Use of alcohol and e-cigarettes among youth ‘alarming’: WHO

By Camille BAS-WOHLERT COPENHAGEN, April 24, 2024 (AFP) – The widespread use of alcohol and e-cigarettes among adolescents is “alarming”, according to a report released on Thursday by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European branch, which recommended measures to limit access. Based on survey data from 280,000 young people aged 11, 13 and 15 in Europe, Central Asia and Canada, the WHO said it showed a “concerning picture” of substance use among young people. “The […]

Bird flu viral fragments found in pasteurized milk: US officials

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2024 (AFP) – US health authorities said Tuesday they had discovered fragments of bird flu virus in the nation’s pasteurized cow milk supply during the course of a large study, but the samples likely posed no health risk to humans. An outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has spread among dairy cattle herds throughout the country and infected one human, who had mild symptoms. Though the H5N1 strain of HPAI has […]

A ‘healthy addiction’: sea saunas make waves in Ireland

By Peter MURPHY DUNGARVAN, Ireland (AFP) – For Sharon Fidgeon, a regular visitor to Ireland’s increasingly popular beach saunas, her weekend sessions “have become a healthy addiction” that tap into a centuries-old Irish tradition of toning up by getting sweaty. On sandy Clonea beach on Ireland’s wind-battered Atlantic coast, the 52-year-old artist told AFP that alternating between the sauna and freezing seawater makes her feel “so incredibly alive”. “Once you get down in the sea […]

H5N1 strain of bird flu found in milk: WHO

GENEVA, April 19, 2024 (AFP) – The H5N1 bird flu virus strain has been detected in very high concentrations in raw milk from infected animals, the WHO said Friday, though how long the virus can survive in milk is unknown. Avian influenza A(H5N1) first emerged in 1996 but since 2020, the number of outbreaks in birds has grown exponentially, alongside an increase in the number of infected mammals. The strain has led to the deaths […]

Japan doctors sue Google Maps over ‘punching bag’ reviews

By Tomohiro OSAKI TOKYO, April 19, 2024 (AFP) – Around 60 doctors in Japan have accused Google Maps of ignoring vitriolic reviews of their clinics in a class-action lawsuit touted as the first of its kind. The medics are seeking 1.4 million yen ($9,000) in total damages from Google in a bid to hold the US tech titan accountable for inaction over the reviews. They sued the company on Thursday, saying they are powerless to […]

Human cases of bird flu ‘an enormous concern’: WHO

The World Health Organization voiced alarm Thursday at the growing spread of H5N1 bird flu to new species, including humans, who face an “extraordinarily high” mortality rate. “This remains I think an enormous concern,” the UN health agency’s chief scientist Jeremy Farrar told reporters in Geneva. The current bird flu outbreak began in 2020 and has led to the deaths of tens of millions of poultry, with wild birds also infected as well as land […]

Women’s bodies being turned into ‘battlegrounds’: UN

By Agnès PEDRERO GENEVA, April 17, 2024 (AFP) – Women’s bodies have become political “battlegrounds”, putting at risk 30 years of progress on sexual and reproductive health for women and girls, the UN warned Wednesday. Though maternal mortality rates and unwanted pregnancy rates have been steadily falling, progress is now slowing or even flatlining on key measures, said the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency. Thirty years ago, at […]

Asia-Pacific gets new weapon in fight against drug-resistant TB

By Pam CASTRO MANILA, April 12, 2024 (AFP) – A faster and vastly more effective treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis is being rolled out in the Asia-Pacific region, raising hopes of a “new era” in tackling one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases. The region had most of the world’s estimated 10.6 million new TB cases in 2022, and more than half of the 1.3 million deaths, World Health Organization (WHO) figures show. While TB can […]

Diabetes drug shows promise against Parkinson’s in clinical study

By By Issam Ahmed and Lucie Aubourg WASHINGTON, April 4, 2024 (AFP) – A drug used to treat diabetes slowed the progression of motor issues associated with Parkinson’s disease, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine said Wednesday. Parkinson’s is a devastating nervous system disorder affecting 10 million people worldwide, with no current cure. Symptoms include rhythmic shaking known as tremors, slowed movement, impaired speech and problems balancing, which get worse over […]

How period tracking could boost performance of female Olympians

By Lea Farges and Clement Kasser PARIS, April 1, 2024 (AFP) – French swimmer Caroline Jouisse has been keeping track of her periods using her phone over the last year, collecting information for her coaches ahead of competing in the Paris Olympics this summer. The data helps her plan the best time to work on building her muscles, which is ideally in the middle and at the end of her menstrual cycle when her testosterone […]

Japan dietary supplement maker probes five deaths

TOKYO, March 29, 2024 (AFP) – A Japanese drugmaker said on Friday it is investigating five deaths potentially linked to dietary supplements meant to lower cholesterol and apologised for the “anxiety and fear” it had caused. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has recalled three brands of over-the-counter tablets after customers reported kidney problems. The firm said it was trying to establish if the products containing red yeast rice, or “beni koji”, had caused five deaths and 114 hospitalisations. […]

Nations fail to reach pandemic accord: talks to resume April

By Robin MILLARD GENEVA, March 28, 2024 (AFP) – Two years of talks aimed at striking a landmark global agreement on handling future pandemics failed to seal a deal in time on Thursday, and will restart next month for one final push. Scarred by Covid-19, which shredded economies, overturned societies, crippled health systems and killed millions, countries are trying to craft an international accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. But while they largely agree […]