OMG: Man gets genetically-modified pig heart in world-first transplant

A US man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig. David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore, doctors say. The transplant was considered the last hope of saving Mr Bennett’s life, though it is not yet clear what his long-term chances of survival are. “It was either die or do this transplant,” Mr Bennett explained a day before the surgery. “I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” he said. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical … Continue reading OMG: Man gets genetically-modified pig heart in world-first transplant

New Zealand to ban cigarettes for future generations

New Zealand will ban the sale of tobacco to its next generation, in a bid to eventually phase out smoking. Anyone born after 2008 will not be able to buy cigarettes or tobacco products in their lifetime, under a law expected to be enacted next year “We want to make sure young people never start smoking,” Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verall said. The move is part of a sweeping crackdown on smoking announced by New Zealand’s health ministry on Thursday. Doctors and other health experts in the country have welcomed the “world-leading” reforms, which will reduce access to tobacco and … Continue reading New Zealand to ban cigarettes for future generations

Incredible: Rare case of woman’s body ridding itself of HIV

A woman from Argentina appears to have rid herself of HIV without drugs or treatment – the second documented case of its kind in the world. Doctors believe the patient’s immune system cleared the virus on its own. Tests on more than a billion of her cells found no viable trace of the infection, Archives of Internal Medicine reports. If this process could be harnessed, it might offer a way to wipe out or effectively cure HIV, experts say. The findings are further proof a few people are born with natural resilience to HIV. Some have genes that prevent infection. Others … Continue reading Incredible: Rare case of woman’s body ridding itself of HIV

Congolese professor who discovered virus says Ebola is defeated

Ebola has been defeated. Vaccines and medical treatments have brought the deadly and terrifying disease under control, says Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the Congolese professor who first discovered the virus more than 40 years ago. The 79-year-old virologist was speaking at a ceremony in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa marking the arrival on the market of the “Ebanga” treatment, which was approved last December by the US Food and Drug Administration. Together with more effective clinical treatments, the availability of vaccines means the highly infectious haemorrhagic fever that once proved almost always fatal can now be contained. “For 40 years … Continue reading Congolese professor who discovered virus says Ebola is defeated

Great: Twins conjoined at head separated after rare surgery in Israel

One-year-old twin girls who were born conjoined at the back of their heads have seen each other for the first time after undergoing rare separation surgery in Israel. The 12-hour operation at the Soroka Medical Centre in the city of Beersheba last week took months of preparation, and included the scalp grafts for both. Dozens of experts from Israel and abroad were involved. The girls, who have not been named, are said to be recovering well. “They are breathing and eating on their own,” Eldad Silberstein, the head of Soroka’s plastic surgery department, told Israel’s Channel 12 news. It is … Continue reading Great: Twins conjoined at head separated after rare surgery in Israel

Purdue Pharma agrees to $4.5billion payout over opioid litigation

A US judge has approved a bankruptcy plan for the maker of OxyContin painkillers, shielding its wealthy owners the Sacklers from further legal action over their roles in America’s opioid epidemic. Under the deal, Purdue Pharma will pay $4.5bn (£3.3bn) to settle lawsuits related to the crisis. The Sackler family will also give up control of the drugmaker. But they also have immunity from future lawsuits, despite strong opposition. Nearly all US states, hospitals, native American tribes and other creditors approved the settlement, although some states said they would appeal. Judge Robert Drain noted that the Sackler family members who … Continue reading Purdue Pharma agrees to $4.5billion payout over opioid litigation

Alcohol use linked to nearly 750,000 cancer cases in 2020

Doctors are sounding the alarm over research showing a link between drinking alcohol and cancer. More than 700,000 new cancer cases were linked to alcohol consumption in 2020, a time when many Americans reported drinking more.  The research, published in the July 13 edition of Lancet Oncology, found that over 4% of all new cancer cases in 2020 were caused by alcohol consumption. While most cancers linked to alcohol use were in people who have more than two drinks a day, more than 100,000 cases worldwide were in people who averaged less than that, the study said.  “Alcohol is an irritant. … Continue reading Alcohol use linked to nearly 750,000 cancer cases in 2020

Greed Calling: Pharma firm Advanz fined after thyroid tablets price inflation of 6,000%

The UK’s competition watchdog has imposed fines of more than £100m on pharmaceutical company Advanz and its former private equity owners, after it was found to have inflated the price of thyroid tablets by up to 6000%. An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that the private-equity backed pharmaceutical company charged “excessive and unfair prices” for liothyronine tablets, which are used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency. From 2007 Advanz took advantage of limited competition in the market to bring in sustained price hikes for liothyronine tablets, often used by patients suffering with depression and fatigue, of more than … Continue reading Greed Calling: Pharma firm Advanz fined after thyroid tablets price inflation of 6,000%

Major drug companies reach landmark $26bn US opioid settlement

A group of state attorneys general in the United States has unveiled a landmark $26bn settlement with major US drug companies accused of fuelling a deadly nationwide opioid epidemic, but some states were cool on the agreement. Under the settlement proposal released on Wednesday, the three largest US drug distributors – McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen – are expected to pay a combined $21bn, while drug- maker Johnson & Johnson would pay $5bn. “There’s not enough money in the world frankly to address the pain and suffering,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, who added however that the money will “help where help is needed”. … Continue reading Major drug companies reach landmark $26bn US opioid settlement

OMG: Wrong patient gets new kidney in transplant mix-up at Ohio hospital

An Ohio hospital apologized Monday after one of its patients received a kidney that was meant for someone else. Two employees involved in the shocking mix-up have been placed on administrative leave while officials at Cleveland’s University Hospitals investigate the incident. The person who was given the wrong kidney is expected to recover since the organ happened to be compatible, the healthcare system said. The other patient’s surgery, however, has been delayed because of the error. “We have offered our sincerest apologies to these patients and their families,” hospital spokesman George Stamatis said in a statement.University Hospital of Cleveland “We … Continue reading OMG: Wrong patient gets new kidney in transplant mix-up at Ohio hospital

Sacha Baron Cohen sues cannabis company over billboard

Sacha Baron Cohen has sued a Massachusetts cannabis company for $9 million, claiming it exploited his likeness and fame on a highway billboard by using an image of his movie character, Borat, and a Borat-coined phrase.Sacha Baron Cohen billboard In a lawsuit photo of the billboard, featured at the top of this story, the familiar Borat movie line, “It’s nice,” appears atop the logo-branded name of the company and the words “Happy 4/20,” a reference to the so-called marijuana holiday. “This is an action for willful copyright infringement, false advertising, and violation of the Massachusetts statute against misappropriation of rights … Continue reading Sacha Baron Cohen sues cannabis company over billboard

Spanish ministers clash over campaign to eat less meat

A Spanish minister has been roasted by members of his own coalition government over his efforts to reduce meat consumption in the country. This week consumer affairs minister, Alberto Garzón, launched a campaign to encourage Spaniards to eat less meat. “Eating too much meat is bad for our health and for the planet,” Mr Garzon said in a video on Twitter. But for some cabinet ministers, his plea for moderation was difficult to swallow. “It seems to me the campaign is unfortunate,” agriculture minister Luis Planas said in an interview with a local radio station. Mr Planas said the “Less meat, … Continue reading Spanish ministers clash over campaign to eat less meat