Midwives support strike action








By James Gallagher
Health editor, BBC News website


Mum, baby and widwife


Midwives in England say they are prepared to take industrial action over pay.

More than 94% of midwives and maternity support workers taking part in a consultation said they would consider strike action.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said there was a palpable “sense of anger and frustration” among members.

The RCM will now decide whether to formally ballot members on industrial action.

Older sperm donors 'just as good'








By James Gallagher
Health editor, BBC News online


Sperm


Women should not worry about using sperm from older donors as the success rate is the same as using a younger man’s sperm, researchers say.

The average age of donors has risen in the UK since the right to anonymity was removed in 2005.

Doctors said there was concern about the impact on the odds of a pregnancy.

'Supercooling' keeps organs fresh








By James Gallagher
Health editor, BBC News online


A 'supercooled' rat liverScientists have tested the technique on rats’ livers


A new technique can preserve organs for days before transplanting them, US researchers claim.

“Supercooling” combines chilling the organ and pumping nutrients and oxygen through its blood vessels.

Tests on animals, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, showed supercooled livers remained viable for three days, compared with less than 24 hours using current technology.

UK facing 'major' sperm shortage








By James Gallagher
Health editor, BBC News online


Sperm


The UK is facing a major sperm shortage that may be tempting fertility clinics to accept poorer quality sperm, the British Fertility Society (BFS) warns.

Some clinics rely on imported sperm to keep up with demand.

However, the BFS chairman, Dr Allan Pacey, said he was “worried” that some clinics may be setting a lower bar to “get donors through the door”.

Pig virus shrinks March-May hog herd more than expected


(Reuters) – The U.S. hog herd shrank more than anticipated in the March-May quarter as a deadly pig virus swept through farms, a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed on Friday.

The data also showed that despite higher hog prices in the wake of the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), producers had not expanded herds as much as expected, analysts said.

USDA’s data suggest hog numbers will remain tight through the rest of the year, sustaining already high prices for hogs and pork during the period, said analysts.

Non-surgical gum disease treatment reduces thickness of wall of arteries

A simple non-surgical gum disease treatment markedly reduces the thickness of the wall of the arteries, a risk factor for heart disease, according to a first of its kind study among Aboriginal Australians.

The study findings may be of particular importance to Aboriginal Australians, who in general have poorer oral health and higher rates of cardiovascular disease.

Published in the latest issue of Hypertension, the study reports a significant decline in thickening of the wall of the carotid artery a year after a single session of gum treatment.

Some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from anti-inflammatory drugs

New research raises the prospect that some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Studying triple-negative breast cancer, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that some aggressive tumors rely on an antiviral pathway that appears to drive inflammation, widely recognized for roles in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

The tumors that activate this particular antiviral pathway always have dysfunctional forms of the proteins p53 and ARF, both encoded by genes known for being highly mutated in various cancers. The investigators found that the two genes compensate for each other. If both are mutated, the tumors that form are more aggressive than if only one of these genes is lost.

Some aggressive cancers may respond to anti-inflammatory drugs

New research raises the prospect that some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Studying triple-negative breast cancer, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that some aggressive tumors rely on an antiviral pathway that appears to drive inflammation, widely recognized for roles in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

The tumors that activate this particular antiviral pathway always have dysfunctional forms of the proteins p53 and ARF, both encoded by genes known for being highly mutated in various cancers. The investigators found that the two genes compensate for each other. If both are mutated, the tumors that form are more aggressive than if only one of these genes is lost.

U.S. appeals court blocks lawsuits over Darvon, Darvocet painkillers


(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the dismissal of nearly all claims in 68 cases seeking to hold drug makers liable for injuries from the use of the prescription painkillers Darvon and Darvocet, which were pulled from the U.S. market in 2010.

The plaintiffs, who used generic versions of the drugs, had invoked design defect laws in 22 U.S. states in claiming that generic drug makers misbranded the drugs. Many also sought to hold brand-name drug makers liable for alleged misrepresentations made to prescribing doctors.

New Jersey may be first state to ban smoking on beaches, in parks


Women smoke at an Independence Day party in Union Beach, New Jersey in a July 3, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Eric Thaye/files


Women smoke at an Independence Day party in Union Beach, New Jersey in a July 3, 2013 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thaye/files


(Reuters) – New Jersey could become the first state in the nation to ban cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products in all public parks and beaches if Governor Chris Christie signs into law a sweeping anti-smoking bill approved by lawmakers.