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US-HEALTH Summary

AIDS drugs can cause premature ageing: study

LONDON (Reuters) - A class of generic AIDS drugs often used to treat HIV in Africa and other poor regions can cause premature aging and lead to age-related illnesses such as heart disease and dementia, scientists said on Sunday. In a study in the journal Nature Genetics, British researchers found that the drugs, known as nucleoside analog reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, or NRTIs, damage DNA in the patient's mitochondria -- the "batteries" that power cells.

"Lean gene" ups risk of heart disease and diabetes

LONDON (Reuters) - Being slim may not always lead to a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, scientists said Sunday after they identified a gene linked both to having a lean body and to a higher risk of metabolic diseases. Researchers from Britain's Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit said that while a so-called "lean gene" was linked to having less body fat, it was also linked to an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes -- illnesses normally associated with being overweight.

Ban fast food ads on TV: U.S. doctors

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Fast food ads on TV are making American youth fatter and should be banned in children's programming, an influential group of doctors said Monday. "Congress and the Federal Trade Commission have to get tough with the food industry," said Dr. Victor Strasburger, who wrote the new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a group of 65,000 physicians.

Roche to fight for Avastin as breast cancer drug

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Drugmaker Roche Holding AG will try to convince U.S. regulators to reverse course on Avastin, the world's best-selling cancer medicine, and approve its use for breast cancer in a hearing this week. But analysts say the Food and Drug Administration, which proposed removing the breast cancer indication in December, is unlikely to change its opinion without new evidence about Avastin's ability to help breast cancer patients live longer.

Cream may buy time for snake bite victims

HONG KONG, Jun (Reuters) - A chemical compound that is used on heart patients may raise chances of survival for snakebite victims, Australian scientists said on Monday. In a paper published in Nature Medicine, the researchers said the chemical nitric oxide can slow down by as much as 50 percent the time it takes for snake venom to enter the bloodstream.

Halozyme keeps options open for ultrafast insulin

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Halozyme Therapeutics Inc, which specializes in reformulating drug products available only as infusions, expects to have key results this fall from trials of its "ultrafast" insulin formulations. Results from the mid-stage studies will dictate how the San Diego-based company moves ahead in the space, Chief Executive Officer Gregory Frost told Reuters in an interview.

Wal-Mart hikes branded diabetes drug prices-study

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Big-box retailers Wal-Mart Stores and Kmart, pioneers in the push to cut consumer prices for generic drugs, have been raising prices for the most popular brand-name diabetes drugs, according to a new study. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer began in 2006 to sell some generic drugs in the United States for $4 per monthly prescription -- a tactic since adopted by a number of other pharmacy operators.

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