Health

CooperSurgical’s Botched IVF Liquid Destroyed Embryos, Lawsuits Claim
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CooperSurgical’s Botched IVF Liquid Destroyed Embryos, Lawsuits Claim

CooperSurgical, a major medical supply company, is facing a wave of lawsuits from patients who claim that one of its products destroyed embryos created with in vitro fertilization.Fertility clinics across the world used the product, a nutrient-rich liquid that helps fertilized eggs develop into embryos. This week federal regulators made public that the company had recalled three lots of the liquid, which was used by clinics in November and December. The number of affected patients is unclear, although experts estimated that it is in the thousands.On Thursday, a couple in Virginia filed a lawsuit against the company, the eighth in two months from families around the United States. Collectively, the patients say they lost more than 100 embryos that had bathed in the defective product, known ...
Man Dies in First Known Fatal Case of the Alaskapox Virus
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Man Dies in First Known Fatal Case of the Alaskapox Virus

An Alaska man died last month of Alaskapox, a rare virus that occurs mostly in small mammals and can cause skin lesions, according to state health officials.Alaskapox was first identified in 2015 in a woman who lived near Fairbanks, Alaska, and there have been a total of seven cases of the virus reported to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology. Until last month, no one had been hospitalized or died of Alaskapox, which can also cause swollen lymph nodes and muscle or joint pain, Alaska epidemiology officials said on Friday.Of the seven people who have had Alaskapox, six lived in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, where red-backed voles and shrews have been found to have the virus, according to the Alaska Department of Health. Alaskapox has not been found to spread between humans.Dr. Julia Roge...
Brooke Ellison, Prominent Disability Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 45
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Brooke Ellison, Prominent Disability Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 45

Brooke Ellison, who after being paralyzed from the neck down by a childhood car accident went on to graduate from Harvard and became a professor and a devoted disability rights advocate, died on Sunday in Stony Brook, N.Y., on Long Island. She was 45.Her death, in a hospital, was caused by complications of quadriplegia, her mother, Jean Ellison, said.As an 11-year-old, Brooke had been taking karate, soccer, cello and dance lessons and singing in a church choir. But on Sept. 4, 1990, she was struck by a car while running across a road near her home in Stony Brook. Her skull, her spine and almost every major bone in her body were fractured.After waking from a 36-hour coma, she spent six weeks in the hospital and eight months in a rehabilitation center. And for the rest of her life she was de...
Brazil Has a Dengue Emergency, Portending a Health Crisis for the Americas
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Brazil Has a Dengue Emergency, Portending a Health Crisis for the Americas

Brazil is experiencing an enormous outbreak of dengue fever, the sometimes fatal mosquito-borne disease, and public health experts say it is a harbinger of a coming surge in cases in the Americas, including Puerto Rico.Brazil’s Health Ministry warns that it expects more than 4.2 million cases this year, outstripping the 4.1 million cases the Pan-American Health Organization recorded for all 42 countries in the region last year.Brazil was due for a bad dengue year — numbers of cases of the virus typically rise and fall on a roughly four-year cycle — but experts say a number of factors, including El Niño and climate change, have significantly amplified the problem this year.“The record heat in the country and the above-average rainfall since last year, even before the summer, have increased ...
J&J, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb CEOs Defend Drug Prices at Senate Hearing
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J&J, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb CEOs Defend Drug Prices at Senate Hearing

The chief executives of three major pharmaceutical companies defended the prices of their drugs in front of the Senate health committee on Thursday, drawing them further into a confrontation with lawmakers and the Biden administration over the cost of some of the most widely used prescription medications.Lawmakers, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the panel’s chairman, noted that the companies charged more in the United States than in other wealthy countries, accusing them of profiting at the expense of American patients. The pharmaceutical executives — from Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb — conceded that patients in the United States paid too much but said that new medications arrived there faster than anywhere else in the world.Mr. Sanders, an independen...
Many Transgender Americans Face Stigma and Financial Hardship, Survey Finds
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Many Transgender Americans Face Stigma and Financial Hardship, Survey Finds

Transgender and nonbinary Americans experience stark rates of unemployment and harassment, according to the largest survey of their life experiences to date. The data reflect a longstanding pattern of discrimination at a time when states across the country have passed laws restricting their health care, bathroom access and participation in sports.The findings come from the U.S. Transgender Survey, which many researchers and policymakers have relied on since a version of it debuted in 2011. The National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group, carried out the latest iteration of the survey in late 2022, garnering responses from more than 92,000 transgender and nonbinary Americans, age 16 and up, from every state in the country.The group released a preliminary analysis of response...
He Hunts Sloppy Scientists. He’s Finding Lots of Prey.
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He Hunts Sloppy Scientists. He’s Finding Lots of Prey.

Are you done hunting scientists for the day?I haven’t had time today. But if I spent a couple of hours reading papers, I’d probably write four or five comments about errors in scientific papers. It’s not hard to find these problems, and it’s not hard to find them at any institution. They’re all out there to find, if anyone wants to read the scientific literature.What motivates you to spend the time to do it?I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I’m not a crank conspiracist or anything like that. I’m a scientist myself, and I care about getting the science right.You focus in part on images that have been mislabeled, or used twice in a paper but as evidence for different things, lazily cut-and-pasted from one spot to another. Is there a simple way for you to tell that an image is wrong?You just look at th...
When a Spouse Goes to the Nursing Home
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When a Spouse Goes to the Nursing Home

Even as the signals of approaching dementia became impossible to ignore, Joseph Drolet dreaded the prospect of moving his partner into a long-term care facility.Mr. Drolet, 79, and his beloved Rebecca, 71, both retired lawyers and prosecutors in Atlanta, had been a couple for 33 years, though they retained separate homes. In 2019, she began getting lost while driving, mishandling her finances and struggling with the television remote. The diagnosis — Alzheimer’s disease — came in 2021.Over time, Mr. Drolet moved Rebecca (whose surname he asked to withhold to protect her privacy) into his home. But serving as her round-the-clock caregiver, as she needed help with every daily task, became exhausting and untenable. Rebecca began wandering their neighborhood and “getting dressed in the middle ...
U.S. Makes Initial Offers in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations
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U.S. Makes Initial Offers in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations

Why It Matters: The price offers kick off negotiations.The medicines selected for negotiations are taken by millions of older Americans to treat conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart failure. The administration identified them in August, beginning a lengthy process intended to result in an agreed-upon price that would take effect in 2026, assuming the negotiation program survives legal challenges.The initial round of price offers is a key step in the negotiation process. Each drugmaker has until early March to accept the offer or propose a counteroffer to the government. A series of negotiation sessions could follow, with the process set to conclude by August.Health policy experts said the announcement of the initial round of offers amounted to a kind of starting gun, giving the Biden...
Vertex Experimental Drug Cuts Off Pain at the Source, Company Says
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Vertex Experimental Drug Cuts Off Pain at the Source, Company Says

Vertex Pharmaceuticals of Boston announced Tuesday that it had developed an experimental drug that relieves moderate to severe pain, blocking pain signals before they can get to the brain. It works only on peripheral nerves — those outside the brain and the spinal cord — making it unlike opioids. Vertex says its new drug is expected to avoid opioids’ potential to lead to addiction.The company reported that it had completed two randomized studies, the first in 1,118 people who had abdominoplasties and the other in 1,073 people who had bunion surgery. The two procedures are commonly used in studies of people with acute pain, the temporary kind that is brought on by something like a surgical procedure and is likely to ease with time.In its clinical trials, Vertex measured the drug’s effect wi...