-saving medicines on the black market as the health system buckles after two years of war. The conflict between the armed Houthi movement and a Saudi-led military coalition has killed over 10,000 people and triggered a slow-motion economic collapse, forcing health staff to work without pay and undercutting patients’ ability to afford their own treatment.
Marathon pauses Duchenne drug launch amid price outcry
Marathon Pharmaceuticals LLC said on Monday it was “pausing” the launch of its Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug after U.S. lawmakers questioned why the company priced it at $89,000 a year when patients had been able to import it for as little as $1,000. In a statement posted on the patient advocacy website Cure Duchenne, Marathon’s chief executive, Jeffrey Aronin, said the company was pausing the launch amid “concerns about how the pricing and reimbursement details will affect individual patients and caregivers.”
China, India account for half world’s pollution deaths in 2015: study
China and India accounted for more than half of the total number of global deaths attributable to air pollution in 2015, researchers said in a study published on Tuesday. The U.S.-basedHealth Effects Institute (HEI) found that air pollution caused more than 4.2 million early deaths worldwide in 2015, making it the fifth highest cause of death, with about 2.2 million deaths in China and India.
Researchers find clues to why diet with olive oil is tied lower heart disease risk
A traditional Mediterranean diet with added olive oil may be tied to a lower risk of heart disease at least in part because it helps maintain healthy blood flow and clear debris from arteries, a Spanish study suggests. “A Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil improves the function of high-density lipoproteins, HDL, popularly known as `good’ cholesterol,” said lead study author Dr. Alvaro Hernáez of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute in Barcelona.
Allergan to buy fat-fighter Zeltiq Aesthetics for $2.48 billion
Botox maker Allergan Plc <AGN.N,> agreed to pay $2.48 billion in cash for Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc, adding a system that it says helps people slim down by freezing fat away to the company’s line-up of aesthetic products. Allergan said it would benefit from the cross-selling opportunities for consumers of Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting System, which uses cooling to kill fat cells, as well as customers of its own facial injectible products.