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Saudi Reports 10 MERS Deaths in a Week

Ten more people in Saudi Arabia have died from MERS over the past week, health ministry figures showed on Friday, after an international mission urged extra measures to combat the virus.

Saudi Arabia is the country worst-hit by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

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Drinking Coffee May Lower Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

People who drink four to six cups of coffee daily may be less likely to get multiple sclerosis, according to international research out Thursday.

"Caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases," said lead author Ellen Mowry of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Study: Too Many Waiting for Blood Stem Cell Transplants

Over a million people have received blood and marrow stem cell transplants for life-threatening diseases in the past 57 years, but too many are still waiting, a study said Friday.

Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) often offers the only possibility of a cure for blood diseases and rare cancers like myeloma or leukaemia.

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Novartis Japan Hit with Suspension over Side-Effect Reporting

Japanese health authorities said Friday that they have ordered the local unit of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis to temporarily suspend its operations for failing to report drug side effects.

The health ministry's 15-day suspension -- reportedly a first for a pharmaceutical firm operating in Japan -- means the company will not be able to sell most of its drugs during that period, which is to start from March 5.

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Asian Herb Derivative Could Work against Ebola

A small molecule derived from an Asian herb may help stop Ebola infection by preventing the virus from entering the cells of the body, researchers said Thursday.

So far the research using the calcium channel blocker Tetrandrine, found in some Chinese and Japanese herbs, against Ebola has only been done in lab animals and in petri dishes.

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Australia to Tighten Food Labeling Laws after China Scare

Australia is set to strengthen food labeling laws after a series of hepatitis A infections were linked to frozen berries from China, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Thursday.

Nanna's and Creative Gourmet brand raspberries and mixed berries were recalled after being linked to some 19 hepatitis A cases across the country this month, with poor hygiene or contaminated water at their packing factory thought to be responsible.

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Study: Nasty Stomach Bug Much More Common than Thought in U.S.

A nasty intestinal bug sickens nearly twice as many Americans each year as was previously thought, according to the largest U.S. study to look at the problem.

The germ — Clostridium difficile, or C-diff — flourishes in the gut after antibiotics kill off other bacteria and causes diarrhea. It can be severe and is blamed for about 15,000 deaths annually — mainly in the elderly.

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Call for Study to Settle if Anesthesia Poses Risk to Babies

Studies of baby animals have long suggested that going under anesthesia can have some harmful effects on a developing brain. Now some scientists want to find out whether those same drugs may pose subtle risks for human babies and toddlers.

It's a balancing act: Doctors don't want to unnecessarily frighten parents whose tots need general anesthesia for crucial surgery. There's no clear evidence of side effects, such as learning or attention impairment, in youngsters.

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Genes Play a Role in Peanut Allergy, Study Confirms

Suspicions that genes play a part in peanut allergy were confirmed in a study Tuesday that said environmental factors may contribute to the problem.

Researchers in the United States compared the genomes of more than 1,300 children of European ancestry, most of whom had some kind of food allergy, to those of their biological parents.

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Study: Pill Taken before, after Sex May Prevent HIV

An HIV prevention pill taken by gay men before and after sex reduced the risk of virus transmission by 86 percent, according to the results of a clinical trial released Tuesday.

Truvada contains HIV treatment drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine, and is made by Gilead Sciences in California. In the study Truvada was taken up to one day before sex and the two days after.

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