Stem cell team aims for spare heart parts in five years

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Stem cell researchers in Hong Kong and the United States are trying to grow spare parts for the human heart that may be ready for tests on people within five years, they said on Thursday. Scientists have already made basic heart muscle from stem cells, but the Hong Kong-led team wants to refine it so it can replace any part damaged in heart attacks, and to recreate the natural pacemaker, where the heartbeat originates.

New label to help people pick health insurance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Insurers and employers will have to spell out plainly the costs and benefits of the health plans they offer starting next year. The rule announced by U.S. health officials on Wednesday is designed to better inform people about health insurance choices with a standard label, which the Department of Health and Human Services likens to the kind on a cereal box.

Doctors screen for cervical cancer too often: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Most doctors opt for screening women for cervical cancer more often than guidelines suggest, according to a new study. Researchers based at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that many primary care doctors would bring women back for cancer screening annually -- while recommendations generally call for a three-year wait after normal tests.

Exclusive: Health benefits report may miss deadline

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A key recommendation for medical coverage standards under the Obama administration's healthcare overhaul may be issued later than a September deadline, according to the organization preparing the report. The influential Institute of Medicine, an independent agency based in Washington, was given the task of recommending how to determine the basic health benefits for millions of Americans who will qualify for coverage sold through state-run insurance exchanges beginning in 2014.

New stroke screening test raises hopes, worries

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new test based on ultrasound scans may be able to spot people at high risk of a stroke, though it is still too early to be excited, researchers said. Nearly 800,000 people suffer strokes each year in the United States alone, with about a sixth of them dying of it and many more left disabled.

Potassium-rich diet tied to lower stroke risk

NEW YORK (Reuters) - People who eat plenty of high-potassium fruits, vegetables and dairy products may be less likely to suffer a stroke than those who get little of the mineral, according to a study. The findings, reported in the journal Stroke, come from an analysis of 10 international studies involving more than 200,000 middle-aged and older adults.

Europe and U.S. accused of stalling U.N. disease talks

LONDON (Reuters) - A global health group on Thursday accused the United States, Canada and Europe of harming efforts to fight cancer, diabetes, heart and other diseases because they will not agree to set United Nations targets. The main sticking point is money, said Ann Keeling, chair of the NCD Alliance, which groups some 2,000 health organizations from around the world focused on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).