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Ebola Virus in Africa Outbreak is a New Strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain — evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.

"The source of the virus is still not known," but it was not imported from nearby countries, said Dr. Stephan Gunther of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany.

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Scientists Unscramble the Great Sperm-Egg Secret

Scientists said they had made the long-sought discovery of how sperm latches onto an egg in the very first spark of reproduction, the outcome of a near decade-long hunt.

The find opens up avenues for new contraception or treating infertility, they said.

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Experimental Drug Offers Promise in Fight against Measles

An experimental antiviral drug taken orally could help contribute to the eradication of measles, an infection responsible for thousands of deaths per year, scientists said in a report Wednesday.

The drug, so far tested on animals, has been effective on a virus closely related to the one that causes measles, having reduced virus levels and prevented death.

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GlaxoSmithKline Discloses New Bribery Inquiries in Jordan and Lebanon

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is looking into allegations of bribery within its operations in Jordan and Lebanon.

The company said Wednesday that it started looking into the conduct of "a small number of individuals" in December. It says the investigation is ongoing.

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Saudi Reports New MERS Death, Infections in Jeddah

A Saudi man has died of MERS in the western city of Jeddah, where authorities have sought to calm fears over the spreading respiratory illness, the health ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry said five more people were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, including two medics, all in Jeddah.

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Study Finds Signs of Brain Changes in Pot Smokers

A small study of casual marijuana smokers has turned up evidence of changes in the brain, a possible sign of trouble ahead, researchers say.

The young adults who volunteered for the study were not dependent on pot, nor did they show any marijuana-related problems.

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U.S. Approves Injectable Diabetes Drug from Glaxo

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it approved a new injectable drug from GlaxoSmithKline plc for adults with Type 2 diabetes.

The agency cleared the company's drug, Tanzeum, to help patients control their blood sugar levels, in combination with diet and exercise.

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DNA Alternative to Pap Smear Sparks Medical Debate

A high-tech screening tool for cervical cancer is facing pushback from more than a dozen American patient groups, who warn that the genetic test could displace a simpler, cheaper and more established mainstay of women's health: the Pap smear.

The new test from Swiss drug maker Roche uses DNA to detect the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. While such technology has been available for years, Roche now wants the Food and Drug Administration to approve its test as a first-choice option for cervical cancer screening, bypassing the decades-old Pap test.

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Brain Scan Shows which Vegetative Patients Have Hope

A hi-tech scanner can help tell whether a brain-injured patient who appears to be in a vegetative state has a chance of regaining some consciousness, a study said Tuesday.

In an unprecedented trial among comatose patients, Belgian researchers said the scanner, an expensive tool not routinely used for this purpose, could identify those who were unresponsive but showed consciousness.

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RHUH General Director Resigns as Crisis Widens

The General Director of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, Dr. Wassim Wazzan, resigned on Tuesday following several sit-ins held by employees, who are demanding reforms, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Health Minister Wael Abou Faour announced that Wazzan handed his resignation over to the ministry for consideration, the NNA said.

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