The Food and Drug Administration has asked Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Sanofi SA to assess potential neurocognitive side effects of their experimental cholesterol drug, Sanofi said in its annual report on Friday. Amgen Inc, which is developing a similar drug, said it has also been in communication with the agency. The FDA said it could not discuss specific development programs, but is "aware of concerns raised with neurocognitive adverse events and other lipid-lowering therapies, including statins, and as part of our oversight of new drug development, we are carefully monitoring these events." The new drugs are part of an experimental class known as PCSK9 inhibitors designed to block a protein that maintains "bad" LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.
The Obama administration said on Friday Verizon Communications Inc's Terremark unit will remain under contract as host of the federal website HealthCare.gov to better ensure a smooth end to Obamacare's open enrollment period on March 31. Terremark's contract with the Department of Health and Human Services was due to expire on March 30, the day before the end of open enrollment for 2014, a time when high daily volumes are expected as consumers from 36 states rush to use to website to sign up for subsidized private health insurance. It would be extended for up to seven months, according to federal documents. Hewlett-Packard Co has been named to replace Terremark as website host and operator of the department's federal data center as part of Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
(Reuters) - Cases of the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, a highly contagious pig disease, are increasing across the U.S. farm belt, a group of animal health researchers said. Confirmed cases of PEDv increased by 252 in the week ending March 1, bringing the total number to 4,106 in 26 states, according to data released on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
"I'm very happy that chefs are now looking at things like this, because people eat out more and more, so to have chefs being aware that what they do may have a long lasting effect on people's food choices is a good thing," lead study author Debra Zellner told Reuters Health. Zellner is a researcher and professor in the psychology department at Montclair State University in New Jersey. In previous studies, she's found that people were "turned on" by neatness and balance in the plating of food, but she wanted to see if stepping up the presentation to a professional level would make a difference, so she contacted the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, to invite them to collaborate. "Chefs have all these ideas of what they should be doing and how they should be doing it - and they believe it matters to the consumer - but there's no data," Zellner said.
By Ronnie Cohen NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who have trouble sleeping tend to have less volume in certain regions of the brain than those without sleep problems, a new study of Persian Gulf War veterans suggests. "People discount the importance of sleep. "The study suggests we shouldn't discount sleep importance," she said. In their study, sleep was associated with the amount of gray matter in the brain's frontal lobe in particular.
By Will Boggs MD NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - At least one percent of Americans are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus, which over time can severely damage the liver, according to a new study. "Hepatitis C has a severe impact on the health and well-being of millions of Americans, especially baby boomers (those born from 1945 through 1965)," Dr. Scott D. Holmberg told Reuters Health in an email. "The new data from a nationally representative survey of the general United States population (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES) found about 2.7 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection," he added. "This number should be considered a minimum estimate for those infected in the U.S., because some populations known to be at high risk for hepatitis C, such as those who are homeless or incarcerated, are not included in the sample," Holmberg said.
By Barbara Liston and Kevin Gray ORLANDO/MIAMI (Reuters) - A pregnant woman who drove a minivan with her children inside into the surf off a Florida beach was charged with three counts of attempted murder, law enforcement officials said on Friday. A tourist's video showed lifeguards and bystanders rushing to help rescue the woman, Ebony Wilkerson, and her children, ages 3, 9 and 10, as their van bobbed in the waves on Daytona Beach on Tuesday. Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said Wilkerson told authorities she was not trying to hurt the children. Wilkerson, 32, was arrested on Friday after a mental health evaluation and charged with three counts of child abuse.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine collapsed during a speaking engagement on Friday and was taken to a Cincinnati hospital, his office said in a statement. DeWine, 67, a former two-term U.S. senator, was elected Ohio's attorney general in 2010. The statement said DeWine was, "as a precaution ... taken to The Christ Hospital to be evaluated." The Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper reported that DeWine was alert after passing out during the speaking event. DeWine's office oversaw a grand jury investigation into a cover-up by school officials in Steubenville after two football players were accused of rape last year.
Dr. Spyros Panos was convicted on one count of mail fraud in connection to botched and faked surgeries.