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FDA Strengthens Warning on Device Linked to Cancer

U.S. regulators on Monday strengthened their warning against use of a once-popular device for gynecologic surgery that can spread unsuspected cancer, saying its risk is only justified in a fraction of patients.

The Food and Drug Administration updated its April safety warning, saying doctors should not use the devices, called laparoscopic power morcellators, for performing a hysterectomy or removing uterine fibroids "in the vast majority of women."

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Sky-High Abortions in Vietnam as Family Planning Excludes Youth

At a small Hanoi cemetery, Nguyen Van Thao opens a fridge and pulls out a bag of bloody foetuses to prepare for burial -- a grim reminder that Vietnam has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. 

Around 40 percent of pregnancies in the country end in abortion, according to a report by doctors from Hanoi's Central Obstetrics Hospital, the figure is double the rate given by official statistics.

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Apple Teams with (RED) to Fight AIDS

Apple on Monday teamed with the (RED) campaign founded by U2 singer Bono to raise money to fight AIDS.

The move came as the California-based maker of iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macintosh computers shows deeper support for social and environmental causes under the leadership of chief executive Tim Cook.

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U.S. Study: Elderly Should Take Cholesterol-lowering Statins

Nearly everyone aged 66 to 75 should consider taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, new guidelines published Monday said.

A total of 97 percent of people in the age group, and 100 percent of men, should be on the medication even if their cholesterol levels are normal, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association.

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Study: Benefits of Regular Vitamin D Tests Remain Unproven

Experts said Monday regular tests for vitamin D levels are not proven to be beneficial or harmful, despite previous research warning of damaging effects of vitamin D deficiencies in adults. 

Studies have found that low levels of the vitamin can  increase the risk of bone fractures, heart disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's disease and death. 

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Liberia Free of Ebola by Christmas, Says President

Liberia's president on Monday urged her countrymen to double their efforts to reach the government's goal of having zero new Ebola cases by Dec. 25, a target some experts have described as highly ambitious.

"We've set a pretty tough target. But when you set a target it means that you stay focused on that target and on that goal and then you double your efforts," Sirleaf said during a ceremony marking the docking of a Dutch aid ship in the capital, Monrovia.

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Doctor Working in Sierra Leone is Italy's First Ebola Case

An Italian doctor has contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and is being flown back to Rome for specialist treatment, the health ministry said Monday.

The ministry said the doctor, the first Italian to contract the disease, would arrive in Rome late Monday or early Tuesday and be hospitalized at the Lazzaro Spallanzani national institute for infectious disease.

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ECOWAS Trains Health Workers to Fight Ebola

West Africa's regional bloc ECOWAS said on Sunday it will train 150 health workers this week to help tackle the deadly Ebola disease in the worst hit countries; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"Health workers from six ECOWAS member states are to undergo training in Accra ahead of their deployment in the three countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak in the region," the Economic Community of West African States said in a statement.

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WHO: Plague Outbreak Kills 40 in Madagascar

An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo.

The first victim was identified on August 31 in a district to the west of the capital, and died three days later, the U.N. health agency said in a statement Friday.

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Dutch Cull Ducks amid Bird Flu Fears in Poultry Heartland

The Dutch authorities on Saturday ordered the preventative cull of 8,000 ducks amid fears that a bird flu outbreak could spread to the country's poultry heartland.

"In Barneveld 8,000 ducks will be culled as a precautionary measure," the economics ministry said in a statement after the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain was confirmed on two other farms near The Hague to the southwest.

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