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Climate change threatens to double malaria risk from African dams, say researchers

By Magdalena Mis LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The number of Africans at risk of malaria who live near dams will nearly double to 25 million by 2080 as areas where the disease is not currently present will become transmission zones due to climate change, researchers said on Monday. Without prevention measures, the number of malaria cases associated with dams could triple to nearly 3 million a year over the same period, they said in a study published in Malaria Journal. “While dams clearly bring many benefits … the role of climate change on malaria around dams will fundamentally alter the current impact,” said Solomon Kibret of the University of California and the paper's lead author.

U.S. judge will not block California school vaccination law

(Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday refused to block a California law tightening vaccination requirements for schoolchildren in the state. The measure eliminated the so-called personal beliefs and religious exemptions from California’s school vaccination law, meaning that only children with a valid medical excuse could forego vaccinations for such childhood diseases as measles and polio. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego last month, asked for an injunction to stop the requirements from going into effect, but Judge Dana Sabraw ruled that state legislatures have a “long history of requiring children to be vaccinated as a condition to school enrollment,” and not allowing personal or religious exemptions.

ResMed seeks patent injunction on Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

ResMed Inc said on Thursday it has filed legal action to stop the alleged infringement of its patented technology by New Zealand-based medical device manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. ResMed said in a statement it filed legal action with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego, as well as courts in New Zealand and Germany. ResMed is calling for an injunction banning importation of Fisher & Paykel Simplus full face mask, Eson nasal mask and Eson 2 nasal mask.

Take precautions during laser hair removal, researchers advise

By Marilynn Larkin (Reuters Health) – The smelly “burning hair” smoke released during laser hair removal could be a health hazard, especially for people with heavy exposure to it, researchers report. The smoke contains chemicals that irritate the airways and are known to cause cancer, Dr. Gary Chuang told Reuters Health by email. Chuang, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues also measured the concentrations of very fine particles in the plume that could be easily inhaled.

California insurance chief urges U.S. to block Aetna-Humana deal

California’s insurance commissioner on Thursday urged national antitrust regulators to block health insurer Aetna Inc’s proposed $34 billion acquisition of Humana Inc. David Jones, whose state Department of Insurance does not have authority to block the deal, said the acquisition would be anti-competitive in California and nationwide and contribute to higher prices for insurance. Jones’ comments came just days after California’s other insurance regulator said it had approved the Aetna-Humana deal with conditions, including that Aetna keep down premium increases and invest $50 million in communities.

Anthem CEO expects U.S. regulatory decision in July

By Caroline Humer NEW YORK (Reuters) – Anthem Inc Chief Executive Officer Joseph Swedish said on Tuesday the health insurer was pushing for approval from antitrust regulators reviewing its $51 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp and expects to hear a decision in July. Anthem's bid for Cigna followed closely after Aetna Inc's proposed $34 billion purchase of Humana Inc last July. Swedish said antitrust regulators have asked many questions about how it and Cigna manage healthcare benefits for large employers, but that the overall review was moving forward as expected.

California bill to fight fashion models’ eating disorders advances

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – A California bill aimed at reducing eating disorders among models cleared its first legislative hurdle on Wednesday, following efforts in several countries to fight extreme thinness in an industry that pressures models to lose weight. The measure would require the state to develop health standards for models and regard them as employees of the brands they represent. “The goal of the bill is not only to protect the health of the workers themselves, but also to help young people who emulate models,” said the bill’s author, state Assemblyman Marc Levine, a Democrat who represents the Marin County suburbs of San Francisco.

Sharapova’s peers stunned, but support doping system

By Mark Lamport-Stokes INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) – While Maria Sharapova's fellow players were shocked by the Russian's announcement that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open, most of them felt the “huge mistake” could have been avoided. World number three Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland described it as “a very sad day for tennis” but expressed the views of many by saying it was down to every player, via their doctor, to check whether prescribed medications were legal. Five-times grand slam champion Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, which some researchers have linked to increased athletic performance and endurance, after failing by her own admission to realize that it had been outlawed since Jan. 1.

Hillary Clinton to attend Nancy Reagan funeral services

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will depart from the campaign trail on Friday to attend the funeral services of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. The campaign on Tuesday reported that Clinton, former first lady under President Bill Clinton and secretary of state under President Barack Obama, would attend the planned services in California for Reagan, who died on Sunday of congestive heart failure. (This version of the story corrects the day of Reagan's death from Monday to Sunday in the paragraph two.) (Reporting by Alana Wise)

More patients may be able to safely shower after surgery

By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) – Many patients may be able to shower just two days after their operations without increasing their risk of infections around the incision site, a recent study suggests. The findings, along with results from other recent research, should help convince more doctors to let patients shower after surgery, said Dr. Paul Dayton, a researcher at Des Moines University and UnityPoint Health in Iowa who wasn’t involved in the study. “Traditions are sometimes long to fade away due to lack of good evidence to support change – this paper will certainly help to drive change,” Dayton said by email.